Laptop Robbery at Cafe Strada, Campus Crime on Increase

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Friday September 14, 2007

The laptop thief who stole eight laptops from eight customers at Cafe Strada on Bancroft Avenue on Sunday evening is still at large. 

The case has been handed over to the Berkeley Police Department, said UC Berkeley Police Lt. Mitch Celaya. 

According to Celaya, a man walked into the patio area of Cafe Strada at 9:50 p.m. on Sunday and sat down at a table where a number of people were working on their laptops. 

Displaying a handgun tucked in his waistband, he told the people at the table to put their laptops in his duffel bag. He repeated this at another table and then walked south on College. 

Although both campus and city police searched the area, they were unable to located a suspect. 

Celaya said that crime had risen around the campus in the past few weeks, as the fall semester began. 

“I am very concerned that property crime and personal crime is higher than in past years,” he said. “Last year there were 12 robberies committed from January to September. This year the number stands at 22 for the same period of time.” 

Celaya also said that a graduate student had been shot with a BB gun while resisting theft of his backpack on Monday night near Haviland Hall. Two suspects were arrested in this case. 

Cell phone thefts occurred outside the Unit One dorm courtyard and the Unit Two loading dock on Sunday night. No arrests have been made in those cases. 

Suspects were also arrested for a pair of strong-arm robberies on Channing and Kroeber Plaza on Sunday. 

“We are pushing community outreach and asking students to sign up for crime alerts which will be emailed to them,” Celaya said. “They can also take advantage of the BearWALK program and the night safety shuttle. Students should avoid dark areas and walk in groups. We always try to respond quickly when we get a call for help.”