This overview of recent crime in Berkeley is based on reports to the Berkeley Police unless otherwise noted. Share photos, videos and tips by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook and Twitter. Don’t assume someone else will alert us. We rely on readers to help us stay informed.
SNAPSHOT From July 29 to Aug. 4, there were reports of 11 robberies, 12 burglaries, 12 assaults or batteries, one weapon-involved call and no reported sexual assaults, according to CrimeMapping.com. There were also 13 stolen vehicles, 15 disturbances and 18 auto break-ins or thefts from vehicles reported. Two sex crimes, an assault and two burglaries, among other crimes, were reported to the University of California Police Department (UCPD). Arrested or charged individuals are presumed innocent. Find the July 29 to Aug. 4 round-up below.
Recent public safety news
ARMED ROBBERY EARLY THURSDAY A man walking south on Ellsworth Street near Parker Street around midnight, Aug. 11, noticed a sedan getting close to him heading westbound on Parker, said BPD spokesman Sgt. Andrew Frankel in response to a Berkeleyside query. The vehicle stopped and a man got out from the passenger side, and pointed a black handgun at the man, who turned over his cellphone. The suspect, described as a black man, 20-30 years old wearing a dark blue hoodie, got back into the car, which left the area westbound on Parker.
ALBANY PLAYGROUND CRIME ATTEMPTS UCPD put out a notice warning of six male juveniles who were “involved in a series of attempted crimes” Wednesday, Aug. 10, at about 4:45 p.m. at the playground in Albany’s University Village. UCPD said the youth “separately approached two male juvenile victims and harassed / searched them in an apparent attempt to find and take money and a bicycle.” One of them also brandished what police believe was likely “a toy weapon” as he approached a mother with her toddler and demanded money and her cellphone. UCPD said “The suspect then reached for the toddler as if to facilitate the victim’s search for money to give him, and the adult female victim fled with her child.” The boys were last seen leaving the area on bicycles, and one skateboard, north on San Pablo Avenue. UCPD was unable to find them. Ultimately, no property or money was lost.
MAN DETAINED AT GUNPOINT AT BART BART police officers detained a man at gunpoint after he reportedly brandished a knife at the Ashby BART station at about 7:50 p.m. Monday, Aug. 8. Officers could not, however, find a witness to the brandishing who was willing to seek a complaint against the man. The man was placed under arrest on suspicion of public intoxication due to his level of apparent alcohol consumption, the BART PD reported. Authorities said the man “made suicidal statements” before he could be booked into jail. He was taken to Alameda County’s mental health facility and put on a psychiatric hold. The agency reported that force was used during the arrest.
PEOPLE’S PARK DRUG ARREST UCPD arrested a 32-year-old man at People’s Park on July 28 on suspicion of drug possession for sale, including hashish, marijuana, heroin and LSD. He was also arrested in connection with possession of amphetamine. He was arrested at 10:10 a.m. The man is no longer in custody and no further information was available about the case.
24 YEARS LATER: MURDER CASE CLOSED UCPD this week confirmed that it has closed an unsolved homicide from 1992, the killing of UC Berkeley student Grace Asuncion. The alleged killer, however, cannot be charged because he has been dead since 1993. Said Sgt. Sabrina Reich, department spokeswoman, in a prepared statement: “After 24 years of persistence we have identified John IWED (deceased) of Alameda as the person responsible for Asuncion’s death. We identified IWED as a suspect early on in the case but did not have enough corroborating evidence to charge him at the time. IWED died of a drug overdose in January 1993, almost one year after the homicide. We never gave up on the Grace Asuncion homicide case. Many of our detectives were assigned to review the case and follow up on leads over the years. Our students’ safety is important to us and we wanted to be able to help bring a resolution to the case. Within the last year, we re-initiated interviews with key witnesses and developed new information that made us confident we had identified the right person. The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office reviewed the case and said they would have charged the suspect had he still been alive.” KTVU reporter Henry Lee had the scoop earlier this week.
The week in review: July 29 to Aug. 4
Friday, July 29
Three vehicles were stolen: at 7:55 a.m. in the 1100 block of Second Street; at 12:30 p.m. in the 1200 block of Burnett Street; and at 9:30 p.m. in the 1500 block of Harmon Street.
