Bancroft Way and Fulton Street. Image: Google Maps

A 27-year-old homeless man who grabbed a woman and pulled her across a downtown Berkeley street early Sunday morning is now in custody, being held on suspicion of kidnapping, robbery and other crimes, authorities report.

Police arrested Deshaun Montgomery on Sunday just after 7 a.m. in connection with the case, according to jail records online.

Berkeley Police Lt. Dave Lindenau said Montgomery approached the woman — who was a stranger to him — at Bancroft Way and Fulton Street, and began to pull her across the street while telling her to follow him.

The woman was holding her phone, and Montgomery grabbed it from her, Lindenau said. Eventually, the woman was able to break free and run away. But Montgomery chased after her, and continued to grab her and tell her to come with him.

A passing motorist stopped to let the woman into his vehicle, and drove the woman — who was clearly distressed — to the Berkeley Police Department.

In response to her report, officers rushed to Bancroft and Fulton, where they found Montgomery, Lindenau said. The woman, who is in her 30s, identified Montgomery as her assailant. He resisted police when they tried to detain him, Lindenau said.

At the time of his arrest, Montgomery was on probation for robbery. According to Berkeleyside records, he committed a robbery in July 2015 at Shattuck Avenue and Channing Way.

In 2014, Montgomery’s testimony featured prominently in a court case that ultimately resulted in the conviction of Duane Nailor, who had led police on a high-speed car chase through Berkeley in 2013 after trying to kill a man by beating him with a metal pipe in a prolonged attack.

Montgomery is being held at Berkeley Jail in connection with robbery, resisting arrest, kidnapping, and kidnapping with intent to commit robbery, rape or another crime. His bail has been set at $215,000.

He is scheduled for arraignment Wednesday at the Wiley Manuel Courthouse in Oakland.

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...