Berkeley police have asked the community to be on the watch after a suspicious man followed two teenage girls in the Elmwood neighborhood last month.
The man also followed women in several other Bay Area cities, police said. And, on Monday, after police published a community advisory about the case, two women came forward to say they believed they had been followed in Berkeley by the same man, police told Berkeleyside. Detectives are looking into whether the new reports are related.
According to the Berkeley Police Department, the man has “been following women as they walk or drive in their vehicles. In some of the cases, woman have reported that the suspect has aggressively drove towards them — seemingly to cause a collision.” The suspicious incidents began in February, BPD said.
On March 9, two girls, ages 13 and 16, were sitting in a raised concrete area at Piedmont Avenue and Russell Street in the Elmwood neighborhood when a shirtless man pulled onto the concrete and “engaged the girls in a brief conversation,” BPD said. The raised area, designed to limit vehicle access, separates the west end of Russell from Piedmont Avenue.
The man made the girls uncomfortable, BPD said, and they walked away from him toward College Avenue. According to BPD, “The man backed his car out of the vehicle barrier, turned his car around and followed the girls.”
The girls ran to a nearby business and asked for help, BPD said, “while the man parked nearby and continued to watch them.”
BPD said investigators from its Sex Crimes Unit were able to identify the man as David Saeed, 27, of San Ramon and secure an arrest warrant for him on suspicion of annoying/molesting persons under the age of 18. The Sacramento Police Department arrested Saeed in connection with that warrant April 2.
Saeed is no longer in custody and has not been charged, according to online court records.
When investigators reviewed recent calls for service in Berkeley, BPD said, they identified a half-dozen other reports of erratic driving by a man in a similar vehicle, including one by a woman who exited Highway 24 at Telegraph Avenue on Feb. 23 and encountered a driver who “made a number of intentional vehicle movements to cutoff/block her vehicle.”
During the investigation, Berkeley detectives also learned about reports from other Bay Area law enforcement agencies — the Walnut Creek Police Department, Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office and Danville Police Department — where Saeed had allegedly demonstrated similar behavior, according to authorities.
Police ask anyone with information about the March 9 incident or who may have had a similar experience with Saeed to call the BPD Sex Crimes Unit at 510-981-5735.
“If you encounter a situation where a person is following you, we recommend that you immediately call the nearest police department and go to the closest place of relative safety,” BPD said in Monday’s statement, such as a “business, gas station, community center or police station.”
On Monday, BPD thanked the Walnut Creek Police Department, Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office, Danville Police Department and Sacramento Police Department for their help with the investigation.