Police link Berkeley felon to 6 gas station robberies

Police linked a Berkeley man to six gas station robberies in 2013 and 2014. The Alameda County district attorney's office has charge him in connection with two. Image: Google maps
Police linked a Berkeley man to six gas station robberies in 2013 and 2014. He has entered a guilty plea for one felony count. Image: Google maps

A Berkeley man police tied to six gas station robberies along University Avenue in 2013 and 2014 is heading to prison after entering a guilty plea for one count of felony second-degree robbery.

The Alameda County district attorney’s office initially charged Alphonzo McInnis, 23, with three felony counts of second-degree robbery in connection with two incidents in October, and misdemeanor grand theft due to a stolen credit card that was used after one of them.

According to the district attorney’s office, McInnis pleaded guilty Jan. 28 to second-degree robbery, and will serve time in state prison as a result. McInnis attended Berkeley High School, according to his Facebook page.

In court papers, Berkeley Police Officer Mike Parsons wrote that he was convinced McInnis was the culprit in two robberies in Berkeley — on Oct. 3, at Chevron, and Oct. 29, at the Econo Gas station — despite the fact that he had covered his face during the incidents. 


Parsons said the robber used a black silver-tipped handgun and wore a blue glove on his left hand in both incidents. The man’s tattoo — which matches a tattoo McInnis has — was also visible in surveillance footage from both robberies, Parsons wrote.

In the Oct. 3 robbery at Chevron, at 1500 University Ave., a man with a black scarf over his face went into the station, pointed a gun at the cashier and demanded money from the register. He also demanded the cashier’s wallet, but fled when the cashier said he did not have one.

In the Oct. 29 robbery at the Econo gas station, at 950 University Ave., a man with a gun whose head was covered took wallets from two people, as well as money from the cash drawer.

Parsons said McInnis appeared on surveillance footage 12 minutes after that robbery getting out of a distinctive gold sedan at an Oakland gas station where he used a credit card taken in the Econo incident. Police spotted that vehicle near McInnis’ home in Berkeley in the 1500 block of Allston Way.

Parsons wrote that he also believed McInnis was responsible for a series of robberies in Berkeley in 2013: at Marina Liquors on June 14, the Econo gas station July 2, Chevron on July 9 and Valero on July 19.

“Although we did not get video of McInnis” from three of those incidents, he wrote, “the descriptions are similar, the demands are similar, and the suspect covers his face, and uses a black semi-automatic handgun.”

Parsons also said, based on surveillance videos captured at Chevron, the voice of the robber in the 2013 and 2014 Chevron robberies “sounds the same,” and the robber made similar demands.

Vacaville police arrested McInnis on Dec. 3 in connection with various violations, including a parole hold. Berkeley officers continued their investigation at that time by taking possession of McInnis’ cellphone and searching his vehicle. Parsons wrote that police found blue gloves matching those worn in the 2014 robberies in the car.

Police searched two homes linked to McInnis and said they found a replica handgun matching the one used in the October robberies, a plaid shirt matching one worn during one of those incidents, and gloves matching those worn during one of the 2013 robberies.

Parsons also noted that, though he believed McInnis had used a replica handgun in the 2014 incidents, he believed a real gun was used in the 2013 robberies “since McInnis was arrested after all of these 2013 Robberies with a real semi automatic handgun.”

According to court papers, McInnis has four prior felony convictions, all of which took place in Contra Costa County: in 2010 for receiving stolen property; in 2011 for second-degree burglary; in 2012 for grand theft with a firearm with a prior serious offense; and in September 2013 with possession of a firearm by a felon.

McInnis remains in custody without bail at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin and is scheduled for a report and sentencing hearing April 1.

Read more about Berkeley robberies.

Related:
Pair arrested in Berkeley after armed robbery spree (02.10.15)
Berkeley police ask for help to find suspect after iPhone robbery of elderly man (video) (01.30.15)
After ordering pizza with stolen card, teen charged with 4 armed robberies in Berkeley (01.26.15)
More details emerge on UCPD carjacking, robbery arrests (12.22.14)

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