This overview of recent crime in Berkeley is based on reports to the Berkeley Police unless otherwise noted. Please don’t hesitate to share photos, videos or tips, about breaking news or neighborhood safety issues, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook or Twitter; let us know if you prefer to be anonymous. Don’t assume someone else will alert us — we value your eyes and ears, and you may be the only one to get in touch. We very much want to know about issues of neighborhood concern.
From April 2-8, there were reports of seven robberies, 13 burglaries, 11 assaults or batteries, no weapon-involved calls and five sexual assaults, according to CrimeMapping.com. There were also 10 stolen vehicles, 14 disturbances and 37 auto break-ins or thefts from vehicles reported. Reported incidents from the University of California Police Department (UCPD) did not appear to be complete. These numbers are subject to change. Click the links for the latest numbers. The following items represent a sampling of calls, and times may be approximate.
Thursday, April 2
There was a robbery at 1:41 a.m. at Center Street and Shattuck Avenue.
Police responded to a suspicious package, mid-block on the south side of Harrison between Eighth and Ninth streets, around 8 a.m. The reporting party thought it might be a homemade bomb of some sort, so police cordoned off the area. The item ended up being several batteries taped together, police said.
There was a home burglary at 11 a.m. at 2118 Channing Way.
There was a disturbance at 4:07 p.m. in the 1900 block of Shattuck.
There was a commercial burglary at 5:30 p.m. in the 2400 block of Fourth Street.
Friday, April 3
According to the Daily Cal, police responded shortly after midnight to a hit-and-run in which one driver struck nine vehicles in central Berkeley. Police took one person into custody. Read more on the Daily Cal.
There were two home burglaries, at 2 a.m. in the 2500 block of Dwight Way, and at 8:15 a.m. in the 2800 block of Dohr Street.
There was a misdemeanor sexual assault at 2:15 a.m. at Dwight and Dana Street.
There was a disturbance call at 7:23 a.m. in the 2600 block of Telegraph Avenue.
According to the BART Police, officers were dispatched at 7:51 a.m. to the downtown Berkeley station for a report of a man yelling at patrons on a Millbrae-bound train. They located the man and determined that he had a $20,000 warrant for his arrest. He was booked into the Berkeley Jail for the warrant. No one wished to make a complaint about the original disturbance. His name was not released.
There was a commercial burglary at noon in the 1700 block of Rose Street.
There was a robbery at 12:15 p.m. in the 1800 block of University Avenue.
There were three second-response calls: at 8:12 p.m. in the 2100 block of Russell Street; at 11:48 p.m. in the 2400 block of Prospect Street; and at 11:53 p.m. in the 2400 block of Warring Street.
Five vehicles were stolen: at 8:30 p.m. in the 2000 block of Sacramento Street; at 9 p.m. in the 1700 block of Derby Street; at 9:30 p.m. in the 100 block of Marina Boulevard; at 10 p.m. at Los Angeles Avenue and Spruce Street; and at 10:30 p.m. in the 1100 block of Spruce.
Saturday, April 4
At 8:30 a.m., according to the BART Police, the manager of Peet’s Coffee inside the downtown Berkeley BART station called to report that the store had been burglarized: “The gate was damaged and $12 worth of cookies taken.” A review of surveillance video showed that the suspect — who appeared to be a black man in his 20s or 30s, 5 feet 9 inches tall with a medium build and dark hoodie — had forced open the gate with his hands at 7:55 p.m. the prior day. “He then reached in and took the cookies.” The scene was processed by a BART officer who was able to retrieve a copy of the surveillance video. No further information was provided. (This item originally appeared in the last crime blotter.)
There was a felony sexual assault at 12:30 a.m. in the 2300 block of Warring Street, and a misdemeanor sexual assault at 8 p.m. in the 2400 block of Ashby Avenue.
There was a robbery at 2 a.m. at Solano and Tulare avenues.
At 4:45 p.m., the BART Police responded to the downtown Berkeley BART station for a report of a man who was creating a disturbance inside. The man “confronted members of a religious group handing out information and threw their literature to the ground.” He was described as a white man in his 20s, with a thin build and long blond hair, and was wearing a plaid shirt. (Police said that description also matched a person linked to an earlier disturbance call at the North Berkeley BART station.) Patrons reported that the man exited the station to Shattuck Avenue and officers located the person they believed to be him in the plaza above the station. “An officer observed the man confront a male citizen on the street and back the man into a bus shelter. Officers detained the man, who became physically resistive.” Officers were eventually able to secure the suspect using a restraint device called a WRAP. The citizen on the street reported that the man had threatened to hurt him, and demanded his money. The man was arrested on suspicion of attempted robbery and resisting arrest and was booked at Glenn Dyer Jail. BART did not provide his name. (This item originally appeared in the last blotter.)
