UC Berkeley Police Chief's Badge, Loaded Gun, Laptop, Diamond Ring Stolen in Auto Burglary

University of California at Berkeley police Chief Margo Bennett had her badge, department-issued gun and official laptop stolen from her car while she was jogging at the Point Isabel Regional Shoreline in Richmond on Friday morning, authorities said.

East Bay Regional Park District spokeswoman Carolyn Jones confirmed this morning that the officer who had a loaded gun stolen from her car Friday morning was from the university's Police Department.

UC Berkeley police issued a statement Saturday saying that Bennett was the victim of an auto burglary there but did not specify that the chief's badge and gun were stolen in the break-in.

The burglary was reported at 8:17 a.m. Friday in the parking lot near the Mudpuppies dog grooming business, park officials said. Bennett had gone for a jog and returned to find a rear window of her unmarked police car smashed.

In addition to the badge, loaded gun and department-issued laptop, a diamond ring, an iPad, a cellphone and her police identification were stolen from the car, Jones said.

Auto burglaries are common at East Bay shoreline parks, where easy access from the freeway lets thieves get in and out of the parking lots quickly, Jones said. Such burglaries are most common in the Berkeley Marina.

Police recommend not bringing valuables to parks if possible, and otherwise to keep them out of view. They also recommend putting valuables in the trunk of the car before arriving at the park as thieves may be watching people arriving.

The department works to cut down on burglaries of park visitors by regularly patrolling parking lots, having maintenance staff keep an eye on things as well, and maintaining foliage around the lots to limit hiding places, Jones said.

Anyone with information about Friday's burglary or who sees suspicious activity at the lots has been asked to contact East Bay Regional Park District police dispatch at (510) 881-1833.

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