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Press Release: Undercover Operation Nets Six Laptop Thieves

From the Berkeley Police Department
Monday February 19, 2018 - 10:22:00 AM

In response to an ongoing series of laptop thefts and robberies which have spiked in recent months, the Berkeley Police Department Patrol Division has begun placing undercover officers in a number of cafes citywide. Those efforts paid dividends on Saturday evening at approximately 7:54pm, when officers observed 4 subjects get out of a car and walk into the café. Seconds later, two of the men stole two laptops and the foursome ran back to the waiting getaway car. One of the victims chased after the suspects and attempted to recover his laptop. The suspect vehicle fled and the undercover officers directed a large number of officers into the area to affect the arrest. 

Responding officers quickly stopped the getaway vehicle on College Avenue near Russell Street where they conducted a felony car stop. Recovered from the getaway car were the two laptops which had just been swiped from Café Strada as well as additional stolen property not related to this evening’s event. 

When the dust settled three adults and three juveniles were arrested and booked for strong armed robbery, grand theft person, possession of stolen property, and probation violations (5 of the 6 were on some form of probation). 

The Berkeley Police Department will not be releasing the names of the suspects at this time as the investigation remains ongoing. The department’s undercover efforts are slated to continue for the foreseeable future until a decrease in these crimes are noted. Despite this arrest community members are still encouraged to: 

  • Be aware of your surroundings
  • Do not leave your valuables unattended (especially electronic devices)
  • Consider using a locking device to secure your property to the table
  • Back up your work to either an external hard drive (not kept with the computer) or to the cloud
  • Purchase tracking software so that you can be reunited with your device if it becomes stolen
  • If tracking software came with your device, remember to activate it and safeguard your logon & password
  • Make note of your electronic devices’ serial numberi
  • If you see something suspicious, say something immediately (call 9-1-1)
With your help we can reduce the number of these events from occurring in our community.