Tag Archives: Berkeley robberies


Armed robbery series has Berkeley police on alert

Image: BPD
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Five armed robberies and one robbery attempt have been reported in North Berkeley since last weekend, and most have happened near the UC Berkeley campus, authorities report.

A flurry of Nixle alerts has been released this week by the University of California Police and Berkeley Police departments to try to warn community members about what has occurred and how to stay safe. In addition to the six-robbery series, three other robberies were reported Sunday.

The most recent notice, released Thursday by BPD, included a map of the incidents and information about most of them. BPD released limited suspect information but noted that, “Based on the descriptions of the suspects, the close geographic proximity of the crime scenes, and the victims’ demographics, Detectives believe that the cases are related.” … Continue reading »

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First 6 months of year see crime drop in Berkeley

2016 mid-year crime report. Source: BPD
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Crime is down in Berkeley this year, after it spiked in 2015 with the highest serious felony statistics since 2009.

In the six-month crime report, set to go before the Berkeley City Council on Tuesday, Berkeley police authorities say overall Uniform Crime Report numbers were down 8.3% from January through June as compared to the same period in 2015. The federal designation tracks reports of murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, auto theft and arson.

The department does not analyze the crime rate or look at how crime statistics relate to changes in the city’s population.

Despite promises to council in March to launch a robust social media program this year, the effort has yet to take off. According to the Sept. 20 report, “The department is … working with the City PIO to develop and implement a social media strategy using Facebook, Twitter, Nextdoor and GovDelivery.”

The city as a whole has been slow to embrace social media, and follows a policy created by city spokesman Matthai Chakko that requires departments interested in social media to create a six-month content plan in advance and commit to a rigid posting schedule.

On the bright side, pedestrian robberies decreased nearly 20% from 2015, and overall robberies were down about 10%. There were no homicides in the first six months of the year. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley police seek 2 teens after armed robbery

Police cruisers, January 2015. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Police responded to an armed robbery report involving juveniles at Stuart and California streets in South Berkeley on Saturday just before 9 p.m.

Berkeley Police Lt. Alyson Hart, watch commander, said two juveniles with a gun walked up behind another youth and robbed that person. She said both suspects wore dark hooded sweatshirts and jeans.

According to scanner traffic reviewed by Berkeleyside, two individuals identified as juveniles robbed another youth of a backpack and phone at about 9 p.m. or several minutes earlier.

The victim was identified over the scanner as a 13-year-old boy.

The robbers were identified as two black teenagers, 15 and 16 years old, who ran west on Stuart from California after the incident. They appeared to be 5 foot 7 and 150-200 pounds, one in a black hooded sweatshirt and another in a red hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans. They were armed with a handgun, according to scanner traffic reviewed by Berkeleyside. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley crime log: Teen nabbed after robbery attempt and car crash, drinking at Cal, elder abuse arrest, more

The Brower Center evacuation. Photo: Jay Rooney
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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 Aug. 19-25, there were reports of four robberies17 burglaries16 assaults or batteriesno weapon-involved calls and three felony sexual assaults, according to CrimeMapping.com. There were also 11 stolen vehicles20 disturbances and 31 auto break-ins or thefts from vehicles reported. A robbery, three burglaries and a vehicle theft, among other crimes, were reported on CrimeMapping to the University of California Police Department (UCPD). Arrested or charged individuals are presumed innocent. Find the Aug. 19-25 round-up below several more recent items.

Recent public safety news

OAKLAND TEEN ARRESTED AFTER ROBBERY ATTEMPT An 18-year-old from Oakland was arrested after trying to rob someone outside the Starry Plough on Sunday night. BPD watch commander Lt. Alyson Hart said officers received good suspect and vehicle descriptions. A short time later, “an officer tried to stop a vehicle that matched the description. The vehicle did not stop and the officer followed it a short distance into Oakland before letting it go. As he was concluding his area check he saw that the vehicle had crashed and someone was running from the car. The suspect was caught and arrested several blocks away. This case is still very much in the early stages of the investigation.” Police arrested Isaac Rojas on suspicion of attempted robbery and resisting arrest; he could be sent to prison if convicted. Rojas is being held with a bail of $30,000 and is scheduled for a preliminary hearing Sept. 20, according to Alameda County sheriff’s office records online.

