Police say surveillance footage and the getaway car helped them identify an armed robber who targeted four people leaving Berkeley banks Aug. 10, 2021. Credit: CrimeMapping
Eddie Nute. Credit: BPD

An El Sobrante man has been charged with six Bay Area robberies over the summer after Berkeley detectives linked him to three armed robberies — in just 30 minutes — targeting people leaving local banks, authorities report.

Eddie Nute, 27, is being held at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin with a bail of $695,000 and has also been charged with parole revocation, according to county jail records online.

Berkeley police said they linked Nute to three armed robberies in the city Aug. 10 through security surveillance recordings and the getaway vehicle. Police said they also found a stolen handgun with a high-capacity magazine “hidden inside of a children’s laundry basket” during Nute’s arrest.

Police initially began investigating the cases that led them to Nute on Aug. 10 when a man with a gun robbed a Berkeley man in his 20s of his backpack, wallet and phone near College Avenue and Woolsey Street at 4:30 p.m. The Berkeley man had just left a Bank of America branch several blocks south in Oakland, police said.

Then, just before 5 p.m., police said, a man with a gun robbed a Berkeley man in his 60s who was walking to his vehicle in the Wells Fargo parking lot at 1095 University Ave. (at San Pablo Avenue). The robber said, “Give me everything you got,” according to court papers, and took an envelope of cash.

Two minutes later, police said, a man with a gun robbed a Hayward man in his 30s as he walked to his vehicle in the Mechanics Bank parking lot at 755 Hearst Ave. (between Fourth and Fifth streets), about six blocks west of Wells Fargo.

“The suspect approached the victim as he got into his vehicle after walking out of the bank, pointed a silver handgun at him, and said ‘Give me the bag,'” police wrote, “referring to a Mechanics Bank deposit bag. After taking the bag, the suspect then ‘frisked’ the victim and demanded his wallet and phone.”

As part of their investigation, Berkeley robbery detectives reviewed security surveillance from the robberies and were also “able to identify the suspect’s getaway vehicle,” BPD said. They put out an alert to other local law enforcement agencies identifying that car as wanted in connection with several armed robberies.

The next day, deputies from the Contra Costa County sheriff’s office pulled over the car in El Sobrante, BPD said. A woman was driving, police said, and further investigation led detectives to Nute, the woman’s husband.

Detectives served a search warrant at the couple’s home in El Sobrante on Sept. 2 and found the stolen gun, BPD said. They arrested Nute’s wife at the scene on suspicion of conspiracy to commit a crime and being an accessory to a crime after the fact; she has not been charged, according to booking records online, so Berkeleyside is not publishing her name at this time.

Detectives also arrested Nute that day on suspicion of robbery, being a felon in possession of a handgun and other offenses, BPD said. U.S. marshals assisted in Nute’s detention, according to court papers.

Since his arrest, the Alameda County district attorney’s office has charged Nute with two separate robbery cases detailing six separate felony robbery counts in addition to felony weapons charges, according to court files reviewed by Berkeleyside.

BPD: Nute confessed to multiple robberies

On Sept. 3, the DA’s office charged Nute — in connection with the Berkeley cases — with three counts of armed robbery Aug. 10 as well as two other felony counts: possession of a firearm by a felon and possession of ammunition by a prohibited person.

On Friday, the DA’s office charged Nute with three more robberies, one of which was allegedly armed, on July 1, July 27 and Aug. 10, according to court papers reviewed by Berkeleyside.

On July 27 just before 3:30 p.m., Nute robbed a man in Piedmont, following him home from the same Oakland Bank of America branch an hour before the Aug. 10 robbery described above at College and Woolsey, according to court papers filed by the Piedmont Police Department. In that case, the robber used a silver mid-sized SUV to follow the man home. Police identified the car as a silver Acura MDX that Nute had borrowed from an ex-girlfriend.

Piedmont automated license plate readers captured the Acura leaving that city two minutes after the robbery, Piedmont police wrote, and other surveillance cameras showed it following the Piedmont man home. During his BPD interview, Nute “spontaneously” told police he was responsible for “the Piedmont robbery as well,” Piedmont PD said. PPD said Nute’s cellphone GPS data also placed him in that city at the time of the robbery.

On July 1 at 9:55 a.m., Nute robbed a man at gunpoint after parking at the man’s San Leandro apartment complex, according to court papers filed by the Alameda County sheriff’s office. He took $200 cash, a backpack and keys from the man, according to court papers. Surveillance footage showed Nute in the getaway car at the scene, according to the sheriff’s office.

“During an admonished interview with Berkeley Police Department detectives, Nute confessed to several robberies, to include this robbery,” the sheriff’s office wrote in court papers. “Nute was shown surveillance footage stills of this robbery and identified himself.”

On Aug. 10 at 2:10 p.m., Nute robbed a 62-year-old woman of her purse, pushing her and ripping the purse from her hands outside a hair and nail salon in Castro Valley, according to court papers filed by the Alameda County sheriff’s office. Authorities said the purse contained more than $1,300 in cash, bank cards, house keys and other items. The sheriff’s office said Nute also confessed to this robbery while talking to BPD.

According to court records, Nute has three felony convictions, for assault with a deadly weapon and assault with force likely to cause great bodily injury in Solano County in 2017, and reckless evasion from police in Alameda County in 2016. That incident resulted in significant media coverage.

“Nute currently has a $1 million active warrant out for his arrest related to the investigation for over 50 counts of auto burglary, conspiracy, as well as a gang enhancement,” Fremont police said at the time.

The felony evasion case sent Nute to prison on a 16-month sentence, according to court records. The Solano County case sent him back to prison, according to court papers.

Nute is scheduled for a preliminary hearing — where a judge decides whether there is enough evidence for a case to go to trial — Thursday at Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse in Oakland, according to court records online. He is scheduled for a parole revocation hearing at the same time.

Berkeley has had approximately 200 robbery calls this year, according to preliminary police calls for service data.

This story was updated shortly after publication to include several additional details from court papers and police.

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...