Allegedly armed carjackers escape police hunt

Photo: Brian Bednarz
Police on the scene at the Bridgeway Service station at the intersection of Claremont, Ashby and Tunnel in Berkeley. Photo: Brian Bednarz

Authorities conducted a manhunt for two allegedly armed carjackers on Sunday morning after they abandoned their crashed car in Berkeley’s Claremont neighborhood just before 7 a.m. The suspects were not caught. Berkeleyside broke the news then provided live updates. Read on:

Update, 9:10 a.m.: Police called off the manhunt at around 8:45 a.m. after realizing that the two men they were searching for had “got away,” according to Lt. Ed Spiller of the Berkeley Police. Lt. Spiller confirmed audio scanner reports that two African American men who were seen walking on Russell Street during the search were picked up in a dark colored Honda at the median where Russell intersects with Piedmont Avenue. The two men were believed to have been involved in a carjacking in Oakland this morning, Lt. Spiller said.

After the carjacking was reported, police in Walnut Creek spotted the vehicle in question and chased it heading west on Highway 24 though the Caldecott Tunnel. The car then took the Tunnel Road off-ramp. At some point, possibly in the tunnel, the car crashed and lost a wheel, according to Lt. Spiller. CHP Oakland units and Berkeley PD located the vehicle abandoned near the intersection of Domingo and Ashby avenues in the Claremont neighborhood, according to CHP Oakland spokesperson Sean Wilkenfeld. “A perimeter was set up and CHP assisted with the perimeter  and we used our aircraft to assist,” Wilkenfeld told Berkeleyside.

An off-duty police officer saw the two men leave the car and head into the block bounded by Claremont, Ashby, Russell and Pine, according to Lt. Spiller. Berkeley Police then began to seal off blocks in the neighborhood to try to catch the two men.


Update, around 8 a.m.: According to BPD audio scanner, police began conducting searches around homes on Ashby Place which is off Ashby Avenue, just east of College Avenue. Police are using Alameda Sheriff department dogs to help them with their search.

Update, 7:40 a.m.: Police have lifted the block seal at Ashby, Claremont, Russell and Pine in order to move units westbound.

Original story: Police were on the scene hunting for an armed carjacker who abandoned his car in the Elmwood/Claremont neighborhood this morning at around 7:00 a.m.

A police officer on the scene said all residents should stay indoors as the carjacker was armed.

Police have sealed off the Ashby, Russell, Claremont, Pine block and, according to scanner audio, plan to seal off more blocks with the help of UCPD.

According to authorities on the scene, the carjacker was being pursued by California Highway Patrol before he ditched the car in the area, possibly after crashing the vehicle.

Authorities are sealing off areas in the Claremont  and Ashby avenues in Berkeley
Authorities sealed off blocks in the area around Claremont and Ashby avenues in Berkeley while searching for reportedly armed carjackers on the morning of Sunday Aug. 31 starting at around 7:00 a.m. Image: Google Maps
Police on scene at around 8:30 on Ashby Avenue, just east of College Avenue. Searches for an armed carjacker were concentrated for a while at Ashby Place nearby. Photo: John Holland
Police on scene at around 8:30 a.m. on Ashby Avenue, just east of College Avenue. Searches for an armed carjacker were being conducted for a while at Ashby Place nearby. Photo: John Holland

This story was updated as we gathered more information.

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