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 Aug. 5-11, there were reports of five robberies, 14 burglaries, 18 assaults or batteries, two weapon-involved calls and two sexual assaults, according to CrimeMapping.com. There were also 12 stolen vehicles, seven disturbances and 25 auto break-ins or thefts from vehicles reported. Three attempted robberies and an attempted kidnapping, among other crimes, were reported on CrimeMapping to the University of California Police Department (UCPD). Arrested or charged individuals are presumed innocent. Find the Aug. 5-11 round-up below.
Recent public safety news
GUNFIRE FROM A VEHICLE Someone in a vehicle heading west on Ashby Avenue at 9:40 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 14, “fired several shots in the area of Ashby and Dohr. Nobody was hit,” according to police. The car was gone by the time officers arrived, and no arrests have been made. Casings were located, however.
FIREWORKS OR GUNFIRE? Later on Sunday, a number of questions came in from people asking about possible shots fired in southwest Berkeley. An officer who responded found fireworks that were still hot to the touch, and a smell of smoke in the air, police said. One reader told Berkeleyside the fireworks were set off near Oregon and California streets: “Dispatch said they got 50 911 calls.” A photograph of a fireworks container found in the area appears at the top of this story.
OVERTURNED VEHICLE ON GILMAN Many readers wondered about an overturned car on Gilman Street at Peralta on Monday and asked about what had taken place. Police said one person was taken to the hospital after the crash in the 1200 block of Gilman (between Peralta and Ordway). Both drivers stayed at the scene and cooperated with BPD, said Sgt. Andrew Frankel, police spokesman. The crash happened at about 7:45 a.m. Gilman was closed during the investigation. One reader told us, “The two women in the car that flipped were shaken up but did not leave with the paramedics/ambulance, the driver in the other car did leave in an ambulance but was described as not seriously hurt by a bystander.”
The week in review: Aug. 5-11
Friday, Aug. 5
Six vehicles were stolen: at midnight in the 1300 block of Tomlee Drive; at 3:51 p.m. at Seventh and Potter streets; at 5 p.m. at Hearst Avenue and Grant Street; at 6 p.m. in the 2600 block of Fulton Street; at 6 p.m. in the 1400 block of Sixth Street; and at 9 p.m. in the 2200 block of Virginia Street.
There were two felony assaults or batteries, at 5 a.m. in the 1900 block of Haste Street, and at 3:12 p.m. in the 1900 block of Allston Way.
Police arrested Darrell Dekadmiel Finney, 25, in connection with the incident on Haste. He was charged with assault with a deadly weapon other than a firearm and committing a new offense while on bail. He could be sent to prison if convicted. Finney has been released on $25,000 bail, according to Alameda County sheriff’s office records online, and is scheduled for his preliminary hearing Friday, Aug. 19.
Police arrested Sage Finley Smith, 22, in connection with the incident on Allston. He’s been charged with possession of a knife and resisting arrest, according to sheriff’s office records, and is being held with a bail of $20,000 at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin. He’s scheduled for a hearing related to probation revocation Friday.
There was a home burglary at 9 a.m. in the 2300 block of Howe Street.
Help improve the blotter: Send Berkeleyside neighborhood crime news.
There was a disturbance at 1 p.m. in the 2200 block of Shattuck Avenue.
Someone brandished a weapon at 3:29 p.m. in the 2200 block of Dwight Way.
There was an identity theft incident at 3:40 p.m. in the 1100 block of Colusa Avenue.
Police arrested 62-year-old Lindell Waters during a vehicle stop in connection with a warrant for a double stabbing at Civic Center Park in June. Waters remains in custody at Santa Rita Jail. He is scheduled for his preliminary hearing Sept. 29 when a judge will decide if there is enough evidence to order Waters to stand trial. No bail amount was listed in sheriff’s office records. Read more on Berkeleyside.
Saturday, Aug. 6
There were three home burglaries: at 12:01 a.m. in the 1700 block of Oxford Street; at 6:55 a.m. in the 1700 block of Oxford Street; and at 11 a.m. in the 2300 block of Stuart Street.
There were two disturbance calls, at 12:32 a.m. in the 1200 block of Delaware Street, and at 8:09 p.m. at Page and Fourth streets.
There was a felony sexual assault at 1 a.m. at College Avenue and Dwight Way.
A vehicle was stolen at 11:30 a.m. at Shattuck and University avenues.
