A woman was attacked and robbed when three people stole her Range Rover in a violent carjacking in South Berkeley on Thursday afternoon, according to police and community reports.
The carjacking followed the robbery of two young teens just minutes earlier. Police believe the suspects may be the same in both cases and are investigating that possibility, said Officer Byron White, Berkeley police spokesman. The robbery took place just before 4:20 p.m. when the boys, ages 13 and 14, were walking on California Street near Oregon Street. Two male teenagers got out of a silver SUV and confronted the boys, pushing them against a wall, hitting them in the face and demanding their property. The robbers then left in the SUV.
About four minutes later, White said, a woman was standing outside her SUV using her phone at King and Harmon streets — about eight blocks away — when a silver SUV pulled up. Three people got out and demanded the woman’s keys and phone. They punched and kicked the woman, and took her keys, computer and vehicle, White said.
Monday night, the woman, who lives in Berkeley just blocks from the attack, posted on NextDoor about the carjacking and said she was still healing and concussed. The woman, a personal assistant who had just finished an errand transporting a client’s luxury car that day, was about to go home to pick up her 7-year-old son, she wrote. She stopped to make a phone call on the way.
That’s when an SUV pulled up and parked near her vehicle: “Within seconds everything went black. They approached me fast,” she wrote. The group leader had “one hand on his belt buckle and the other holding his shirt down over what appeared to be a weapon.” He demanded the woman’s keys, but she had left them in the Range Rover. “Grabbing the phone from my hands he proceeded to punch me in my face and the sides of my head.”
“The second guy started in on me as well. Both of them punching me. I immediately went into a fetal position and blocked my face with my hands and arms. Trying to protect me [sic] head. That’s when they started kicking my head in with their feet. They kicked in my shoulder, neck, ribs, arms, legs, but mainly my head,” the woman wrote. “I could see the ‘leader’ go to grab something from his pants…. That’s when I started screaming, ‘I’m a mom!’. At that moment the second guy started yelling at the ‘leader’ to, ‘Stop, that’s enough, hasn’t she had enough? You don’t have to do that!'”
The assailants took off in both SUVs and the woman said she tried to stand up, but may have blacked out. The men had taken her laptop, phone and cash, she wrote, valuing more than $5,000.
“Awoke screaming and bleeding from my head (a contusion). I looked up and saw a man in his newer 4 Runner who had seemed to have noticed anything as my car was blocking anyone from seeing the incident. Or maybe he had just pulled up as they pulled off. I just don’t know. I approached him crying and begging for help. He seemed startled. He called 911 and the police and firemen arrived fast.”
In her NextDoor post, she thanked the nearby residents who came to her aid: “There were some amazing neighbors that came out with blankets, hot tea, water, love.” They got in touch with the woman’s family for her.
She said, as of Monday night, she was still angry and in pain.
“I’m pissed, I’m beaten up, my head and body has been on ice packs for days and this nausea is horrible and the headaches. I start therapy this week to get through the mental bullshit that goes along side,” she wrote. “These guys have all my info. Where I work, live, etc. My house keys! I can’t sleep and every noise has me shook.”
White said suspect descriptions weren’t available for everyone. In the first case, the robbers were described as black, 16-17 years old, 5 feet 10 to 5 feet 11 and wearing dark clothing, except for one who was wearing “multi-color pants.”
In the carjacking, witnesses described one of the men as black, in his 20s and 5 feet 9 inches tall.
White said the woman’s vehicle was later located in Oakland along with the silver SUV authorities believe was likely used in both cases. The investigation is continuing.
BPD asks anyone with information to call 510-981-5742.