Berkeley City Hall at 2180 Milvia St. Photo: City of Berkeley
Berkeley City Hall at 2180 Milvia St. Photo: City of Berkeley

Update, May 12, 5:20 p.m. The Police Department has just released some additional details about Wednesday’s robbery, which took place — as it turns out — in the public men’s restroom outside City Hall to the west. (The initial report from police was that this took place “in the basement bathroom.” But things can change as more information becomes available.)

A homeless man was using the bathroom when three people robbed him, as Berkeleyside previously reported. “During the confrontation, the armed suspect struck the victim with the handgun — a realistic looking plastic pellet gun — and the pellet gun broke apart from the impact. The suspects fled,” according to police.

The man flagged down a BPD officer after seeing one of the teens run into the Berkeley High School campus: “A Berkeley High School employee, unaware of the robbery, contacted the suspect, whom he had followed into a building, and escorted him out of the building, and off the campus grounds, where he saw the School Resource Officer. The suspect was identified and arrested, and taken to Juvenile Hall. The victim suffered minor injuries, and declined medical attention. The investigation in this case is continuing.”

Original story, May 11, 2:08 p.m. Police arrested a 16-year-old Berkeley boy Tuesday morning after a robbery at gunpoint in the City Hall basement bathroom, authorities have reported.

The incident took place at 2180 Milvia St. where the city of Berkeley’s main offices are located. A reader saw police at Berkeley High School, across the street from city hall, and asked Berkeleyside to find out more.

There were several police cars and the Crime Scene Unit at Berkley [sic] High (Allston side) around 10am this morning. Looks like there were a couple of staff, several students and officers milling about the south side of the street. I noticed one officer on the north side of the street interviewing a Downtown Ambassador. Anyone know what was up?”

Berkeley Police spokesman Sgt. Andrew Frankel said a man was in the bathroom when three juveniles with a gun robbed him shortly before 10:30 a.m.

One of the teens struck the man with the butt of the pistol, “which caused the pistol to break apart,” Frankel said. 

That caused the victim — who was not a city employee — to suspect that the gun might be fake, so he pushed the teen away and ran out. He flagged down a passing police officer for help.

Meanwhile, one of the robbers fled onto the Berkeley High School campus across the street where he was detained by school security officers, Frankel said.

The teenager does not attend Berkeley High, Frankel said, though he declined to state more broadly whether the teen is a BUSD student.

The boy’s name was not released due to privacy laws protecting minors.

The 58-year-old man sustained minor injuries during the robbery.

Frankel declined to say Wednesday whether a weapon had been recovered or whether police were able to confirm if the gun was real or fake.

The other two suspects are still at large.

Do you rely on Berkeleyside for local news? Support independent journalism by becoming a Berkeleyside member for $10 a month or even less, or by making a one-time donation.

Avatar photo

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...