Police Blotter

By Richard Brenneman
Friday July 28, 2006

Terror threat on BART 

Fears of a terrorist attack stopped BART traffic through Berkeley at midday Thursday and closed the downtown BART station. 

Alarmed by the fall of a mysterious white powdery substance that landed near the station agent’s booth, BART officials ordered the shutdown and closure at 12:05 p.m. while BART police investigated. 

By 12:49 they had determined the material in question “was a white powdery substance that wasn’t harmful” that someone had thrown into the station, said transit spokesperson Jim Allison. 

One source said a Berkeley firefighter was overheard to say the material  

in question to be plain old powdered sugar.  

During the shutdown, southbound trains from Richmond were stopped at the North Berkeley BART station and sent back, and northbound trains were stopped at Ashby BART, where they reversed course. 


Biking bandits 

A pair of bicycling baddies pulled at least three strongarm robberies on July 19, reports Berkeley police spokesperson Sgt. Mary Kusmiss.. 

The first heist came at 3:30 p.m. when the pair braced a 21-year-old UC Berkeley student as he was walking near the corner of Dwight Way and Dana Street, headed to class. 

The pair rode up and dismounted, and as one shoved the student the other demanded he show them the contents of his pockets. One of the fellows grabbed his wallet, rifled through the contents, extracted his cash—about $40—and flung the rest on the ground. 

Then the pair jumped on their wheels and pedaled south on Dana. 

Twenty minutes later, a pair of the same description and transport mode pulled a similar caper near the corner of Ellsworth and Parker streets. 

The final call of the day came in as a reported assault near the Berkeley Bowl because the shoved victim was injured when a fall followed the shove. The cash-stripped wallet was similarly discarded before the pair biked away. 

The victim was taken to Summit Alta Bates for emergency room treatment, said Kusmiss. 



A Good Samaritan called police just after 6 p.m. on July 14 to report that he’d just witnessed a guy clobber another fellow over the head with a skateboard. 

The agitated board-batterer then commenced to raise a ruckus with other passers-by, and he was still there when officers arrived moments later, said Sgt. Kusmiss. 

The victim, a 47-year-old homeless man, was sitting on the sidewalk while witnesses identified the suspect, a 28-year-old Berkeley man, who was booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon. 


Stick attack 

Police arrested a 40-year-old Golden Gate Fields employee on July 12 for assault with a deadly weapon after he reportedly beaned a fellow worker with a stick following an argument that had been preceded by a tippling bout. 

The victim, a decade younger, didn’t suffer serious injuries, said Kusmiss. 


Tire iron assault 

It was 3:37 on the morning of July 11 when a patrol officer was flagged down by a citizen near the intersection of 10th Street and University Avenue. 

He told the officer one neighbor, 27, had hit another, 44, with a tire iron, injuring the man’s arm. 

The alleged tire-iron-wielder was still at home, and was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon while his alleged victim was taken to an emergency room. 


Stickup artists 

Two bandits confronted a 35-year-old Berkeley man outside the Berkeley Public Library branch at 1125 University Ave. on July 8 and decided to check out his wallet and backpack. 

Confronted with the black semi-automatic pistol wielded by one of the pair and the hour being 2 a.m., the pedestrian wisely handed over his valuables and the baddies boogied. 

The pair remains at large, said Kusmiss. 


Couple robber 

A couple walking back to their home in the 1100 block of Colusa Avenue about 10:30 p.m. on July 8 had almost reached their goal when a young man with a black revolver stepped up and demanded their wallets. 

A search by officers who arrived moments later led to a car stop and the apprehension of a man matching the description provided by the couple—who identified the 20-year-old Oakland man as the bandit. 

He was given shiny new bracelets and a ride to the city lockup. 


Wire-cutter assault 

What began as a reported July 3 broken-bottle slashing turned out to be a wire-cutter stabbing, reports Kusmiss. 

Responding to the 9:08 p.m. call from the area of Bancroft Way and Fulton Street, police found the injured man, who was able to give a description of his attacker. 

Minutes later, patrol officers spotted a likely looking fellow near the corner of Channing Way and Telegraph Avenue and discovered he was still in the possession of the weapon—which turned out to be a pair of wirecutters. 

He was booked on suspicion of violating California Penal Code Section 245, assault with a deadly, as the folks in blue sometimes call it