Police arrested 24-year-old Johnny Dunbar on Wednesday in the 1300 block of Delaware Street. Image: Google Maps
Police arrested 24-year-old Johnny Dunbar on Wednesday in the 1300 block of Delaware Street. (The map marker indicates only the block where the arrest took place, not the specific location.) Image: Google Maps

Fingerprints collected after a traffic-related misdemeanor warrant arrest in March helped police zero in on the man they say is responsible for a series of sexual assaults in Berkeley in 2008.

Details about those assaults remain scant, but the Berkeley Police Department arrested 24-year-old Johnny Dunbar at his home in the 1300 block of Delaware Street on Wednesday on suspicion of two counts of rape, one count of oral copulation and one count of attempted oral copulation. The case involved at least three victims, police said.

See the update, with additional information about the crimes.

According to Lt. Kevin Schofield, a Berkeley Police spokesman, the department investigated a sexual assault series in 2008 that, in addition to the three victims, also involved several peeping or prowling incidents.

Despite a large amount of diligent work and undercover operations we were not able to capture the suspect,” he said, in a prepared statement. “We did obtain fingerprints at one of the crime scenes before the series stopped.” 

Those fingerprints, however, did not match anyone in the system at the time. When the assaults ended, leads eventually ran dry. Then, in March, police stopped Dunbar on a traffic warrant.

During the booking process, his fingerprints were taken, and those prints matched fingerprints recovered at the scene of one of the 2008 sexual assaults, police said. Dunbar would have been a teenager at the time those incidents took place.

Detectives sought search and arrest warrants based on the fingerprints and other evidence and arrested Dunbar on Wednesday without incident. The arrest took place at 6:15 a.m. at a home not far from the North Berkeley BART station, between West and Franklin streets on Delaware.

Dunbar also was arrested on suspicion of possession of marijuana for sale and a traffic warrant for driving on a suspended license.

His bail has been set at $415,000, according to BPD.

Schofield said Dunbar’s booking photograph could not be released because the case is ongoing.

Dunbar is set for arraignment Friday at 9 a.m. at the Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse in downtown Oakland.

Berkeleyside has requested charging information from the Alameda County district attorney’s office and will update this story if it is provided.

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BPD: DNA and fingerprints match 2008 sex assaults where rapist broke in with knife, gun (07.08.16)

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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...