Tag Archives: Berkeley Police

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 Berkeley home on Woolsey Street 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 10:50 a.m. Tuesday, April 26, 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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3 teens arrested after Berkeley student fights downtown

Police responded to downtown Berkeley on Thursday for youth fighting. Photo: Siciliana Trevino
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Is it just that time of year again? Three high-school-aged students were arrested Thursday after fights broke out among youth in downtown Berkeley, authorities said.

Berkeleyside was reporting similar news last year in April.

Lt. Alyson Hart, the Berkeley Police watch commander Thursday evening, said there had been some type of disturbance at lunch involving Berkeley High School students, leading school and police authorities to be on alert when BHS let out due to rumors that problems would continue.

Not long after school ended for the day, at 3:30 p.m., Hart said police received numerous reports of youth fighting downtown. There were multiple groups of students who were “running around everywhere.”

Originally, the BART Police asked for help to handle reports of fighting on the platform at the downtown Berkeley station.

“There were a bunch of little different skirmishes or reports,” Hart said. “Around City Hall also.” … Continue reading »

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Crime

Crime in Berkeley: Teen raped on Grizzly Peak, high-speed chase on Dohr, fake report of shooter on campus, more

A reader asked Berkeleyside: "Why are there 10 cop cars necessary  for this biz?" Photo: Dana Kleinhesselink
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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 March 31 to April 6, there were reports of six robberies19 burglaries11 assaults or batteriesthree weapon-involved calls and two sexual assaults, according to CrimeMapping.com. There were also eight stolen vehicles21 disturbances and 28 auto break-ins or thefts from vehicles reported. A sex crime, a burglary and three vehicle thefts were reported to the University of California Police Department (UCPD). Arrested or charged individuals in this blotter are presumed innocent. Find our March 31 to April 6 round-up below.

Recent public safety news

DISCONNECTING PHONES ON THE BART TRACKS Tuesday at about 11:30 p.m. officers responded to both Berkeley BART stations for a man walking on the tracks while intoxicated and disconnecting emergency phones along the way, the BART Police reported. “Power was shut down on both track ways, and medical personnel staged as officers eventually managed to safely detain the suspect in the underground tunnel/track way between the two stations. Officers determined the suspect was too intoxicated to care for himself, in addition to his trespassing on the track way, and placed him under arrest for both violations. As a precaution, medical personnel cleared the suspect before he was booked into the Berkeley City Jail. Due to this incident, trains were delayed for approximately 30 minutes; nothing unusual was located on the incident track way.” The man’s name was not released. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley police seek help identifying shooting suspect

Screen Shot BPD video
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Berkeley police are asking for the community’s help to identify a suspect who shot at a homeless man in downtown Berkeley in the early hours of April 14.

Nixle alert released by BPD on Tuesday at around 3 p.m. includes a video which shows the suspect aiming and firing a gun (see below).

Police said that Thursday at approximately 3:35 a.m. dispatch received a report of shots fired in the 2100 block of Kittredge Street. Once on scene, officers talked to what they describe as the intended target of the shooting, a 39-year-old homeless man, who was not hit or injured by the gunfire.

The man said he had been standing in front of 2165 Kittredge St. when the suspect, who was in the parking lot near the gas pumps of Touchless Car Wash at 2176 Kittredge, began shooting at him. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Man assaulted with metal bat in South Berkeley

Police responded to an assault Sunday on Adeline south of Ashby. Photo: Alissa Greenberg
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Update, 6:28 p.m. BPD’s Sgt. Friedman said the victim and assailant had a dispute inside the Black & White liquor store shortly before the beating: The suspect left and returned armed with the bat, which was aluminum.

Friedman described the assailant as a black woman in her 30s, 5 foot 2 to 5 foot 5 inches tall, about 200 pounds. She wore a straight black wig or weave down to her mid-back, and was dressed in a white long-sleeved shirt or jacket, blue plaid pants and a bright red rectangular shoulder bag with a black strap. The woman left in a black Chrysler Sebring.

