Laptop thieves taken down by patrons of Berkeley coffee shop

Surveillance video taken from inside Romeo's Coffee on Berkeley's Telegraph Avenue shows the moment two teenagers swipe laptops off tables and make a run for it - only to be taken down seconds later.

Barista Jasmine Brouwer was there. "I was making coffee, I heard a scream, I looked up and one of them was running out the door with a customer's laptop and she was chasing right after him," said Brouer. Another customer jumps on the other suspect and pins him to the ground. Brouwer ran to the doorway to help. "I saw them all wrestling on the ground trying to get out the front door. So I ran over and tried to help hold him down and take the laptop out of his hands, which we were able to successfully do."

She says the pair entered the café just before Noon Thursday, asked for water, and sat down for about 5 minute before making their move.

Both laptops were recovered. Police arrested one of the suspects – a 15-year-old.

Employees say the design of the front entrance helped catch these thieves. You pull to exit – the suspects pushed. "Our door, because it's handicap, doesn't push out. It pulls in and it was that hesitation that split second that allowed everybody to get to him," said Dino Micheletti, owner of Romeo's Coffee.

Micheletti says he's proud of the way the whole café came together to protect the patrons and their property. "Our motto is we allow everybody one chance until you don't get that chance anymore," said Micheletti. "So we have a real group of people here and they are loyal here and I think that reflected on the incident right here. If you look at the video there was no hesitation. Everyone was doing good for a common cause."

Micheletti says business owners in this area – which is near the UC Berkeley campus and at the edge of People's Park – are proactive in preventing crime.

He says this is the first attempted laptop theft at Romeo's since they opened two years ago. And it better be the last. "People who have that agenda, don't come here," said Micheletti. "We will push back on that."