Berkeley police warn locals of recent armed robberies

BERKELEY, Calif. (KTVU) -- A warning was issued Friday to Berkeley residents -- especially students at Cal -- by Berkeley police about several armed robberies and one attempted robbery in just the past week.

Police said when students come back to campus they're often the targets of crime and need to pay attention to their surroundings.

"During student orientation, they tell us during night time it can get a little bit sketchy around here," said Cal student Brendan Liu.

"It's the beginning of the school year, everybody knows that. Even the criminals know that," said Berkeley Police Officer Byron White.

Investigators say armed men have been targeting Cal students, taking their backpacks, wallets and cell phones. This week alone Berkeley police have investigated three armed robberies south of campus.

"People just get jumped by large groups of people late at night and they leave in cars so I guess it's pretty scary," said Cal student Herman Chang.

"In these circumstances, two people come up from behind them and point guns at them and demand money from them," explained White.

Police said at around 1:30 a.m. Tuesday, two men were riding their skateboards on Telegraph Avenue near Ashby Avenue. Witnesses told police a light colored car drove up and two armed men jumped out pointed a gun at the victims and stole their cell phone and wallets.

Less than 10 minutes later about a mile away, two more men were held up at gunpoint on the 2100 block of Haste Street. Again, witnesses told police the gunmen left in a light colored car.

Just after 10 p.m. Wednesday night, police say two men were walking along the 3000 block of Dwight Way when yet again, two armed suspects came up and stole their property.

Police say although it's not their fault, students need to be more aware of what's going on. Students who spoke to KTVU seem to be listening.

"We were talking about it and we're saying things like don't go home alone, walk in groups and go home earlier," said Cal student Emily Liu.  

"I make sure I'm in well-lit areas. I'm more aware of my surroundings and making sure no one is following me," added Brendan Liu.

White recommends students take advantage of the campus security escort service. Police say there will be extra patrols out this weekend.

As for the suspects in these cases, police were only able to give a vague description. Investigators say although they believe there is a connection in some of these cases, it's too soon to say if they are all connected. 

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