The victim, a man in his 20s, is expected to survive.

Said Friedman, “There were several witnesses to the incident but we are still investigating. We ask anyone who knows the identity of the suspect, or who witnessed the assault, to please contact BPD at 981-5900 as soon as possible.”

Original story, 3:52 p.m. Berkeley Police officers were on the scene Sunday afternoon at Ashby Avenue and Adeline Street, across from the Ashby BART station, after a man was reportedly assaulted by someone with a metal bat, authorities said.

Passers-by alerted Berkeleyside to the incident, and said the metal bat could be seen in the roadway Sunday afternoon. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Crime in Berkeley: Apple store theft alert, threats of shooting — over stolen steak — at Berkeley Bowl, more

Police are looking for these two men in connection with the theft of an iPad at a Berkeley Apple store. Photos: 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 March 24-30, there were reports of four robberies18 burglaries16 assaults or batteriesthree weapon-involved calls and two sexual assaults, according to CrimeMapping.com. There were also 14 stolen vehiclesnine disturbances and 40 auto break-ins or thefts from vehicles reported. Two robberies, two burglaries and two vehicle thefts were reported to the University of California Police Department (UCPD). Arrested or charged individuals in this blotter are presumed innocent. Find our March 24-30 round-up below.

Recent public safety news

APPLE STORE IPAD THEFT Police are looking for two men they say stole an iPad from the Berkeley Apple store earlier this month. On April 3, the men entered the store, at 1823 Fourth St., and left with the iPad. According to a police statement released Thursday, “At this point we don’t believe the theft is related to any ongoing thefts from Apple Stores in the Bay Area. Based on the quality of the video we hoped to enlist the community’s help in nabbing this duo.” The department can be reached at 510-981-5900, or by email at police@cityofberkely.info. The photographs appear above. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Police seek man after robbery of 70-year-old woman

Police say this Ford was used in Monday's robbery. Photo: BPD
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Police are asking for the public’s help to find a man who grabbed the bag of a 70-year-old Berkeley woman earlier this week and shoved her to the ground.

The man had said “hi” to the woman as she passed him while she was taking a walk at about 4 p.m. Monday in the 1300 block of Campus Drive, near Glendale Avenue.

When he shoved her, the woman fell down, causing minor injuries, said Berkeley Police spokesman Sgt. Andrew Frankel.

The man was described as 35 to 40 years old, 5 foot 10 to 6 feet tall, with a “semi stocky” build. He was wearing dark clothing and possibly a beanie hat. The vehicle appeared to be a dark blue or black Ford F-150 pickup truck with a distinctive camper shell. (Scroll down for photographs.)

Alert neighbors began to circulate the man’s photograph on Nextdoor and Twitter earlier this week.

A woman who identified herself as the victim posted the following statement on Nextdoor: “The police seemed to think that the car was stolen since one window was broken. Btw, the police, the firemen were wonderful, as was Kaiser who gave me quite a few stitches on my face. No fun. Be careful but don’t stop walking in the hills because of one incident! We have posted the … photos on telephone poles in our area & will continue to do so. The police think that the attacker, seeing a photo of himself, could easily be frightened out of the area. The man’s face is wider than the photo. When I think that he even said ‘hi’ to me before attacking! The nerve.” … Continue reading »

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Crime

Authorities: Man admitted to killing, tried to bargain with God, in secret recording by Berkeley police

A tree outside the Berkeley Zen Center has become a memorial to Nancy McClellan. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Left alone in the back of a police car, authorities say an 18-year-old man arrested after the stabbing of a 72-year-old woman in South Berkeley in 2014 confessed to killing “the old lady” and told God he did not want to go to jail for life.

Unbeknownst to him, his statements were recorded by Berkeley Police investigators. Those statements, as well as a secretly recorded jailhouse conversation between him and his mother that led police to the alleged murder weapon, were presented Wednesday by the prosecution during the second day of the preliminary hearing for Kamau Berlin.

