On Tuesday, Berkeley Police Department arrested four men and a 15-year-old boy from Oakland who were in a vehicle that matched the description of one associated with a series of robberies, as first reported by Berkeleyside.
About 8 p.m. Tuesday, an officer on patrol just north of the UC Berkeley campus, at Le Conte and Scenic avenues, recognized the Honda SUV, which was parked with its engine running. After searching the vehicle, the officer found a loaded gun, a knife and property stolen during one of the robberies, as told by BPD Lt. Dan Montgomery to Berkeleyside. The investigation is still ongoing.
Four people were inside the vehicle, and another was seen walking away from the vehicle and urinating in a nearby yard, according to Berkeleyside. Police said the vehicle and occupants matched descriptions related to a recent series of six robberies that occurred between Oct. 12 and Oct. 15.
BPD sent a Nixle alert Tuesday about several instances of robbery and attempted robbery that occurred in Berkeley since Oct. 12.
The driver of the vehicle, 19-year-old Mario Lopez y Lopez, and a passenger, 19-year-old Carlos Ponce, were charged with second-degree robbery in connection to a robbery in which they allegedly took a man’s phone and backpack, according to Berkeleyside. Police wrote in court documents that Ponce admitted to three or four robberies.
27-year-old Ernesto Martinez was charged with possession of a firearm by a felon and carrying a concealed firearm in a vehicle, Berkeleyside said. Martinez has had a prior conviction in Alameda County in July for assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury.
The fourth man, who is 18, has not been charged, and the 15-year-old was taken to juvenile hall in connection with the gun, according to Berkeleyside.