Tag Archives: Berkeley Police

3 arrested, guns and meth found, in West Berkeley raid

Police recovered these items during an operation Thursday at Juan's Place in West Berkeley. Photo: BPD
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[Editor’s Note: This story was updated after publication with comments from Juan’s Place and additional information from the Berkeley Police Department.]

Three men were arrested during a narcotics operation at Juan’s Place in West Berkeley on Thursday morning.

Officer Byron White, a Berkeley Police spokesman, said the department’s Special Investigations Bureau “recovered several handguns, ammunition, drug paraphernalia, as well as a quantity of methamphetamine.”

White said he couldn’t share much information about the investigation, which took place at 941 Carleton St., because it remains in-progress.

That address is the location of popular Berkeley Mexican restaurant Juan’s Place.

White said three Berkeley men were arrested: 51-year-old Jorge Mejia, on suspicion of being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, both felonies; 61-year-old Juan Mejia, on suspicion of possessing controlled substances and drug paraphernalia, which are misdemeanors, along with probation violation; and 57-year-old Oscar Medina, on an outstanding warrant.

According to online records from the Alameda County sheriff’s office, Jorge Mejia is an assistant manager at Juan’s Place, where the raid took place. Juan Mejia is listed as a restaurant employee. Both were booked into Berkeley Jail on Thursday.

Tony Mejia, manager at Juan’s, said the guns had been locked up in a safe and were not accessible to his brother, Jorge. He said their father had purchased some of those guns 30 years ago from a Berkeley Police officer, and that they had just been sitting in the safe ever since.

“I’m not a gun person,” he said. “They’re still in the box where my dad purchased them. We’re not doing those kinds of things here.” … Continue reading »

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Crime

Crime log: Narcotics operation, community session about shooting, checkpoint arrests, ‘Click it or Ticket’

Selected calls to the Berkeley Police, via CrimeMapping.com. Scroll down for detailed maps. Click the map above for the list. See the map key here.
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This overview of recent crime in Berkeley is based on reports to the Berkeley Police unless otherwise noted. Share photos, videos and tips by emailing crime@berkeleyside.com or on Facebook and TwitterDon’t assume someone else will alert us. We rely on readers to help us stay informed.

SNAPSHOT From May 5-11, there were reports of 10 robberies19 burglariesseven assaults or batteriesseven weapon-involved calls and three sexual assaults, according to CrimeMapping.com. There were also five stolen vehicles18 disturbances and 24 auto break-ins or thefts from vehicles reported. An assault and a vehicle theft were reported on CrimeMapping to the University of California Police Department (UCPD). Arrested or charged individuals are presumed innocent. Find our May 5-11 round-up below.

Recent public safety news

POLICE ACTIVITY THURSDAY If you spotted police activity Thursday morning, May 26, in the 900 block of Carleton Street in West Berkeley, authorities say it was part of an ongoing narcotics investigation conducted by the Berkeley Police Department’s Special Investigations Bureau. Detectives were still at the scene at around 9:45 a.m. conducting an active investigation, according to BPD. A reader reporting seeing officers “wearing protective vests” who “had two men in handcuffs already, and seemed to be going in the back entrance” at Juan’s Place. Berkeleyside has asked for additional information from BPD.

COMMUNITY MEETING ABOUT SHOOTING Next week, Councilman Darryl Moore is holding a community meeting to discuss last week’s shooting at San Pablo Park. The meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, June 1, from 7-8:30 p.m. at the Frances Albrier Community Center in San Pablo Park, 2800 Park St. The meeting has been arranged to allow residents to “to discuss the shooting and what the city is doing to avoid any future incidents. As this is an active investigation, the Berkeley Police Department may be unable to share certain details in order to protect their investigation, but they will share what information they are able.” The victim remained in critical condition as of the last report from BPD. No arrests had been made, but police have been providing additional patrols around the park since the shooting. Read more on Berkeleyside. … Continue reading »

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Cal student sexually assaulted in Oxford parking lot

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A UC Berkeley female student was sexually assaulted in the parking lot at the corner of Hearst and Oxford on Sunday, May 15 at around 2:30 p.m.

