Court documents obtained by ABC7 show investigators were looking for e-mails threatening University of California, Berkeley researchers. The e-mails were tracked back to computers in that bookstore.
On August 28, UC Berkeley police broke into the Longhaul Infoshop before it opened and took a number of computers and hard drives.
A judge signed the search warrant that allowed the raid based on a statement of probable cause obtained Monday by ABC7.
UC Berkeley police said multiple UC Berkeley researchers who use animals in their labs had received threatening e-mails, and the e-mails had been traced back to the Infoshop.
One of the researchers had animal rights demonstrators at her home at least nine times since the fall of last year.
"I'm a crazy [expletive] and I'm watching you," one e-mail said. "You had better stop killing those [expletive] animals or I will show you what I have in store at [the researcher's address] and it ain't [expletive] pretty."
"Don't you think that I'm [expletive] around, you waste of life," another e-mail said. "I know where you work, where you live, where you shop, I even know your credit card number and even what Netflix movies you watch. Stop torturing animals or things get ugly."
"We still want our computers back," Longhaul Infoshop employee Dominique Altoff said. "We see this as a free speech issue."
The Infoshop calls itself a radical reading room, with free Internet, magazines and a lending library. They say anyone could come in and use the computers; the shop does not keep track.
"It's completely public access, anyone that walks in off the street can use the computers because the philosophy of our whole place is it's a free lending library, a free community space," Altoff said.
UC Berkeley police and the university declined to comment, saying it is an ongoing investigation.
But ABC7 legal consultant Dean Johnson said, based on his reading of the probable cause document, he was shocked the judge granted a search warrant.
"With this affidavit it has to state probable cause -- I don't think it does," Johnson said. "The heart of this affidavit is just sheer speculation."
THE BACK STORY: Visiting the Infoshop