A crew of armed robbers with a gun may have targeted downtown Berkeley overnight, committing three robberies around the UC Berkeley campus — and attempting a fourth — over about four hours, police report.
All the crimes took place on or near the Cal campus between about 10 p.m. Wednesday and 1:50 a.m. Thursday, police said. In three of them, a gun was used. UCPD and Berkeley city police officers searched the area but did not find the culprits.
The University of California Police Department put out a notice Thursday morning about the incident on campus, noting that a robber with a gun tried to take property from a man at the West Crescent, near Center and Oxford streets. The robbers and their vehicle “are believed to be related to three other … robberies that occurred in the City of Berkeley within the same timeframe,” according to UCPD.
Just before 10 p.m., a 33-year-old man was entering the Grinnell Pathway from the West Crescent at UC Berkeley when someone with a gun walked up behind him. The robber demanded property but then ran to a getaway car without taking anything. UCPD did not release descriptions of the robbers other than to note there was more than one of them and that they had a vehicle.
The next incident took place at 10:15 p.m., said Officer Byron White, Berkeley Police Department spokesman. A 22-year-old Berkeley woman was walking in the 2500 block of Benvenue Avenue, near Dwight Way, when two people walked up behind her and took her cellphone. The pair ran to a getaway car on Dwight.
Witnesses said one of the robbers was a 22- to 24-year-old man with dark skin, a medium build, about 6’1″ tall, wearing a dark hooded top, pants and athletic shoes.
Two hours later, at 12:15 a.m., a 21-year-old Berkeley man was walking in the 2800 block of Bancroft Way, near Warring Street, when a stranger suddenly “appeared from behind a parked vehicle.” He pointed a gun at the pedestrian and demanded his bag, which contained his laptop. The robber took the bag and ran to a getaway car.
Witnesses said the robber was black, about 6-6’2″ tall with a slim build, wearing a black mask and a white or gray hooded top.
The last robbery took place at 1:50 a.m. when two Berkeley women, ages 21 and 22, were walking on Fulton Street, near Haste Street, when a driver pulled up beside them. A female robber got out of the car, pointed a gun at them and demanded their phones. The robber took the phones, got back into the car and took off.
Witnesses described the robber as a tall black female, no age provided, with short hair and a skinny build. Police said there may have been two males in the vehicle with her.
The city of Berkeley usually averages about a robbery day. Over the past week, however, those numbers have been up, with about 15 robberies, including one attempt, in just six days.
In 2017, the most recent full-year data available, about a quarter of the city’s robberies involved a gun.
Berkeley police investigators ask the community to share tips, surveillance footage and anything else that might be helpful. The BPD Robbery Detail is at 510-981-5742.