The victim was walking through the lot when she was grabbed and sexually assaulted by a male suspect. The UC Police Department and Berkeley Police Department are jointly investigating the crime.

There is no suspect description available at this time.

If you have any information about this crime, contact UCPD’s Criminal Investigation Bureau on (510) 642-0472 … Continue reading »

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After armed robbery, car-jacking, reckless driving, police arrest 2 Berkeley men with loaded handgun, puppy

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Exclusive: Berkeley Police arrested two Berkeley men after an incident early Wednesday morning in which a victim was robbed at gunpoint, forced into a bathroom in his own home with the suspect, and then had his car stolen, according to authorities.

BPD received a call at 7 a.m. about a robbery and car-jacking in the 2200 block of Seventh Street (between Bancroft and Allston Way) in West Berkeley, according to Officer Byron White of the Berkeley Police Department.

White said a male 24-year-old victim told officers that he had just come home, to the house he shares with his 77-year-old grandmother and a 22-year-old companion of hers. The victim was driving his grandmother’s car. After getting out of the car, he was confronted by a man holding a handgun who emerged from from the shadows near another apartment building.

The suspect demanded the victim give him his keys and cellphone. He then demanded to use his restroom. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Crime in Berkeley: Man asks for his own arrest, gun found in car after medical cannabis buy, fraud arrest, more

Selected calls to the Berkeley Police, via CrimeMapping.com. Scroll down for detailed maps. Click the map above for the list. See the map key here.
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This overview of recent crime in Berkeley is based on reports to the Berkeley Police unless otherwise noted. Share photos, videos and tips by emailing crime@berkeleyside.com or on Facebook and TwitterDon’t assume someone else will alert us. We rely on readers to help us stay informed.

SNAPSHOT From April 28 to May 4, there were reports of two robberies14 burglaries11 assaults or batteriesfour weapon-involved calls and one sexual assault, according to CrimeMapping.com and other BPD data. There were also seven stolen vehicles17 disturbances and 20 auto break-ins or thefts from vehicles reported. An assault, a burglary, a vehicle theft and a sex crime were reported on CrimeMapping to the University of California Police Department (UCPD). Arrested or charged individuals are presumed innocent. Find the April 28 to May 4 round-up below several more recent items.

Recent public safety news

GUN ARREST AFTER CANNABIS DISPENSARY PICK-UP On May 8 at about 8:45 p.m. a BPD officer stopped a car at Telegraph Avenue and Parker Street that had “marijuana smoke emanating from the windows,” said BPD Sgt. Andrew Frankel, department spokesman. The officer spoke with four people in the vehicle “who said they were in Berkeley to pick up medical marijuana at a dispensary.” The officer searched the car and found a loaded handgun in the driver’s purse. She said she recently bought it online and that it was unregistered, according to BPD. The 28-year-old Antioch woman, Sarah Hezlitt, was arrested. She has been released from custody and is scheduled to enter a plea Tuesday at the Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse in downtown Oakland.

ARREST ME, PLEASE? A man called into the BART Dispatch Center on May 7 at about 3:20 p.m. “and stated that he had a stay away order from BART and wanted to be placed under arrest.” The man, who was calling from the downtown Berkeley BART station, was placed under arrest and taken to the Berkeley City Jail where he was booked in connection with the stay-away order. Stephan Benjamin, 35, remains in custody at Santa Rita Jail. He appears to have been sentenced, according to sheriff’s office records online. He’s not scheduled for another hearing until April 2017.

COCAINE SALES AND FIREARM ARREST Berkeley police arrested Leon Johnson, 34, on April 27 in connection with a slew of drug and firearm possession violations. Johnson, who was arrested in Oakland, remains in custody at Santa Rita Jail with a bail of $240,000. Among other issues, Johnson was arrested on suspicion of possession for sale of cocaine, transporting a controlled substance for sale, and sales of more than 28.5 grams of cocaine; being a felon in possession of a firearm and carrying a loaded firearm as well as numerous other firearm-related violations; and receiving known stolen property worth more than $950, identity theft and possessing the identification of 10 or more people with intent to defraud. He is scheduled for a motion hearing May 20 at the René C. Davison Courthouse in Oakland. Berkeleyside has requested additional information from the district attorney’s office. … Continue reading »

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Bike lane opens in Berkeley by near-fatal crash site; charges filed against driver, who police say was high

The new bike lane on Fulton Street in Berkeley. Photo: Kent Chen
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Update, 11:50 a.m. The Alameda County district attorney’s office charged Berwick Haynes on May 2 with driving under the influence of drugs and causing great bodily injury. If convicted, he could be sent to prison. A warrant has been issued for Haynes’ arrest. Berkeleyside has asked BPD if there is any further information to release.

