Berkeley purse-snatcher strikes again, evades police

There have now been six bags taken from women's cars since last Friday, in addition to a seventh incident where a woman scared off the thief.

Berkeley purse-snatcher strikes again, evades police
There have now been a half-dozen bags and purses taken from women in Berkeley in the past week. Google Maps/Aipsasiamedia

A woman pumping gas had her purse snatched from her car in North Berkeley on Friday afternoon, the latest in a string of similar incidents since last week.

Berkeley police spotted the getaway car and pursued it Friday, but the driver managed to escape by speeding through the neighborhood, authorities said.

There have now been six bags taken from women's cars since last Friday, in addition to a seventh incident where a woman was able to scare away a thief at Berkeley Bowl West by honking her horn.

The latest incident happened Friday at about 1:45 p.m. at the Chevron station at 1201 The Alameda (at Hopkins Street).

The woman was pumping gas when a masked man in a black sedan grabbed her purse. He fled southbound on The Alameda, police said.

Officers followed the sedan onto University Avenue and Sacramento Street as the driver reached speeds of 60-65 mph, according to radio traffic reviewed by The Scanner.

Officers lost the sedan in traffic in South Berkeley, police said. The investigation is ongoing.

Berkeley purse-snatch series began last week

Video from Saturday, May 25, at 8:20 a.m. at the Shell station at University and Bonar. BPD

Earlier this week, police said the culprits in the purse-snatch series had been described as two masked individuals in a black sedan.

The crime spree began last Friday, May 24, when a woman's purse was taken from her car at about noon while she stood nearby pumping gas at the 76 gas station at Solano and Colusa avenues.

On Saturday at 8:20 a.m., a woman was pumping gas at the Shell station at University Avenue and Bonar Street when someone stole her backpack from her car.

Three similar incidents followed Sunday, with the first at Starbucks, at 1799 Solano Ave., at 1:20 p.m.

In that incident, the culprits drove up and stole a woman's purse from the outdoor seating area when she walked over to the trashcan.

About 20 minutes later, a woman was at the gas station at Martin Luther King Jr. Way and Hearst Avenue when a stranger opened her car door and grabbed her purse.

Twenty minutes after that, a thief opened a woman's door at Chevron, at 2996 Telegraph Ave. (at Ashby Avenue), and took her purse.

Woman honks horn to stave off thief at Berkeley Bowl West
Four other incidents, where women’s bags were taken from their cars as they looked on, have been reported in Berkeley since Friday.

The failed attempt at Berkeley Bowl West took place Tuesday at 11:20 a.m., BPD said.

Two people in a black sedan, both wearing ski masks, pulled up to a woman's car while she was still inside it.

One of them "tried to use a window punch" to get into the car, but she was able to scare them off by honking her horn, police said.

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