Berkeley police reported on several crimes this week. They appear below. Send tips to Berkeleyside with your public safety questions. Arrested or charged individuals are presumed innocent.
POLICE FIND CASINGS AFTER GUNFIRE On Thursday night, police found casings on the ground during an investigation into gunfire in South Berkeley, authorities report. There were no reported victims. Police responded just after 9:10 p.m. to the 3200 block of Sacramento Street (near Fairview Street) on a report of gunfire. They found bullet casings on the ground near Alcatraz Avenue, BPD said.
This was the fifth confirmed incident of gunfire in Berkeley this year, according to BPD: On Jan. 2, a Berkeley police officer shot a man, who was wounded in the jaw but survived, after an alleged robbery at Walgreens in downtown Berkeley; on Feb. 14 just after 6:45 p.m., police responded to a negligent discharge report at a home in the 1900 block of Oxford Street and found damage to the residence; on Feb. 19 just after 1:10 a.m., there was gunfire in the 2500 block of Dana Street and police found casings at the scene; on Feb. 28 at midnight, someone shot at an inhabited dwelling in the 1200 block of Allston Way and damaged the building. Community members also reported two other incidents of gunfire this year, but police did not find evidence of a shooting in either case.
ATTEMPTED CARJACKING AT MONTEREY MARKET Police are asking for help to find two young men who used a gun to try to carjack a Monterey Market shopper in North Berkeley on Monday evening. BPD said the woman was in the store parking lot putting items in her car after shopping at about 5:35 p.m. when two people approached her: “One of the suspects (armed with a handgun) demanded her keys — leading to a struggle for the car keys. When the woman did not let go, the second suspect pushed her to the ground while the first suspect pulled her keys from the woman’s grasp. As the suspects were trying to unlock the car, other people in the area heard the woman yelling for help and the suspects ran away.” The men were described as Hispanic, 18- to 19-years old, with slim builds and wearing blue jeans and dark hooded tops, BPD said. Police formed a perimeter in the area and searched for the young men but did not find them. Police ask anyone with information about the carjacking to call the department’s Robbery Unit at 510-981-5784.
There have already been seven carjacking cases in Berkeley this year, BPD said. There were 14 total in 2019 and 15 in 2020. On Friday, the Oakland Police Department released a statement alerting the community to an increase in carjacking incidents in that city. OPD said many of these incidents involve multiple assailants and appear to be “crimes of opportunity”: “In some cases, victims have reported that while in their vehicle at stoplights or stop signs, individuals have tried to take their property. There are also reports of individuals intentionally crashing their vehicles into a victim’s vehicle. When the victim attempts to exchange information, the suspects steal their vehicle.” See safety tips from OPD on the Nixle alert.
ANIMAL CRUELTY ARREST Police arrested a 22-year-old man on Telegraph Avenue after getting reports that he was harming a dog, authorities report. On Feb. 25 at 6:45 p.m., police were called to the 2600 block of Telegraph (near Parker Street) after getting several reports about the man’s alleged behavior. Witnesses told BPD the man had pulled a dog into the air, then threw the animal on the ground, according to police: “With the dog on the ground, the suspect then leaned on the dog with his bodyweight — pinning the dog to the ground.” When police arrived, they arrested the man, identified as Austin Anderson (no permanent address) on suspicion of animal cruelty. The dog, whose name is Chuck, appeared to be injured, BPD said, so police took him to the PETS Referral Center for treatment. After his evaluation, Berkeley’s Animal Care Services took custody of the dog. According to court records online, Anderson is no longer in custody and charges have not been filed. (Amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, authorities release most arrestees from jail quickly. Because they are no longer in custody, the district attorney’s office has more time to file charges.)
ATTEMPTED ROBBERY OF DOG A man tried to rob a woman in her 70s of her dog in late February in the Southside neighborhood, authorities report. According to BPD, the woman was walking her dog westbound on Channing Way near College Avenue at about 8:15 p.m. when a man walked up behind her and grabbed the dog’s leash. The woman tried to hold onto the leash but the man was able to take it from her after a struggle, BPD said: The man “then started punching the dog and the dog was eventually able to break free.” The woman yelled for help, BPD said, and the man ran away toward Piedmont Avenue. Witnesses said the man was 60 years old and wearing all dark clothing.
ASSAULT WITH A DEADLY WEAPON A disabled man was sleeping in his tent in Civic Center Park in downtown Berkeley on Monday, police said, when another man attacked him. The man inside the tent woke up just before 12:45 a.m. when the other man, who had a bamboo stick, began striking him with it from outside the tent, according to BPD. When police arrived they located the assailant, identified as 54-year-old Chris Battle (no address), on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon. Battle is no longer in custody, according to court records online, and charges have not been filed in the case. Battle was, however, charged Friday with a misdemeanor vandalism case from January, according to court records online, and is scheduled for arraignment in that matter March 12 at the Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse in Oakland.
CRIME SNAPSHOT From Jan. 1 through March 1 (the most recent date available), there were reports of at least 53 robberies, 113 burglaries, 99 assaults or batteries, 26 weapon-involved calls, seven sex crimes and 10 arson calls, according to CrimeMapping.com, an official repository for local police data. (Click the “show crime report” box that appears toward the top of each linked page to display a list of incidents below the map.) There were also 128 stolen vehicles, 86 disturbances and 163 auto break-ins reported, according to CrimeMapping.
MORE POLICE DATA Find statistics related to BPD calls for service, arrests, jail bookings and demographic information, and other details, about police stops in the city’s open data portal. The city also posts a heat map showing 180 days of calls for service. See the crimes reported to BPD on CrimeMapping. The University of California Police Department used to post crime reports on CrimeMapping but it doesn’t seem to do so any longer. UCPD’s daily police log is online.