Man arrested in North Berkeley catalytic converter theft gunfire case

This article was originally published on Thursday, October 6, 2022, in The Daily Californian. You can read an archived version at the Internet Archive.

Berkeley police arrested a man Oct. 27 in connection with a series of catalytic converter thefts, one of which involved a gun being fired at a person, according to a Nov. 2 Nixle alert from the Berkeley Police Department. 

The suspects allegedly stole a catalytic converter on the 500 block of Spruce Street in the North Berkeley hills in the early morning of Oct. 6, the alert noted. Minutes later, one of the suspects allegedly fired multiple gunshots at a resident as they attempted to steal another catalytic converter on the 2300 block of Oak Street, as first reported by the Berkeley Scanner. 

The witness was alerted to the theft from his neighbor’s car after being awoken by sawing sounds outside of his home near Oak Street and Glen Avenue, according to an Oct. 6 Berkeley Police Nixle alert. One of the suspects allegedly shot at the resident after the resident walked outside, called 911 and yelled at the suspects.

No one was injured by the gunfire, according to the alert. 

At the time, Berkeley police noted that perpetrators of theft may be armed and recommended that witnesses of in-progress crime remain in the “safest place available” and call 911.

According to the Nov. 2 alert, police detectives used security footage to determine that the suspects were driving a stolen vehicle from San Francisco. The police later discovered the vehicle abandoned in Oakland and found ammunition, ski masks and saw blades, the alert noted. 

After further investigation, the police obtained a warrant for the arrest of one of the suspects, a 28-year-old man. They tracked him down to a motel in Oakland and confronted him Oct. 26 as he walked out of the motel to another stolen vehicle, the alert alleged. The suspect fled but was later apprehended, it added. 

As he ran, the suspect discarded a backpack that contained an unserialized “ghost gun,” a small quantity of methamphetamine and the stolen car’s keys, according to the alert. Police also found ammunition, a reciprocating saw, saw blades and three vehicle jacks in the motel, the alert noted. 

The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office charged the man Oct. 31 for grand theft and illegally possessing a firearm and ammunition. 

Check back for updates. 

Last updated Wednesday, November 2, 2022. Written by Gabe Classon.

Tags: Alameda County District Attorney's Office, Berkeley Police Department, Glen Avenue, Nixle alert, North Berkeley, Oak Street, Oakland, San Francisco, Spruce Street