Police recovered 1,000 pills of different narcotics and a loaded AR-15 assault pistol, along with many other apparent contraband items, after a burglary Sunday, authorities report. Photo: BPD

Three people were arrested Sunday in Berkeley after an auto burglary call that ultimately led police to recover a stash of pills, cash and a loaded assault pistol without a serial number, authorities report.

According to a Nixle alert released this week, police responded early Sunday, just after 5:20 a.m., to a report of a possible auto burglary in progress around Durant and Telegraph avenues in Berkeley’s Southside neighborhood.

Officers who responded found several people in and around a parked BMW, and one of them — later identified as 35-year-old forklift driver Steven Manning of Oakland — matched the description provided by a witness who had called police. A records check found that Manning had several warrants totaling $50,000. Police said Manning had suspected heroin and $2,000 cash on him when he was arrested.

Police said a “strong odor of fresh marijuana” led them to search the BMW, where they found a digital scale that had suspected methamphetamine and marijuana residue on it. They also found drug packaging, along with more suspected heroin on Manning when he was taken to jail, police said.

Officers spoke to a woman in the vehicle, 32-year-old Meredith Rains of Oakland, and found her to have a warrant for her arrest. Police said they saw a bag of suspected methamphetamine on the floorboard when they took Rains out of the BMW. A man in the backseat, 45-year-old Rakim Washington of Berkeley, was found to have suspected heroin after police conducted a parole search on him, authorities said.

Police then took the investigation a step further by getting a search warrant for Manning’s home in Oakland, where they said they found a loaded AR-15 assault pistol that had no serial number. BPD said the search also “yielded over 1,000 pills of 5 different types narcotics, drug packaging materials, digital scales, … dozens of rounds of ammunition, a credit embossing machine, a card reader/writer, and card stock.”

All three were taken to Berkeley Jail, though Rains is no longer in custody and does not appear to have been charged.

Washington is being held without bail due to the parole violation, according to online records from the Alameda County sheriff’s office. His next hearing date was not listed.

Manning is being held at Santa Rita Jail on $255,000 bail and is set to appear in court March 30 for a pretrial hearing. He’s been charged with a number of violations relating to the assault weapon and drugs, along with forgery and vehicle theft, according to records online.

Police thanked the community this week for the tip that led to the arrests.

“The Berkeley Police Department is appreciative of alert community members reporting suspicious activities to us and helping make out community safer,” BPD said in the prepared statement.

Emilie Raguso (senior editor, news) joined the Berkeleyside team in 2012. She covers politics, public safety and development. In 2017, Emilie was named Journalist...