The Artist & Craftsmen Supply shop in Berkeley. Photo: Google Maps
The Artist & Craftsmen Supply shop in Berkeley. Photo: Google Maps

A man authorities say threatened to have a gun when he robbed a Berkeley art supply shop clerk is set to return to court Tuesday to find out if a judge will order him to stand trial.

Bruce Wayne Leslie, 65, was on probation and had “an extensive history of robberies” at the time of his arrest earlier this month, authorities said. He is being held on $1 million bail, according to online records from the Alameda County sheriff’s office.

According to the Berkeley Police Department, Leslie entered the Artist & Craftsman Supply shop — at 2573 Shattuck Ave. — at about 4:15 p.m. Aug. 8 and demanded money from the register. He threatened to have a gun and told the assistant manager to “hurry up,” according to court papers.

“The assistant manager was afraid of Leslie hurting her and gave him money from the register,” police wrote.”Leslie grabbed the money from the assistant manager’s hand and walked out of the store.”

Another store staffer followed Leslie about four blocks south on Shattuck until police arrived. According to court papers, he “did not follow … orders and had to be forcefully stopped.”

Witnesses identified Leslie as the robber from the store, and police found U.S. currency on him that they said had been taken from Artist & Craftsman Supply.

Leslie has been charged with one count of second-degree robbery in connection with the money taken from the clerk, according to court documents.

The Alameda County district attorney’s office has included a special allegation identifying that robbery as violent, which means Leslie could be sent to prison if convicted. He already has at least one strike, according to court papers.

According to charging documents, Leslie has a long list of prior convictions in Alameda County. The earliest case stemmed from an incident or incidents that took place April 22, 1985, which resulted in 10 robbery convictions and one attempted robbery conviction for Leslie, then 33. He was sent to prison as a result of that case.

He later racked up four more felony convictions in Alameda County, each of which sent him back to prison: in February 1993, for possession of a firearm by a felon; in May 1997, for petty theft with priors; in March 1999 for robbery; and in July 2015 for assault likely to produce great bodily injury.

Tuesday, he is scheduled to appear in court for his preliminary hearing, where a judge would ultimately decide whether there is enough evidence against Leslie for the case to proceed to trial, according to sheriff’s office records online.

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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...