Berkeley police investigate series of cellphone thefts

Yellow tape reading "POLICE LINE DO NOT CROSS" over a road, white, red, blue lights can be seen in the blurred background.
Daniel Kim/File

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A series of cellphone thefts have occurred in Berkeley since the start of April, all of them involving suspects who grabbed the phones out of the victims’ hands while in public, according to a Berkeley Police Department Nixle alert released Wednesday morning.

The first theft occurred on the evening of April 1 when a 20-year-old woman was walking down the 2400 block of Bancroft Way about 8 p.m. The alert said a suspect approached the victim, grabbed the phone from her hands and then rode away on a skateboard. He was described as wearing a black-hooded top and shorts.

The second theft occurred slightly later on April 1 at 8:24 p.m., according to the alert. A 22-year-old woman was walking on Allston Way near Shattuck Avenue when a suspect grabbed her cellphone out of her hands and ran westbound down Center Street. The suspect was described as 5 feet, 6 inches to 5 feet, 8 inches tall with a thin build. He was also wearing a black-hooded top, dark pants and white shoes.

On April 6 at 4:48 p.m., two 18- and 20-year-old women were waiting at a bus stop on the corner of College Avenue and Woolsey Street when two suspects approached them and grabbed their cellphones from their hands. The alert said that the suspects then ran to a waiting vehicle and drove off. The first suspect in this case was described as a Black male, 5 feet, 8 inches tall with short black hair, wearing a black T-shirt. The second was described as a 28- to 30-year-old Black male, 5 feet, 10 inches tall, wearing a hooded sweatshirt and ripped jeans. The third was described as an 18- to 20-year-old Hispanic male with a buzz cut hairstyle and wearing a white T-shirt.

Sophia Brown-Heidenreich is the city news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @sophiabrownh.