Update, 10:30 a.m. According to the spokeswoman from the Alameda County district attorney’s office, DUI charges have been filed against the driver. Berkeleyside has requested documentation of the charges and will update this post if that is provided. Currently, the case does not appear in county records online.

Original story: A new “protected” bike lane — set off from vehicular traffic — has been completed this week in Berkeley on Fulton Street with a ribbon cutting scheduled for 8 a.m. Thursday just in time for Bike to Work Day.

Advocacy group Bike East Bay, which has been pushing hard for the lane since last year, renewed calls for its creation in February after Berkeley scientist and new mother Megan Schwarzman was nearly killed while cycling nearby.

Schwarzman’s husband, Mike Wilson, addressed the Berkeley City Council in March and asked for speedy action. (He and his wife are avid cyclists and were members of Bike East Bay at the time of the crash.)

“You can imagine the strain on our family as Meg struggled to live through the first 12 hours, with a bleeding liver, 20 fractured ribs, a smashed pelvis, two partially collapsed lungs, and complex facial fractures,” he told council. “Let’s learn from what happened here and implement the long-overdue improvements in bicycle and pedestrian safety that are already embodied in Berkeley’s bicycle plan and Downtown plan. Meg and I will thank you, as will the thousands of cyclists and pedestrians who rely on your decisions to keep them and their families safe.”

Scroll down for a video of what it’s like to ride in the new lane.

Wilson also noted that the driver who ran over his wife was impaired, which “contributed to the severity of the collision.” But he said that better traffic planning would be critical in making a difference in the long run as far as safety for cyclists and drivers.

On May 2, 47-year-old Berwick Haynes was charged with driving under the influence of drugs and causing great bodily injury, according to the Alameda County district attorney’s office. According to the police report, acquired by Berkeleyside through a Public Records Act request, Haynes had bought medical marijuana from the Berkeley Patients Group dispensary shortly before the crash, which took place Feb. 2 at about 5 p.m. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Crime in Berkeley: Head-butt battery, lost quadcopter, donut theft, ‘intent to inhale’ arrest, 19 stolen vehicles

Selected calls to the Berkeley Police, via CrimeMapping.com. Scroll down for detailed maps. Click the map above for the list. See the map key here.
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This overview of recent crime in Berkeley is based on reports to the Berkeley Police unless otherwise noted. Share photos, videos and tips by emailing crime@berkeleyside.com or on Facebook and TwitterDon’t assume someone else will alert us. We rely on readers to help us stay informed.

SNAPSHOT From April 21-27, there were reports of seven robberiesnine burglaries13 assaults or batteriesfive weapon-involved calls and one sexual assault, according to CrimeMapping.com and other BPD data. There were also 19 stolen vehicles12 disturbances and 28 auto break-ins or thefts from vehicles reported. One assault was reported on CrimeMapping to the University of California Police Department (UCPD); we’ve filled out the blotter with tidbits from the UCPD crime log. Arrested or charged individuals are presumed innocent. Find our April 21-27 round-up below.

Recent public safety news

A 20-year-old UC Berkeley student reported at 2:39 a.m. April 29 being the victim of extortion via the internet, UCPD said.

Someone stole a $2,000 Zeiss microscope lens from Hildebrande Hall. It was reported to UCPD on May 5 at 1:32 p.m.

BPD announced that its jail booking and arrest logs are now available to the public via the city of Berkeley’s open data portal. The portal, which went live about a year ago, makes various city data accessible to the public for analysis. (Read more about the portal in past Berkeleyside coverage.) BPD says “This open data portal will offer greater transparency by allowing members of the community the ability to look at both arrest and booking data over a 30 day period. Read the full Nixle alert. … Continue reading »

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UC Berkeley

Man takes plea after beating 2 with bat at Berkeley frat

Police police cars outside the fraternity where a 20-year-old was found dead Nov. 9. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Two years after being charged with attempted murder in connection with the beating with a metal bat of a pair of UC Berkeley students, an Oakland man has entered dual “no contest” pleas for assault with a deadly weapon.

