A man has been charged with breaking into two Southside Berkeley student homes where police say he made disturbing sexual comments to three young women. Credit: Google Maps

A homeless man police say broke into a sorority in the Southside neighborhood near the UC Berkeley campus early Friday morning, as well as another student house occupied by several young women, was charged this week with felony sex crimes and “hot prowl” burglary.

Police say the man, who was already on probation with a stay-away order from one of the blocks, masturbated in one young woman’s bedroom — before being chased out of her house — then made explicit sexual remarks to two young women in a residence nearby.

Maurice Carmichael, 30, is being held at Santa Rita Jail on $270,000 bail, according to court records online. He entered not-guilty pleas in court this week.

According to court papers, a young woman had woken up around 6:40 a.m. in her home in the 2300 block of Piedmont Avenue on July 8 and saw a man masturbating at the foot of her bed. When she told him to leave, he walked into the bedroom of a student who was getting dressed. He was then “chased out of the house by residents,” police wrote.

About 10 minutes later, police say Carmichael climbed up a fire escape to get into a home in the 2500 block of College Avenue. The blinds were down, but the window was open.

Maurice Carmichael. Credit: BPD

According to BPD, Carmichael saw a young woman in the room who was naked from the waist down and sexually propositioned her. He then went into another female student’s room and asked if he could “jerk off.”

The woman yelled at him to leave and hid underneath her blankets, police wrote.

As Carmichael walked out of the house, police took him into custody. According to BPD, he admitted to being inside a home in the 2300 block of Piedmont and that he had masturbated there.

All of the young women identified Carmichael as the man who had been in their homes, police wrote.

Carmichael was already subject to a stay-away order from the 2300 block of Piedmont Avenue following a conviction last year following burglary allegations.

In January 2021, according to court records, Carmichael had gone up a fire escape and into the open window of a home in the 2300 block of Piedmont Avenue shortly before 5:40 a.m. Residents of the home told police they heard someone “rummaging through an unoccupied room on the third floor.”

When police arrived, Carmichael tried to sneak out of the house using the fire escape, according to court records. BPD arrested him outside.

Carmichael was charged with felony burglary in that case but ultimately was convicted of misdemeanor trespassing as part of a plea deal July 16, 2021. He was placed on probation through July 2024 and ordered to stay away from the Piedmont Avenue block.

On Tuesday, the Alameda County district attorney’s office charged Carmichael with four felonies: two counts of burglary, one count of indecent exposure with unlawful entry and one count of attempted indecent exposure with unlawful entry. If he is convicted of the felony indecent exposure charges, Carmichael would be required to register as a sex offender, according to court papers.

The burglary charges include special allegations that someone was home when the residence was entered, a situation commonly described by police as “hot prowl” burglaries.

Carmichael also has a recent misdemeanor prowling case from the Southside neighborhood pending in Alameda County Superior Court, according to court records online.

In that incident, on June 8, according to police, Carmichael was captured on security video trying to get into two apartments in a secured building in the 2400 block of Warring Street.

Carmichael has one felony conviction, for robbery in Contra Costa County in 2010, according to charging papers.

He is scheduled for a pretrial hearing in the new case on Tuesday at Wiley Manuel Courthouse in Oakland.

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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...