Police are looking for information about four robberies around UC Berkeley this week. Image: Google Maps
Police are looking for information about four robberies around UC Berkeley this week. Image: Google Maps

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.

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...