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 Aug. 12-18, there were reports of five robberies, six burglaries, nine assaults or batteries, two weapon-involved calls and no sexual assaults, according to CrimeMapping.com. There were also seven stolen vehicles, nine disturbances and 25 auto break-ins or thefts from vehicles reported. Two weapons calls, a vehicle theft and two vandalisms, among other crimes, were reported on CrimeMapping to the University of California Police Department (UCPD). Arrested or charged individuals are presumed innocent. Find the Aug. 12-18 round-up below.
[NB: The CrimeMapping dataset for Aug. 12-18 is incomplete. Berkeleyside has asked BPD for a fix. The Alameda County sheriff’s office is also having trouble with its Inmate Locator and online case tracking systems; a fix is expected by the end of the month, the agency has reported.]
Recent public safety news: Hot off the presses
ARMED ROBBERY NEAR CAMPUS Early Wednesday morning at 1:50, BPD reports there was an armed robbery at Blake and Dana: “Two suspects walked up behind the two victims and demanded their property while pointing handguns at them. The victims gave the suspects a wallet and cellphone,” and the robbers fled northbound on foot on Dana. The robbers were described as 25-year-old black men with thin builds, 5 foot 9 to 5 foot 11. They wore black hooded sweatshirts and jeans and were armed with handguns. (Berkeleyside first reported this incident on Facebook for timeliness.)
SOUTHSIDE BURGLARY ARREST On Wednesday afternoon, a reader asked Berkeleyside: “What’s going on with all of the cops on Bancroft and Telegraph?” UCPD Sgt. Sabrina Reich said, at about 1 p.m., staff in the Unit 3 student housing complex, at 2400 Durant, “reported a suspicious person who was seen in multiple residence halls.” UCPD officers tried to speak with the man but he ran into a nearby apartment complex where UCPD was able to detain him. Police identified the man as 25-year-old Wilford Hooper of Hercules. Reich said Hooper was found to be in possession of property stolen from Unit 3, and was arrested on suspicion of burglary, probation violation and a warrant out of Contra Costa County. He was taken to Berkeley Jail. He is being held in connection with misdemeanor indecent exposure, in addition to the other violations. Hooper’s next court appearance was not listed online.
PROWLER IN NORTH BERKELEY On Friday, Aug. 19, at about 9:30 a.m., BPD got reports of a prowler in the 2400 block of Virginia, followed by a similar report in the 1600 block of Euclid a short time later. A reader described to Berkeleyside “8 cop cars on Euclid between Virginia and Hilgard. With their guns out.” According to BPD, citizens helped police track the prowler’s flight path through the block and nearby backyards. Two people were detained but ultimately no one was arrested. BPD said, according to one report, a man had been masturbating in a common area of an apartment building. The case remains under investigation. “The citizens were helpful,” said watch commander Lt. Andrew Rateaver. “It is important for residents to know what is going on in their area.” (Berkeleyside first reported this incident on Facebook for timeliness.)
NEW PHOTO OF PERSON OF INTEREST TIED TO BERKELEY MUSICIAN’S KILLING The Oakland Police Department has released a new surveillance photograph in connection with the 2015 killing of Berkeley musician Emiliano “Emilio” Nevarez. The total reward amount for information leading to an arrest in the case is now up to $50,000, and includes $25,000 from the FBI. Nevarez, 26, had just finished playing a show with his band April 5, 2015, at 1 a.m. when a stray bullet struck him in Oakland in the 400 block of 14th Street, near Broadway, as he prepared to pack musical equipment into a van. See prior images and video showing people in interest in the case, which OPD released last year. OPD asks anyone with information about the shooting to call homicide investigators at 510-238-3821 or CrimeStoppers of Oakland at 510-777-8572. Anonymous tips to OPD can be made by calling 510-238-7950.
Help improve the blotter: Send Berkeleyside neighborhood crime news.
UCPD SEEKS LIBRARY VANDALS The University of California Police Department is looking for four young men authorities say stole from Doe Library on the UC Berkeley campus and damaged library property. On Tuesday, UCPD put out a photograph (below) of four men, described as in their 20s, who police say went into the library June 23 at 10:20 p.m. and were responsible for trouble there. UCPD is requesting help from the public in identifying them. Detective Brendan Tinney, of the Criminal Investigation Bureau’s Threat Management Unit, can be reached by phone at 510-642-3658 or by email at email@example.com. The 24-hour number for UCPD is 510-642-6760. View the photo larger.
