Friday March 10, 2006

Arson arrest 

Berkeley police arrested an 18-year-old Berkeley High School student Tuesday on suspicion of setting a Saturday night fire that did more than $80,000 damage to a home at 1154 Keeler Ave. 

Police spokesperson Officer Ed Galvan said the arrest resulted from a joint investigation by Berkeley Fire Department arson investigators and his department’s property crimes investigators. 

The blaze was set in a storage area beneath the carport of the hillside home and caused $80,000 in structural damage and $5,000 in damage to the home’s contents. 

Galvan said the suspect was a neighbor of the home he allegedly torched. The officer asked anyone with additional information on the crime to call the Property Crimes Unit at 981-5900. 


Hooded heister 

A short man of indeterminate age robbed the 7-Eleven store at 2887 College Ave. shortly about 9:40 p.m. Sunday night, reports Officer Galvan. 

The man, who was wearing black pants and a black hooded sweatshirt—a “hoodie”—and may have been hidden behind a ski mask, walked into the store behind a black semi-automatic pistol, which was more than enough to convince the clerk to hand over cash and coins. 

Galvan said the same individual may have been involved in a similar heist two weeks earlier at another merchant. 


Kidnap for meager haul 

A gunman accosted a Berkeley woman outside her car Wednesday night, forced her to drive him to Albany, where he then robbed her and forced her to drive him back to a spot in Berkeley about two blocks from where the crime began. 

In the process, the felon not only terrified his victim but earned himself a charge of kidnaping when—or if—he is finally apprehended. 

The incident began about 6 p.m. near the corner of Channing Way and Atherton Street and ended near the corner of Telegraph Avenue and Haste Street, where the suspect released the woman and her car and fled on foot. 

“It was crazy,” said Officer Galvan, “and he could’ve got more money by stealing a tip jar.” 

The suspect was described as a white man with graying hair who may have been in his 40s. He stands about 5’10”, has a medium build and was wearing a blue baseball cap, a black jacket and gray jeans.