Two Berkeley Police officers on foot patrol at a Gilman Street homeless encampment at 7:30 p.m. reportedly found 18 pounds of marijuana inside a tent that smelled of weed.Inside the tent, police said they found the pot in a garbage bag, 25 cans of butane, and what they determined to be a hash oil cultivation system. Police arrested 40-year-old Michael Nelson on suspicion of cultivation of marijuana, illegally manufacturing narcotics, possession of narcotics for sale and possession of the switchblade knife. All four are listed as felonies. Nelson remains in custody at Santa Rita Jail with a bail of $75,000. He is scheduled for his preliminary hearing Friday, Aug. 19. Read more on Berkeleyside.
Sunday, Aug. 7
Police asked motorists to avoid the area around Ashby Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Way in South Berkeley after a traffic collision at about 8 a.m. that sent one person to the hospital. Roads were closed and the Berkeley Fire Department was on scene attending to the injured, said Lt. Andrew Rateaver of the Berkeley Police Department. Read more on Berkeleyside.
Someone reportedly brandished a weapon at 5:45 p.m. in the 2200 block of Shattuck Avenue.
Markus Mausisa, 32, has been charged with robbery, assault with a deadly weapon other than a firearm and infliction of great bodily injury in connection with that call. He could be sent to prison if found guilty. Mausisa is being held with a bail of $105,000 at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin, according to sheriff’s office records. He is scheduled for his preliminary hearing Tuesday, Aug. 23.
A vehicle was stolen at 9:30 p.m. in the 1600 block of Euclid Avenue.
Police arrested Joshua Crumel, 26, after a narcotics call at 10:49 p.m. at San Pablo Avenue and Allston Way. He remains in custody in connection with a robbery charge and is scheduled for a restitution hearing Aug. 30 at the Wiley Manuel Courthouse, according to sheriff’s office records.
Monday, Aug. 8
A local resident told Berkeleyside about an incident at 7:30 a.m. where a home in the 2100 block of Spaulding Avenue was reportedly broken into: “The police were called; they came and caught the suspects, two … guys in their late teens or early twenties, but for some reason let them go. So they are on the loose. So take care to secure your houses.” BPD spokesman Frankel said the house was vacant, and the crime had been categorized as trespassing, not burglary. Police were unable to reach the homeowner to confirm that trespassing had taken place, so the suspects were released, he said.
There were two felony assaults or batteries, at 1:33 a.m. in the 3200 block of Adeline Street, and at 11:23 a.m. in the 1900 block of Center Street. Police arrested a 29-year-old man on suspicion of misdemeanor battery with serious bodily injury but he is no longer in custody. The current status of the case was not available due to technical problems with sheriff’s office records online that are slated to be fixed by the end of August. At last check, he was scheduled for a pretrial hearing Tuesday, Aug. 23.
There were three home burglaries: at 9:30 a.m. in the 1800 block of Acton Street; at 9:43 a.m. in the 1400 block of Hearst Avenue; and at noon in the 1800 block of Acton.
There were two disturbance calls, at 10:50 a.m. in the 900 block of Bancroft Way, and at 11:45 p.m. in the 1200 block of Ashby Avenue.
Police arrested 42-year-old Jeffrey Cole after the incident on Bancroft. He has been charged with attempted grand theft from a person, criminal threats and attempted robbery, according to sheriff’s office records, and he is not eligible for bail. His next court appearance was not listed.
Someone burglarized a 2003 Toyota Corolla between 1 p.m. and 4:45 p.m. while it was parked at the Ashby station, the BART Police reported. A $100 Pioneer stereo was taken. The mode of entry into the vehicle was unknown.
A reader asked Berkeleyside about what sounded like possible gunfire: “Five loud reports, like gun fire, around San Pablo and Parker” at about 1 p.m. Said the reader, “Traffic at the intersection stopped for about 30 seconds then everyone went on their way. I could not see anyone with a gun.” Lt. Kevin Schofield, a Berkeley Police spokesman, said police determined that fireworks caused the noise.
There were three robberies: at 4:13 p.m. in the 2500 block of Shattuck Avenue; at 10:30 p.m. in the 1300 block of Ashby; and at 11:57 p.m. at Ashby and Ellis Street.
