Saturday June 16, 2001

Three Berkeley High students hanging out in Civic Center Park during their lunch break Wednesday were robbed of cell phones, pagers, wallets and money by two of their classmates, police said. 

It’s the kind of thing that “happens all the time (at Berkeley High) and seldom gets reported,” said Berkeley Police Lt. Rusell Lopes. 

The three students – two males and a female – were sitting near some playground equipment at the west end of the park when the two suspects allegedly walked up to them and asked for all their possessions. “If you don’t, you’re gonna get your ass beat,” the suspects reportedly told the students. Lopes described the suspect as a 15-year-old and a 16 -year-old, one 5 feet 10 inches and 350 pounds and the other 5 feet 6 inches and 220 pounds. 

The three students handed over all the possessions without argument – except one cell phone. As the suspects walked back onto the Berkeley High campus, one student used the remaining cell phone to call police. A nearby bicycle cop arrived on the scene within minutes and immediately began to search the crowded Berkeley High courtyard for the suspects. Lopes said they “stuck out like a sore thumb” because of their size and were quickly identified and arrested. Both were charged with multiple counts of robbery. 


An Orinda man sleeping in the back seat of his car after leaving a Berkeley party early Thursday woke to find someone in the front seat of his car, police said. 

The incident occurred on the 2500 block of Benvenue Avenue about 5 a.m. 

The suspect had apparently reached through an open window and let himself in while the man slept, Lopes said. The car’s owner woke up when the suspect leaned over in the back seat and began punching him repeatedly. “This ain’t no joke,” the man reportedly said. “Give me all your money. Give me all you’ve got.” 

When the victim insisted that he had no money, negotiations ensued, Lopes said. The victim offered to drive to a nearby ATM with the suspect and take out money. The suspect agreed. During the drive, the suspect repeatedly threatened to kill the victim if he didn’t hand over the cash as he had promised. But the victim maintained his cool, Lopes said, and eventually negotiated the suspect’s demands from $200 down to $60. 

Police have no suspects in the case.