Tag Archives: Berkeley Police

State files legal action against Library Gardens contractor

A balcony at Library Gardens in downtown Berkeley collapsed Tuesday, killing six. Photo: David Yee
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A state agency is seeking to revoke the license of the construction company that built Library Gardens, where a fifth-floor balcony sheared off on June 16, 2015, sending six young people to their deaths and seriously injuring seven others.

The California Contractors State License Board filed a formal accusation Tuesday against Segue Construction stating that the construction company “willfully departed from or disregarded building plans or specifications, and willfully departed from accepted trade standards for good and workmanlike construction,” according to a press release.

Read more on the June 16, 2015, balcony collapse.

The legal document essentially states that Segue, which hired subcontractors to build and waterproof the balconies at 2020 Kittredge Ave., did not follow the building plans for the apartment complex. Segue neglected to use pressure treated wood on the joists holding up the balcony that sheared off and instead used an inferior composite that was expressly prohibited in the plans and did not wrap the wood in a waterproof membrane, according to the legal document. … Continue reading »

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After DUI hit-and-run, threats, man set to enter plea

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A man described by police as a DUI driver with a suspended license who crashed into another vehicle in Berkeley and threatened to kill a witness is set to enter a plea next week in Alameda County Superior Court, according to court papers.

The crash took place in August, and Jose Paz-Leja, 25, was charged at that time with multiple felonies. He is set to enter a plea in the case Nov. 30, and has been released on $190,000 bail.

According to court papers, a Berkeley police officer was dispatched to a hit-and-run crash Aug. 13 at Bancroft Way and Acton Street. Dispatchers said the driver of a blue Ford pick-up truck had fled the scene, and run south on Edwards Street.

“A witness to the collision attempted to detain Paz-Leja, who threatened to kill the witness if he was followed. One of the involved parties had a laceration to her hand and complained of severe chest pain as a result of being struck by an airbag,” according to court papers.

Police said the truck smelled of marijuana and alcohol, and were able to use its registration and other information related to the investigation to identify the driver as Paz-Leja. The truck was registered to his Berkeley address on Alcatraz Avenue. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley robbery foiled with help from citizens

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Two Oakland men who robbed a woman of her laptop Saturday at a Berkeley Starbucks were caught with the help of alert citizens, police report.

Saturday afternoon, at about 4:20 p.m., the Berkeley Police Department got several calls from witnesses “who saw a female patron struggling over her laptop” with a man inside the Starbucks at 3000 Telegraph Avenue, according to a statement released by police Monday.

“The two struggled and the suspect was able to pull the laptop from the victim’s hands,” police said. But a community member blocked the door so the man couldn’t leave.

When the robber brandished a pistol, however, the community member allowed him to exit. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley police, firefighters launch holiday fundraisers

Berkeley firefighters are out this weekend doing a "fill the boot" fundraiser for muscular dystrophy research. Photo: Lance Knobel
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This weekend, Berkeley firefighters are raising money for muscular dystrophy research, and Berkeley police are collecting donations for holiday turkey baskets for those in need.

Firefighters, out Friday on College Avenue until dark, plan to be out Saturday too, at Piedmont Avenue and Bancroft Way from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., prior to the kickoff for the annual “big game” between the UC Berkeley and Stanford University football teams.

It’s the first year the Berkeley Firefighters Association, Local 1227, has done a fundraiser for muscular dystrophy research through a “Fill the boot” campaign.

The Berkeley Police Association will continue a long tradition with its annual turkey basket fundraiser “to get full turkey dinners into the homes of Berkeley’s most vulnerable families and seniors this holiday season.”

Police “will collect, assemble and distribute these ready to cook baskets to our community for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. We’re hoping to reach our goal quickly to allow time for shopping for the fixin’s! Please help us to reach our goal, and spread some holiday cheer.” … Continue reading »

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Berkeley Apple store hit again by group of thieves; customers and staff express concern

The Berkeley Apple store. Photo: TJ Gehling
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For the third time in nine days, thieves ran into the Berkeley Apple store on Fourth Street and made off with stolen electronics, authorities report.

Several local residents — including one woman who was inside the store when it was hit — got in touch with Berkeleyside this week to report the latest incident, which happened Wednesday at about 11 a.m.

Berkeley Police Sgt. Andrew Frankel said four to six people in their late teens or early 20s ran into the shop at 1823 Fourth St., grabbed what they could and ran out. According to community reports, they “snatched up” all the electronics on nearly a dozen tables in the store.

