Robberies, grand theft, auto burglary kept Berkeley police busy Monday evening

Berkeley police cruiser (file photo). Photo: Emilie Raguso

Officers in Berkeley handled a series of felony calls over about 90 minutes Monday evening that included two violent robberies, police report.

Preliminary information suggests that none of the crimes are related, said Lt. Peter Hong of the Berkeley Police Department.

The first call came in at about 4:55 p.m. when witnesses saw two men in hooded sweatshirts smash a window during an auto burglary at Shattuck Avenue and Allston Way. The men fled in a dark-colored SUV. Officers spotted the vehicle near Martin Luther King Jr. Way “but it took off at a high rate of speed blowing through stop signs,” Hong said. Police did not pursue it.

At about 5:10 p.m., police were called to Hearst Avenue and Bonita Street after two men punched a woman in her 50s, knocking her to the ground. The men took the woman’s phone and also snatched the necklace she was wearing, Hong said.


A few minutes later, a woman walking at Martin Luther King Jr. Way and Ashby Avenue while talking on her phone was robbed by a teenager who “got out of a passing car and grabbed for the phone. She struggled” with the robber, but he “was able to get the phone and got back in the car and it drove off.” The vehicle may have been a tan or gold sedan. The robber was 18 or 19 and wore dark clothes.

About an hour later, at 6:22 p.m., a woman walking at Adeline and Fairview streets was on her phone when a man on a bicycle “snatched the phone out of her hand,” Hong said.

Orange markers show where several of Monday evening’s crimes took place. Image: Berkeleyside/Google Maps

Tuesday, Officer Byron White, BPD spokesman, said investigations are ongoing.

White said one of the most important things people can do is “be alert and aware of their surroundings.”

Most of the city’s cellphone and laptop thefts and robberies have a common theme, he said.

“People have become so engrossed in their personal device that they’re unaware of a person creeping up to them to take their item,” he said. “If you’re in a public place, you have to pay attention.”