Crime roundup: Kidnapping outside Habitot, gunfire on Francisco, more

Berkeleyside regularly reports on notable Berkeley crimes, which include incidents that involve violence or weapons, or that readers have asked about. In 2018, the Berkeley Police Department handled about 73,000 incidents and made more than 2,000 arrests. Every month, there are 200-300 Part 1 crimes in Berkeley. Most Part 1 crimes, which are the categories tracked by the FBI, are serious felonies. Arrestees are innocent until proven guilty.

KIDNAPPING ARREST Police arrested a San Francisco woman on probation after she briefly took a man’s 3-year-old daughter from him, authorities reported in a Nixle alert Tuesday. On Thursday just before 10 a.m., the man was walking with his daughter down a stairway to the entrance of Habitot Children’s Museum, at 2065 Kittredge St. (near Shattuck Avenue), when a woman walked up to them and picked up the little girl. Police said the woman then walked away with the toddler. The girl’s father told the woman to stop. He caught up with them after a few steps and was able to get his daughter back, police said. Police identified the woman as 23-year-old Jennifer Torres of San Francisco. She was arrested on suspicion of kidnapping a child under 14 and violating her probation terms. Torres remains in custody at Santa Rita Jail, according to jail records online, and is scheduled for a probation revocation hearing Aug. 19 at the René Davidson Courthouse (RCD) in Oakland.

GUNFIRE ON FRANCISCO STREET Police arrested a 43-year-old Berkeley man early Sunday morning after he fired a gun inside his apartment, according to BPD. On Sunday just before 3:30 a.m., police responded to a home in the 1100 block of Francisco Street (near San Pablo Avenue) for a report from a man who said “he believed that another person had locked him out of his bedroom. After a brief investigation, officers determined that a piece of furniture had actually fallen behind the door — preventing the door from opening,” police wrote in Tuesday’s Nixle. Police returned to the home about 30 minutes later after getting a report about gunfire there: “When officers arrived, they learned that the man had managed to get inside his apartment and then decided to shoot 1 bullet with his handgun.” Police arrested James Cowden on suspicion of willfully discharging a firearm in a negligent manner and carrying a loaded firearm in public. The Alameda County district attorney’s office charged Cowden on Tuesday with the felony count of discharge of a firearm with gross negligence. He is scheduled for an attorney and plea hearing Aug. 20 at RCD. He is no longer in custody, according to court records online. (See Berkeleyside’s 2019 gunfire map, which we’ll update soon to include this information.)

BUSINESS OWNER ATTACKED A University Avenue business owner was attacked by a man with a metal pole during a confrontation Thursday morning, police report. The business owner had gone outside his shop, in the 1700 block of University (near McGee Avenue), at about 10 a.m. to find a man outside the entrance: “When the man refused to move off the owner’s property, the owner began to move the man’s belongings away from the business. The man responded by swinging his fists at the owner’s face. Although the owner was able to block the punches, the man spat in the owner’s face and broke a glass display case with a metal rod. Again using the metal rod, the man struck the owner — leaving a cut on the owner’s hand.” Police arrested 22-year-old Marcos Lira, address unknown, on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, battery and vandalism. Lira has been charged with two misdemeanors related to the assault and vandalism, according to court records online. He is scheduled for a pretrial hearing Thursday.


ARMED ROBBERY Two men who said they had a gun robbed a woman walking downtown last week, police report. The 22-year-old Berkeley woman was walking July 30 at about 10:05 a.m. at Milvia Street and Bancroft Way when the men came up behind her. They grabbed her purse, but the woman tried to hold onto it. The men were able to escape with the bag after saying they had a gun. Witnesses described one of the men as black, 23-26 years old, 5 feet 9 inches tall, wearing a dark blue hooded top and carrying a black handgun. The other man was described as black, 23-26 year old, 5’10”-5’11” tall, wearing all dark clothing.

ATTEMPTED ROBBERY A man in his 20s with “dark bushy hair” in twists tried to rob a 33-year-old Berkeley man walking in the 1700 block of University on Thursday at 11:35 p.m., police report. The man was walking on University near McGee when a man approached him and demanded his money. The would-be robber “suddenly left the area,” however, “after he saw police officers” nearby responding to a separate incident. Witnesses described the man as black, in his early 20s, about 5 feet 7 inches tall. He was wearing a red sleeveless shirt and carrying a dark-colored bag.

MAN ARRESTED AFTER ATTEMPTED STABBING Police arrested a 56-year-old man (address unknown) after he used a knife to try to slash or stab several people near Adeline Street and Alcatraz Avenue on Friday morning, according to BPD. Police responded to the area just before 7:20 a.m. “after receiving calls that there were two people fighting.” One of them had a knife and the other had a metal pole, according to the reports: “On arrival, officers learned that the man with a metal pole was defending himself from the man with the knife after the man with the knife had tried to stab/slash several others in the area.” Police identified the arrested man as Sidney Holloway and arrested him on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, brandishing a knife, criminal threats and violation of probation. Holloway remains in custody on $90,000 bail and is set for arraignment Wednesday, according to booking records online.

CRIME STATS THROUGH SUNDAY BPD has not released crime statistics this week. Berkeleyside will update this post when they are provided.

Have questions about significant police incidents in Berkeley? Let Berkeleyside know and we’ll try to find out what happened. Photos and video are always appreciated.