by Anneli Rufus
A spate of armed robberies in the last two weeks is making North Berkeley more dangerous.
According to a bulletin received last night from the Berkeley Police Department:
"On Thursday, Sept. 30, at about 11:15 pm, a pedestrian walking on Acton St. south of Cedar St. was robbed via gun. The suspect was described as a black male adult in his 30’s, 5’9” to 5’10” tall, 150 to 160 lbs, wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt. The suspect fled the scene in a ’85 to ’90 maroon or burgundy colored Toyota Carolla (or similar) sedan. The car was driven by a second (unknown description) suspect.
"On the following Thursday, Oct. 7, at about 10:30 pm, a pedestrian walking on Milvia St. near Vine St. was robbed via gun. The suspect description was very similar to the one from the robbery on Sept. 30. In this robbery, the suspect also fled the scene in a car driven by a second unseen suspect. In this incident, the suspect vehicle was described as a dark blue or black mid ‘80s Toyota Carolla with a 'beat up' look and a 'louder' muffler.
"The third robbery occurred on Tuesday the 12th. At about 5:45 pm, a suspect armed with a gun attempted to rob a pedestrian walking on Scenic Ave. near Cedar St. The suspect may have fled the scene in an older gray 4-door vehicle. The suspect was described as a Latino male adult, 18 to 22 years old, 5’8” to 5’10” tall, with a medium build, wearing baggy jeans and an oversized gray t-shirt with a design on the front.
"There are obvious similarities between the first two robberies and our Detectives are exploring the possibility that this may be a developing crime series."
Just now, another bulletin arrived:
"We had an additional armed robbery last night in our area. At 7:52 pm, a pedestrian walking on the Ohlone Greenway near the tennis courts at Cedar-Rose Park (area of Hopkins St. and Peralta Ave.) was robbed by three black males (18 to 20 years old, medium heights, heavy builds, wearing dark hooded sweatshirts) armed with a shotgun. The three suspects may have also been responsible for a second armed robbery at 9:47 pm near Russell St. and Wheeler St. in South Berkeley, and a third robbery in North Oakland.
"Our Patrol Officers have the suspect and suspect vehicle descriptions, and our Detectives are actively investigating the cases. I will pass along any new information as it becomes available. Please keep this information in mind as you travel through Area 1, and never hesitate to call B.P.D. if you see something suspicious."
As gunmen prowl our streets wielding large weapons, the police recommend the following safety precautions — based on a list created by a Berkeley armed-robbery victim:
1) Pay attention to your surroundings at all times...use all your senses;
2) Be extremely careful when walking home late at night...if possible, get a ride from someone, even if it seems like an inconvenience;
3) Don't walk past parked cars that have people inside or have headlights on;
4) Stay away from blocks with dim lighting or areas where trees/plants/fences provide easy cover from other vantage points;
5) Keep the Berkeley Police cell phone emergency number (510-981-5911) in your cell phone and call it instead of 911 in case of emergency;
6) Don't try to be a hero.