A man caught recently on video “creeping and peeping” outside a North Berkeley woman’s window was arrested Wednesday morning with the help of surveillance footage, according to community and police reports.
Pedro Jacobo, 55, of Oakland was arrested on suspicion of prowling and theft, BPD said, after the woman called police to report him outside her home in the 1300 block of Delaware Street. She was on alert because it wasn’t the first time this month she had seen him poking around. Officers flooded the area and took Jacobo into custody, according to a Nixle statement released Wednesday by BPD.
As it happened, officers had just watched security camera footage of the man’s prior suspicious behavior during the morning briefing at the Berkeley Police Department, authorities said. Officers who responded to Delaware Street, near Acton Street, recognized Jacobo from that footage and took him into custody without incident.
The woman told Berkeleyside earlier this week about the disturbing prowler outside her home. It had all started Saturday, March 3, she said, when she had been startled to see a man peering into her bedroom window. It was 6:30 a.m. and he was inside her fenced yard. She screamed when she saw him, and he ran off, police said.
The woman said the same man showed up again Monday, again at about 6:30 a.m. This time, he was caught on video walking slowly around the building and looking into one of her windows.
“He was back but I had mounted 4 security cameras around my house last week,” she wrote in an email to Berkeleyside. “I got some good footage of him creeping and peeping. He notices a camera at one point, it’s right in his face. Later he steals it, but it was worth it! It’s easy to get good stills from it.”
Police said, in the incident Monday, the man can be seen on video looking into the woman’s window. He then notices a video camera and takes it before leaving the yard.
Before Wednesday’s arrest, the woman had already shared her story and surveillance videos with neighbors on private social network NextDoor. She said she shared the footage because she was hoping the man, a “super creepy” “Peeping Tom,” could be identified.
One of those neighbors alerted Berkeleyside to the arrest Wednesday, and said she thought the woman had taken just the right steps to address the situation.
“This is just a couple of blocks from my house,” she wrote. “I [was] so impressed by the homeowner’s quick action.”
Berkeley Police Sgt. Andrew Frankel, department spokesman, said the results of the resident’s efforts speak for themselves.
“As a homeowner or as somebody who felt potentially violated… doing something like purchasing security cameras is a proactive step toward improving your situation,” he said. “And, if it does nothing else, it makes you feel better that you took a positive step toward your own security.”
Frankel said prowling can take place for a number of reasons. Most often, police see it in conjunction with property crimes, such as prowling with the intention of stealing something. But he said that did not seem, from what authorities know at this time, to have been Jacobo’s intentions. Other than the security camera, he never was seen to have taken anything during his repeat visits, Frankel said. Instead, the man focused on peering inside the woman’s window.
BPD said, in the statement Wednesday, that privately-owned security cameras are a “critical tool” that helps BPD identify suspects and solve crimes.
Frankel said those cameras definitely paid off in this case: “She picked a system that worked well and apparently did a bang-up job of installing it.”