Police Blotter

Friday November 07, 2003

Newspaper thefts 

Copies of the Berkeley Daily Planet and other free newspapers were stolen from West Berkeley news racks Saturday—obstensibly not because of controversial editorial content, but for recycling value.  

Planet employees called police after West Berkeley resident Dale Robinson called to report that—for the second time in the past few weeks—he saw a man empty newspapers from three sites along University Avenue and load them into a truck which was “filled with papers.” 

BPD Officer Rob Westerhoff said he had identified the culprit as a 69-year-old Berkeley man and that he was working to contact him and “reach a resolution.” 

Newspapers fetch three cents for every pound, said John Byes, supervisor of The Buy-Back—a Berkeley recycling plant contracted to receive unread Planets.  

“If anyone comes here, they have to show ID, but if they brought them to Oakland, [the recyclers] probably wouldn’t even trip, they’d just buy the stuff,” Byes said. 

Stealing free newspapers from a stand can be prosecuted under county law, but a law that will make it a city crime as well won’t go into effect until thirty days after City Council passes a second reading of the bill proposed by Mayor Tom Bates, the city’s best-known reformed newspaper thief. The first reading was approved unanimously Oct. 21. 


Attempted Robbery 

A Marin county teenager was arrested for attempted robbery Monday after police said he brandished a three-foot metal pipe and demanded a woman had over her cash. The woman said she was walking in the 2100 block of Dwight Way Monday evening when the 13-year-old confronted her and demanded her money. The woman told her would-be robber she didn’t have any cash, then continued walking. The boy didn’t follow, and the woman called police—who arrived within minutes, arresting the youth.