Police Blotter

Friday July 18, 2003

Watermelon Heist 


A tall, thin, mysterious watermelon thief struck Andronico’s Market on Solano Avenue early Wednesday morning, according to police. 

Berkeley Police Officer Mary Kusmiss said a witness called authorities at 3:35 a.m. to report that a man had taken a watermelon from a bin on the south side of the 1850 Solano Ave. store shortly before a “suspicious” van left the area. 

An Andronico’s employee also reported seeing a man, about 18 years old, with at least two watermelons, getting into the van. In the end, police determined that a total of three watermelons had been swiped at a value of $15. 

“These are very large items to take off with,” said Kusmiss. “It’s not very common.” 

Kusmiss said witnesses saw only one man and there is no evidence, at present, that a second person was driving the van. Police had no suspects in the case as of Wednesday afternoon. 


Eat and Run 


A Domino’s Pizza deliveryman arrived at a house on the 1600 block of 63rd Street Tuesday night at 10:45 to deliver two pizzas at a value of $36 and found a woman sitting on the steps, according to police. 

The woman, described as about 20 years old, 5 feet 2 inches and 200 pounds, met the deliveryman on the sidewalk and said she had ordered the pizzas, police said. The deliveryman gave the pies to the woman, who said she had to go inside to get money. 

But the woman turned and ran west on 63rd Street, before going south on California Street and disappearing. 

“An area check conducted by two assisting officers did not turn up a woman or any pizza boxes,” Kusmiss said. 


Stolen plate and drugs 


A patrol officer grew suspicious when he saw a gray Ford van traveling east on Parker Street with no front license plate early Tuesday morning, police said. 

The officer ran the plate on the back of the van and learned that Emeryville police had reported the plate stolen. The officer stopped the driver, 31-year-old Berkeley resident Leonard Hutton, at the corner of Parker Street and Warring Street. 

Hutton gave the officer his license and said he had just traded his computer for the van, Kusmiss said. 

The officer ran the license plate and found that Hutton’s license was suspended and he had two warrants out for his arrest — one for possession of the drug crystal methamphetamine and one for possession or drug paraphernalia. 

A search of the van turned up more crystal methamphetamine and a glass pipe for smoking the drug. Police determined the van was not stolen. 

Hutton was arrested and his dog, a pit bull, was placed in a local animal shelter. Kusmiss said that Hutton, if he gets jail time, will be able to pick up his dog upon release.