Man Robbed of iPhone, iPod in Downtown Berkeley

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While walking down Shattuck Avenue early Friday morning, a male of an unknown affiliation was robbed of his iPhone and iPod, personal items that police say are commonly stolen around the UC Berkeley campus and throughout Berkeley.

At approximately 2:42 a.m., the victim was walking on the east side of the avenue around Kittredge Street and passed three individuals.

When one of the suspects caught up with the victim and began talking to him, the victim removed his ear bud to hear what the individual was saying. The suspect then struck him in the head and sprayed an unknown caustic substance into his eyes. As the victim fell to the ground, the suspect took the iPhone and iPod out of the victim's hand, according to Berkeley police Officer Jamie Perkins.

Berkeley Fire Department paramedics treated the victim's minor injuries, which were not life-threatening, at the scene before a Berkeley police officer transported the victim home, Perkins said.

iPod and iPhone thefts or robberies similar to Friday's incident are common on Southside and throughout Berkeley due to the products' high resale value and thieves' potential ability to easily conceal the devices, Perkins said.

"It's something that everybody wants," she said. "People steal them because they are just such a hot commodity."

In an effort to increase the chances of recovering stolen hardware, Perkins said police suggest keeping track of serial numbers for iPhones, iPods and any other valuable items and make the information available to the police, who can enter the number into the Automated Property System, a nationwide database that most pawn shop owners also have access to.

If the merchandise is located, police can run the serial number against the database and determine whether an item has been reported stolen.

Friday's victim provided police with the serial number for the iPhone at the scene, Perkins said, adding that she was unsure if the victim had managed to report the serial number for the iPod.

In a Dec. 8 incident, a UC Berkeley student was robbed of her iPhone while standing on a sidewalk in front of the Crossroads Dining Commons at Channing Way and Bowditch Street at about 6:48 p.m., according to a UCPD crime alert.

When standing in an area that is presumably safe, such as outside of a dining hall, Perkins said students should be aware of their surroundings to avoid being robbed of their iPhone or iPod devices.

She added that police also generally encounter incidents where people leave their property unattended at coffeehouses or other public areas.

"The most important thing is to just be very aware," Perkins said. "Pay attention who is walking by you (and) keep eye contact with people because these crimes happen so quickly."


Stephanie Baer is an assistant news editor. Contact her at [email protected]

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