Frank Paul Watson, 25, was arrested after the attack on April 27, 2014, which left two members of the Zeta Psi fraternity with significant injuries. Both were struck once in the head with the metal bat. One of the young men, Thayer White, suffered a traumatic brain injury. The other ended up needing reconstructive surgery to repair injuries to his face and jaw.

According to court papers, witnesses testified during the preliminary hearing — in December 2014 — that there had been a party that night at Zeta Psi, 2728 Bancroft Way. The party started Saturday night, April 26, and carried on into the early morning of Sunday. Three fraternity brothers, including the one who needed reconstructive surgery, testified about their memories of that night.  … Continue reading »

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Crime

Crime in Berkeley: 9 robberies in 2 days, video of restaurant robbery, armored van grant, fall from frat roof

Selected calls to the Berkeley Police, via CrimeMapping.com. Scroll down for detailed maps. Click the map above for the list. See the map key here.
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This overview of recent crime in Berkeley is based on reports to the Berkeley Police unless otherwise noted. Share photos, videos and tips by emailing crime@berkeleyside.com or on Facebook and TwitterDon’t assume someone else will alert us. We rely on readers to help us stay informed.

From April 14-20, there were reports of 12 robberies18 burglaries20 assaults or batteriesfive weapon-involved calls and three sexual assaults, according to CrimeMapping.com and other BPD data. There were also six stolen vehicles15 disturbances and 19 auto break-ins or thefts from vehicles reported. No significant incidents were reported on CrimeMapping to the University of California Police Department (UCPD), so we’ve filled out the blotter with tidbits from the UCPD crime log. Arrested or charged individuals are presumed innocent. Find our April 14-20 round-up below.

Recent public safety news

PEOPLE’S PARK PATROL AND MORE UCPD appears to have been doing some proactive patrols at People’s Park between about 6:50 and 8 p.m. April 21. Two officers handled a handful of calls involving marijuana, smoking violations, disturbing the peace, an open container and a welfare check. The officers spoke to about six men and one woman at the park about various violations but no arrests were made. On a side note, an hour or so later, at 9:20 p.m., one of those officers handled a suspicious circumstance at Wurster Hall “regarding the display of an art project.”

HATE INCIDENT UCPD responded to the Moffitt Library men’s bathroom April 25 after a 25-year-old male student reported a “hate incident involving vandalism.” The case is under investigation.

VANDALISM VIA MARKER UCPD is looking into a vandalism “via marker” to six UC vehicles at Edwards Stadium between April 29 and May 2.  … Continue reading »

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Crime

Man held to answer in Berkeley murder, carjacking case

A 2011 photograph of Kamau Berlin. Source: Facebook
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A 20-year-old man accused of murder with special circumstances was ordered Wednesday morning by an Alameda County Superior Court judge to face nearly all of the charges filed against him as the case moves ahead to trial.

 dismissed one count and one special circumstance related to rape allegations, and said the prosecution had not presented sufficient evidence to support those charges.

Kamau Berlin, who was a student at Berkeley Technology Academy at the time of his arrest, was ordered to return to court May 18 for arraignment as the case proceeds. He will continue to be held without bail, Burgess said.

Berlin told his mother he had just needed a ride home the day he was arrested near the car where 72-year-old Nancy McClellan was found bleeding from the neck due to a stab wound. Police testified that, when his mother insisted during a jailhouse interview that he tell her the truth of what had happened, he said he had seen a woman in a car, started hitting her to get her out of the car, and then threw her into the backseat.

He also mentioned to his mother having used brass knuckles during the attack, which ultimately helped police track down the murder weapon in the days after Berlin’s arrest.

At the time of his arrest, in September 2014, he told police a red substance on him that looked like blood was actually “fake blood for Halloween.” … Continue reading »

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Crime

Man charged after lewd acts with 5-year-old in Berkeley

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A worker at a Berkeley home has been charged with four felony sex crimes after the child of a cleaning woman at that home said he touched her inappropriately.