There were two commercial burglaries, at 11:20 a.m. in the 2500 block of San Pablo Avenue, and at 3 p.m. in the same block.
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There was a home burglary at 12:27 p.m. in the 2000 block of Channing Way.
A narcotics bust turned into a sex crime case after a call at about 3 p.m. at Delaware and West streets. Police arrested 23-year-old Javier Baez and he has since been charged with unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor and committing a lewd act with a child under 14 by force or fear. Baez remains in custody, according to online records from the sheriff’s office. His bail has been set at $25,000 and his next court appearance was not listed.
There was a robbery at 9:17 p.m. at Dana Street and Bancroft Way.
Saturday, July 30
There was a commercial burglary at 12:54 a.m. in the 1700 block of San Pablo Avenue.
There were two fraud reports, identity theft at 8:52 a.m. in the 2400 block of Channing Way, and fraud/forgery at 1:14 p.m. in the 1700 block of La Loma Avenue.
There was a home burglary at 11 a.m. in the 200 block of Marina Boulevard.
Two vehicles were stolen, at 12:30 p.m. in the 2000 block of San Pablo, and at 11:30 p.m. in the 2900 block of San Pablo.
There was a call involving a gun at 4:21 p.m. at Woolsey and King streets. Police arrested a 21-year-old man on suspicion of carrying a loaded firearm in public but he is no longer in custody and charges do not appear to have been filed, according to online records from the sheriff’s office.
There was a robbery at 6:46 p.m. at California and Oregon streets.
There was a disturbance at 8:15 p.m. in the 1700 block of Grant Street.
Sunday, July 31
There was a home burglary at noon in the 2100 block of Hearst Avenue.
There was a fraud/forgery at 12:30 p.m. in the 1700 block of University Avenue.
There were two robberies, at 2:30 p.m. at Parker and Warring streets, and at 11:45 p.m. in the 1400 block of Fairview Street.
In the first case — which involved a woman who had been playing Pokemon Go — police have arrested Clyde McElveen, 33, and Anfernee Whitmore, 19, on suspicion of robbery. McElveen has also been charged with felony evasion, transporting a controlled substance and faces a special allegation for prison eligibility, according to online records from the sheriff’s office. Whitmore faces that same special allegation. They are scheduled for the preliminary hearing, where a judge will determine if there is enough evidence to order the men to face trial, Aug. 17. They are being held on $50,000 bail at Santa Rita Jail.
There was a disturbance at 3 p.m. in the 1700 block of Sixth Street.
Police arrested Robin Vongphacanh, 28, after a narcotics call at about 7 p.m. in the 1800 block of Hearst Avenue. He is no longer in custody, according to sheriff’s office records, but was charged in connection with burglary-related violations. His next court appearance was not listed.
A vehicle was stolen at 7:30 p.m. in the 2700 block of Telegraph Avenue.
Monday, Aug. 1
Two vehicles were stolen, at midnight in the 800 block of Page Street, and at 11 p.m. at Gilman Street and Eastshore Highway.
There was a disturbance at 1:02 a.m. at Ninth Street and Bancroft Way.
There were two fraud calls, ID theft at 11:55 a.m. in the 1100 block of Delaware Street, and fraud/forgery at 2:18 p.m. in the 2300 block of Shattuck Avenue.
UCPD got a report at 8:23 a.m. about a burglary in the 1000 block of Monroe Street in Albany at University Village.
There were two home burglaries, at 1:40 p.m. in the 2600 block of Regent Street, and at 2:32 p.m. in the 700 block of Virginia Street.
There were five robberies: at 9:55 p.m. in the 2500 block of Piedmont Avenue; at 10:05 p.m. at Benvenue Avenue and Derby Street; at 10:18 p.m. at Channing Way and Dana Street; at 10:28 p.m. at Garber Street and College Avenue; and at 11:41 p.m. at Benvenue and Parker Street. Read more on Berkeleyside.
There was a commercial burglary at 10 p.m. in the 2900 block of College Avenue.
Tuesday, Aug. 2
Five ID theft cases were reported: at 4:30 a.m. in the 1300 block of Henry Street; at 10 a.m. in the 2600 block of California Street; at 10:50 a.m. in the 1300 block of Grizzly Peak Boulevard; at 8:03 p.m. in the 500 block of Spruce Street; and at 8:15 p.m. in the 2300 block of Warring Street.