ROBBERY ALERT There were two other robberies in Berkeley on Sunday, at 3:40 p.m. in the 1900 block of San Pablo Avenue, at 5 p.m. in the 1900 block of Shattuck.

DRINKING AT CAL BPD reported 551 alcohol-related citations, and 17 in-custody arrests during the last two weekends in August in the South Campus area as part of a coordinated effort with a number of other law enforcement agencies: “Citations were written for a number of offenses including Open Containers, Selling/Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor, Minor in Possession, and Possession of a Fake ID for the Purposes of Purchasing Alcohol. If cited for one of these offenses a person could face punishments which range from a fine, community service, to the loss of one’s driving privileges (depending on the offense) for up to a year. Arrests were made this year for Public Intoxication, Armed Robbery, Assault with a Deadly Weapon, and Petty Theft.” Last year, which was described by BPD as a record year for enforcement, led to 423 arrests and citations. See last year’s Berkeleyside story describing the annual enforcement effort. Read more about drinking at Cal. … Continue reading »

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Man, 58, victim of attempted robbery in Berkeley

The downtown Berkeley Walgreens. Image: Google Maps
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A 58-year-old man outside the downtown Berkeley Walgreens was nearly robbed early Friday morning, authorities report.

According to a notice released by the University of California Police Department late Friday afternoon, the man was walking at 6:25 a.m. when the suspect tried to take his property.

“The suspect was unsuccessful and fled the area,” according to a UCPD statement. “The victim was not injured during the encounter.”

Police checked the area but could not find the suspect.

He was described as a 25-year-old black man with medium complexion and a thin build wearing a blue or gray shirt.  … Continue reading »

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Convicted robber, with 15 prior felonies, back in court Tuesday after new Berkeley robbery

The Artist & Craftsmen Supply shop in Berkeley. Photo: Google Maps
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A man authorities say threatened to have a gun when he robbed a Berkeley art supply shop clerk is set to return to court Tuesday to find out if a judge will order him to stand trial.

Bruce Wayne Leslie, 65, was on probation and had “an extensive history of robberies” at the time of his arrest earlier this month, authorities said. He is being held on $1 million bail, according to online records from the Alameda County sheriff’s office.

According to the Berkeley Police Department, Leslie entered the Artist & Craftsman Supply shop — at 2573 Shattuck Ave. — at about 4:15 p.m. Aug. 8 and demanded money from the register. He threatened to have a gun and told the assistant manager to “hurry up,” according to court papers.

“The assistant manager was afraid of Leslie hurting her and gave him money from the register,” police wrote.”Leslie grabbed the money from the assistant manager’s hand and walked out of the store.”

Another store staffer followed Leslie about four blocks south on Shattuck until police arrived. According to court papers, he “did not follow … orders and had to be forcefully stopped.” … Continue reading »

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Woman pepper-sprayed by would-be robber in Berkeley

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A man who tried to rob a woman in Berkeley, after they arranged online to meet in a downtown parking garage, pepper-sprayed her Sunday before fleeing the scene, authorities report.

UCPD said the attempted robbery took place at about 1:30 p.m. in the parking garage at 1995 University Ave., between Bonita Avenue and Milvia Street. The building also houses UC Extension.

The woman had just met the man online and they had then arranged to meet in person, according to UCPD.

When they met in the garage, however, the man tried to rob the woman.

“The victim resisted and the suspect sprayed her with pepper spray,” according to a statement from UCPD. “The victim screamed and the suspect fled the scene.”

The man was last seen by witnesses running on Berkeley Way westbound.  … Continue reading »

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Police warn Pokemon Go players after recent robberies

Pokemon Go players at Civic Center Park in July. Photo: Andy Stevko
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The Berkeley Police Department is warning players of the wildly popular Pokemon Go game to take some basic safety measures after at least two robberies and one attempt in the city in less than a month.