Police arrested Bruce Wayne Leslie, 65, after the incident on Shattuck. He remains in custody at Santa Rita Jail with a bail of $1 million. Listed charges against him include robbery, being a felon in possession of a firearm, assault with a deadly weapon other than a firearm, a possible new strike, and prison eligibility, according to sheriff’s office records. He is scheduled for his preliminary hearing Tuesday, Aug. 23, at the Rene C. Davidson Courthouse in Oakland.
The BART Police reported two property crimes at the North Berkeley station. A brown Giant Escape 24-speed men’s hybrid bicycle, valued at $500, was stolen between 7:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. while it was cable-locked at the north bike racks. Between 8:20 a.m. and 6:50 p.m., a gray 2009 Toyota Matrix was burglarized while parked at the station: “The vehicle’s driver’s door window was smashed to gain entry, and its $200.00 Pioneer brand stereo was taken.”
BART police officers detained a man at gunpoint after he reportedly brandished a knife at the Ashby BART station at about 7:50 p.m. Officers could not, however, find a witness to the brandishing who was willing to seek a complaint against the man. The man was placed under arrest on suspicion of public intoxication due to his level of apparent alcohol consumption, the BART PD reported. Authorities said the man “made suicidal statements” before he could be booked into jail. He was taken to Alameda County’s mental health facility and put on a psychiatric hold. The agency reported that force was used during the arrest. (This item appeared in last week’s blotter for timeliness.)
Tuesday, Aug. 9
There were four home burglaries: at 1:45 a.m. in the 2300 block of Channing Way; at 8:10 a.m. in the 2500 block of California Street; at 12:45 p.m. in the 1000 block of Creston Road; and at 10 p.m. in the 2100 block of Ward Street.
Police arrested Lorna Morales, 43, in Dublin in connection with a 2015 drug case in Berkeley. Morales was arrested on suspicion of possession of narcotics for sale. She remains in custody with a bail of $20,000.
A vehicle was stolen at 1 p.m. in the 3000 block of Avalon Avenue.
Police responded to Fairview and Ellis streets for a report of possible gunfire at about 2:30 p.m. According to scanner traffic, one person said they heard what sounded like one gunshot, and saw a man with a gun run away. Police responded but found no shell casings or any signs of victims or property damage, said Sgt. Frankel, BPD spokesman.
There was an ID theft case at 6:10 p.m. in the 1900 block of Cedar Street, and a fraud or forgery case at 11:54 p.m. in the 3200 block of California Street.
Police responded at 6:16 p.m. to the 1300 block of Virginia Street for a narcotics call. Two people have since been charged in connection with that case. Maurice McGhee, 52, faces a raft of charges, according to sheriff’s office records, including lewd acts with a child, marijuana possession for sale, and possession of a firearm by a felon. Michael Douglas Watson, 34, has been charged with possession of marijuana for sale, possession of a firearm by a felon and other crimes. They are scheduled for their preliminary hearing next Wednesday, Aug. 24. McGhee is being held on $300,000 bail, and Watson on $115,000.
There was a disturbance at 7:42 p.m. in the 2900 block of Wheeler Street.
Wednesday, Aug. 10
California Highway Patrol officers arrested a Berkeley man after chasing him for more than an hour through two counties from I-880 to the Caldecott Tunnel. Oakland CHP spokesman Officer Sean Wilkenfeld said the man refused to get out of his vehicle even after it caught on fire. Police ultimately used a K-9 [police dog], which bit the man, to get him out of the vehicle. Police identified the man as 28-year-old Abdul Henan Zahid and arrested him on suspicion of evading police and driving under the influence. Read more on Berkeleyside.
There were two fraud or forgery calls, at 11 a.m. in the 1300 block of 10th Street, and at noon in the 600 block of Spruce Street.
The Berkeley Police Department put out an alert to warn players of the wildly popular Pokemon Go game to take some basic safety measures after at least two robberies and one attempt in the city in less than a month. Read more on Berkeleyside.
There was a robbery at 4:15 p.m. in the 700 block of Harrison Street.
Two vehicles were stolen, at 4:30 p.m. in the 1500 block of Carleton Street, and at 8 p.m. in the 3000 block of Mabel Street.
There was a home burglary at 5 p.m. in the 1700 block of Oxford Street.
There were three attempted robberies and an attempted kidnapping at University Village reported at about 5 p.m..