The 5-year-old girl told her mother what had happened and, the next day, told a trained interviewer of children that he had touched her once before, too.

On April 5, according to court papers, the girl was at a home in South Berkeley where her mother was working as a house cleaner.

She told her mother that “the ‘man in the hat’ just touched her vagina and buttocks,” police wrote in court documents.

The woman told police there was only one man in the home who generally wore a hat, and who her daughter identified as such. The mother later identified that man to police during a photo line-up. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Crime in Berkeley: Jaywalkers beware, flyaway drone damage, pilfered postage stamps, found ammo, more

Police say this Ford was used in Monday's robbery. Photo: BPD
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This overview of recent crime in Berkeley is based on reports to the Berkeley Police unless otherwise noted. Share photos, videos and tips by emailing crime@berkeleyside.com or on Facebook and TwitterDon’t assume someone else will alert us. We rely on readers to help us stay informed.

From April 7-13, there were reports of eight robberies10 burglaries20 assaults or batteriesno weapon-involved calls and no sexual assaults, according to CrimeMapping.com. There were also 12 stolen vehicles16 disturbances and 29 auto break-ins or thefts from vehicles reported. Two sex crimes were reported to the University of California Police Department (UCPD). Arrested or charged individuals in this blotter are presumed innocent. Find our April 7-13 round-up below.

Recent public safety news

2 BOTCHED CAR THEFT ATTEMPTS AT BART A thief tried to steal a maroon 1994 Toyota Corolla while it was parked at the North Berkeley BART station between 4:15 a.m. and 9:45 p.m. April 14. The driver’s door lock and ignition were damaged. The same day, someone tried to steal another 1994 Toyota Corolla from the station between 8 a.m. and 6:40 p.m. The ignition wires were cut and the ignition switch was damaged.

STOLEN CROSS Someone stole a 12-inch brass crucifix worth $40 from 2223 Fulton, room H, sometime between March 10 and April 15, UCPD reported. It’s under investigation.

DRONE DAMAGE A security officer at the Doe Library on the UC Berkeley campus reported “damage to roof tiles caused by a fly away drone” April 20 at 5 p.m. The drone owner is listed as a 22-year-old male student. It’s under investigation, UCPD reports.

COFFEE COMMOTION? A female student reported being the victim of “battery via coffee” at about 10 a.m. Thursday, April 21, at the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union building on campus. A man in his 60s wearing brown clothing was reported to be the culprit. No further information was provided.

STEPPED UP TRAFFIC SAFETY ENFORCEMENT BPD plans to “step up pedestrian safety enforcement operations” Friday, April 29, with a focus on “pedestrian safety and collision causing factors involving motorists and pedestrians,” the department reported earlier this week. Police also said there will be more motorcycle officers on duty through June 31 “conducting enforcement and educational efforts based on data from prior collisions.” … Continue reading »

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Police arrest 3 after armed, masked restaurant robbery series, 9 in Berkeley

Approximate, block-level, locations of seven of the nine restaurant robberies in March and April. Source: CrimeMapping/Berkeleyside
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Police arrested three men Friday after an investigation into a series of robberies that saw armed, masked perpetrators holding up a total of 23 restaurants in the Bay Area, nine of which were in Berkeley.

The “take-over-style” robberies began at the beginning of March, according to a Nixle alert sent out by BPD at around 10:45 a.m. Thursday.

Sgt. Andrew Frankel, spokesman for BPD, said the suspects were masked and had guns. He described a “take-over-style” robbery as those using  “force and fear.”

The three men arrested were Kristoffer Jones, 18, of Albany; Shawan Spragans, 40, of Oakland; and Merl Simpson, 46, also of Oakland.

The 23 restaurants — primarily in Berkeley, San Francisco, San Leandro, Albany, Oakland and Hayward — were being targeted shortly before, or just after, closing time by the same suspects, according to the BPD statement.

The break in the case came just after midnight Friday, April 22, when the men attempted to rob a bar in San Francisco that was under surveillance by the San Francisco Police Department. … Continue reading »

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