Police seized over 20 cell phones, some of which were stolen, during an investigation that led to the arrest of a local store clerk. Photo: Berkeley Police Department

The Berkeley Police Department earlier this week announced the arrest of a local liquor store clerk reported to have purchased stolen cell phones while on duty at his work.

The arrest, in collaboration with the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, was part of a month-long investigation focused on identifying businesses that buy and sell stolen goods, according to a Police Department statement. 

During the investigation, detectives watching M&H Market, at Fairview and Adeline streets, said they saw a store clerk buying stolen cell phones on several occasion. The clerk, Alawdi Saleh, 59, of Berkeley, was arrested March 22 on suspicion of purchasing phones that appeared to be stolen.

Police seized more than 20 cell phones during the operation. Some of the phones appeared to have been stolen. Police said they are working to identify cell phone owners to determine the status of the seized phones.

As of Thursday, Saleh did not appear to be in custody any longer, according to the Alameda County sheriff’s department.


Cellular phones are often the target of thefts and robberies, due to their high resale value. BPD encourages community members to take these crime prevention measures to avoid becoming a victim of theft or robbery:

  • Do not talk on cell phones or listen to iPods when alone outside as they significantly limit awareness.
  • Avoid isolation: Avoid uninhabited parks, parking lots, garages, and alleyways; stick to well-lit, high-traffic areas.
  • Walk with a purpose: Project an assertive image that conveys you know where you are going.

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Emilie Raguso (former senior editor, news) joined Berkeleyside in 2012 and covered politics, public safety and development until her departure in 2022. In 2017, Emilie was named Journalist...