Two vehicles were stolen, at 7:30 a.m. in the 2500 block of Shattuck, and at 5 p.m. in the 1800 block of Fifth.
There were three disturbance calls: at 9:35 a.m. in the 2400 block of Hillside Avenue; at 11 a.m. in the 1100 block of Spruce Street; and at 6:25 p.m. in the 1600 block of Spruce.
There was a home burglary at 3:30 p.m. in the 2100 block of Fifth.
Wednesday, Aug. 3
There were six disturbance calls: at 12:18 a.m. in the 2300 block of Telegraph Avenue; at 5 a.m. in the 700 block of Harrison Street; at 8:31 a.m. in the 2900 block of Adeline Street; at 11:31 a.m. in the 2500 block of Sacramento Street; at 1:20 p.m. in the 1700 block of Hearst Avenue; and at 7:35 p.m. in the 1900 block of Marin Avenue.
There were two fraud calls, fraud/forgery at 7 a.m. in the 2600 block of Regent Street, and at 9:30 a.m. in the 2300 block of Warring Street.
There was a home burglary at 9:30 a.m. in the 1400 block of Curtis Street.
UCPD got a report of a sex crime at 11:50 a.m. on campus. A 19-year-old female student reported having been grabbed on Upper Sproul Plaza. UCPD has said the man, who appeared 50-60 years old, touched the 20-year-old when she was walking through Upper Sproul Plaza at 11:50 a.m. No further detail about the battery was provided. Read more on Berkeleyside.
UCPD got a report shortly before 3 p.m. about an assault in the 400 block of Kula Gulf Way in Albany at University Village.
Three vehicles were stolen: at 9 p.m. in the 1100 block of Spruce Street; at 10 p.m. in the 1500 block of Oregon; and at 11 p.m. in the 2300 block of Oregon.
There was a robbery at 10:30 p.m. in the 1200 block of Euclid Avenue. According to unconfirmed scanner traffic, two women in hoodies were responsible for the robbery, which left the victim with a head injury.
Thursday, Aug. 4
There was a robbery at 12:30 a.m. in the 2300 block of Telegraph Avenue.
There were three disturbance calls: at 8 a.m. in the 2000 block of Ward Street; at 12:53 p.m. in the 2600 block of Russell Street; and at 7 p.m. in the 2800 block of McGee Avenue.
There was a home burglary at 10:30 a.m. in the 2700 block of Channing Way.
There was an ID theft report at 3:20 p.m. in the 1600 block of Carleton Street.
UCPD got a report of a sex crime at 4:17 p.m. at University Village in Albany. It was described as a “possible oral copulation report.” No further information was provided.
Berkeley public safety data resources
- The Berkeley Police Department incident log on CrimeMapping and CrimeView Community
- The UCPD crime log, also posted in brief on CrimeMapping, and UCPD crime alerts
- Listen to the police scanner online
- Local Crime News lists arrests of Berkeley residents (not by agency); BPD’s arrest log and booking log (new as of April 2016)
- Nixle public safety alerts, by email and text, from BPD and UCPD
- The Berkeley Police Department’s “calls for service” heat map
- BPD on Twitter: Chief Meehan, spokesman Sgt. Frankel, Officer Byron White
- See what the Berkeley Safe Neighborhoods Committee (BSNC) is up to
- Learn about what info BPD can release to the public
- Find your area coordinator to ask about neighborhood issues (but don’t forget to tip Berkeleyside, too!)
Please note: These items represent a sampling of calls; incidents that took place during a range of time are listed unless otherwise noted by the beginning of that time period. 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.
Police warn Pokemon Go players after recent robberies (08.10.16)
CHP chase through Berkeley ends with vehicle on fire (08.10.16)
Premier Cru owner will plead guilty to fraud (08.09.16)
After initial stumble, police and schools aim to team up (08.09.16)
Man, with knife in pocket, arrested after double stabbing (08.08.16)
Police recover 18 pounds of pot, alleged hash oil operation on Gilman (08.08.16)
Crime log: Robbery arrests, gunfire in South Berkeley, stolen rental car found, more (08.02.16)
Berkeleyside provides exclusive coverage of many Berkeley crimes. We welcome community tips about public safety issues and other newsworthy issues via email, Twitter or Facebook. Please alert us in advance if your tip is anonymous.