Man charged with robbery of TV cameraman at Berkeley synagogue

A TV cameraman was setting up for a shoot when a man with a gun rushed in to take the news station’s $25,000 camera, police said.

A 22-year-old Hayward man has been charged with robbery after authorities say he took a $25,000 camera from a TV newsman outside Berkeley’s Congregation Netivot Shalom synagogue in August.

Video surveillance of the robbery, at 1316 University Ave. (between Bonar and Acton streets), helped Berkeley police identify Jimmy Mack Ray as the suspect, BPD said Tuesday in a prepared statement.

On Aug. 10 just after 5 p.m., police said Ray used a gun to rob a television news cameraman in the parking lot at Netivot Shalom, taking a camera valued at $25,000. The newsman had been filming a segment about an incident of arson in a garbage can at the synagogue that had taken place the prior week.

On Tuesday, police shared the surveillance video they said helped crack the case.

Officers found items related to the robbery, as well as about an ounce of methamphetamine, during a search of Ray’s home Thursday, according to BPD. Police arrested Ray that day, according to jail records.

The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office charged Ray with robbery, possession for sale of narcotics, and other criminal enhancements.

According to charging documents, Ray was on probation at the time of his arrest and has one strike.

Ray remains in custody at Santa Rita Jail with a bail of $270,000. He is scheduled to enter a plea Sept. 25 at the East County Hall of Justice in Dublin.

A few days before the robbery, police had arrested a woman on suspicion of setting a fire in a trashcan behind Netivot Shalom earlier in the month. She was later charged with arson.

Note: Berkeleyside updated this story with additional details after publication.