This overview of recent crime in Berkeley is based on reports to the Berkeley Police unless otherwise noted. Share photos, videos and tips by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook and Twitter. Don’t assume someone else will alert us. We rely on readers to help us stay informed.
SNAPSHOT From April 28 to May 4, there were reports of two robberies, 14 burglaries, 11 assaults or batteries, four weapon-involved calls and one sexual assault, according to CrimeMapping.com and other BPD data. There were also seven stolen vehicles, 17 disturbances and 20 auto break-ins or thefts from vehicles reported. An assault, a burglary, a vehicle theft and a sex crime were reported on CrimeMapping to the University of California Police Department (UCPD). Arrested or charged individuals are presumed innocent. Find the April 28 to May 4 round-up below several more recent items.
Recent public safety news
GUN ARREST AFTER CANNABIS DISPENSARY PICK-UP On May 8 at about 8:45 p.m. a BPD officer stopped a car at Telegraph Avenue and Parker Street that had “marijuana smoke emanating from the windows,” said BPD Sgt. Andrew Frankel, department spokesman. The officer spoke with four people in the vehicle “who said they were in Berkeley to pick up medical marijuana at a dispensary.” The officer searched the car and found a loaded handgun in the driver’s purse. She said she recently bought it online and that it was unregistered, according to BPD. The 28-year-old Antioch woman, Sarah Hezlitt, was arrested. She has been released from custody and is scheduled to enter a plea Tuesday at the Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse in downtown Oakland.
ARREST ME, PLEASE? A man called into the BART Dispatch Center on May 7 at about 3:20 p.m. “and stated that he had a stay away order from BART and wanted to be placed under arrest.” The man, who was calling from the downtown Berkeley BART station, was placed under arrest and taken to the Berkeley City Jail where he was booked in connection with the stay-away order. Stephan Benjamin, 35, remains in custody at Santa Rita Jail. He appears to have been sentenced, according to sheriff’s office records online. He’s not scheduled for another hearing until April 2017.
COCAINE SALES AND FIREARM ARREST Berkeley police arrested Leon Johnson, 34, on April 27 in connection with a slew of drug and firearm possession violations. Johnson, who was arrested in Oakland, remains in custody at Santa Rita Jail with a bail of $240,000. Among other issues, Johnson was arrested on suspicion of possession for sale of cocaine, transporting a controlled substance for sale, and sales of more than 28.5 grams of cocaine; being a felon in possession of a firearm and carrying a loaded firearm as well as numerous other firearm-related violations; and receiving known stolen property worth more than $950, identity theft and possessing the identification of 10 or more people with intent to defraud. He is scheduled for a motion hearing May 20 at the René C. Davison Courthouse in Oakland. Berkeleyside has requested additional information from the district attorney’s office.
MISSING MAN BPD says Jimmy Shu was last seen Saturday, May 14, in the 3100 block of Sacramento Street at 6:45 p.m. Police say he was driving a Silver Toyota Sienna van, license plate 5RZR030. Police ask anyone with information about Shu to call 911 or 510-981-5900. See photographs of Shu and learn more on Berkeleyside’s Facebook page. According to a relative, Shu was in town to attend a UC Berkeley graduation ceremony. UPDATE: Shu was located Monday morning, police reported.
The week in review: April 28 to May 4
Thursday, April 28
There was a commercial burglary at 12:01 a.m. in the 2100 block of Kittredge Street.
There were two robberies, at 1:25 a.m. at Dwight Way and Hillegass Avenue, and at 6:05 a.m. in the 2000 block of Oregon Street.
There were two disturbance calls, at 2 a.m. in the 2400 block of Ashby Avenue, and at 8 a.m. in the 1900 block of Hearst Avenue.
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There were four home burglaries: at 7:20 a.m. in the 1600 block of Stuart Street; at noon in the 2800 block of Eighth Street; at 4:30 p.m. in the 2600 block of Cedar Street; and at 5:05 p.m. in the 900 block of Hilldale Avenue.
Authorities arrested a 20-year-old UC Berkeley student on suspicion of rape in connection with a case from earlier this year reported to have taken place at a fraternity party near campus. The district attorney’s office declined to file charges in the case. According to office spokeswoman Teresa Drenick, that decision was made after “a review of the evidence presented by the Berkeley Police Department.” Read more on Berkeleyside.
Two years after being charged with attempted murder in connection with the beating with a metal bat of a pair of UC Berkeley students at a fraternity, an Oakland man entered dual “no contest” pleas for assault with a deadly weapon. Read more about the Frank Watson case on Berkeleyside.
There was a crash at 4:20 p.m. at Shattuck and Derby Street. A reader reported that police had closed down Shattuck, and both cars were missing most of their front ends. Berkeley Police spokesman Frankel said not much information was available but that one person was taken to the hospital after the crash.
Someone damaged a bollard and lamppost in the upper east area of the Greek Theatre, UCPD reported. The loss was estimated at $2,000. The damage took place between Wednesday at 7 p.m. and Thursday at 10:30 a.m.