POLICE REVIEW COMMISSION RELEASES ANNUAL REPORT The city’s volunteer Police Review Commission released its 2015 annual report this week. As previously reported on Berkeleyside, the PRC has gotten one to two dozen complaints each year since 2011. Last year, there were eight “board of inquiry” hearings before commissioners to review 51 allegations against officers; just one allegation — for discourtesy — was sustained. Of all the findings from 2011 to 2015, last year had the lowest rate of sustained allegations, at 2%. The PRC has sustained four excessive force allegations since 2011: two that year and two in 2013. In 2014, one of the two PRC allegations for the year that was sustained was later overturned by a judge on appeal. The 2015 sustained allegation for discourtesy has also been appealed, and is set to be heard by a judge this year. Most of the PRC findings of allegations against BPD that are appealed are later overturned by a judge, according to the annual report.
MAIL THEFT IN SOUTH BERKELEY An alert resident told Berkeleyside about an apparent mail theft Wednesday, Aug. 24, at Woolsey and California streets. The tipster told us he saw a man driving a black Acura Integra (photo below) when his female passenger jumped out and grabbed a handful of mail from two houses. The tipster shouted at them and they drove off. BPD has been alerted. (Berkeleyside first reported this incident on Facebook for timeliness.)
SERVICE VAN HIT AND RUN Neighbors reported that a light blue vehicle — later identified as an Apria Healthcare service van — was westbound on Hillcrest between Roanoke and Eucalyptus at 9:20 p.m. Aug. 10 when it side-swiped at least six vehicles, causing “serious damage.” At least one vehicle was totaled and had to be been towed away, the owner reported. One neighbor described how a friend visiting him became involved in “a heroic chase” to pursue the driver. The visitor had just gotten into his car when the truck went by him: “It was moving at a very high speed, and he could hear it strike vehicles along the way.” The visitor, who asked to remain anonymous, followed the vehicle and called police to provide a description. He followed the van down Woolsey and onto Telegraph toward Oakland, but ultimately gave up the pursuit due to traffic lights and other safety issues. The local resident provided an update this week: “It was a very young, very new Apria driver who panicked when he hit the first vehicle (an Audi, I believe) and also broke the truck’s axle. That caused the truck to lean to the side and in his panic, he tried to run away, sideswiping many other vehicles here and further down Hillcrest Road on his way to… who knows? A friend visiting me followed him and spoke with police during the entire event. That friend (who wishes to remain anonymous) was told that Apria is taking full responsibility.”
CHP RIDE-ALONG: YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED Berkeleyside recently spent a couple hours with the California Highway Patrol to get a sense of what a normal day on I-80 is like for these officers. There are about 100 officers with the Oakland CHP branch, and they handle the freeways from the southern Oakland border up through Berkeley until Richmond. We took questions from readers on everything from carpool and cellphone violations to moving violations and more; the answers are here.
The week in review: Aug. 12-18
Note: Items that appear below followed by an asterisk are calls for service only. They have not been verified as actual reports because of the delay in the publication of updated police data noted at the top of this story.
Friday, Aug. 12
UCPD arrested Alex Foster, 22, at 2:10 a.m. on Sproul Plaza on suspicion of possession of dangerous weapons, methamphetamine and burglary tools, and probation violation. He was taken to Berkeley Jail. He is scheduled for a hearing to revoke his probation Tuesday, Aug. 30, according to online records from the sheriff’s office. Foster, who has a prior conviction for robbery, does not appear eligible for bail.
Four vehicles were stolen: at 5:40 a.m. in the 2900 block of Forest Avenue; at 11:54 a.m. 2000 block of University Avenue; at 6:30 p.m. at Warring Street and Dwight Way; and at 10 p.m. in the 2700 block of Dohr Street.
There was a home burglary at 10:30 a.m. in the 2000 block of Ashby Avenue.
A disturbance that led to an arrest, and a purse snatch on Allston Way, had police officers out and about in downtown Berkeley, authorities report. Both incidents happened at about 1 p.m. Read more on Berkeleyside.
There were two fraud or forgery cases, at 3 p.m. in the 2900 block of Telegraph Avenue, and at 5:20 p.m. in the 3200 block of King Street.
There were three disturbances: at 4:55 p.m. at Dwight Way and Telegraph Avenue; at 10 p.m. in the 1800 block of Delaware Street; and 10:53 p.m. at San Pablo Avenue and Bancroft.
Via the BART Police: A 2007 GMC Denali was burglarized while parked at the Ashby station between 9:26 a.m. and 7:15 p.m. “An unknown suspect gained entry via the driver’s window and took the Alpine DVD/ Navigation ($900 value) from the console,” authorities report.
