Two men are in custody this week after burglarizing a Berkeley pharmacy early Friday morning and crashing into a police cruiser while fleeing the scene, authorities report.
The men, along with their associates, used three SUVs to flee the area in an effort to evade capture, police said.
Two of the fleeing drivers struck the responding police vehicle and one of them also hit a fire hydrant at Telegraph and Ashby avenues, said Officer Byron White, BPD spokesman, in response to a Berkeley Scanner inquiry.
The incident began Friday just after 3:20 a.m. when a police officer on patrol spotted three people burglarizing United Pharmacy at 2929 Telegraph Ave. (just north of Ashby Avenue).
As officers neared the pharmacy, the burglars got into three parked SUVs: one silver, one dark-colored and one white.
According to BPD, the driver of the white SUV struck the front of a responding officer's patrol car and the driver of the silver SUV sideswiped it.
The officer was not injured, White said.
The driver of the silver SUV then struck a fire hydrant at Telegraph and Ashby and came to a halt, police said.
Two men jumped out of the silver SUV and ran from the area but were arrested a short time later, BPD said.
Wilkens Owens IV. BPD
One of the men, identified as 37-year-old Wilkens Owens IV of Emeryville, was armed with a handgun when officers found him, according to BPD.
During the subsequent investigation, officers searched the silver SUV and found two other guns, more than a half-pound of marijuana, bolt cutters and a ski mask, along with a cellphone that had been used to monitor Berkeley police dispatch traffic, BPD said.
The SUV was a rental vehicle, police said.
The men were arrested on suspicion of burglary, assault with a deadly weapon, evading police and conspiracy along with multiple weapons- and drug-related violations.
Cory Howard. BPD
Police identified the other arrested man as Cory Howard, 32, of Stockton.
As of this week, both men remained in custody. They are scheduled for arraignment Wednesday at Wiley Manuel Courthouse in Oakland.
Owens is being held on $775,000 bail and Howard on $645,000 bail, according to jail records online.
Neither man has recent convictions or criminal charges in Alameda County, according to available records online.
Police cautioned that not everyone involved in the pharmacy burglary was located Friday morning and said additional arrests may be forthcoming.
The investigation is ongoing.