Update, 11:10pm: This article has been updated following a correction by the Berkeley Police Department. The man arrested in the burglary case was from the city of Alameda, not Berkeley, and he is aged 19, not 47. The mistake was at least partly due to the speed which the police communicated information to Berkeleyside, for which we are grateful.
A Berkeley man from the city of Alameda was arrested this afternoon and is facing burglary charges after a resident in the 2000 block of Acton Street called 911 to report that a home in the 1200 block of Hearst Street was possibly being burglarized. A second suspect got away and is being sought.
More than 15 Berkeley police officers of various ranks responded to the crime, some of them brandishing weapons. Berkeleyside reader Christoper Wiener said his wife was walking home from a dance class when she saw a police officer pull up in a cruiser and get out of the car with a rifle at the corner of Francisco and Chestnut Streets.
“He told her to get inside and lock the doors,” Wiener told Berkeleyside.
According to BPD spokesperson Sergeant Mary Kusmiss, officers performed a “security sweep” to make sure no suspects or victims were inside the house. The home was deemed clear, but it appeared that the suspects, who probably gained access through a window, had begun loading pillowcases with items to steal and were thwarted when the neighbor called, at about 1:23 pm, and the police arrived.
The caller reported seeing a male suspect standing in the front window of the neighbor’s home and when the suspect saw the community member, he quickly closed the curtains. BPD officers headed to the scene and when the first officers arrived, neighbors and community members were pointing in the directions that the two suspects had taken when fleeing from the home on foot. The neighbors also provided officers with descriptions of the suspects.
“The scene supervisor, a patrol sergeant, quickly directed officers to create a block cover/perimeter as the suspects were likely still in the blocks around the home,” said Kusmiss. “Additional community members/callers continued to call to update the Public Safety Dispatch Center, including those who said they heard a suspect running on their roofs. Officers detained a suspect at Foster’s Freeze on University Avenue at about 1:45 p.m. During field show ups (witness or victim driven to location of a detention to view someone who is being detained) the detainee was positively identified as the burglary suspect.”
Officers arrested a 47-year-old 19-year-old Berkeley man. He sustained some minor injuries during his flight and is being treated at a local ER.
“We are very grateful to the community members who got involved. Collaboration like this is essential in policing our community,” Kusmiss said.
The second suspect was described by witnesses as “a white male adult, brown hair, 20s, 5’10”, thin build, light colored top, possibly a sweatshirt and baggy jeans.”