Berkeley police send alert after spate of recent robberies, crowbar attack

Berkeley Police station. Photo: Emilie Raguso

There have been at least six robberies, and two robbery attempts, since Friday, the Berkeley police report, and most took place at knifepoint.

Police sent out a community alert to warn of the recent robberies, as well as a felony assault with a crowbar, a man exposing himself to students near Berkeley High, and two guns officers recovered, along with a bag of cocaine, during a car stop. One of the robbers used a gun, while the bulk of the others used knives, authorities said.

Friday, three people robbed a man on Arch Street just south of Hilgard Avenue at 10:19 p.m., police said. The suspects were described as in their 20s, about 5 feet 10, wearing baggy clothing and hats. Two of them had knives, BPD said.

A few hours later, between 2:30 and 3:30 a.m., a man and woman were sleeping in their car when a man in dark clothing in his 30s robbed them at gunpoint in the 2500 block of Haste Street near People’s Park.


Police said there was also a robbery attempt that day near Berryman Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Way that took place before the robbery south of campus: “In this case, two suspects jumped out of a sedan and approached the victim. The victim ran away until the suspects stopped chasing him.”

Early Sunday, at 2:05 a.m., two men robbed a man walking on Allston Way just east of Milvia Street. They had knives and demanded his property. Police said the robbers, who wore hats, were in their 20s and approximately 5 foot 7.

About 12 hours later, Sunday at 2:15 p.m., a young teenager on a bike tried to rob a woman as she walked on Acton Street toward Prince Street. Police said the boy “tried to rip the woman’s cell phone from her hands, but she was able to hold on to it.” He was described as 13 to 14 years old, and thin with a dark complexion and dark clothing.

In the early hours of Monday, just before 1 a.m., two people “put a knife” to a man’s throat at Parker Street just east of College Avenue, then took the man’s backpack, police said. Both men appeared to be 30 to 35 years old. One had a mustache and the other wore a hooded sweatshirt.

Then, at 10:40 a.m. Monday, two men in their 20s robbed a woman at knifepoint in the 1600 block of Oxford Street. No further information was provided.

Officer Byron White, BPD spokesman, said it may not be as prevalent to see robberies where knives are used. He said police are looking into whether any of these cases are linked.

Berkeley has averaged about a robbery a day over the past five years — so eight incidents in four days is about twice the typical rate.


Pedestrian robberies tend to make up the majority of the robberies in the city, with commercial robberies averaging about 30% of the total in the past three years, according to data released earlier this year by BPD. In 2017, there were 257 pedestrian robberies, 87 commercial robberies, nine home-invasion robberies, one bank robbery and 10 carjackings.

About a quarter of Berkeley’s robberies in 2017 involved a gun, police have said previously. The chances of getting robbed in Berkeley last year were about one in 330.

The vast majority of robberies are reported to police by community members who provide suspect descriptions when they can. Descriptions of robbery suspects, from 2015 through 2017, were 77% black, nearly 8% Hispanic, and 7% white.

White said suspect races in the recent cases varied, as did witness statements, so that information was not provided in these brief narratives — in part in the interest of publishing the information in a timely manner.

Police ask anyone with information about the robberies to call BPD’s Robbery Unit at 510-981-5742.

Police shared three other cases of community interest in Tuesday’s alert.


Oct. 1, police said a man with a beard and shoulder-length hair “exposed himself while making lewd comments to some female high school students.” The exact location was not provided, but police said the incident took place near Berkeley High School between 3:30 p.m. and 4 p.m.

Police said the bearded man was white and in his 50s, 5 feet 8 inches tall, with a skinny build and wavy brown hair to his shoulders. He was wearing a light brown or beige suit jacket with matching-colored dress pants: “The jacket had stains on the shoulders and collar area as if from a liquid. The suspect was not wearing a shirt or underwear,” police said.

They ask anyone with information to call BPD’s Special Victims Unit at 510-981-5715.

From left: Jahcoby Adams-Mabin and Ezekiel Miller. Photos: BPD

In addition to Friday’s robberies, police said they recovered two guns and a bag of powder cocaine during a traffic stop at 9 p.m. at 66th and Acton Street. Two people were arrested. They were listed in BPD’s arrest log as 24-year-old Jahcoby Adams-Mabin and Ezekiel Miller, also 24.

BPD also reported a felony battery that took place Saturday at 12:10 a.m. at Hillegass Avenue and Dwight Way. A woman was walking when a stranger in dark clothing came up to her “and started hitting her in the arm with a crowbar,” police said. He left a short time later. Police said the man appeared to be 26 or 27 years old with a dark complexion, thin build and short dreads.

The woman had minor injuries and was treated and released at the scene.

Police ask anyone with information in that incident to call BPD’s Homicide Unit at 510-981-5741.