BPD to collaborate with Oakland, BART police to fight recent increase in crime

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Berkeley, BART and Oakland police departments have come together to respond to a recent increase in crime around the border between south Berkeley and north Oakland.

Berkeley police believe that a Monday morning robbery may be linked to other recent robberies due to their geographic proximity, modus operandi and suspect descriptions, according to Berkeley Police Department spokesperson Jennifer Coats.

At about 9:40 a.m. on Monday, a woman was robbed at gunpoint a couple blocks away from the Ashby BART station at Tremont and Woolsey streets. A man confronted her with a gun, took her backpack and fled in a black sedan.

The suspect is described as a black male in his late 20s, 5-foot-8 with small-medium build, short black dreadlocks and a mustache, wearing a black beanie cap, a blue or black hooded sweater and dark pants and armed with a gun, according to Coats.

At about 9:30 p.m. on Dec. 4, an armed robbery occurred a few blocks away from the Ashby BART station near the intersection of Prince and Fulton streets. A man was standing next to a vehicle talking to a friend when two men drove by in a mid-size, tan, four-door sedan, demanded their wallets and cell phones and then drove off, according to Coats.

On the same day at around the same time, another robbery occurred about a block away, near the intersection of Prince and Wheeler streets. A man was walking home when he heard someone run up behind him and saw a silver vehicle, according to Coats. One man grabbed him, pushed an unknown object up against him and demanded his wallet and phone, while another went through his pockets.

“It appears the suspects have been using vehicles taken during carjacking and then committing robberies,” Coats said in an email.

Berkeley and Oakland police are currently collaborating to determine if any robberies in the two cities may be related, Coats said in an email.

In an effort to control the recent increase in crime, Berkeley and BART police have partnered to put together a crime prevention program. BART and Berkeley police officers will pair up to patrol areas around Ashby BART station and south Berkeley, according to Coats.

“Unfortunately, thieves look for areas of opportunity, and that’s where a lot of people congregate,” said Luna Salaver, a communications officer at BART. “Criminals will go where there’s more people, more victims where they can strike.”

Salaver advised BART commuters not to use their cell phones especially near train doors, as they may become targets.

“We continue to work collaboratively in hopes of learning more about these cases and developing suspects,” Coats said in an email. “BPD is continuing to investigate these incidents and are following up on leads as they develop.”

Lydia Tuan covers research and ideas. Contact her at [email protected].