Police Blotter

Friday July 04, 2003

“Hot Prowl” burglary 


A thief entered a home on the 600 block of San Luis Road in the Berkeley Hills early Wednesday morning in what the police call a “hot prowl” burglary—a robbery with residents in the home. 

The thief, described as a heavy male over 5’ 6”, entered through an open window. A 56 year-old female resident awakened “when she heard some rattling noises from downstairs,” said Berkeley Police Department spokesperson Officer Mary Kusmiss. 

Seeing what she believed was a flashlight briefly turning on and off through an open door in her bedroom, the resident walked to the top of her stairs. 

“She looked down the stairs and saw a man she didn’t recognize,” said Kusmiss. “She went back into the bedroom, slammed the door and started screaming.” 

Her husband awakened and called 911. Police found two large paintings that belonged in the living room outside, but residents said two other paintings, heirlooms painted by a family member, were missing. The residents did not attach a monetary value to the paintings. 

As of Wednesday, police had no suspects. 


DVD heist 


A patrol officer driving west on Channing Way at 11:43 p.m. Monday night noticed a man running out of Blockbuster Video with a backpack, shouting incoherently. 

“[The officer] caught up alongside the man who was running and attempted to ask him what was happening,” said Kusmiss. 

At that point, the man turned and ran north on Milvia Street. 

“Just then another man came running westbound on Channing Way and appeared to be chasing the first man,” Kusmiss said. 

At that point, the first man dropped the backpack and the second man picked it up. The police officer caught up with the pair at the corner of Bancroft Way and Milvia Street and discovered that the first man had stolen 23 DVDs from Blockbuster—including “The Fast and The Furious,” “Spiderman” and “The Recruit” —valued at $690. 

The man who picked up the backpack was a Blockbuster employee. 

Police picked up the thief, a 32 year-old Oakland man, and charged him with grand theft and a parole violation. 


Bicycle gang attempted robbery 


An 18 year-old resident of Birmingham, Alabama, visiting a brother’s home on the 2200 block of Derby Street in Berkeley, set out with his brother Monday night to pick up some supplies at Andronico’s Market for a road trip. 

On the way to the market, according to police, the brothers noticed three young men on bicycles. The three men, riding pink, red and black bikes, approached the brothers and asked if they wanted to buy marijuana. 

When the brothers declined, one of the bicyclists asked to borrow $5. The brothers declined. 

“One of the suspects hauled off and whacked the Alabama brother in the face,” said Kusmiss. 

The same suspect proceeded to punch the Alabama brother about 15 times, the victim told police. The brother then “teetered backward and fell onto a white Ford Mustang,” Kusmiss said, triggering a car alarm and a call to the police by the car owner. 

The three assailants escaped with no money. Later, an officer found three young men who matched the description of the attackers at the corner of Adeline and Harmon streets, near the Ashby BART station, and caught two of them. The two brothers positively identified the pair, both 18 year-old Berkeley residents, who have been charged with attempted strong arm robbery.