Friday February 17, 2006

Manslaughter bust 

Berkeley police arrested a homeless man from Pennsylvania on Feb. 9 on a Pennsylvania arrest warrant charging him in the Christmas Eve 2004 starvation death of his 19-month-old son. 

Berkeley Police spokesperson Officer Ed Galvan said Robert Martus was spotted outside the University Avenue Foster’s Freeze by the same officer who had rousted him from a homeless camp near the Marina right before Christmas. 

Robert Martus, 46, has already been extradited to Allentown, Pa., where he faces charges of involuntary manslaughter and misdemeanor conspiracy in the death of his son, Alexander. 

Also charged in the death is his spouse, Sharon, who had told Pennsylvania authorities of her husband’s presence in Berkeley after she returned there from Berkeley last month. She faces the same charges as her spouse, according to a report in the Easton, Pa., Express-Times. 

The paper reported that the child suffered from a heart malformation. 

“We knew he was in the area because we had a call from the police in Pennsylvania,” Galvan said. 


Double oops 

Patrolling West Berkeley streets because of a rise of car burglaries in the area, Berkeley officers spotted a 45-year-old man peering into cars in the 2700 block of 8th Street just after 7 a.m. last Thursday. 

When they stopped to talk to the fellow, they discovered that not only was he in possession of tools of the car clout trade, but the hapless guy also gave officers a false name—which gave them two legal reasons to bust him for violating his probation from a previous offense. 


Swallows, charged  

When Berkeley P.D. Drug Task Force officers stopped a 19-year-old man in the 700 block of Aileen Street last Thursday just after 8 p.m., their suspect swallowed something and resisted the officers. 

“He was taken to a local hospital for an examination and an OK by the doc to take him to jail,” said Officer Galvan. “We give them their choice of hospitals.” 

The swallower was booked on suspicion of possession of an illegal drug, destruction of evidence and interfering with a peace officer. 


Wild times 

Residents of the neighborhood around the corner of Etna Street and Dwight Way who wonder why that CHP helicopter was spotlighting the area in the wee hours of last Friday morning can rest somewhat peaceably now. 

The pilot was patrolling the Eastshore Freeway when he heard radio reports about a man with a gun acting erratically at the aforesaid location, so he grabbed the collective and steered eastward to help the locals. 

Officer Galvan said that while the hunt was on another call came in, reporting that a man was loading a pistol in the 2500 block of Elm Street. Officers arrived at the scene and took the 22-year-old man after he first threatened them and a civilian. 

Another pistol and some pepper spray were later discovered in the home of the suspect, who claimed to be a military veteran of the ongoing mess in Iraq. 

He faces a felony charge of brandishing a firearm at a police officer. 


Belated report 

A San Francisco watchmaker called Berkeley police late Friday afternoon to report that he’d been robbed of a laptop computer, a watch and some of the tools of his trade four days earlier in the 2700 block of San Pablo Avenue. 

The man said he’d finally been moved to report the heist for insurance reasons, said Officer Galvan. 


Shots fired  

Responding to calls of shots fired in the area of the 2900 block of Acton Street, Berkeley police officers found two shell casings and vague reports of people running on the street and a dark, two-door American car last seen heading away on Ashby Avenue. 

No victims of the shooting or any bullet holes were reported. 



A 25-year-old man reported that he was robbed of a small amount of cash by another man shortly before midnight Friday in the 2700 block of Ellsworth Street. 


Unjust desserts 

A man carrying a note threatening violence if he wasn’t given cash walked into Gelato Milano at 3170 Shattuck Ave., downtown Berkeley’s newest ice cream store, just before 5:30 p.m. Saturday. 

After ordering a young woman behind the counter to lie face-down on the floor, the bandit cleaned out the cash drawer and escaped, said Officer Galvan. The clerk was not injured, he said. 


Bowled over 

A man who robbed a Berkeley Bowl customer of their food outside the store Sunday afternoon was apprehended by officers who discovered that he had leapt over a fence into the courtyard of a building on Emerson Street nearby. 

The 38-year-old suspect, a homeless man, was taken into custody without further incident and booked on suspicion of robbery. 


Drive-by bust 

Summoned to the Alta Bates Summit Medical Center Emergency Room at 6 p.m. Sunday by a report that a gunshot victim had appeared at the hospital, Berkeley police found a man with a gunshot wound to the right elbow and little to say. 

“He refused to talk,” said Officer Galvan. 

Further investigation revealed that the man was one of two occupants of a car that had been involved in a drive-by shooting in Richmond earlier in the day and who had been fired on in return by a Richmond police officer. 

Berkeley officers kept the man in custody until he could be treated and handed over to their counterparts in Richmond. 


Stabbed but silent 

Berkeley police rushed to the 1400 block of Alcatraz Avenue just before midnight Sunday, responding to a caller who said a man had just been stabbed in the back by his girlfriend. 

Arriving at the residence, officers found the 28-year-old victim, who had next to nothing to say to them. He was transported to a local hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries. 

Officers still want to question the missing companion, who is 25. 


Hot stuff 

A West Berkeley contractor with offices in the 900 block of Pardee Street called police Monday morning to report that, sometime over the weekend, persons unknown had entered their property with a lock-cutter and made off with a $10,000 gas welder. 


Faked out 

Monday afternoon a man wearing a beanie and pointing a fake handgun proved less than convincing to the folks at the Chevron station at 1201 The Alameda, who refused to part with their cash. 

Frustrated, the faker fled. 


Knife threat 

Police took a 14-year-old boy into custody for brandishing a deadly weapon after he threatened another teenager in the 2800 block of Ellsworth Street just before 7 p.m. Monday. 


Two bandits 

A pair of robbers, at least one of them carrying a pistol, robbed a 27-year-old woman of her cash in the 2700 block of Claremont Avenue just before noon Tuesday. The woman was not hurt, said Officer Galvan. 


Rat packed 

A group of seven or eight teenagers from the Berkeley High School campus robbed a 16-year-old from Oakland of his iPod as he walked along the 200 block of Kittredge Street Wednesday afternoon, said Officer Galvan. 


Two carjacks 

A Richmond-based gang staged two carjackings in Berkeley Wednesday, one successful and the other not. 

The first incident began near 1099 Murray St. where an Oakland man was approached by a gunman who ordered him out of his car, then got behind the wheel and sped away. The vehicle, a Honda, was later recovered on El Portal Drive in Richmond, said Officer Galvan. 

Those suspects remain at large. 

In the second incident, two bandits commandeered a car at 753 Hollis St. near the Emeryville border, then sped away. 

As they made their getaway, they managed to crash into the fence at Ashby Lumber at 824 Ashby Ave., where the duo—one 20 and the other 17—was taken into custody by Berkeley Police and booked on suspicion of carjacking. 

Galvan said the two incidents were likely the work of the same gang.?