Bay Area/ Oakland/ Crime & Emergencies
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Published on March 30, 2024
Week of Crime in El Cerrito Sees Spate of Vehicle Thefts, Organized Retail Robberies and GunfireSource: Google Street View

El Cerrito, a city often associated with quiet suburban life, experienced a flurry of criminal activity between March 17 and March 23, as reported by the El Cerrito Police Department. Incidents ranging from petty theft to gunfire punctuated the week, painting a picture of an uptick in local lawlessness.

The crime spree kicked off on March 17 with the theft of a vehicle from a resident's driveway on the 2200 block of Key Blvd. The community's peace was again disturbed two days later when another vehicle was reported stolen on the 2300 block of Mono Ave., according to police records. Meanwhile, a struggle with identity ensued at Safeway on 11450 San Pablo Ave., where on March 19th, an individual attempted to deceive officers with multiple false identities only to be discovered to have seven warrants out for their arrest.

On March 20, officers were called to the 1700 block of Eastshore Blvd for a commercial burglary at a construction site. This string of property crimes continued with the theft of a license plate from 6120 Potrero Ave. and the theft of another vehicle from the 700 block of Elm St. The day didn't end without additional petty theft and vandalism, as fence reflectors were snatched and a car's windshield was damaged.

Some reprieve came on March 21 when a stolen vehicle was recovered and duly returned to its forgetful owner. However, retail thievery seemed to have taken a systematic turn with organized retail thefts at Marshalls and Ross, implicating both adults and juveniles in the acts. The following days yielded no respite with episodes of battery at Denny's, further retail theft at DD's Discounts, and the forceful procurement of goods at a Walgreens and Safeway – the latter involving a suspect who became violent and was found to have an outstanding warrant.

El Cerrito's week of misdeeds culminated ominously on March 23rd with the sound of gunfire as a resident reported shots fired into the air on the 1800 block of Elm St. And in the dim hours of the morning, officers attempted to but were unable to safely pursue a stolen vehicle fleeing the scene of its crime, once again emphasizing the challenges faced by local law enforcement in a week beset by criminal chaos.