Tag Archives: Berkeley robberies


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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Update: Homeless man robbed at City Hall by teen with replica pellet gun

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Update, May 12, 5:20 p.m. The Police Department has just released some additional details about Wednesday’s robbery, which took place — as it turns out — in the public men’s restroom outside City Hall to the west. (The initial report from police was that this took place “in the basement bathroom.” But things can change as more information becomes available.)

A homeless man was using the bathroom when three people robbed him, as Berkeleyside previously reported. “During the confrontation, the armed suspect struck the victim with the handgun — a realistic looking plastic pellet gun — and the pellet gun broke apart from the impact. The suspects fled,” according to police.

The man flagged down a BPD officer after seeing one of the teens run into the Berkeley High School campus: “A Berkeley High School employee, unaware of the robbery, contacted the suspect, whom he had followed into a building, and escorted him out of the building, and off the campus grounds, where he saw the School Resource Officer. The suspect was identified and arrested, and taken to Juvenile Hall. The victim suffered minor injuries, and declined medical attention. The investigation in this case is continuing.”

Original story, May 11, 2:08 p.m. Police arrested a 16-year-old Berkeley boy Tuesday morning after a robbery at gunpoint in the City Hall basement bathroom, authorities have reported.

The incident took place at 2180 Milvia St. where the city of Berkeley’s main offices are located. A reader saw police at Berkeley High School, across the street from city hall, and asked Berkeleyside to find out more. … 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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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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Berkeley police arrest 3 alleged robbers, seek fourth

Alex Foster. Photo: UCPD
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Police arrested three males, and are seeking a fourth, after a strong-arm robbery and assault in downtown Berkeley on Thursday evening.

According to a notice released by the University of California Police Department, the incident took place just before 7 p.m. at Shattuck and Durant avenues, not far from the UC Berkeley campus.

A 35-year-old man was walking when four people approached him.

They “demanded the victim’s property, punched him, took property out of his hands, and fled the scene on foot,” according to UCPD.

Police responded and were able to arrest three of the four suspects, identified as two 17-year-olds and a 22-year-old named Alex Foster.

The fourth suspect was not located. He was described by police as “An unidentified male with unknown clothing description.” … Continue reading »

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4 teens arrested with 2 guns after Berkeley robbery

There have been at least 25 robberies in Berkeley so far this month. Image: CrimeMapping.com
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Police recovered two guns and arrested four teenage boys, including a 14-year-old, after a robbery in Berkeley’s Elmwood neighborhood Saturday night.

Lt. Alyson Hart said police received a call at 9:20 p.m. about an armed robbery that had just taken place at College Avenue and Parker Street.

Responding officers tried to stop a vehicle they believed was linked to the crime, but “it took off and shortly after crashed into a fence at Derby and Warring.” … Continue reading »

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