Man steals cane, assaults 76-year-old on UC Berkeley campus

A 29-year-old man has been charged with assault and elder abuse after stealing a cane from a 76-year-old Berkeley man walking on campus Monday, and attacking the man with it, authorities report.

William Carter of Berkeley was arrested shortly before 3 p.m. on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, grand theft, elder abuse and probation violation, according to the University of California Police Department.

The assault took place on the Grinnell Path, which runs through campus along the old live oaks parallel to Strawberry Creek. Sgt. Sabrina Reich of UCPD said Carter stole the man’s cane then assaulted him with it, causing minor injuries. Carter was quickly arrested and taken to Berkeley Jail.

According to Alameda County court records online, Carter was charged Tuesday with assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury, which is a felony, and misdemeanor elder abuse. He remains in custody.


Neither his bail nor his next court appearance were listed pending an update to online records following Carter’s arraignment Tuesday.

According to court records online, Carter’s arrest history in Alameda County dates back to April 2016 when he was arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor trespassing and vehicle burglary, a felony. He was charged in a different case that same month on suspicion of manufacturing phencyclidine, or PCP, which is also a felony.

In May 2016, he was charged, in two separate cases, with resisting arrest or obstruction, and possession of a controlled substance. In June 2016, he was charged with petty theft and drug possession. That same month he also was charged with battery, obstructing or intimidating business operators or customers, and possession of a controlled substance.

He ultimately took a plea deal after serving about two months in jail, for misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance, and was placed on probation for three years, through July 2019. All the other cases were dropped as a result of the deal.

Carter faced new misdemeanor charges in October 2016: possession of a controlled substance, and escape while misdemeanor charges are pending. Those charges were dismissed in connection with another plea, but the terms were unlisted online.

In July 2017, Carter was charged again with possession of a controlled substance and possession of an ingestion device. Those charges too were dismissed in connection with a plea. The details were not posted on the court website.