3 arrested in Caffe Mediterraneum tip jar robbery Saturday night

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City and campus police arrested three men allegedly involved in a robbery at Caffe Mediterraneum on Telegraph Avenue about midnight Saturday.

About 11:37 p.m., Caffe Mediterraneum owner Craig Becker confronted a man he saw reaching into the cafe’s tip jar. Becker followed him toward the exit, and a physical confrontation ensued. Becker was kicked by three men and threatened with a handgun.

“We ended up getting into a fistfight,” Becker said. “Some of the customers were helping, and (the suspect) had some friends, and they tipped over a table and stuff, broke some of the marble, broke some dishes and then ran off. Basically, that was it.”

The perpetrators fled south on Telegraph, and moments later, witnesses heard gunshots, according to police. Officers later located a discarded firearm on the 2600 block of Regent Street.

Police were on the scene within minutes. Berkeley Police Department and UCPD detained two of the suspects as they attempted to flee, and officers found the third suspect after searching the area. BPD identified the suspects as Jeremiah Lee, 19, Willie Smith, 18, and Markeise Prince, 19.

“I think the police did a great job,” Becker said. “I was surprised how fast they came.”

Becker suffered a swollen lip and scrapes on his face but sustained no major injuries as a result of the confrontation. He said no one else suffered any major injuries.

Chris Yoder covers crime. Contact him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @christiancyoder.