Berkeley robbers kick in doors

October 25, 2008 12:25:09 AM PDT
In Berkeley, burglars are getting bold by kicking down doors in broad daylight and grabbing whatever they can take.

These break-ins are happing in a quarter-mile area of the Berkeley hills, near Grizzly Peak Boulevard and Euclid Avenue. They're been more than a dozen over the past two months, but so far, no one's been hurt.

It's not clear why the suspects are choosing these specific homes. What police do know is that the thieves won't stop, until they're caught.

"This panel here was broken," said Rami Geller, a burglary victim.

It's not the way Rami wanted to end his vacation. He came home to a house that had been burglarized.

"They came up, broke the window of one of the patio doors, came in, and stole a whole bunch of stuff from the house," said Rami.

He's not alone. Two other people on his block had the same thing happen, but the break-ins aren't just happening on Glen Avenue. There have been 12 others within a quarter mile radius in North East Berkeley.

"It's predominantly day time, predominantly kicking doors down, and making off with quite a lot of money," said Sgt. Mary Kusmiss, from the Berkeley Police Department.

Investigators are making the door kick burglaries a priority. The break-ins started August 20th with the most recent occurring on Thursday. Now, neighboring Kensington is also seeing the same type of crimes.

"This particular type of series is a challenge for us. It also concerns us because kicking a door down is from someone who believes they can make noise and get away with it," said Sgt. Kusmiss.

And so far, they are. They're also not leaving empty handed. The thieves are stealing laptops, jewelry, and expensive electronics.

"That's pretty frightening," said Maxine Ray, a resident.

"Now I lock both doors, front and back. Each window has a lock that's put on. I don't keep the bathroom window half open at night," said Dougal Mackinnon, a neighbor.

The word is spreading and neighbors are talking, which is what police want. Information is the best defense. Rami gave a flyer he made to everyone on his street letting them know the lesson he learned.

"It's not easy to protect everything," said Rami.

Police think the suspects are driving a 1980's vintage, blue, silver or grey Honda. While police do not think any of the victims were specific targets, they know Rami Geller was. Someone had broken into his car while it was parked at the Oakland Airport and stole his registration which had his home address printed on it.


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