Berkeley police cruiser (file photo). Photo: Emilie Raguso

The Berkeley Police Department regularly releases cases of community interest, which include incidents that involve violence or weapons or that people in the city have asked about. In 2018, BPD handled about 73,000 incidents and made more than 2,000 arrests. Arrestees are considered innocent until proven guilty.

Recent robberies

A 25-year-old man was unloading his vehicle Sunday at 8:25 p.m. in the 1900 block of Center Street (near Milvia Street) when a man and woman came up to him from behind. The man pushed him against his car while the woman emptied his pockets, police said. They “knocked the man to the ground and began to rummage through the vehicle for more items to steal,” police said. The pair fled after people in the area noticed them and yelled that they were calling police. Witnesses said the male suspect was white, in his late teens or early 20s, 6 feet to 6’4″ tall, in a gray hooded top and black pants. The woman was described as a black female in her late teens or early 20s in a gray hooded top.

Sunday at 9 p.m., a 33-year-old man was walking on Milvia near Parker Street when four or five people “attacked him from behind.” Police said they punched the man in the back and knocked him down. They continued to punch and kick him while they stole his wallet and phone from his pockets. Police said there was one female in the group. The rest were male. They wore hooded tops. Police said details about race and age were unknown.

A group of people grabbed a 52-year-old woman, threw her to the ground and tried to rob her Sunday at 9:10 p.m. The woman was walking in the 2800 block of Adeline Street (near Stuart Street) when four people grabbed her and threw her down. She fought them off and stopped them from taking her backpack, police said. The group fled west on Oregon Street. Police described them as a white man in his late teens or early 20s, 5’10” or taller with a small build, in a light-colored jacket with a fur hood; a black man in his late teens or early 20s, about 5’8″ tall with an average build, in a light-colored hooded top and sweatpants; a black man in his late teens or early 20s, about 5’8″ tall with a small build. No description was listed for the fourth individual.

A 33-year-old woman walking on California Street near Channing Way was robbed by a group of four or five males Monday at 4:40 p.m. Police said they pushed the woman down and tried to take her phone from her hand. There was a struggle and they grabbed her backpack then ran to a vehicle nearby. Police said the suspects were described as black and wore sweatpants. They were seen leaving in a newer-model four-door vehicle.

Robbery arrests

Five people surrounded a 21-year-old man Tuesday night in Shattuck Square (between University Avenue and Berkeley Square) then attacked and robbed him, police said. The man was walking just after 7:10 p.m. when the group surrounded him. One person “challenged the man to a fight and took off his sweater like he was about to attack,” police said. The assailants “started punching the man’s face.” When he fell to the ground, they took his phone then ran toward UC Berkeley. UCPD arrested three juveniles — two 15-year-olds, from Berkeley and Georgia, and a 17-year-old from Berkeley — on campus a short time later. Witnesses identified all three and they were arrested on suspicion of robbery, conspiracy and resisting arrest. Police did not release their names because they are minors.

Police arrested two teenagers after linking them to three robberies in Berkeley in January. The first took place Jan. 11 at 6:55 p.m. when someone grabbed a phone from a woman walking on Dwight Way near Martin Luther King Jr. Way. On Jan. 17 at 1:25 p.m., someone grabbed a laptop from a woman working on her computer near the front door of Sack’s Coffee House at 2701 College Ave. Several days later, Jan. 22 just before 5:40 p.m., two people went into Sack’s and grabbed laptops from two people sitting near the front door working. Detectives identified two Oakland teens, both 17, as the people responsible. They arrested one of boys Jan. 24 and the other on Feb. 16. Both were arrested on suspicion of robbery, grand theft and possession of stolen property. Their names were not released because they are minors.

The BART Police Department arrested 31-year-old Wade Frelot of Oakland in connection with a robbery on BART. Police arrested Frelot on Sunday at 1:11 p.m. at Ashby BART, according to BART PD. Frelot remains in custody in connection with a parole violation, according to booking records online. He is not eligible for bail, according to booking records.

Other incidents

CITYWIDE TRAFFIC ENFORCEMENT BPD says it plans to step up traffic enforcement around the city over the next month: “Officers will be looking for violations made by drivers that put the community at risk. These violations include drivers speeding, making illegal turns, failing to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks and failing to stop for signs/signals.” Police will also be on the lookout for impaired or distracted drivers. There have been more than 45 collisions in Berkeley this year that have resulted in injuries, BPD said, adding, “Our hope is that this increased enforcement will make our community and roadways safer.” The enforcement effort, which was announced Thursday, is funded by the state’s Office of Traffic Safety and the city of Berkeley.

MAN WITH KNIFE Police arrested a man with a knife after a local resident saw him jumping a fence in the La Loma Park neighborhood, authorities report. A resident flagged down police Sunday at 12:25 p.m. to report having seen the man jumping a fence into someone’s yard. The resident pointed officers to a house on Quail Road where they ultimately found a 38-year-old man with “a fixed blade dagger with a metal knuckle attachment as the handle.” The man, whose address is unknown, was arrested on suspicion of prowling, possession of a concealed dirk/dagger and possession of metal knuckles. He is no longer in custody and does not appear to have been charged, according to jail records online.

