Violent armed robbery at McDonald's in Berkeley


It was a bold and violent crime, with one McDonald's employee struck in the head. The robbery is now the ninth in a recent rash of them in the area, although this is the only one involving a business. In this latest one, at least police had a trail of evidence to follow.

Crime scene officers were busy picking up $1 to $20 and even coins, from a back alleyway and street behind the north Berkeley McDonald's. A trail of cash marks the getaway of an armed robber who held up this San Pablo Avenue restaurant during the pre-dawn hours.

Shortly after opening at 5 a.m., police say a man confronted an employee at a side door, struck him in the head and then went inside, masked and armed with a gun, to rob cash. Investigators say no customers were involved, but the suspect ordered the four employees there to go inside a freezer room and stay there until he left. They eventually came out and called police for help. The restaurant stayed shut while officers took reports and collected evidence, including hopefully what surveillance video may have captured.

It was a bold crime police are now adding as the ninth in a series of armed robberies in the north Berkeley area within the last month. The McDonald's one is likely not connected. All the others happened at night on the street. The two latest ones happened within the last week -- in each of these, a male victim was walking from the north Berkeley BART station to his car when they were approached and robbed at gunpoint.

To address residents' concerns, a community wide meeting is being held Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Lutheran Church of the Cross on University Avenue. Police will talk about the recent series of robberies, plus ways people can stay more aware of their surroundings and safe.

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