Window-Smashing Burglar Sought by Berkeley Police

Tuesday December 16, 2008 - 12:00:00 AM

Berkeley police said today that they have a person of interest and a vehicle of interest in connection with seven daytime "window-smash"burglaries, and one attempted burglary, at homes in northwest and north central Berkeley in the last 10 days. 

Police spokesman Andrew Frankel said the person of interest is a white female about 30 to 36 years old who is about 5 feet 6 inches tall with long straight black or dark brown hair. 

A community member who saw the woman said she was wearing a trench coat and had a "weathered" appearance, according to Frankel. 

He said the vehicle of interest is a gray, GMC-style van with a bicycle rack on the back. 

Frankel said police don't know at this point if the woman is actually responsible for any of the burglaries or if she had any accomplices. 

However, detectives are attributing the burglaries to the same suspect or suspects, he said. 

The burglaries have occurred between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m., apparently because the suspects think there's a good chance the occupants will be gone, Frankel said. 

The suspects generally have taken items that are easy to hide and easy to carry, such as laptop computers and iPods, according to Frankel. 

He said Berkeley police are reminding people to take crime prevention measures such as being alert and aware of activity around their homes and neighborhoods, locking all their windows and doors and not allowing anyone in their home that they do not know or have not hired or screened. 

Frankel said people should report any suspicious people or activities, especially anything that matches the person and vehicle of interest. 

In addition, Frankel said people should get to know their elderly neighbors and pay attention to any unusual activity in or around their homes. 

He said people should call the Berkeley Police Department's non-emergency line at (510) 981-5900 if they notice any suspicious individuals or activity. 

Frankel said that to report crimes in progress, people should call 911 from a landline or (510) 981-5911 from their cell phone.