One local resident told Berkeleyside on Thursday, “My wife and I were just at the Apple Store and noticed the first two rows of tables were clear. An employee said they had been robbed again yesterday.”

Technically speaking, the recent Apple store incidents are considered grand theft, not robbery, which involves force or fear. But there has been significant concern at the shop and in the surrounding neighborhood due to the recent incidents.

In a report on community social network Nextdoor, another local resident said she had spoken with a Berkeley Apple store employee about the recent crimes who told her he is afraid for his safety but that employees have been instructed by Apple not to talk about it. He told her there had been six thefts at the shop within the past few months, including the three in the past week or so. … Continue reading »

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Teens with gun arrested after Berkeley robbery attempt

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Berkeley police arrested three young men with a gun after an attempted robbery Monday night near the UC Berkeley campus.

The incident happened shortly before 10:30 p.m. near Piedmont Avenue and Dwight Way.

According to a statement released by police this week, “The victim saw a car park just ahead of him” and became “suspicious when two men exited the car just as he passed it.”

He later told authorities he knew about a recent robbery spree near campus and “his suspicions continued to grow when he noticed that the two suspects were following him. The victim ran and the suspects followed with the suspect car paralleling them on the street.”

The victim called police and the men got back into their vehicle and drove off. An officer nearby, at University Avenue and Walnut Street, spotted a vehicle that matched the description broadcast over the radio. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley police arrest 2 in stolen car with guns, drugs

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Police officers arrested an El Sobrante man and a Kensington woman Monday night in the Berkeley Marina after being alerted to the stolen BMW the pair happened to be sitting in, authorities report.

Police found guns and drugs in the car, and arrested the pair in connection with them, along with other alleged violations.

Monday at 10:20 p.m., Berkeley police dispatchers learned of the stolen BMW, which appeared to be parked in a lot at the marina, according to a brief statement from police Tuesday afternoon.

Two officers found the BMW in the O Dock parking lot at the marina, and saw two people sitting inside.

Police detained them and found them to be on felony probation for identity theft. Due to their probation status, police were able to search them, according to the BPD statement.

During the search, police found two handguns, 1.25 grams of suspected methamphetamine, meth smoking paraphernalia, credit cards, checks, consumer profiles, and mail belonging to several victims, according to BPD.

Police identified the vehicle occupants as 25-year-old Travis Penaluna of El Sobrante and 32-year-old Christina Taylor of Kensington. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley crash sends cyclist to Highland

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Update, Nov. 15, 1:56 p.m. BFD has confirmed that a male cyclist who was not wearing a helmet was struck by a car Monday night. He “had a possible significant injury,” authorities said. The Berkeley Fire Department took him to the hospital.

BPD said the cyclist “was conscious and alert” after the crash. Berkeleyside will attempt to learn more.

Original post, Nov. 14, 8:47 p.m. Berkeleyside is getting reports of a crash involving a cyclist and vehicle shortly after 8 p.m. at University and McGee avenues in central Berkeley.

“One victim, presumably the bicyclist, on way to hospital. Don’t know how serious. I was just nearby when sirens filled the air,” one reader told Berkeleyside at 8:10 p.m.

The cyclist was reportedly taken to Highland Hospital.

Another reader said the crash took place on westbound University just east of McGee. … Continue reading »

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Update: Man escapes police after Berkeley robbery

A Berkeley Police cruiser blocked traffic at Addison and McGee as part of  operation. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Update, Nov. 11, 6 a.m. According to scanner recordings reviewed by Berkeleyside, police initially were called to the Berkeley Bowl parking lot — at 2020 Oregon St. — for a report of a man in his 50s who pulled a gun on a security guard after leaving the grocery store with a sandwich. He walked away on Russell Street carrying a red lululemon bag, which police ultimately recovered, according to unconfirmed scanner reports.

Police called in a search dog from Emeryville PD to help find the man, but he ultimately got away.

Berkeleyside will update this post if more info comes in.

Update, 8:05 p.m. Police Lt. Mike Durbin told Berkeleyside, “Officers are still on scene processing evidence that was located during the block search. Suspect was not located.”

Original post, 7:30 p.m. Berkeley police are on the scene in South Berkeley looking for a man with a gun tied to a robbery between 5 and 6 p.m., according to authorities and community reports.

BPD watch commander Lt. Mike Durbin said officers are searching for an armed robbery suspect.