Sunday, April 5
A Berkeley musician was fatally injured by a stray bullet in Oakland early Sunday, and police are asking for help to track down his killer.
There was a felony sexual assault at 6 a.m. in the 1900 block of Oxford Street.
There were two disturbance calls, at 6:15 a.m. in the 2300 block of Channing Way, and at 12:45 p.m. at Ashby Avenue and Lorina Street.
Police arrested Marcus Smith, 32, in the 2000 block of Allston Way on suspicion of fraud, theft, identity theft and other offenses. He remains in custody without bail at Santa Rita Jail and was scheduled for a pretrial hearing Tuesday morning.
A vehicle was stolen at 12:45 p.m. in the 1000 block of Keith Avenue.
There were two home burglaries, at 2:30 p.m. in the 2200 block of Derby Street, and at 6 p.m. in the 3300 block of Claremont Avenue.
There was a felony assault at 3:14 p.m. in the 800 block of Bolivar Drive. Police arrested a 59-year-old man on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, but charges do not appear to have been filed.
There was a commercial burglary at 8:54 p.m.in the 900 block of Grayson Street.
Monday, April 6
There were two home burglaries, at 1 a.m. in the 1900 block of Berkeley Way, and at 8 a.m. in the 3100 block of College Avenue.
There were three disturbance calls: at 9 a.m. in the 2000 block of Dwight Way; at 6 p.m. in the 1700 block of 63rd Street; and at 10:36 p.m. at Ashby Avenue and Florence Street.
Police arrested Ruben Garcia Jr. at about 7:15 p.m. on a warrant for stalking, criminal threats and other offenses. He remains in custody at Santa Rita Jail with a bail of $315,000 and is scheduled for a preliminary hearing Thursday, April 23.
A vehicle was stolen at 9 p.m. in the 900 block of Euclid Avenue.
Tuesday, April 7
Three vehicles were stolen; at 2 a.m. in the 1100 block of Hearst Avenue; at 10:45 a.m. in the 900 block of Heinz Avenue; and at 7:25 p.m. in the 1200 block of Berkeley Way.
There was a felony assault or battery at 7:45 a.m. in the 700 block of University Avenue.
There was a robbery at 4:10 p.m. at 67th and Mabel streets.
There were two disturbance calls, at 6:01 p.m. in the 2700 block of Regent Street, and at 7:30 p.m. in the 1600 block of Russell Street.
After more than two decades, police say they have charged the man they believe strangled and sexually assaulted two women: a young mother whose body was found in Tilden Park in 1987, and a Laotian immigrant in her 50s whose body was discovered in her boyfriend’s backyard in 1993. Read more on Berkeleyside.
Wednesday, April 8
There were three robberies: at 12:33 a.m. at Warring Street and Dwight Way; at 12:40 a.m. at Parker Street and College Avenue; and at 9:16 a.m. in the 2300 block of Shattuck. As reported in our last crime blotter: At least two of these incidents strong-arm robberies, at Warring and Parker, and at Parker and College. According to a statement released by UCPD, police responded at 12:42 a.m. to Parker and College after a male walking saw four males coming toward him. One of them punched him in the face while others went through his pockets. They took his cellphone and wallet, and he suffered minor injuries. Officers were unable to find the robbers. One was described as a 19-year-old black man, 5 feet 7 inches tall, who was wearing a blue or gray sweatshirt. No description was provided for the other males, except that they appeared to be black. UCPD responded to the other incident, at 12:48 a.m. A 19-year-old student had been walking when four males approached him and demanded his phone. The student complied and the suspects left the area with his phone. One of the robbers was a black male, 5 feet 7 to 5 feet 10 inches tall and 165 pounds, who was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt. The others males also were black, and looked to be 19 years old and about the same height and weight as the first man. They were also wearing black hooded sweatshirts and had cropped haircuts. Authorities ask anyone with information about these robberies to call the Berkeley Police Department at 510-981-5900.
There was a felony sexual assault at 6:30 a.m. in the 1900 block of Oxford Street. A woman whose car got locked inside a Berkeley parking garage, and accepted an offer of a place to sleep from a man she knew, woke up in the morning to find him raping her, according to police. Read more on Berkeleyside.
There were two disturbance calls, at 8 a.m. in the 1600 block of Fairview Street, and at 3:30 p.m. in the 1900 block of Allston Way.
