UC Berkeley student robbed near Parker and Hillegass early Thursday morning

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Police arrested three men in connection to an armed robbery of a UC Berkeley student early Thursday morning on Parker Street.

Sophomore Sean Zhu, a staff member of The Daily Californian, was walking home around midnight near Parker Street and Hillegass Avenue after tutoring other students a block away. Zhu was walking and looking at his cell phone when two men approached him from behind, with one of the men pointing a gun at Zhu.

After the men made gestures demanding his possessions, Zhu handed over his cell phone and his backpack, which contained a laptop. Zhu, who kept his wallet and keys in his pocket, then ran home — which was less than a minute away — and reported the incident to Berkeley Police Department.

BPD officers in the area observed a vehicle carrying individuals that matched Zhu’s description of the suspects. The car was stopped on Piedmont Avenue, and after a subsequent investigation, police arrested Jared Russ, 18, Tyler Wolaridge, 18, and George Allochuku, 18, on suspicion of robbery.

Zhu got back all his possessions, except the SIM card of his phone, which he said the suspects removed to prevent being tracked.

Zhu said he is usually cautious about encounters like this one, which he recalled lasting about 30 seconds, and regularly reads crime reports on incidents in Berkeley but regretted looking at his phone and walking where there were no other people around that night.

“I’ve had nightmares, some that are similar to this before,” Zhu said. “So basically to me, it was another one of those nightmares — except this one was real.”

The three men are being held at the Berkeley Jail with bail set at $150,000 for Wolaridge, $100,000 for Russ and $50,000 for Allochuku. They are scheduled to be arraigned at the Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse on Friday at 2 p.m.

Somin Park is a news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @_sominpark.