“We are asking residents and vehicles to stay out of the area of Ashby – Prince – Ellis – Harper, and for residents in that block to shelter in their homes and call us if they see or hear anything,” Durbin said. … Continue reading »

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Thieves target Berkeley Apple store twice this week

The Berkeley Apple store. Photo: TJ Gehling
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A group of thieves stole an estimated 50 electronic devices from the Berkeley Apple store Tuesday night, and the store was hit again Thursday afternoon around 3 p.m., with a smaller group taking an estimated 20 devices, authorities report.

Limited information was available because the reports are not yet complete, but the Berkeley Police Department was alerted just after 8 p.m. Tuesday that a group of eight males in their late teens or early 20s ran into the Fourth Street Apple shop and stole numerous items. (The shop closes at 8 p.m.)

The store is located at 1823 Fourth St. in Berkeley’s popular Fourth Street shopping district.

Thursday afternoon, while Berkeleyside was on the phone with BPD shortly after 3 p.m., another report came in about a group of four people who had just gone into the store and stolen an estimated 20 devices, according to preliminary information.

Berkeley Police spokesman Sgt. Andrew Frankel said the incidents are considered grand theft, which is a felony.  … Continue reading »

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Berkeley police warn community about robbery spree

Source: Google Maps/Berkeleyside
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In just 20 minutes, there were two pedestrian robberies, and one attempt, in Berkeley on Wednesday night, and police are warning the community to be on the lookout for the trio believed to be responsible for them. In two of the incidents, victims were punched while their property was taken, according to police and community reports.

The incidents took place from about 9:10 to 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, beginning in South Berkeley and moving up into North Berkeley.

Police did not release a lot of detail about the alleged robbers, but said — in two of the cases — they were described as two black women and one black man, all of whom appeared to be in their late teens or early 20s. (No suspect information was available in the other case.)

“Based on the descriptions of the suspects, their close geographic and temporal proximity, investigators believe that the incidents are related,” according to a Nixle alert released by BPD early Thursday afternoon.  … Continue reading »

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Serious crash injures 5 in North Berkeley

A car crash injured five people in North Berkeley on Thursday. Photo: BFD
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Five people were taken to Highland Hospital on Thursday after a crash involving two or three vehicles in North Berkeley, authorities report.

According to Berkeley Police spokesman Sgt. Andrew Frankel, one vehicle hit the other and pushed it into a tree. Two vehicles are being towed from the scene, he said.

The crash took place at Marin and Shattuck avenues shortly before 12:20 p.m.

Frankel said four ambulances were dispatched and two people were taken to Highland Hospital, the regional trauma center in Oakland, according to preliminary reports.

Deputy Fire Chief Donna McCracken said the crash involved three vehicles, and that five people were taken to Highland. … Continue reading »

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Police roust homeless camp; activists vow to return

Berkeley police arrest Nanci Armstrong-Temple on Nov. 4. The Alameda County District Attorney declined to press charges.  Photo: Paul Blake
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Early Friday morning, Berkeley police dismantled an encampment that had been set up on Adeline Street to protest the way the city provides homeless services.

A contingent of police officers came to the intersection of Adeline and Fairview around 5 a.m. and forced the 30 or so people sleeping on the pavement to get up and out.

The nature of the interaction is in dispute, with many homeless people saying they were rousted without warning, manhandled, even injured, and their stuff was thrown indiscriminately into the back of a truck. A city spokesman disagreed with that characterization and said the encampment had received two previous warnings to pack up and leave, and that police were respectful. In addition, said Matthai Chakko, the tents, blankets, sleeping bags and other belongings that were collected were bagged and tagged. The city’s homeless outreach worker was on the scene to help facilitate a return of those items to their owners, he said.

Following the early-morning incident, Berkeley Police issued a Nixle alert around 12:20 p.m. to say there was “a civic demonstration in the area of northbound MLK north of Ashby.” They advised motorists to use caution.

Four people were arrested Friday morning. (See below for details)  Nanci Armstrong-Temple, who is running for City Council in District 2, appears to be one of those who was taken into custody. She came to the scene shortly after the raid commenced, part of a group of allies of the homeless who are contacted via an e-tree or phone tree when an action is imminent, according to Mike Lee, who is running for mayor.

“They were slamming women to the ground,” said Mike Zint, an activist who was one of the leaders of Liberty City, an encampment set up in front of Old City Hall. “It’s horrible what they did. They specifically targeted Nanci. Also Andrea Prichett.” (Prichett is a founding member of Copwatch.) … Continue reading »

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