A 68-year-old woman was followed home from downtown Berkeley on Thursday afternoon and then robbed on Panoramic Hill, authorities report.
The culprit dragged the woman down three flights of stairs and then took her purse, phone and keys before fleeing the scene, Berkeley police said.
BPD got the call about the robbery just before 4 p.m. Thursday, police said.
The woman had stopped by a bank on Shattuck Avenue before heading home.
As she drove, men in a black two-door sedan with tinted windows followed her, police said.
When the woman got to Mosswood Road on Panoramic Hill near UC Berkeley, she walked up the stairs toward her front door, BPD said.
That's when a man, who had followed her up the stairs, grabbed her purse, police said.
BPD said the woman did not immediately let go of the bag, but she told The Berkeley Scanner after publication that the man actually grabbed her purse from behind.
The bag's strap was around her body, she said, and it did not immediately come free.
"He eventually pulled so hard that he dragged me down the cement stairs and gravel path with such force that the bag's strap finally separated from the bag and the bag was released from my body."
The man then got into the passenger side of the black sedan and fled the scene.
The woman's purse was ultimately found beneath the underpass at 51st Street in Oakland.
Several hours later, police in Vacaville stopped the car from the Berkeley robbery, BPD said.
It was unclear as of publication time whether the people in the car at that time, which included a woman and child, were connected to what happened in Berkeley.
The Berkeley Scanner will seek those details from police on Friday.
Read more about robberies in Berkeley.
According to a neighborhood email, police are looking for footage from residential surveillance cameras on Panoramic Hill that might have captured activity on the street Thursday: "Police are interested in any witnesses/evidence of the vehicle pulling in or out of the neighborhood."
BPD's non-emergency number is 510-981-5900.
Last week, police in Oakland warned community members about people following customers home from banks and robbing them.
That does not seem to have become a trend in Berkeley, but BPD said two women were followed home and robbed Thursday: the woman who had gone to the bank and a woman who was carjacked on Parkside Drive on Thursday night.
According to Berkeley police data, robberies are up 9% in Berkeley compared to last year at this time.
There have been more than 170 robberies in Berkeley so far this year, which is about on pace with the city's historic average of one robbery a day.
Did you know? The Berkeley Police Department has a security camera registry to assist in the investigation of crimes. Learn more on the city website.