Police ask for help to find assailant from North Berkeley sex crime Thursday

A woman was walking on Colusa Avenue when a stranger approached her from behind, threatened to have a knife and then sexually assaulted her.

The assault happened in the 500 block of Colusa Avenue in Berkeley, police said. Credit: Google Maps

The Berkeley Police Department is asking for the public’s help to identify a man who sexually assaulted a woman on Colusa Avenue in North Berkeley on Thursday afternoon.

Authorities put out a statement Friday with the man’s description, but have otherwise released few details about the nature of the assault, citing the ongoing investigation.

Police said the woman was walking on Colusa between Visalia Avenue and Thousand Oaks Boulevard at 1 p.m. when a stranger approached her from behind. He told the woman he had a knife and then sexually assaulted her.

BPD said the man was described as Black, 30-40 years old, and 5 feet 7 to 5 feet 10 inches tall. He had short, curly gray-and-black hair, and was wearing a blue sweatshirt and blue surgical mask. After the assault, BPD said the man fled on foot in an unknown direction.

Detectives are asking local residents to “check their video surveillance or dash cams for any information that may be related to this incident.” They hope community tips will help them solve the crime.

BPD asks anyone with information about the sexual assault to call the Sex Crimes Unit at 510-981-5735 or the 24-hour BPD non-emergency number at 510-981-5900.

Thirty-eight sex crimes — 18 of which were listed as felonies — have been reported in Berkeley over the past six months, according to CrimeMapping.com, a repository for local police data.

Note: Berkeleyside updated the neighborhood of this incident to North Berkeley in response to reader input.

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