Police Blotter

Tuesday May 25, 2004

Pedestrian Killed in I-80 Accident  

A 50-year old Oakland woman was fatally injured early Saturday morning as she walked in the number four lane of Interstate 80 near the Gilman Street interchange in Berkeley, according to the Oakland office of the California Highway Patrol. 

Maria Toscano was struck by a 1999 Buick, which then spun out of control. That driver was arrested for driving under the influence. A second vehicle overturned as its driver swerved to avoid striking her. 

Officers said they are still trying to determine why Toscano was walking in traffic. 


Police Pick Pair as Officers of the Year 

Breaking with tradition, Berkeley Police picked a pair of their colleagues for Officer of the Year honors. 

Officers Van Huynh and Peter Hong will receive their honors Wednesday in ceremonies at the Albany/El Cerrito Rotary Club. 

Hong has served with the department nearly eight years, mostly in patrol. He’s also served on the department Drug Task Force and has served as a training officer for the last four years. 

Huynh joined the department in 1996, serving in Patrol and on the city’s Special Response Team. 

The two officers have worked adjoining beats for most of their career, said Officer Joseph Okies. 


Berkeley’s Troubles Come in Threes 

Youthful bandits traveling in troupes of threes have been staging strongarm stickups across the city over the last week, according to Officer Okies. 

The first heist happened shortly after five p.m. last Wednesday when a gang of three confronted a male pedestrian at Ward and Milvia streets and demanded cash. Their victim complied, and the trio fled. 

Another triad of young men in their late teens/early 20’s braced a passerby at Seventh and Cedar streets the same day shortly before 11 p.m. Once again, the victim complied, walking away poorer but unharmed. 

Yet a third threesome struck at 5 p.m. Saturday, confronting a pedestrian at Jones Street and San Pablo Avenue. Outmuscled, the walker parted with his cash. 


Another Trio, Another Trouble 

Police are seeking another gang of three in a potentially more dangerous offense after officers and the Berkeley Fire Department were summoned to Jefferson School, 1400 Ada St., after three youths were observed planting an incendiary device. 

No arrests have been made. 


Pair Sought in Board-Bashing  

Berkeley Police are seeking two men who bashed another man over the head with a section of two-by-four during a Thursday morning altercation at Derby Street and McGee Avenue. The victim was treated at the scene by Fire Department paramedics shortly after 9 a.m. 


Merchant Robbed by Gun Threat 

A teenager who claimed to have a gun robbed a merchant at Eighth Street and Channing Way late Thursday afternoon. 


Berkeley Police Release Robber Pix 

Berkeley Police have released pictures of two of the three bank robbers who struck on May 12 (below). Each of the three banks was hit by a different robber. 

The suspect wearing glasses hit the Wells Fargo branch at 1995 University Ave. about 1 p.m.. He is described as a heavy-set male in his late 30’s to early 40’s who stands about 5’5”. 

The second suspect in the flashy sweatshirt hit the Wells Fargo at 2959 College Ave. three hours later. He is described as a teenager between 17 and 20 years of age, and about 5’7” tall. 

Berkeley Police spokesperson Officer Joe Okies urged anyone who can help with identifications to call the department’s robbery detail at 981-5742 or send tips via e-mail to police@ci.berkeley.ca.us.