Police activity Saturday in South Berkeley. Photo: Sean Rouse

An alert neighbor helped Berkeley police track down a wanted parolee who led officers on a brief foot pursuit Saturday afternoon, authorities report.

Saturday shortly before 2 p.m., an officer on patrol recognized 25-year-old Isaiah Gardea of Berkeley at San Pablo and Heinz avenues, and knew there was an “at large” warrant for his arrest, said Lt. Peter Hong of the Berkeley Police Department.

When the officer tried to stop Gardea, he took off running, Hong said. Gardea ran east on Oregon, then into the block, jumping fences to access yards to the north.

Officers set up a perimeter and were planning to search for Gardea in that area, Hong said. Around the same time, however, a nearby resident called police to say a man had jumped the fence into her yard. She saw him run westbound across San Pablo and into the 2800 block of San Pablo, between Heinz and Grayson Street.

“She thought, ‘There’s a lot of police around, I guess they’re looking for him,’” Hong said, of the man she saw running.

She told police she had seen the man jump her fence and run down the driveway in the property in the 2800 block of San Pablo.

Hong said police then “shifted gears” and focused on the area the woman had identified. Officers found Gardea there, hiding beneath a car in a parking lot. Hong credited the alert neighbor with helping police locate the wanted man.

“If it wasn’t for her, we’d still be looking in the wrong area,” Hong said shortly after BPD took the man into custody.

In 2015, Berkeleyside reported Gardea — already a convicted felon at that time — had kicked his way into an apartment on Ashby Avenue where he struck a woman in the chest and threatened to shoot a man inside. Authorities said he fired a handgun into the air after leaving the home.

According to court records online, Gardea entered a “no contest” plea to a felony burglary charge in that case, and was sentenced to six years in prison.

He was released from prison in February, authorities said, but later was listed as having absconded after failing to check in with his parole officer.

According to records online, Gardea was arrested at 2:30 p.m. and was taken to Berkeley Jail. He is ineligible for release on bail because of his parole status. His first court appearance had not been listed as of publication time.

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...