Stephen Ellison

String of Robberies Near UC Berkeley May Be Linked: Police

Police on Thursday said they are investigating a series of robberies in the area of the UC Berkeley that detectives suspect may be related due to the timing, proximity of the crime scenes and other similarities.

The first robbery occurred around 9:15 p.m. Nov. 9 in the area of Spruce and Virginia streets, police said.

Two black men between the ages of 18 and 22 approached a lone victim, started a conversation and then attacked him in an attempt to take his backpack - but he fought back.

Then around 10:05 p.m. two suspects, described as a black man and a white or Hispanic man, both between the ages of 18 and 22, approached a second lone victim in the 2600 block of Regent Street - near People's Park.

They grabbed and took property from the victim after a short conversation, according to police.

Several days later, around 7:25 p.m. Sunday, two white men between the ages of 20 and 25 approached a lone victim in the 2500 block of Le Conte Avenue and tried to take his phone and backpack - but he fought back and the robbery was interrupted by an approaching vehicle.

Later that evening around 8:35 p.m., a Hispanic man and an Asian man, both thought to be between 25 and 30, approached a lone victim in the areas of Hearst and Scenic avenues and forcibly removed his backpack while claiming to have a gun, police said.

Finally, around 6:35 p.m. Tuesday, a Hispanic man and a Hispanic or black man, both between 18 and 25, approached a lone victim in the area of Spruce and Virginia streets.

The suspects claimed to have a gun and tried to take the victim's backpack, but the victim resisted and was battered by one of the suspects.

The crime was interrupted by interference from people passing by.

In each case, college-age victims were walking alone and targeted by two suspects, according to police.

Police are advising residents in the area to pay attention to their surroundings, travel in groups whenever possible, stick to well-lit and highly populated areas and consider leaving smartphones or other devices in their pockets. Anyone wearing headphones is advised to use just one earbud.

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