Man charged with trying to kidnap child at Berkeley library

A man on probation who followed a toddler and his nanny from a local park to the library has been charged with trying to kidnap that child, according to court papers and police.

Police say Marcus Deberry Jr., 28, approached the woman and child at Bateman Park, at 3027 Colby St., on Nov. 13 just before 11:30 a.m. and “repeatedly told the nanny, ‘that’s my kid,'” according to court records.

The pair left the park and walked to the Claremont branch of the Berkeley Public Library, about four blocks away, but the man followed them, police said, and continued to say the child was his. He followed the woman and child into the library, according to police, then tried to grab the little boy.

The woman “was able to pull the child closer to her” and prevent Deberry from grabbing him, police said. A library worker intervened and confronted the man, who told staff, “that’s my baby” before ultimately leaving the area.


Police got surveillance video from the library and shared video and photos of the man with officers who were working. One of those officers recognized the man and identified him as Deberry. Police found him just before 5 p.m. at 7-Eleven, at 1501 University Ave. (at Sacramento Street).

The Alameda County district attorney’s office charged Deberry on Friday with attempted kidnapping, a felony. The charge includes a special allegation — which could result in a more serious sentence if there’s a conviction — that the child was under 14, as well as a provision identifying the charge as a violent felony.

Deberry has one felony conviction, from January of this year, for burglary, according to court papers. He was placed on probation as a result of that case.

Deberry is being held on $105,000 bail and remains in custody at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin, according to jail records online. He is scheduled to enter a plea Nov. 27 at the René C. Davidson Courthouse in Oakland.