UCPD received a sex crime report at 11:42 p.m. at the Recreational Sports Facility. A 25-year-old man was detained on suspicion of indecent exposure. Prosecution was not sought; he was served with a seven-day stay-away order from UC property.
Friday, April 29
There were two disturbance calls, at 12:50 a.m. in the 2300 block of Shattuck Avenue, and at 11:14 p.m. in the 2200 block of Shattuck.
A 20-year-old student at Unit-1 Putnam reported to UCPD having been the victim of “extortion via the internet” at about 2:40 a.m. No further information was provided.
There was a commercial burglary at 8:03 a.m. in the 2000 block of Allston Way.
Someone reportedly brandished a weapon at 10:43 a.m. in the 2600 block of Dana Street, and there was a call involving a gun at 10:05 p.m. at University Avenue and West Frontage Road.
UNIVERSITY AVENUE Police arrested Shelton White, 26 — on suspicion of possession of a firearm, having a large-capacity magazine, and carrying a loaded firearm — and 27-year-old Daryn Brooks, on suspicion of carrying a loaded firearm. Brooks is no longer in custody, according to the available information online from the Alameda County sheriff’s department. White remains in custody at Santa Rita Jail with a bail of $40,000. The date of their next hearing was not listed.
There was a home burglary at 1:30 p.m. in the 1700 block of California Street.
There was a second-response call at 11:10 p.m. in the 2800 block of Hilgard Avenue.
UCPD handled a burglary call at International House. Someone stole an HP Laptop worth $500 between 4 p.m. and 11:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 30
Police responded at 12:45 a.m. to Center Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Way for a report of an assault or battery. They arrested James Blakes, 54, on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon other than a firearm. He is no longer in custody. He is scheduled for a protective order control date hearing May 3, 2019.
There was a second-response call at 12:46 a.m. in the 2100 block of Bancroft Way.
There was a home burglary at 1:30 a.m. in the 2100 block of Dwight Way.
There were two disturbance calls, at 2:39 a.m. at Shattuck and Allston, and at 10:01 a.m. in the 3100 block of Adeline Street.
Police arrested four people tied to the same fraud or forgery case at 4:06 a.m. at Wheeler and Emerson streets in connection with identity theft charges. Leon Keys, 43, is being held at Santa Rita Jail with a bail of $185,000. Brian Anderson, 53, was released on a bond for $115,000. Brandi Owen, 29, is being held on $95,000 bail, and Maria Rodriguez, 28, is being held on a bail of $75,000. All four are scheduled for a preliminary hearing Monday at 8:30 a.m. at the René C. Davidson Courthouse, according to online records from the Alameda County sheriff’s office.
Merl Simpson, a 46-year-old rapper from Oakland, was arrested on a warrant in San Francisco at 3 a.m. on suspicion of robbery and firearm possession, according to online records from the Alameda County sheriff”s office. Simpson is one of three people — along with 19-year-old Kristoffer Jones of Albany (arrested April 25) and 41-year-old Shawan Spragans of Oakland — police say were responsible for 23 restaurant robberies in the Bay Area, including nine in Berkeley. Simpson is being held at Santa Rita Jail with a bail of $1.33 million. Jones is also being held at Santa Rita, with a bail of $2.1 million, and was charged with robbery and using a firearm during a felony. They are scheduled to enter pleas June 9. Spragans is being held at Glenn Dyer Jail without bail; no further information was available online about his future court dates. (BPD released the video above from one of the robberies linked to the trio.) Read more on Berkeleyside.
There was a commercial burglary at 1 p.m. in the 1700 block of Rose Street.
There was a misdemeanor sex crime at 1:19 p.m. in the 2000 block of Bancroft Way.
A vehicle was stolen at 2 p.m. in the 1900 block of Dwight Way.
UCPD reported that a 41-year-old man at People’s Park was injured. The Berkeley Fire Department took him to Highland Hospital at about 11 p.m. for treatment. No further information was provided.
Sunday, May 1
Police arrested Lawrence Guintu, 25, on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol and causing bodily injury to another individual, a felony, at San Pablo and University avenues at 1:48 a.m. He is no longer in custody, having been released on a bond for $25,000, and is scheduled for a pretrial hearing June 14, according to sheriff’s office records online.
There were two disturbance calls, at 2:14 a.m. in the 2600 block of Sacramento Street, and at 5:48 a.m. in the 1900 block of Shattuck.
UCPD was called to Unit-3 Ida Sproul Hall at 11:51 a.m. for a suspicious circumstance regarding improperly disposed chemicals. It’s under investigation.
Two vehicles were stolen, at 8 p.m. in the 400 block of Vincente Avenue, and at 9:30 p.m. in the 3000 block of Fulton Street.
Monday, May 2
There were two home burglaries, at 7 a.m. in the 2900 block of Otis Street, and at 5 p.m. in the 1200 block of Haskell Street.
