Tag Archives: Berkeley robberies

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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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

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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Crime

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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Crime

Berkeley marijuana dispensary robbed at gunpoint

The Berkeley Patients' Group has distributed free medical cannabis for years to low-income patients. A new law passed by the  Berkeley City Council codifies this and requires dispensaries to give away 2% of its cannabis to the poor.
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Police are looking for three masked robbers with a gun who tied up a security guard and took several trays of marijuana plants from a Berkeley medical cannabis dispensary over the weekend while the business was closed.

The robbery took place Sunday just before 1:20 a.m., said Officer Jennifer Coats, Berkeley Police spokeswoman, when three people went into the parking lot of the Berkeley Patients Group (BPG) dispensary at 2366 San Pablo Ave., near Channing Way.

A security guard was posted in the parking lot. No other employees were on site.

“The suspects approached the guard, one armed with a gun,” said Coats. “The guard was tied up. The suspects entered the business and forced the security guard to lay on the ground.” … Continue reading »

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Crime

Police seek 2 ‘of middle school age’ with gun after robbery

Unit 2 at UC Berkeley. Photo: UC Berkeley
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Authorities are looking for two males described as “middle school-aged” who used a gun to rob another individual Friday in Berkeley’s Southside neighborhood near the UC Berkeley campus.

The robbery took place on the north side of the Unit 2 residential complex at 2650 Haste St., between Bowditch Street and College Avenue shortly before 8:30 p.m.

According to the University of California Police Department, which released a notification Sunday about the robbery, the two males approached another individual and took his or her cell phone. One of the males had a handgun.

UCPD said the males, who were described as “of ‘middle school’ age,” were last seen running northbound on Bowditch. Police searched the area but were unable to find them. … Continue reading »

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Crime

DNA on red belt loop helps police make robbery arrest

A woman walking with her grandchildren was robbed near Carleton and Acton earlier this year. Image: Google Maps
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An Oakland man has been charged with four felonies after police say he assaulted then robbed a grandmother and one of her grandchildren on a walk in West Berkeley earlier this year.

And a red belt loop that fell off the man’s pants during the robbery ultimately led to his capture, authorities said Friday.

Officers from the U.S. Marshals Service picked up Kac Miller Jr., 19, earlier this week after Berkeley investigators put out the word that they were looking for him. According to court papers, when confronted by Berkeley investigators with the belt loop, Miller confessed to the crime.

The robbery took place back in late March, when a woman police described as elderly was walking with her three grandchildren, ages 2, 10 and 12, around Carleton and Acton streets at about 2 p.m.

A man came up to them and slammed the heads of the woman and her 12-year-old granddaughter together, according to court documents, then kicked them both while they were on the ground. He took the woman’s purse and the granddaughter’s bag, then fled. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Homeless man arrested after Berkeley bank robbery

Union Bank was robbed Tuesday. Image: Google Maps
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Berkeley police officers recovered the cash after arresting a homeless man they said was responsible for robbing a bank late Tuesday morning.

According to police, Barrett Brown was not armed but instead used a note to demand money from a teller at the downtown Berkeley Union Bank located at 2333 Shattuck Ave., at Durant Avenue.

Police described Brown, who is 35, as transient.

Bank staff called in the robbery report to police dispatchers at about 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, said Lt. Jennifer Louis, dayshift watch commander. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Man shot during robbery at Berkeley hydroponic shop

Image: Google maps
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A man was shot during a robbery at a West Berkeley business Saturday afternoon, authorities have reported.

The incident took place just before 4:30 p.m. at 1655 Fifth St., at E.C. Hydro, a hydroponic and garden supply shop that has been open since 1989.

“We received a call from an individual who reported being shot during a robbery which occurred inside a commercial business or warehouse,” said Berkeley Police Capt. Andrew Greenwood.

The man suffered non-life-threatening injuries and was taken by the Berkeley Fire Department to a local hospital for treatment. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Green gets 21 years after robberies, assaults of elderly

Jahton Green in 2008. Photo: Berkeley Police
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After denying his requests for a new trial and the replacement of his attorney, an Alameda County Superior Court judge sentenced Jahton Green on Friday to more than 21 years in prison in connection with two robberies and assaults in Berkeley on the same day in 2013.

Green was sentenced to 21 years and eight months in prison for the Aug. 22, 2013, robberies and assaults. The judge added time to the sentence because the victims were considered elderly under the law, and due to Green’s prior convictions.

On Aug. 22, 2013, authorities said Green robbed two men in Berkeley — ages 75 and 62 — as they were walking on the street in two different neighborhoods. He pushed one of the victims from behind before stealing his money, and struck the other one in the face, then hit and kicked him after he fell down, before stealing his cell phone and keys, according to court documents.

Green, 29, arrived in the courtroom Friday in shackles, and there were six deputies accompanying him, rather than the usual escort of one, because Green had reportedly been displaying violent tendencies that morning. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Man arrested in Pharmaca robbery linked to second case

Police have arrested a man they believe is linked to two Berkeley robberies, including one at Pharmaca, at Solano and Ensenada, in late August. Photo: Michael Patrick
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Police have arrested a 22-year-old San Pablo man in connection with a robbery at Pharmaca on Solano Avenue in late August, and say they believe he is linked to another Berkeley robbery two days later.

In response to a request from Berkeleyside, police confirmed the arrest of Covan VanHook in connection with the Aug. 29 robbery at Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacy, at Solano and Ensenada avenues.

Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats said another agency arrested VanHook in Contra Costa County on Sept. 3 in connection with a different case.

In the Pharmaca incident, a man entered the North Berkeley business with a gun and demanded prescription medication from the pharmacist, Coats said previously. The robber “jumped over the counter with a gun pointed at the employees and told them to fill his backpack,” according to unconfirmed scanner traffic. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Serious Berkeley crime skyrockets in first half of 2015

The 2015 mid-year crime report: numbers are up almost across the board. Image: Berkeley Police Department
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Berkeley police are reporting significant increases in serious crimes including robberies, aggravated assaults and burglaries during the first half of 2015, compared to statistics from 2014.

Police officials are set to present the annual mid-year crime report to the Berkeley City Council at a special session Tuesday beginning at 5:30 p.m.

“2015 has been a challenging year for law enforcement,” police wrote in the report for council. Overall, serious crime reports increased 23% from the first six months of 2014 compared to the same period this year. The numbers do not take into account population density.

According to police, robberies increased 53%, from 108 in the first half of 2014 to 165 this year. (The numbers are still lower, however, than the 221 robberies reported in the first half of 2013, police note in the report.) Police said, this year, pedestrian robberies increased 52%, a trend that appears to have begun in late 2014 as the numbers started to push up.

Berkeleyside reported the apparent increase in robberies in mid-May, and asked for more detailed information from the Berkeley Police Department’s records bureau, which has not responded to the request despite repeated attempts to learn more about the robbery trends in the city. … Continue reading »

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3 teens arrested after Berkeley robbery, assault

BART and the city of Berkeley plan to overall the downtown Berkeley plaza. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Police arrested three teenagers from Richmond after a robbery and assault in downtown Berkeley on Monday night.

According to police, a 21-year-old Berkeley man was walking near the downtown Berkeley BART station, at Shattuck Avenue and Center Street, at about 8:40 p.m. when three young men began to follow him.

The victim tried to run away but the robbers caught up with him and knocked him to the ground, said Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats.

“The suspects then physically assaulted the victim, stealing his hat, phone and cash,” Coats said.  … Continue reading »

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