Berkeley Police officers were able to trace the signal from a stolen cellphone to the man they say took it from a coffee shop bathroom after a woman left it there by mistake.

On May 21 at about 3:30 p.m., the young woman was inside the bathroom, in the 2100 block of Oxford Street, when she forgot her phone, which had a case containing her credit cards, too, said Officer Byron White, a Berkeley Police spokesman.

When she realized her mistake, she quickly returned to the restroom to discover that someone was already using it,” White said. “When the person left the restroom, the woman asked the man if he had seen a cellphone case inside. The man told her ‘No’ and quickly ran out of the store.”

Soon afterward, the woman checked her credit card accounts and saw a pending charge on one of them from a nearby gas station. Officers were able to follow up with the station and find surveillance footage from the transaction.

Initially, the woman was able to use cellphone tracking to find the phone, but the signal went cold, White said.

A few hours later, the signal came back on, and led police to an apartment building in the 2300 block of Bonar Street. As police responded to the area, one individual outside the building yelled, “The cops are coming!” White said. 

Police went into the building and spotted the man they had seen in the gas station video surveillance footage, he said. After detaining him, officers knocked on the apartment door he had been standing in front of. 

“When the officers searched the apartment, they not only found the victim’s cellphone and credit cards,” said White, “they also found a quantity of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.”

Police arrested four Berkeley residents on Bonar: Travis Pearson, 47, on suspicion of theft and fraudulent use of a credit card, being under the influence of drugs and possession of a controlled substance; Robin Vongphacanh, 28, in connection with possession of a controlled substance, destroying or concealing evidence and probation violation; Brianna Combash, 29, on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia, and probation violation; and Jupiter Ganymede Marley, 28, on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance and probation violation. (Marley also goes by the name “Jupiter of the Universe.”)

According to the sheriff’s office, Vongphacanh is being held without bail in connection with burglary and is scheduled for a hearing to get an attorney Thursday. Combash is next scheduled for a hearing July 27; she is being held in connection with misdemeanor battery.

No one else is listed in connection with that case according to sheriff’s office records online. No further information was available about Marley.

Pearson — the man in the gas station surveillance video identified as the person who ran out of the bathroom — was not listed in connection with the Bonar case, according to those records. But he is scheduled for a pretrial hearing June 22 in connection with a raft of charges including possession of a controlled substance for sale, and having brass knuckles — both felonies — and a variety of misdemeanors.

Those violations appear linked to a May 10 arrest in Berkeley tied to a theft (under $950) May 6 at about 12:45 p.m. in the 1400 block of Shattuck Avenue.

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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 of the Year...