DRIVER ARRESTED AFTER STRIKING SKATEBOARDER Police arrested a 23-year-old Richmond man early Monday morning after a DUI crash that sent a skateboarder to the hospital, authorities report. The driver was turning right onto Dana Street from westbound Parker Street when he hit a 19-year-old Berkeley man on a skateboard who also had been westbound on Parker, police said. The skateboarder was taken to the hospital with injuries to his head, arms and legs. Police arrested the driver on suspicion of driving under the influence and causing injury. No charges had been filed as of publication time, according to court records online.

AUTO BURGLARY ARRESTS Police arrested two Berkeley men last week after an auto burglary investigation at the marina and linked one of them to an extended home burglary series from 2018, BPD reports. On Feb. 13, officers were called to the parking area of Hana Japan, at 235 University Ave., for an auto burglary. Police reviewed video surveillance that showed the suspect leaving in a gray sedan at 3:40 p.m. About three hours later, just before 6:40 p.m., a Hana Japan worker spotted the same sedan in the parking lot and called police. Officers responded and stopped the sedan on University. Police arrested 21-year-old Austin Laughlin, the driver, and 18-year-old passenger Selim Bourddoud on suspicion of auto burglary and possession of burglary tools. Police said Bourddoud also was arrested in connection with a series of seven home burglaries from 2018. Laughlin was charged with auto burglary and possession of burglary tools, both misdemeanors. He is no longer in custody. Bourddoud has been charged in the same case and remains in custody with a bail of $50,000. He is set to enter a plea Monday, according to court records online.

“ERRATIC BEHAVIOR” PROMPTS ARREST Police arrested a 25-year-old man Friday, Feb. 15, after two joggers saw him “acting erratically” on the pathway at Aquatic Park, police report. According to BPD, the man cursed at a female jogger who passed him. Another female jogger then took a photograph of the man, who “became upset” and chased her. He tried to grab the phone, but she and “others in the area” were able to stop him, police said. Officers arrived and arrested the man, whose address was listed as unknown, on suspicion of attempted robbery and probation violation. The man was charged with misdemeanor battery and remains in custody at Santa Rita Jail with a bail of $2,500, according to court records online.

STOLEN LAPTOPS FOUND DURING CAR STOP Police recovered four laptops, stolen at a recent house party, during a traffic stop Saturday in West Berkeley, authorities report. The laptops were taken during a party in the 1400 block of Parker Street on Feb. 15. Police said a teenager in the home threw a party without parental permission. The family later realized four of their laptops had been taken during the event. The day after the party, an officer made a traffic stop just before 9:35 a.m. on University Avenue near the Seabreeze market. During a search of the vehicle and the four people inside, the officer found a backpack with all four laptops from the house party. Police said an 18-year-old Berkeley man confessed to the theft. Police arrested him on suspicion of grand theft and possession of stolen property. He is no longer in custody so the case status could not be determined.

DOUBLE-PARKED WITH STOLEN PANTS? Police found 19 pairs of men’s track pants, which still had their security sensors attached, during a traffic stop of an unlicensed driver with an arrest warrant who had double-parked in downtown Berkeley, authorities report. Police were called to the 2300 block of Shattuck Avenue (near Bancroft Way) at 8 p.m. Saturday to address a double-parked vehicle that was blocking other cars from leaving. Officers arrived and spoke to the driver, an unlicensed 17-year-old girl from San Francisco, and determined she had an arrest warrant. A subsequent vehicle search turned up the track pants “with the security sensors, hangers and price tags still attached,” police said. BPD “determined that the items were stolen from two sporting goods stores in the Bay Area.” Police arrested the driver in connection with the arrest warrant. An 18-year-old woman from Fairfield who was with her was arrested on suspicion of possession of stolen property, petty theft and committing a felony while out on bail. She is no longer in custody and did not appear to have been charged, according to jail records online.

CARJACKING A food deliveryman returned to his vehicle Sunday night to find a stranger with a gun in the driver’s seat, authorities report. The stranger drove off with the man’s blue 2012 four-door Mazda 3 after a brief struggle, BPD said. The vehicle has California license plates, number 6UCG549. BPD described the driver as a mixed-race male in his early 30s, about 6 feet tall with a heavy build and short hair. He was wearing a red and gray jacket.

FIREARMS, ILLEGAL AMMO FOUND DURING WARRANT SEARCH Investigators turned up five loaded firearms and armor-piercing bullets during a warrant search at the home of an Emeryville felon last week, according to authorities and court documents. Police arrested 39-year-old Ernie Vegas after following up on an investigation into a gun transaction, according to BPD.

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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 of the Year...