Three teenage suspects have been charged as adults for the armed robbery, carjacking and kidnapping of a couple sitting in a car at an overlook in the Berkeley hills early on Thanksgiving morning, University of California at Berkeley police said today. Police said the victims, a 26-year-old woman and a 23-year-old male, were parked at a dirt turn-out on Grizzly Peak Boulevard around 2 a.m. on Nov. 27, sitting in their vehicle looking out toward the Bay, when three suspects approached them.
The suspects, two of whom were armed with guns and one with a baseball bat, demanded money, campus police said. The victims didn’t have any money, so one suspect got into their vehicle and ordered them to drive to an ATM while the other suspects drove behind them in a second vehicle, according to police. The victims took money out at an ATM and gave it to the suspects, who then left the area.
The victims, who are not affiliated with UC Berkeley, were not injured. UC Berkeley police Lt. Eric Tejada said the suspects have also been charged for a similar crime with another victim in the same area shortly before the incident at 2 a.m. on Nov. 27. Police released the names of two of the suspects: Jose Avila and Brenton Holtzclaw, both 18-year-old men from Concord. Police said the third suspect is a 17-year-old male from Concord but didn’t release his name because he’s still a juvenile.
However, the youth is also being prosecuted as an adult. Avila and Holtzclaw are being held at the Berkeley City Jail in lieu of $635,000 bail each. All three suspects are scheduled to be arraigned in Alameda County Superior Court in Oakland on Thursday afternoon. Tejada said two of the suspects initially were arrested by Oakland police for similar crimes in their city but he’s not sure if they’ve been charged for those cases at this time. A spokeswoman for the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office wasn’t immediately available for comment.
Tejada said police are still investigating the possibility that the three suspects committed similar crimes in the Berkeley and Oakland hills. Tejada said UC Berkeley police had help from the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office and police in Oakland, Concord and Pleasant Hill in solving the case and arresting the suspects.
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