People’s Café at 61 Shattuck Square. Image: Google Street View
People’s Café at 61 Shattuck Square. Image: Google Street View

Four Berkeley Unified students who threatened a woman when she tried to stop them from taking her laptop Friday at a Berkeley café have been arrested, officials report.

The woman was sitting at a table at People’s Café, 61 Shattuck Square, when the youth snatched her computer at about 1:15 p.m., said Lt. Peter Hong of the Berkeley Police Department.

The woman “tried to fight them off,” Hong said, “but they threatened her and forcibly took the laptop.”

The woman and other witnesses followed the group and called police. Officers then located and arrested all four youth, described as juvenile males, downtown in the area of the main Berkeley post office at 2000 Allston Way.

Police recovered the laptop during the investigation, Hong said. No further information was immediately available.

Update, 2:45 p.m. Berkeley High School Principal Erin Schweng sent an email to the school community Friday shortly after 2 p.m. identifying all four people arrested as BUSD students, three from Berkeley High School and one from Berkeley Technology Academy.

“I’m writing to let you know that this afternoon, just in front of the YMCA, there was significant police response that resulted in three BHS students and one BTA student being detained,” Schweng wrote. “No students were injured, the incident was not related to any activity at BHS, and our campus remained calm, but the close proximity to Berkeley High School prompts me to let you know that this occurred.”

During the arrest, Hong told Berkeleyside, officers also recovered an iPad stolen from somebody on the UC Berkeley campus earlier in the day.

Berkeleyside has asked for more details about the students who were arrested as they become available.

Update, 3:40 p.m. Police identified the arrested youth as Berkeley residents. One is 15, two are 16 and one is 17, police said.

(Note: The original story was updated after publication to include information from the BUSD update.)

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...