UCPD put out a notice last week warning of six male juveniles who were “involved in a series of attempted crimes” at about 4:45 p.m. at the playground in Albany’s University Village. UCPD said the youth “separately approached two male juvenile victims and harassed / searched them in an apparent attempt to find and take money and a bicycle.” (UCPD said one of the victims was just 10.) One of the would-be robbers also brandished what police said was likely “a toy weapon” as he approached a 33-year-old mother with her toddler and demanded money and her cellphone. UCPD said “The suspect then reached for the toddler as if to facilitate the victim’s search for money to give him, and the adult female victim fled with her child.” There was a third attempt involving a 39-year-old woman, too. The boys, who were described as black, were last seen leaving the area on bicycles, and one skateboard, north on San Pablo Avenue. UCPD was unable to find them. Ultimately, no property or money was lost.
One, who was riding a bike, appeared to be 16 and was wearing a black shirt and black sweatshirt. Another, also on a bike, appeared 12, had dreadlocks, and was wearing a black shirt and skinny jeans. The third appeared 13, was on a bike, had an “afro” haircut and was wearing a white shirt with the writing “Straight out of (****)” on it [the asterisks were in the original police log]. The fourth, who appeared 12, had a black shirt and ripped jeans and was on a bike. The fifth appeared 14 and had on a lime green and white shirt. The sixth, who was on a skateboard, had a short “flat top” haircut and wore jeans. (This item first appeared in last week’s blotter but the descriptions in this paragraph were not provided at that time.)
At about 5:05 p.m., UCPD arrested Alyxander Panitsnipes on suspicion of possession of marijuana for sale. He was arrested at Dwight Way and Hillegass Avenue, by People’s Park. Panitsnipes, who is 23, is also facing a charge of committing a new offense while out on bail. (He had been arrested on similar violations in early July, also at People’s Park.) His new bail has been set at $135,000, and he is scheduled for his preliminary hearing Aug. 24. He remains in custody at Santa Rita Jail.
There was a disturbance at 8:41 p.m. in the 800 block of Hearst Avenue.
A thief stole a black Trek 1100 bike from the racks at the North Berkeley station, the BART Police reported. The crime took place between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. The bike had been secured with a U-lock; when the owner returned, the bike and lock were gone.
There was a misdemeanor sexual assault at 10:30 p.m. in the 2100 block of Bancroft Way. Police arrested a 41-year-old man on suspicion of indecent exposure, annoying a child under 18, and peeking into private property; all three are misdemeanors. Michael Dowdy remains in custody and is scheduled for a readiness hearing Sept. 2. Bail was not listed in sheriff’s office records online.
Thursday, Aug. 11
There was a robbery at midnight at Parker and Ellsworth streets.
A man walking south on Ellsworth Street near Parker Street around midnight noticed a sedan getting close to him heading westbound on Parker, said BPD spokesman Frankel in response to a Berkeleyside query. The vehicle stopped and a man got out from the passenger side, and pointed a black handgun at the man, who turned over his cellphone. The suspect, described as a black man, 20-30 years old wearing a dark blue hoodie, got back into the car, which left the area westbound on Parker. (This item appeared in last week’s blotter for timeliness.)
There was a fraud or forgery case at 6:29 a.m. in the 600 block of Addison Street, and an ID theft case at 7:16 p.m. at Sixth Street and University Avenue.
There were two home burglaries, at 10:45 a.m. in the 1600 block of Ninth Street, and at 3:15 p.m. in the 2700 block of Haste Street.
A vehicle was stolen at 6 p.m. in the 1700 block of Shattuck Avenue.
Berkeley public safety data resources
- The Berkeley Police Department on CrimeMapping and CrimeView Community
- The UCPD crime log, also on CrimeMapping, and UCPD crime alerts
- Listen to the police scanner online
- 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.
Man charged after aluminum bat attack in Berkeley (08.16.16)
On the road with the CHP: Your questions answered (08.16.16)
Another Berkeley High alum fatally shot Sunday (08.15.16)
2 BHS grads killed in separate Oakland shootings (08.14.16)
Police action in Berkeley: Purse snatch, disturbance (08.12.16)
Premier Cru owner spent $900K on dates met online (08.11.16)
Youth attempt robbery of mom on playground, armed Southside robbery, more (08.11.16)
After initial stumble, police and schools aim to team up (08.09.16)
Photo gallery: Berkeley celebrates National Night Out (08.04.16)
Berkeleyside provides exclusive coverage of many Berkeley crimes. We welcome community tips about public safety issues and other newsworthy issues via email, Twitter or Facebook. Please alert us in advance if your tip is anonymous.