UC Berkeley Press Release
Uptick in late-night robberies highlights need for students to be alert, campus police warn
BERKELEY – A spate of armed robberies around the UC Berkeley campus, including one Monday night (Sept. 10) in which a victim was struck by BBs, should be a warning to students to walk at night only in well-lit areas and in groups, according to UC police.
Monday's victim, a male graduate student, suffered welts from the BBs and scrapes and bruises from resisting the theft of his backpack. Two 14-year-old black male suspects were later apprehended by campus police.
But suspects in other recent robberies on the campus's south side, including cell phone thefts last Sunday night outside Units 1 and 2, plus a bold theft of laptops at roughly the same time from eight customers on the patio of Café Strada on Bancroft Avenue, are still on the loose, said UC Berkeley Police Lt. Mitch Celaya.
"Typically, with the influx of students in the fall, we do see an increase of criminal activity, usually thefts of laptops or iPods, but clearly we have seen a significant increase this year from last year," Celaya said. "Early on, UCPD identified additional resources to put into the south side of campus to address the violent street crime. We are going to continue to look at how best to deploy those individuals to address this crime trend."
One key, Celaya said, is for students, faculty and staff to program into their cell phones the number 642-3333, which connects directly to the UCPD emergency desk. When calling from campus phones, however, people should still dial 911, he added.
Celaya also noted that UC police will increase their educational outreach to encourage the campus community to use safety programs such as BearWALK or the Night Safety Shuttle, and will educate people to use the campus's many well-lit paths rather than dark walkways and bridges. For UCPD safety information. link to the Web site http://police.berkeley.edu/safetyinfo/.
The graduate student robbed of his backpack on Monday night was crossing a dark bridge over the north fork of Strawberry Creek near Haviland Hall when he was accosted by two male juveniles, one of them with a hand weapon capable of shooting BBs or pellets. When the student resisted, the juveniles kicked and pummeled him, and one fired at the victim, who was hit by three BBs. The juveniles got away with the student's backpack. Thanks to a witness, UC police officers were able to pursue and apprehended the two suspects in the northeast quadrant of campus, not far from Gayley Road.
Aside from the Sunday incidents, two robberies occurred on Saturday, Sept. 8: one near Kroeber Hall, the other near 2610 Channing Way. UC police caught a total of five of the six black male juvenile suspects related to these robberies. The sixth suspect is thought to be one of the two juveniles apprehended after Monday's assault on campus, Celaya said. UCPD, in collaboration with city of Berkeley police, continue to investigate the involvement of these suspects in other prior robberies, he added.