North Berkeley Sees Recent String of Armed Robberies

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Three females walking together were allegedly robbed of their purses by a male suspect wielding a gun at around 2:55 p.m. on the 1600 block of Hearst Avenue Sunday.

The incident was one of six that took place during midday or evening in North Berkeley since Nov. 11, reflecting a recent increase in pedestrians being robbed by armed suspects, according to an e-mail from Berkeley police Officer Casimiro Pierantoni to community members.

The 5-foot-6-inch suspect in Sunday's alleged robbery was wearing a reddish or orange jacket or shirt and fled south on foot on California Street after the encounter, according to Berkeley police Officer Jamie Perkins.

From Nov. 11 to Nov. 15, four alleged armed robberies took place between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m., while daytime armed robberies took place on Thursday at approximately 11:30 a.m. and Sunday at around 2:55 p.m. All of these incidents involved suspects approaching victims on various streets or intersections, then robbing them at gunpoint.

According to Perkins, the six armed robbery incidents are not being called a series at this time, though further investigations about possible connections are being made.

Perkins added that though a specific reason these robberies took place in a specific area - District 1 - cannot be determined, upcoming holiday seasons usually result in "rich environments" being targeted by suspects.

District 1 Councilmember Linda Maio said the armed robberies probably occurred in her district because the North Berkeley BART station is located within it, adding that the station becomes an entry point for criminals who try to take advantage of the affluent North Berkeley community.

Maio had neighborhood safety alert flyers distributed on Monday to help community members be prepared to respond in the event of an armed robbery.

"Any time you have locations where there's high foot traffic, that increases the chances of robberies occurring," Perkins said.

-Jessica Gillotte


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