UCPD handled a vehicle theft at Haas Pavilion. Someone stole a UCB Athletics black Yamaha 6-seat golf cart between April 26 at 5 p.m. and May 2 at 9 a.m.
There was a commercial burglary at 9:38 a.m. in the 2000 block of Oregon Street.
There were two disturbance calls, at 10 a.m. in the 1200 block of University Avenue, and at 11:57 a.m. in the 1600 block of Scenic Avenue.
There was a call involving a gun at 2:20 p.m. in the 2800 block of Forest Avenue.
An Emerson Elementary student found a loaded gun and took it to school, authorities have reported. According to the Berkeley Police Department, an Emerson teacher discovered the student with the handgun. Staff took possession of the gun and called police to turn it in, said Lt. Dan Montgomery of BPD. Read more on Berkeleyside.
UCPD handled a report of a domestic violence assault involving torture at 7:09 p.m. in the 500 block of West End Way in University Village in Albany. The next day, police arrested a 38-year-old man in San Leandro in connection with the case. He was taken to Santa Rita Jail.
A vehicle was stolen at 11:30 p.m. in the 2400 block of Grant Street.
Tuesday, May 3
There was a home burglary at 3 a.m. in the 1100 block of Francisco Street.
There was a felony assault or battery at 12:05 p.m. in the 1800 block of University Avenue.
A vehicle was stolen at 5 p.m. in the 700 block of Grayson Street.
There was a disturbance at 6:30 p.m. in the 2900 block of Derby Street.
The University of California Police Department announced that it is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the murder of Alberto Santana-Silva, a 21-year-old Fremont student who was shot and killed after he intervened in an argument or disturbance between two groups of strangers on Grizzly Peak Boulevard three years ago. Police released the sketch (to the right) of a man they believe is tied to the case. Read more on Berkeleyside.
Wednesday, May 4
There was a dryer fire at Foothill-1 at about 1:45 a.m., UCPD reported. BFD responded.
There was a home burglary at 8:54 a.m. in the 1100 block of Parker Street.
There were four disturbance calls: at 9:40 a.m. at Gilman Street and West Frontage; at 11:50 a.m. in the 800 block of Regal Road; at noon in the 1800 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Way; and at 9:02 p.m. in the 2100 block of Shattuck.
A 20-year-old man accused of murder with special circumstances was ordered Wednesday morning by an Alameda County Superior Court judge to face nearly all of the charges filed against him as the case moves ahead to trial. Kamau Berlin, who was a student at Berkeley Technology Academy at the time of his arrest, was ordered to return to court May 18 for arraignment as the case proceeds. He will continue to be held without bail. Read more on Berkeleyside.
Two vehicles were stolen, at 4 p.m. in the 2300 block of 10th Street, and at 11 p.m. at La Loma Avenue and Virginia Street.
There was a call involving a gun at 5:40 p.m. in the 900 block of University. Police arrested two people: 52-year-old Jeffrey Kimble and 46-year-old Tanuia Davis. Davis was released on her own recognizance after being arrested on suspicion of being a felon in possession of a firearm and being a prohibited person in possession of ammunition, according to the sheriff’s office. She is scheduled for an attorney and plea hearing May 20. Kimble remains in custody in connection with the same charges and is being held with a bail of $105,000. He is scheduled for a pretrial hearing Monday, May 16.
A 19-year-old female student reported to UCPD a suspicious circumstance regarding cyberstalking in Unit 1, Freeborn Hall, at 9 p.m.
Someone found a silver Apple Macbook Pro at University and Oxford at about 10:50 p.m. and turned it in to UCPD for safekeeping.
Berkeley public safety data resources
- The Berkeley Police Department incident log on CrimeMapping and CrimeView Community
- The UCPD crime log, also posted in brief on CrimeMapping, and UCPD crime alerts
- Local Crime News lists arrests of Berkeley residents (not by agency); BPD’s arrest log and booking log (new as of April 2016)
- Nixle public safety alerts, by email and text, from BPD and UCPD
- The Berkeley Police Department’s “calls for service” heat map
- BPD on Twitter: Chief Meehan, spokesman Sgt. Frankel, Officer Byron White
- See what the Berkeley Safe Neighborhoods Committee (BSNC) is up to
- Learn about what info BPD can release to the public
- Find your area coordinator to ask about neighborhood issues (but don’t forget to tip Berkeleyside, too!)
Please note: These items represent a sampling of calls; incidents that took place during a range of time are listed unless otherwise noted by the beginning of that time period. New reports may be added to CrimeMapping in an unpredictable manner, so numbers may increase in the days after this report. This post does not reflect every call. See recent Berkeley crime blotters.
Homeless man robbed at City Hall by teen with replica pellet gun (05.11.16)
Head-butt battery, lost quadcopter, donut theft, ‘intent to inhale’ arrest, 19 stolen vehicles (05.10.16)
Guilty verdicts in Berkeley-Oakland death penalty case (05.06.16)
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