There have been at least four armed robberies in Berkeley since Thursday, authorities report, including one where the robber used a shotgun to take money from a gas station cashier.
The Berkeley Police Department released the following summaries Tuesday about notable incidents within the city in the past few days. There have been at least 24 robberies within BPD’s jurisdiction this month through Nov. 18, according to CrimeMapping.com. Berkeley has averaged about a robbery a day over the past five years.
Thursday at 10:20 p.m., three people walked up to a woman using her phone in the 2100 block of Parker Street. One member of the group had a handgun. They took the woman’s phone and ran off, police said. Less than 10 minutes later, four people with a handgun cornered a woman against a vehicle, punched her and took her bag in the 2300 block of Dwight Way. The group ran west on Dwight, said Officer Byron White, BPD spokesman.
Read more about robberies in Berkeley.
Saturday at 7:25 p.m., two women were walking in the 2400 block of Warring Street when two people with a handgun approached them. The robbers grabbed bags from the women and ran away. Sunday just before 6:45 p.m., a man with a shotgun entered U.S. Smog & Gas at 3000 Shattuck Ave. and robbed the cashier. The robber took the money and left the store.
Police said previously that about a quarter of Berkeley’s robberies in 2017 involved a gun. There have been approximately 315 robberies in Berkeley in 2018, according to police data. That’s slightly short of the city’s typical robbery-a-day distribution, but the rest of the year may well see an uptick, if history is any indication.
White said there tends to be an increase in robberies and thefts at this time of year because it gets dark earlier, people are holiday shopping and people are visiting from out of town: “There’s a lot that draws people to Berkeley,” he said.
Pedestrian robberies make up the majority of Berkeley’s robberies, 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. For context, the chances of getting robbed in Berkeley last year were about three in 1,000.
Other incidents of note
White shared several other crime narratives Tuesday, too.
Saturday at 3 a.m., officers were called to the Shell gas station at 1250 University Ave. to deal with a man who reportedly was running up to people and cars and threatening them. Police arrested the man, identified as 39-year-old Kaidi Clutchette of Oakland, on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance and probation violation. They found an undisclosed quantity of methamphetamine in Clutchette’s pockets, White said.
Clutchette had just been arrested in Berkeley the prior week, police said previously, when he tried to grab a bag and jacket from a woman at the corner of University and San Pablo avenues. That day, Nov. 9, Clutchette was arrested on suspicion of robbery and probation violation. He does not appear to be in custody at this time, according to online records from the Alameda County sheriff’s office.
As previously reported on Berkeleyside, a woman was walking south on Shattuck Avenue on Saturday just after 2:30 p.m. when someone who may have been wearing “a respirator-type mask” came up behind her at Allston Way. The person grabbed her cellphone from her hand and took off.
Monday at 3 a.m., police were called to a hit-and-run collision at Martin Luther King Jr. Way and Carleton Street. As they responded, more calls came into the dispatch center “about a pick-up truck driving recklessly in the area,” police said. Officers saw the truck near Ward and California streets, and pulled it over. Police arrested the driver, a 43-year-old Berkeley man, on suspicion of DUI and hit and run.
Later that afternoon, at 1:15, someone ran up to a woman standing at a bus stop in the 2800 block of Addison Street. The person grabbed the woman’s phone from her hands and ran off on Milvia Street.
Suspect descriptions were not provided.
White urged community members to use caution in Berkeley, particularly around this time of year.
“In a number of these instances, the suspects were armed,” he said, of the recent incidents. “We absolutely don’t want anyone to get hurt. Your property can be replaced.”