BUSD reports armed robbery of Willard Middle School students, 2 arrested

The principal told parents that the students were “physically safe” but “emotionally shaken” by what had happened.


Willard Middle School students walking at Parker and Dana streets a week ago Friday “were targeted in an armed robbery,” school officials said in a statement this week.

A parent who received the notice, from Willard Principal Chris Albeck, asked Berkeleyside to find out more about the Nov. 5 incident.

On Friday, Berkeley Unified provided Albeck’s statement to Berkeleyside in response to an inquiry earlier in the week. No additional information was provided.

“I am contacting you this morning to notify you that Willard students were targeted in an armed robbery at the corner of Parker and Dana at approximately 6:45pm on Friday,” Albeck wrote. “Berkeley police responded shortly after.”

The Berkeley Police Department told Berkeleyside two people — a man and a boy — were arrested after the armed robbery, which involved a gun. BPD said four people were targeted in the robbery and that phones and money were taken from the group.

Police said there was also a robbery attempt at Parker and Ellsworth streets around the same time as the incident involving the Willard students. Police are investigating the possibility of a link between those cases as well as other recent robberies in the city.

In his message, which went out Monday at about noon, Albeck told parents the Willard students were “physically safe” but “emotionally shaken” by what had happened.

“Students and families have been offered counseling and mental health support services,” he wrote.

Albeck urged families “to have plans” for students after school in light of last Sunday’s time change, which meant darkness comes earlier in the evening.

Featured photo: Willard Middle School. Credit: Nancy Rubin

Emilie Raguso is Berkeleyside’s senior editor of news. Email: emilie@berkeleyside.org. Twitter: emraguso. Phone: 510-459-8325.