There were three home burglaries: at 4:45 p.m. in the 2200 block of Acton Street; at 6 p.m. in the 2000 block of Francisco Street; and at 9 p.m. in the 6400 block of Mystic Street.
Other recent incidents
On Monday, April 13, a shooting that took place at Shattuck and Ashby avenues just before 1:45 a.m., which may have involved two vehicles firing at each other, sent two people to the hospital. Read more on Berkeleyside. Berkeleyside has asked for additional information from the Berkeley Police Department, but nothing has been released since the story first ran.
Berkeleyside received new information on April 13 about several search warrants and an arrest in the 1600 block of Russell Street in March. In that incident, March 12, officers responded to a call of a dispute involving two individuals, one who was armed with an assault pistol. Last week, Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats identified the man arrested in this incident as Anthony Durant Jr., 24, of Berkeley. He was arrested on suspicion of carrying a concealed firearm, being prohibited from firearm possession due to a juvenile conviction, and probation violation. He is no longer in custody, according to online records maintained by the Alameda County sheriff’s department, but is set to return to court April 27 for a procedural hearing. Durant was arrested in Berkeley last June after a shooting in the 1600 block of Russell Street that injured two people. According to court papers, he also was pulled over in Berkeley in December 2013 and was found with a loaded, concealed firearm later determined to have been stolen. He told police he had just picked up the gun at the corner store and planned to turn in to authorities. Durant was convicted as a juvenile, in 2006, of robbery.
Berkeleyside also received information last week regarding the March 12 warrant arrest of 40-year-old Tiffieny Dean of Berkeley. Said Coats, the warrant related to an elder abuse case dating back to October 2014. Coats said “Dean inserted herself into the life of the victim,” a 73-year-old woman, “who has medical issues requiring care.” According to police, Dean had the woman give her power of attorney so she could access the woman’s bank accounts. Coats said police believe Dean stole more than $35,000 from the woman, and also opened up credit card accounts using her information. Added Coats: “The suspect was not properly caring for the victim or her residence; it was in a horrible condition. The conditions were so bad it was almost uninhabitable.” Police issued the arrest warrant March 11, and arrested Dean the following day in the 1600 block of Blake Street.
On Friday, April 10, there were 15-20 fights within about 40 minutes after school that involved 400-500 students and non-students. Five Berkeley Unified students were arrested. Read more on Berkeleyside.
A Berkeley Police officer used pepper spray to subdue a naked man covered with blood who wielded a glass shard and charged a firefighter in late March, according to a document posted on the city website Friday, April 17. Read more on Berkeleyside.
On April 13, UCPD reported the arrest on suspicion of unlawful peeping of 20-year-old Alfredo Mendez, a UC Berkeley student. According to police, UCPD received a report March 30 from a woman who had been using the bathroom in a residence hall when she looked down and saw a cellphone camera pointing at her from the stall next to her. She left the stall and waited to see who had been holding the phone. It turned out to be a man she recognized as another resident on her floor, police said, who was later identified by police as Mendez. Police seized his phone and laptop, as well as CDs and DVDs, “and discovered additional victims of video voyeurism in the residence hall showers on the devices.” Mendez was arrested on suspicion of unlawful recording with an electronic device, and no longer lives in university housing, according to UCPD. Mendez was released on his own recognizance, and is set for a pretrial hearing Wednesday, April 22, according to the Alameda County sheriff’s department.
See the Berkeley Police Department’s crime reports on CrimeMapping.com. See the list of calls to UC Police at Berkeley, which are also posted in brief on CrimeMapping. See also Local Crime News’ regularly published list of arrests of Berkeley residents. Other sources of information on crime in Berkeley include the Police Department’s CrimeView Community and CrimeMapping.com. The Berkeley Police Department also posts “calls for service” spreadsheets — containing more data — online for those who would like to see more. New reports may be added to CrimeMapping in an unpredictable manner, so numbers may increase in the days after this report. This post does not reflect every call. See recent Berkeley crime blotters here.
Berkeley police report first pepper spray use of 2015 (04.20.15)
Pedestrian seriously injured after Berkeley crash (04.16.15)
Mental health calls #1 drain on Berkeley police resources (04.16.15)
BART promotes suicide prevention line as incidents spike (04.16.15)
3 men charged after Berkeley beating, stun gun assault (04.16.15)
Shooting on Shattuck at Ashby sends 2 to hospital (04.13.15)
5 arrested in Berkeley after 15-20 youth fights downtown (04.10.15)
Berkeley man charged with rape of sleeping woman (04.10.15)
Berkeleyside blotter: Crime in Berkeley, 3/26-4/1 (04.10.15)
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