Five robberies in Berkeley's Northside neighborhood may be linked, police said. Red dots indicate a gun was used, and green dots indicate that a weapon was not used. Source: BPD
Five robberies in Berkeley’s Northside neighborhood may be linked, police are reporting. Red dots indicate a gun was used, and green dots indicate a weapon was not used. Source: BPD

After three new pedestrian robberies in North Berkeley in just five days — all of which involved a gun — police are warning local residents to pay attention to their surroundings, and say they believe the crimes may be linked.

Authorities say these latest crimes follow a trio of robberies in November that could also be connected.

The three most recent incidents happened in the Northside neighborhood above the UC Berkeley campus between Dec. 1 and Dec. 5, according to a notice police released Wednesday afternoon.

“In light of these events, the Berkeley Police Department will be increasing the number of patrols in North Berkeley,” authorities said in Wednesday’s statement.

Read more about other robberies in Berkeley.

Monday, just after 7:10 p.m., the robbers approached a couple near Spruce and Virginia streets and robbed them. One of the men pulled out a gun and demanded their phones and backpacks. The robbers, described as men in their 20s or 30s, fled east on Virginia.

Friday, shortly before 11 p.m. at Walnut and Virginia streets, two men approached a 27-year-old Berkeley pedestrian on his way home from the bus stop. One of the men had a gun, and took the pedestrian’s backpack. The men drove off in an older tan-colored four-door sedan. One of the men looked about 5 foot 8, and the other appeared 5 foot 10 with a slender build. No further information was listed.

Thursday, at Virginia and Arch streets at about 8:30 p.m., a 27-year-old man was walking when two people approached him. One took out a gun and demanded the pedestrian’s property. They took the property and fled east on Virginia. The armed robber was described only as a male with his face covered.

The other three robberies happened Nov. 15, Nov. 22 and Nov. 25.

Shortly after 11:35 p.m. Nov. 15, a 24-year-old was robbed of his cellphone by two men, 5 foot 8 to 5 foot 10, as he walked in the 1500 block of Oxford Street (near Vine Street).

A week later, at 11:20 p.m., at 17-year-old UC Berkeley student was walking alone at Bowditch Street and Dwight Way, south of campus, when three men with a knife snuck up on him, brandished the knife and demanded his property. He handed over his backpack. The men appeared about 5 foot 8; no further detail was given to police.

Three days later in the 2400 block of Ridge Road, near Scenic Avenue, two people, ages 24 and 26, were walking when three men approached: “When they were within arm’s reach of the victims the suspects simultaneously grabbed their purses. Both victims managed to hang on to their property during the struggle. The suspects gave up and ran to a waiting vehicle.” The would-be robbers were listed only as a man who appeared about 20, and two others who looked 20-30.

Overall in Berkeley there have been at least 49 robberies since Nov. 1, according to (Click “show crime report” and scroll down on the link above to see a list.)

Police encourage community members to use caution when walking at night:

  • Pay attention to surroundings
  • Travel in groups when possible
  • Consider putting smart phones away while in transit
  • If you must be on the phone, consider using one earphone
  • Attempt to travel in well-lit, highly-populated areas

Police ask anyone with information about these cases to call the BPD robbery detail at 510-981-5742. For crimes in progress, call 911, or 510-981-5911 from a cellphone.

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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...