Berkeley police link tip to drug, weapons, ID theft bust

BERKELEY (KTVU) -- The Berkeley Police Department is crediting a citizen for tipping off the department to a possible car break-in that led to a much larger haul linked to possible narcotics sales and equipment used for identity theft.

Police Sgt. Andrew Frankel said a community member called police around 5:30 a.m. Sunday to report what they believed were three people attempting to break into a car located on the 2500 block of Durant Avenue.

"It’s unclear exactly what they were doing,” Frankel said. "Officers contacted the driver and ultimately found him in possession of narcotics."

Frankel said officers discovered the trio was not attempting to burglarize the car, but they found what they suspect were heroin, meth and a digital scale with suspected meth and marijuana residue.

The driver has been identified as Steven Manning, 35, of Oakland. Frankel said a computer check of Manning revealed he had several outstanding arrest warrants totaling $50,000. Manning was found to be in possession of suspected heroin and $2,000 in cash.

A records check of the car's passenger, identified as Meredith Rains, 32, of Oakland, showed she had an outstanding arrest warrant.

Police also arrested Rakim Washington, 46, of Berkeley. Police said he initially provided a false name to officers and was on active parole.

The three remained jailed Monday on several charges, including gun and drug violations. Police said the case remains under investigation.

Frankel said additional suspected heroin was found to be in Manning's possession when he was booked in jail. An officer then obtained a search warrant for his house on East 15th Street in Oakland.

Police said the officers seized more than 1,000 pills of five different drugs, an AR-15 assault pistol without a serial number, drug packaging materials, digital scales, dozens of rounds of ammunition, a credit card embossing machine, a card reader/writer and credit card stock.

"If you were in the identity theft business and you were manufacturing credit cards to support those identities, you would have that type of machine as well as a scanner to load information onto the card," Frankel said of the embossing machine and card reader.

He said the bust is proof that community policing works.

"It was that community tip that brought us there in the first place," he said. "We’re grateful for that information provided by a concerned member of the community. It’s a solid arrest by those officers."

By KTVU reporter Cristina Rendon.