Berlin, now 20, is facing a murder charge as well as other serious felonies for the September 2014 killing and attempted carjacking of Nancy McClellan. This week, an Alameda County Superior Court judge heard testimony and evidence in the case against Berlin. Judge Rhonda Burgess said she will not decide until May 4 whether to send the case forward to trial though both sides have rested.

Read complete coverage of the case.

Berkeley Police Sgt. Peter Hong testified Wednesday about a significant break in the investigation that took place shortly after Berlin’s arrest. Concerned McClellan may have been sexually assaulted, police took Berlin for an exam Sept. 19 to test him for any signs of that possibility. (The results of that exam were not presented during this week’s two-day hearing, which began Tuesday.)

Officers had to wait for the medical examiner to arrive, and left Berlin alone and handcuffed in a police car, Hong said. A detective secretly left a recorder on the front seat. Hong testified Wednesday about the evidence he said the recording contained when he listened to it. The recording was not played in court.

Hong said Berlin was “thinking out loud,” talking to himself, when he “admitted to killing ‘the old lady.'”

“‘Work with me, God, I know I did this, I stabbed the lady,'” Hong said he heard on the recording. Berlin made comments about how bad the situation would look in court, according to Hong: the way the woman’s pants had been pulled down, and how he had run from police. He observed that police had not found “the brass knuckles,” and said someone behind him had seen what happened.

Hong later added that Berlin mentioned the words “trying” and “carjacking,” and said: “I killed her. She didn’t deserve it.” He told God he did not want to be sent to jail for life, Hong said. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Witnesses to fatal Berkeley attack did not see killer’s face

Nancy McClellan. Photo: David Gallagher
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An Alameda County Superior Court judge is expected to decide this week whether the case against a former Berkeley Technology Academy student charged with murder and other serious crimes will continue on to trial.

Kamau Berlin, then 18, was arrested Sept. 19, 2014, after a brief police chase about a block from where 72-year-old Nancy McClellan had been left bleeding from life-threatening neck wounds in the back of her green Honda Civic. It was 4:30 p.m. on a Friday. McClellan had been attending a wedding at the nearby Berkeley Zen Center, where she was a member and also a gardener.

Witnesses in the area, both civilians and police officers, testified Tuesday as the preliminary hearing in the case began before Judge Rhonda Burgess. Two neighbors saw a young man matching Berlin’s description in the immediate vicinity of the Honda, at Otis and Russell streets, but neither saw the man’s face or felt they had seen it clearly enough to identify Berlin with certainty. Another witness saw a man matching his description running from the scene but, again, did not see his face.

A Berkeley Police officer who arrived on Otis, just south of Russell, testified Tuesday he made eye contact with Berlin minutes after the initial call came into dispatch. The officer, Christopher Schulz, said Berlin was walking casually down the street. The two made eye contact after Schulz pulled up in his police cruiser. Then Berlin took off running, said Schulz, hopping a 6-foot wrought-iron security gate to access a back yard on Otis before jumping a wooden fence onto a detached garage and disappearing westbound toward Martin Luther King Jr. Way. He was arrested a short time later.

Read complete coverage of the case.

The prosecution is expected to present evidence Wednesday to explain how a conversation between Berlin and his mother led police to the murder weapon, which was recovered near the area where police took him into custody. … Continue reading »

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Police arrest 1 after staff at Berkeley McDonald’s attacked

McDonald's Photo Tracey Taylor
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Berkeley Police and Berkeley Fire responded to an incident Thursday afternoon at the McDonald’s in downtown Berkeley in which a person jumped the counter and attacked several employees.

There was also a report of an additional victim being attacked at a laundromat nearby.

“The suspect was not armed, but apparently struck or choked at least two individuals — one at McDonalds, one at the laundromat, without warning or provocation,” said Berkeley Police Captain Andrew Greenwood. … Continue reading »

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