Saturday, Aug. 13
The California Highway Patrol arrested an 18-year-old woman in Berkeley at 10:50 a.m. on suspicion of vehicle theft. No further information was available.
There were two fraud or forgery cases, at noon in the 1500 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Way, and at 6:45 p.m. in the 1800 block of Fourth Street.
There was a felony assault or battery at 12:44 p.m. in the 3200 block of California Street. Police arrested a 37-year-old woman on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon other than a firearm but she is no longer in custody and charges do not appear to have been filed, according to sheriff’s office records online. A felony assault or battery was also reported at 2:40 p.m. at Center Street and MLK.*
Police arrested a 22-year-old man, Jose Edgar Paz-Leja, in connection with a DUI that caused injury. According to a tipster, the driver fled the scene, which was in southwest Berkeley at Bancroft Way and Acton Street. The man “ran a stop sign, hit a woman going through the intersection, careened into an oncoming truck, hit at least two parked cars, then did the runner.” BPD said police were able to catch up with the man, who was arrested on suspicion of felony hit and run and DUI. “Nobody at the scene was seriously injured,” said BPD. The current status of the case was not available due to problems with sheriff’s office records online.
There was a home burglary at 8:15 p.m. in the 1100 block of Delaware Street.
There was a call involving a weapon at 8:30 p.m. at Second and Harrison streets. Police arrested 36-year-old James Miller on suspicion of possession of metal knuckles. He is no longer in custody and the current status of the case was not available.
A vehicle was stolen at 9:30 p.m. from an unlisted location.
Sunday, Aug. 14
BPD arrested Ivan Mattison, 51, at 8:50 a.m. after a report of an auto burglary shortly after 8 a.m. at Durant Avenue and Dana Street. He is being held at Santa Rita Jail with a bail of $150,000 and has been charged with felony burglary and several special allegations related to a new strike and prison eligibility if convicted. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for Monday, Aug. 29.
UCPD arrested 35-year-old Scott Swick in the 2200 block of Bancroft Way at 8:45 a.m. on suspicion of possession of a knife on UC property, possession of metal knuckles, possession of drug paraphernalia and a misdemeanor warrant out of Sonoma County. He was taken to Santa Rita Jail.
There was a home burglary at 10 a.m. in the 1200 block of Hopkins Street.
There was a disturbance at noon in the 1400 block of Spruce Street.
There was a robbery at 9:20 p.m. at Rose and California streets.
A thief stole a 16-speed Bianchi Strada bike from the North Berkeley station between Thursday, Aug. 11, at 4:30 p.m. and about 2:40 p.m. Sunday, the BART Police report. The bike had been locked “with a U-lock which was apparently cut by the suspect.”
Someone in a vehicle heading west on Ashby Avenue at 9:40 p.m. “fired several shots in the area of Ashby and Dohr. Nobody was hit,” according to police. The car was gone by the time officers arrived, and no arrests have been made. Casings were located, however. (This item appeared in last week’s blotter for timeliness.)
Later on Sunday, a number of questions came in from people asking about possible shots fired in southwest Berkeley. An officer who responded found fireworks that were still hot to the touch, and a smell of smoke in the air, police said. One reader told Berkeleyside the fireworks were set off near Oregon and California streets: “Dispatch said they got 50 911 calls.” (This item appeared in last week’s blotter for timeliness.)
There was a call involving a weapons offense at 11:23 p.m. at Grayson and Seventh streets. Authorities ultimately charged 55-year-old Donald Bowen on suspicion of multiple violations including involuntary manslaughter, possession of ammunition, burglary, vehicle theft, having committed a felony while on bail, and possession of a controlled substance for sale. Bowen is being held without bail at Santa Rita Jail and is scheduled to enter a plea Monday. The manslaughter case is out of the Alameda County sheriff’s office’s jurisdiction. Berkeleyside will seek more information.
Monday, Aug. 15
There was a fraud report at 7:30 a.m. in the 2500 block of Ridge Road.*
Many readers wondered about an overturned car on Gilman Street at Peralta and asked what had taken place. Police said one person was taken to the hospital after the crash in the 1200 block of Gilman (between Peralta and Ordway). Both drivers stayed at the scene and cooperated with BPD, said Sgt. Andrew Frankel, police spokesman. The crash happened at about 7:45 a.m. Gilman was closed during the investigation. One reader told us, “The two women in the car that flipped were shaken up but did not leave with the paramedics/ambulance, the driver in the other car did leave in an ambulance but was described as not seriously hurt by a bystander.” (This item appeared in last week’s blotter for timeliness. See more photographs on the Berkeleyside Facebook page.)
