Police: Turner back in jail after skipping court, seeking Girl Scouts at YWCA

William Turner. Photo: BPD

A 37-year-old man who’s had repeated run-ins with Berkeley parents over the past year is back in jail after asking for “some Girl Scouts” Tuesday afternoon at the Berkeley YWCA and skipping his sentencing hearing Tuesday morning, authorities report.

William Turner also trespassed onto a South Berkeley porch on Park Street on Tuesday morning, police said in response to a Berkeleyside inquiry. Turner made headlines in Berkeley numerous times last year in connection with allegations related to bizarre interactions with children at local tot lots. Police said he also took off nearly all his clothes by a preschool after demonstrating strange behavior outside a yard full of toys. Turner was sent to John George Psychiatric Hospital, in San Leandro, for evaluations and acute treatment four times between May and September, and has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

According to the Alameda County district attorney’s office, Turner had been set to appear in Superior Court on Tuesday morning to be sentenced for violating his probation when he pulled down his pants in front of a Berkeley mother on Alcatraz Avenue in September. A Feb. 1 sentencing hearing had already been postponed after Turner was taken to John George again for evaluation, authorities said.

When Turner didn’t show up at his latest sentencing hearing Tuesday, the judge issued a bench warrant for his arrest. Berkeley officers arrested Turner on Wednesday morning, according to BPD.

Berkeley Police Sgt. Veronica Rodrigues said officers “dealt with him [Turner] a lot” Tuesday.

First, someone called police shortly before 10:30 a.m. to report a suspicious man trespassing on a front porch in the 2700 block of Park Street, by San Pablo Park between Ward and Oregon streets. Police were unable to find the man, identified as Turner, when they arrived.

Nearly three hours later, an employee at the YWCA, at 2600 Bancroft Way, near Bowditch Street, called to report that Turner had walked inside “and was recognized as being wanted by the police for ‘sexual behavior with women and children.'”

“Apparently, when he walked into the business he asked for ‘some Girl Scouts,'” Rodrigues said. No other information was provided, and police could not find Turner when they checked the area.

Wednesday just before 8:40 a.m., BPD officers on patrol stopped Turner and arrested him at University Avenue and Chestnut Street for a warrant, Rodrigues said. He was later turned over to detectives.

According to Alameda County jail records online, Turner is scheduled for arraignment Thursday at 9 a.m. at Wiley Manuel Courthouse in Oakland.