Four teenagers from Richmond and San Pablo are in custody after robbing a woman Monday afternoon at a South Berkeley bus stop, authorities report.
Another woman who was at the bus stop tried to intervene, and received injuries to her leg when she was dragged a short distance by the getaway vehicle, police said. She was treated at the scene and planned to seek further medical care on her own.
Lt. Kevin Reece of the Berkeley Police Department said the women were at a bus stop at Ashby Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Way when two teenage boys approached at about 1:20 p.m. The teens took a cellphone from one of the women, then left. The other woman chased the pair as they ran around a corner to a waiting getaway vehicle.
Once she got to the vehicle, an SUV, Reece said the woman held onto it and tried to grab back the cellphone. She was dragged a short distance before she fell away from the SUV and injured her leg, he said.
A BPD officer then spotted the SUV coming toward him eastbound at Ashby and San Pablo avenues, Reece said. The officer made a U-turn to try to stop it, but the driver sped off.
Reece said the driver parked on Murray Street near Ninth Street, and “tried to blend in with other parked cars” there. The officer found the SUV, however, and all four of its occupants were taken into custody, he said.
All four were minors: two 16-year-olds from Richmond, and two 15-year-olds, one from Richmond and one from San Pablo.
Police also located the stolen property during their investigation.
Reece said the immediacy of the report helped police quickly zero in on the robbery suspects. Location and experience also played a role, he added.
“The officer who saw the car was looking at a spot where someone might go, and he speculated correctly,” said Reece. “And sometimes it’s sheer luck with having an officer in the right place at the right time.”
Other recent robberies in the city, too
Sunday, police handled an early-morning armed robbery at College Avenue and Parker Street. In that incident, a man jumped out of a passing vehicle at 2:45 a.m and demanded a pedestrian’s property. The pedestrian complied, the man got back into the car and his accomplice drove off.
The suspects in that report were described as older, however. Reece said there was no immediate indication that the teens arrested Monday were tied to other recent robberies in Berkeley.
According to CrimeMapping.com, a repository for local police data, BPD got 32 robbery reports in January, 22 in February, 23 in March and 26 in April.
May appears to be showing an uptick, however: As of Monday, there have already been 31 robberies reported with several days remaining in the month.
The robberies Sunday and Monday followed a spate of robberies at gunpoint in recent weeks.
Berkeley has averaged about a robbery a day over the past five years. Police said Friday that about a quarter of Berkeley’s robberies in 2017 involved a gun.