There were three home burglaries: at 8 a.m. in the 600 block of Cragmont Avenue; at 9 a.m. in the 1200 block of Campus Drive; and 4:30 p.m. in 600 block of Quail Avenue.
A vehicle was stolen at 8 a.m. in the 1900 block of San Pablo Avenue.
There were two disturbance calls, at 5 p.m. in the 2000 block of Fourth Street, and at 6 p.m. in the 300 block of Northampton Avenue.
Tuesday, Aug. 16
There were two disturbances, at 5:25 a.m. in the 3200 block of Sacramento Street, and at 11 p.m. in the 800 block of Arlington Avenue.
There was an ID theft case at 2:50 p.m. in the 100 block of Southampton Avenue.
A home burglary was reported at 4 p.m. in the 2400 block of Fulton Street.*
Police arrested 38-year-old Richard Johnson, a construction worker, after a felony theft (over $950) in the 1800 block of Fourth Street at 5:41 p.m. Johnson is being held without bail at Glenn Dyer Jail and is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 20 at the René C. Davidson Courthouse in Oakland. He was charged with several crimes, including burglary, grand theft and assault with a deadly weapon other than a firearm, according to sheriff’s office records online.
A vehicle was reported stolen at 9:30 p.m. in the 1900 block of San Pablo Avenue.*
Wednesday, Aug. 17
Police arrested Scott Wilson, 49, at 12:40 a.m. in the 1800 block of San Pedro Avenue after an auto burglary call. Wilson has since been charged with numerous crimes, including two counts of felony burglary, petty theft with a prior and receiving stolen property, as well as special allegations that could lead to Wilson’s second strike and prison time if convicted. Wilson is being held on $150,000 bail at Santa Rita Jail and is scheduled for his preliminary hearing Thursday. That’s the hearing where a judge decides whether there is enough evidence against a defendant to order him to stand trial.
There were three robberies: at 12:45 a.m. in the 1000 block of Addison Street; at 1 a.m. at Shattuck and Ashby avenues; and at 1:10 a.m. at King and Woolsey streets.
A vehicle was stolen at 4:32 a.m. in the 1000 block of Addison. A report came in later about another vehicle stolen, at 6:30 p.m., in the 2800 block of Hillegass Avenue.*
A 20-year-old student reported to UCPD that his green 1999 Honda CRV was stolen from the 800 block of Kinkead Way sometime before 8:45 a.m.
Zuber Awad, a homeless man charged with felony assault with a deadly weapon after an attack with an aluminum baseball bat in West Berkeley in July, was scheduled to appear in court to be sentenced. Read more on Berkeleyside.
Two home burglaries were reported, at 11:49 a.m. in the 2600 block of Benvenue Avenue, and at 8 p.m. at an unlisted location.*
There was a disturbance at 4:10 p.m. in the 1800 block of San Pablo Avenue. Two other disturbances were listed as calls for service (unconfirmed), at 12:02 a.m. in the 2900 block of Dohr Street, and at 11 a.m. in the 300 block of Northampton.*
Berkeleyside heard from Diamond Ford (left) — sister of Charde Ford (right) — who asked Berkeleyside to spread the word about Charde’s struggle to recover after a near-deadly fire last year. Both sisters went to Willard and BHS; Charde graduated from BHS in 2011. They lived near San Pablo Park, where they played as kids, though they have since moved. Diamond said the fire burned 85% of her little sister’s body: “She has a long road to recovery ahead of her. We are raising this money to help her with medical and living expenses.” The donation website is here.
Thursday, Aug. 18
There was a robbery at 12:20 a.m. in the 2600 block of Parker Street. Another robbery was reported in the calls for service log (unconfirmed) at 3:20 p.m. at 1511 Shattuck Ave.*
Police arrested Ray Ross, 38, just before 3 a.m. at Carleton Street and San Pablo Avenue. He has been charged with four felonies, including possession of a bad check, ID theft, forgery of a check, and other crimes. He is being held at Santa Rita Jail; bail was not listed. He is scheduled for a pretrial hearing Tuesday, Aug. 30.
Police arrested William Sermon, 50, at 3:14 a.m. The location was not immediately available. He has been charged with aggravated mayhem and criminal threats, and could be sent to prison if convicted. He is being held on $140,000 bail at Santa Rita Jail, and is scheduled for his preliminary hearing Sept. 6.
