Tag Archives: Berkeley robberies


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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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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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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Pharmaca in North Berkeley held up at gunpoint

Berkeley Police cruiser, Officer Jennifer Coats. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Police are investigating a robbery at gunpoint at a Solano Avenue pharmacy over the weekend.

The robbery took place at 5:10 p.m. Saturday at Pharmaca at 1744 Solano Ave., at Ensenada Avenue.

According to Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats, a man entered the North Berkeley business with a gun and demanded prescription medication from the pharmacist.

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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Op-ed: It should be possible to give police the tools they need while preserving Berkeley’s values

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Late last month, Berkeley police officers responded to an armed and highly dangerous individual in South Berkeley who robbed a laundromat and later attacked an older resident near Sacramento Street. This was a high-stakes operation involving a violent and heartless criminal. While the investigation is ongoing, we’re grateful that no neighbors were hurt in the course of the crime.

Unfortunately, despite following city protocol and being transparent with the media and public, Berkeley police officers were still subjected to armchair political commentary simply … Continue reading »

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Berkeley police defend tactics after laundromat robbery

Police search Sacramento Street, near Dwight Way, for an armed robber who robbed a laundromat, in Berkeley, on Monday, July 27. Photo: David Yee
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One week after a police operation in southwest Berkeley sparked community questions about whether military tools and tactics have been unnecessarily adopted by local departments, the Berkeley Police chief and one of his captains said safety was the overriding concern that drove decision making last Monday.

Threats to officer safety are very real. Police Chief Michael Meehan and Acting Capt. Jennifer Louis answered questions from Berkeleyside on Monday, Aug. 3, less than 24 hours after an officer-involving shooting in Oakland left a local man dead and a police sergeant in serious condition. According to a statement released by the Oakland Police, the man opened fire on officers with an assault rifle after they responded to his home during a sexual assault investigation. And, less than two weeks ago, Hayward Police Sgt. Scott Lunger was fatally shot without warning during a traffic stop.

Meehan said today, however, that it was the specifics of last week’s robbery and assault at a laundromat — “the facts of the individual case…. and the nature of the threat” — that prompted the use July 27 of a police dog from Oakland, an armored vehicle from Alameda and the Berkeley Police Special Response Team, which wears camouflage uniforms when it responds to calls.

Those decisions incited an emotional response from some in the Berkeley community and beyond who said the tactics are evidence of the increasing militarization of local police departments. Many said they were put off by the camouflage uniforms and armored vehicle, in particular. In the Berkeleyside comments, one person called the operation a sign of a “police state” and another decried the “unprecedented show of military force.” Others said police had made the right decisions, acting professionally and efficiently. But even some who made a point to say they support certain police tactics had questions. … Continue reading »

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Robber with ‘silver teeth’ evades Berkeley police

Police search Sacramento Street, near Dwight Way, for an armed robber who robbed a laundromat, in Berkeley, on Monday, July 27, 2015. Photo: David Yee
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Update, 2:10 p.m. Berkeley police have left the area around Sacramento Street after the search for an armed robber who struck a laundromat Monday morning turned up empty.

According to a 2:02 p.m. Nixle alert sent over email, “The roadways are now open and Berkeley Police are clearing the area. We would like to thank the community for the patience and understanding while we conducted the search.”

The robbery report came in at about 8:30 a.m. from the Wash and Shop laundromat, at 2450 Sacramento St., according to local residents. The robber reportedly used a gun and took cash from the business.

Police said they “arrived on scene and quickly established a perimeter. Members of our Special Response Team were utilized to conduct the search with the assistance of an Oakland Police Department K-9. The suspect was not located and the investigation into this matter continues.”  … Continue reading »

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Berkeley police respond to bank robbery downtown

Berkeley police cruiser (file photo). Photo: Emilie Raguso
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A man who threatened to have a gun robbed a downtown Berkeley bank Wednesday morning, according to authorities.

Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats said the department is investigating a robbery at Chase Bank, at 2390 Shattuck Ave., near Channing Way. 

Coats said the call about the robbery came in at about 10:05 a.m. … Continue reading »

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Robbers caught after police chase through Berkeley

Police recovered this vehicle after a robbery and chase Friday. Photo: Citizen reporter
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Update, May 13: Police have released the names of the three people arrested in this incident. A male suspect is still at-large. Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats identified the three as Kenneth De Arman, 18, of Oakland, Kameron Caine, 18, of Berkeley and a 17-year-old girl from Oakland. They were arrested on suspicion of resisting arrest and being an accessory to a felony. De Arman also was arrested on suspicion of robbery and hit and run.

Original story, May 11: Police detained three people, but are still looking for a fourth, after a robbery near Berkeley High School on Friday afternoon.

According to Berkeley Police Officer Jennifer Coats, department spokeswoman, police responded to a report of a strong-arm robbery near Bancroft Way and McKinley Street on Friday just after 3:45 p.m.

The suspects left the scene in a red sedan, but an officer spotted the car leaving, and followed it.

The occupants led police on a chase through town, but ultimately stopped on Acton Street north of Carleton Street in South Berkeley, then fled on foot.  … Continue reading »

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Berkeley neighbors help catch 4 teens in dramatic effort after strong-arm robbery

Brookside Avenue. Photo: Google StreetView
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Alert residents worked together Sunday afternoon to help catch four Oakland teens police say robbed an 18-year-old woman on Brookside Avenue in Berkeley’s Claremont neighborhood.

The dramatic incident occurred May 3 at around 12:30 p.m. and resulted in the arrest of four girls: three 16-year-olds and one 14-year-old, according to the Berkeley Police Department.

It began when a driver on Brookside witnessed a young woman being accosted by two teens on the corner of Brookside and Claremont avenues.

The 18-year-old was approached from behind by two people who grabbed her phone and started to open her backpack, said police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats. The woman struggled over the phone with one of the robbers, then another of them struck her, Coats said. During the struggle, one of the teens grabbed a necklace from the woman, and another took her wallet from her backpack. The group fled to a waiting vehicle.  … Continue reading »

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Berkeley Police catch 2 armed robbery suspects after high-speed chase through Berkeley, Emeryville

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The high-speed chase ended in Emeryville, near Powell Street Plaza, where the two suspects were eventually apprehended, according to Officer Jennifer Coats, spokeswoman for the Berkeley Police Department.

Coats said the armed robbery happened at Arch and Virginia streets one block north of the UC Berkeley campus at 8:42 p.m. Coats said it was most likely a pedestrian robbery, although she wanted to confirm that.

A police officer saw two suspects fleeing in a vehicle and, when the officer tried to pull the car over, the suspects fled and evaded the police, according to Coats.

After several police cars had pursued the suspects for awhile, the suspect’s vehicle became disabled near the I-80 off-ramp near Powell Street, Coats said. … Continue reading »

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Violent crime dropped 25% in Berkeley in 2014

Berkeley's annual crime report is coming up Tuesday night. Image: Berkeley Police Department
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Police officials will give the Berkeley City Council a broad overview of 2014 crime trends Tuesday night, showing significant reductions in the city’s most serious incidents.

Last year saw a 25% reduction in violent crimes, and a 5% reduction in property crimes. The annual crime report draws largely on data submitted to the FBI. The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports program tracks homicide, robbery, rape, burglary, larceny, auto theft and aggravated assault across 17,000 law enforcement agencies, which represent 90% of these agencies nationwide.

The city saw increases in aggravated assaults (8%) and commercial burglaries (28%). Arson reports were flat. Police said the assaults “frequently involved alcohol or drug abuse by victim and/or suspect, and frequently involved acquaintances.”  … Continue reading »

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