The free mobile app was released in early July and allows cell phone users to “hunt” for Pokemon species in real-world locations.

Police have said part of the problem is due to people visiting areas because of the game that they may be unfamiliar with, or would not otherwise have gone to.

“In the last month there have been two completed and one attempted pedestrian robberies where the victims were all distracted by the game. One robbery resulted in the arrest of two adults,” said Sgt. Andrew Frankel, BPD spokesman, in a prepared statement.

BPD described the “growing crime trend” related to the smartphone game and has asked players to keep their phones in their pockets until they reach their destinations, and play the game with friends — particularly at night — rather than alone.  … Continue reading »

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5 robberies in Berkeley in less than 2 hours Monday

A spate of robberies were reported Monday night in Berkeley. Image: Google Maps
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Update, 3:15 p.m. Police have said, in a Nixle alert published Tuesday afternoon, they believe there is a “high probability” that the five pedestrian robberies near the UC Berkeley campus late Monday night are related.

Police have released brief suspect descriptions as well. The robbers were described as two black men in their late teens or early 20s. One was 5 foot 7, medium build, wearing a gray sweatshirt, and the other was 6 feet tall with a thin build wearing a black hooded sweatshirt.

A gun was seen by victims in the last three robberies. In the first instance, the robbers made threats of a gun, and the second robbery did not involve a weapon.

Original story, 7 a.m. Police in Berkeley were kept busy Monday night by five robberies that took place in less than 2 hours. If that sounds fast, think again: The first four incidents were reported within just 30 minutes.

The robberies took place south of the UC Berkeley campus, within blocks of College Avenue, and may have been related, authorities report. … Continue reading »

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Robber punches woman in North Berkeley, takes bag

There have been more than 145 robberies reported to the Berkeley Police Department this year. Source: CrimeMapping
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A 52-year-old Berkeley woman who was walking alone near the Gourmet Ghetto was attacked and robbed Sunday in broad daylight.

The woman was walking at 12:35 p.m. near Henry and Vine streets when a man came up to her, punched and kicked her, and pulled her black backpack away from her, said Berkeley Police Lt. Kevin Schofield, a department spokesman.

The woman sustained minor injuries during the robbery.  … Continue reading »

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Armed men rob trio on Grizzly Peak Boulevard

The view from Grizzly Peak Boulevard near Signpost 15. Photo: Tracey Taylor
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Two men were injured during an armed robbery early Saturday near Signpost 15 on Grizzly Peak Boulevard, police report.

The University of California Police Department said three men in their 20s approached the men and a woman, who were near their car on Grizzly Peak at about 3:30 a.m.

The 23-year-old woman and both men, age 25, were enjoying the view, said UCPD, when three men walked up to them.

“Two of the males pointed guns at the victims and demanded their property,” said UCPD in a prepared statement released Saturday evening. “The victims complied and suspects fled the scene on foot towards Signpost 16.” … Continue reading »

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Teen arrested after robbery attempt, assault at BART

A coroner's van was parked outside the downtown Berkeley BART station. Photo: Karima Zweena
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Police arrested an 18-year-old who grabbed a cell phone from another person at the downtown Berkeley BART station, then punched him in the face before fleeing on a train after a bystander was able to take back the phone.

The robbery attempt happened Sunday just before 1:10 p.m., according to the BART Police.

The victim told police a man had grabbed his phone from his hand, and punched him in the face as he took the phone.

“A male bystander grabbed the phone from the suspect, as the suspect was punching the victim, and returned the phone to the victim,” according to the BART Police. “The suspect fled on a train, which was intercepted by an officer at the Ashby Station.” … Continue reading »

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

When police arrested Joseph Anthony Skyler early Wednesday, May 18, they found a loaded gun and a puppy in the car he had stolen, authorities said. Photo: BPD
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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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