Two young men from Oakland and San Leandro are facing felony charges related to a series of robberies at two Berkeley cafés and a bus stop in April, according to court papers.
Those robberies took place April 6 at a College Avenue bus stop, April 7 at Sack’s Coffee House on College, and April 14 at Peet’s Coffee on Fourth Street, according to the Berkeley Police Department. Authorities have linked the men to “similar style” crimes in Oakland on April 6 and at a Lafayette Peet’s on April 30, according to court papers.
The Alameda County district attorney’s office charged Noah Moreno, 18, of San Leandro and Janiero Booth, 19, of Oakland on Friday with robbery and grand theft in connection with seven victims from the three Berkeley cases. Over the weekend, Berkeley investigators also arrested at least one juvenile suspect in connection with the series, BPD said.
The DA’s office charged Moreno and Booth on Tuesday with several additional felony counts in connection with the April 6 case in Oakland, according to court records online.
The Berkeley robbery series began April 6 when two young Berkeley women, ages 18 and 22, were standing at a bus stop at about 4:50 p.m. at College Avenue and Woolsey Street. Two strangers grabbed their iPhones from their hands, then got into a vehicle, driven by an accomplice, and fled. Multiple people witnessed that incident and reported it to police, according to court papers.
The bus stop incident happened 15 minutes after what police described in court documents as a “robbery/grand theft” in Oakland “involving the same suspect vehicle and the same described group of suspects.” Two iPhones were taken in the Oakland incident, according to BPD, which did not describe the circumstances of that case.
The next evening, April 7 just before 6:45 p.m., two people went into Sack’s Coffee House at 2701 College Ave. Police have said one of them threw a cup of lemonade in the face of a 22-year-old Berkeley woman then took her Apple computer. When a customer ran after that robber, his associate snatched another Apple laptop that had been left unattended. Police wrote that a third person “acted as a lookout” that day, while a fourth drove the group’s getaway vehicle.
A week later, April 14 at 4:45 p.m., police say three people went into the Berkeley Peet’s, at 1776 Fourth St. (near Delaware Street). The trio “used force” to take one person’s Apple laptop and snatched two other Apple computers “without incident,” according to court papers. A fourth person drove the group away after the robbery, which was caught on surveillance video, police said in court papers.
The Lafayette robbery/theft, “involving the same suspect vehicle and similar described suspects,” happened about two weeks later, April 30, also at a Peet’s coffee shop, according to court papers.
Police arrested Moreno on April 30 and said, in court documents, that he admitted to driving the getaway vehicle in one of the Berkeley cases, and taking laptops in two of the Berkeley cases and the Lafayette case. He is on juvenile probation for a burglary case, according to court papers, and “has prior arrests for conspiracy, robbery, grand theft person, possession of stolen property, and possession of burglary tools.”
When Berkeley robbery detectives arrested Booth, he confessed to having been the getaway driver in one of the Berkeley cases and in the Lafayette case, according to BPD. Booth is on probation for a concealed firearm case from 2017, according to court papers.
The district attorney’s office has charged Moreno with four counts of robbery and four counts of grand theft in connection with the April 6-7 Berkeley cases. The DA’s office has charged Moreno and Booth with three counts of robbery and three counts of grand theft in connection with the Berkeley Peet’s case.
Tuesday, the DA’s office charged both young men in connection with the April 6 incident in Oakland. Case records online list five felony counts against Moreno — two counts of robbery, two counts of grand theft and one count of residential burglary — and four for Booth, who only appears to have been charged with one of the robbery counts. The burglary count against both men includes a special allegation that someone was present at the time of that crime.
Moreno is being held at Santa Rita Jail with a bail of $710,000 in connection with three pending cases, including a misdemeanor ID theft case from Berkeley that was filed in March. Booth is being held at Santa Rita on $370,000 bail in connection with the Berkeley and Oakland cases.
The pair is set to appear Thursday at the René C. Davidson Courthouse in Oakland for attorney and plea hearings related to the Alameda County cases, according to court records online.
No further information was immediately available about the Lafayette case because Contra Costa County does not post criminal court records online.
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.