Police arrested Colby Dudley, 27, after a disturbance at 8:30 a.m. in the 2200 block of Channing Way. He is being held on a burglary warrant at Santa Rita Jail and is schedule for a hearing related to probation revocation Sept. 7.
There were two ID theft calls, at noon in the 1400 block of California Street, and in the 1000 block of Shattuck at 6:10 p.m.*
Two vehicle thefts were reported on the calls for service log, at noon at Hearst Avenue and Spruce Street, and at 4 p.m. in the 1900 block of Bonita Avenue.*
Readers asked Berkeleyside about a “police raid” at a home in the 1300 block of Russell Street that began sometime before 4:30 p.m. A reader reported that the location was near Russell and Park streets: “Lots of unmarked police cars, officers in shirts that said police, neighbors that live there in front of the house including perhaps friends and kids.” BPD spokesman Frankel told Berkeleyside on Thursday that “Detectives from the Berkeley Police Department served a search warrant on the 1300 block of Russell Street and at an address on the 1000 block of 66th St. in Oakland, to investigate narcotics sales. The subject of the investigation was found to be in possession of methamphetamine for sale.” Police arrested 49-year-old Annette Aragon of Berkeley, he said, on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance for sale. No further information was available due to technical problems with the sheriff’s office website.
Authorities investigated a traffic collision at Ashby Avenue and Acton Street sometime before 4:45 p.m. In a Nixle alert, they told drivers to expect delays on Ashby between San Pablo Avenue and Sacramento Street. Minimal information was available from BPD.
A vehicle chase that began in Vacaville with an auto theft ended at Gilman Street and I-80 on Thursday evening, the California Highway Patrol said, in response to a Berkeleyside query. Officer Henry Schultz said the chase — which began around 6 p.m. and reached speeds up to 90 mph — started in Vacaville, but Solano and then Oakland CHP took over as it moved through the area. The pursuit ended “at Gilman street after the F150 truck made a Uturn on the freeway and officers blocked them in. Vacaville PD then responded to the scene and took custody of the suspects.” Four people were arrested, said Schultz. A local resident told Berkeleyside on Facebook, “I saw 2 CHP and 2 Vacaville Police officers parked behind what I think was a Ford truck with damage on the drivers side. 3 or 4 young males were sitting on the side of the road, looked to be handcuffed.” According to KTVU, which had its helicopter on scene, the truck was a dark gray Ford pickup: “West-bound lanes of I-80 were seen as shutdown by Sky Fox chopper just before 7 p.m. but only momentarily before they reopened.” The names of the people arrested were not immediately available.
There was a home burglary reported at 10:30 p.m. in the 1200 block of Spruce Street.*
Just before midnight Friday, a man in his 20s was shot and critically injured near San Pablo Park. He was pronounced dead at Highland Hospital a short time later. Friends identified him as Alex Goodwin Jr., 22. The young man, who was an aspiring rap musician, attended Cragmont Elementary School, King Middle School and Berkeley High. After the shooting, multiple callers reported the sound of gunfire to police. Some said they heard three shots around Mabel and Burnett streets. Officers who responded found Goodwin down in the street. He was breathing but unresponsive, according to preliminary information. Berkeleyside broke the news of the shooting at about 2:20 a.m.
An interview with Goodwin, published on YouTube in May by Via Endz, follows. (It contains graphic language.) A fundraiser has been set up to help Goodwin’s family with funeral expenses, and a posthumous mixtape of his music has been released by Neighborhood Heavy.
According to the fundraising website: “Alex was quiet and humble, and always smiled when approached with love. Alex was a proud and popular figure in the Berkeley community…. Known amongst his loved ones as ‘AyeGee’, an artist with a unique amount of versatility and creativity, he was apart of the Berkeley collective #NeighborhoodHeavy and a huge fan of the Golden State Warriors.”
Berkeleyside hopes to share more about Goodwin in the near future.
Berkeley public safety data resources
- The Berkeley Police Department on CrimeMapping and CrimeView Community
- The UCPD crime log, also 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.
Wildfire app aims to put safety alerts in public’s hands (08.23.16)
Convicted robber, with 15 prior felonies, back in court after new robbery (08.23.16)
Woman pepper-sprayed by would-be robber in Berkeley (08.22.16)
Mother of homicide victim: ‘That bullet was not meant for my daughter’ (08.18.16)
Premier Cru owner used coffee shop as hook-up HQ (08.18.16)
Crime log: Bullets shot from vehicle, overturned car, lots of arrests, gunfire or fireworks? (08.17.16)
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.