Police: Worker followed women from Berkeley bank to rob them

Jordan Gaines "denied any involvement and did not express any sympathy when shown photos of the injuries sustained by the victims," police wrote.

Police: Worker followed women from Berkeley bank to rob them
A currency exchange employee who worked inside Mechanics Bank in Berkeley has been charged with robbing two older women who visited the bank separately on the same day, according to court papers. Google Street View

A man who worked inside Mechanics Bank in Berkeley, but was employed by a separate company, followed two older women home and violently robbed them on the same day in early July, according to court papers.

Jordan Gaines, 19, was charged Thursday with robbing two women who had just exchanged money at the downtown Berkeley bank, located at 2301 Shattuck Ave.

The bank used to have a Currency Exchange International (CXI) branch inside where Gaines worked, but CXI has since closed its Berkeley outpost "permanently," according to its website.

The two victims were described in court papers as a 75-year-old woman who was robbed at a South Berkeley senior living facility and a 68-year-old woman who was attacked from behind on Mosswood Road and robbed later that day.

Gaines, a Berkeley resident, was arrested in Berkeley on Tuesday after a police chase involving multiple agencies and a helicopter that stemmed from a robbery investigation in Oakland.

The Berkeley investigation began July 6 when a 75-year-old woman was shoved to the ground and robbed in the garage of Mable Howard Apartments, a senior living facility on Alcatraz Avenue, at about 12:30 p.m.

The woman "sustained injuries from the fall and two bags were stolen from her," Berkeley police wrote in charging papers. That included her cellphone and British pound notes she had just gotten at Mechanics Bank.

About three hours later, a 68-year-old woman coming home from the bank was attacked from behind on Mosswood Avenue "and fell 30 feet down the stairs, sustaining injury," police wrote.

Her purse, holding British currency, her cellphone and other items, was stolen by a man clad in black, including a black face mask and sunglasses.

The man left in a black Nissan Altima with tinted windows that police were able to link to Gaines through the car owner, a former girlfriend, after a neighborhood security camera caught the license plate.

After his arrest this week, Berkeley police wrote in charging papers, "Gaines denied any involvement and did not express any sympathy when shown photos of the injuries sustained by the victims."

Did you know? The Berkeley Police Department has a security camera registry to assist in the investigation of crimes.

On Thursday, the Alameda County district attorney's office charged Gaines with two counts of robbery, including clauses that he caused violence or bodily harm to vulnerable victims and took advantage of a position of trust when he committed the crimes.

No prior convictions for Gaines were listed in charging papers, but this hasn't been his first brush with the law, according to court records.

On the day of his arrest, OPD said Gaines was fleeing the scene of a robbery in Oakland involving two women, ages 73 and 95, who had just gotten out of their vehicle when a stranger approached them and took their belongings.

"As this occurred, a struggle ensued, causing both victims to fall to the ground," OPD said earlier this week. The man who robbed them got into an awaiting vehicle and fled.

That incident took place just after 2 p.m. in the 600 block of Oakland Avenue, the Oakland Police Department said, not far from the Morcom Rose Garden.

Gaines has now been charged with two counts of robbery as well as felony evasion and carrying a loaded, unregistered firearm, which are all related to events Tuesday.

He also got in trouble last year, court records show.

Jordan Gaines. BPD

In August 2022, Emeryville police arrested Gaines after finding a loaded ghost gun with an extended magazine in his car during a traffic stop.

At the time, police wrote in court papers, Gaines was out on bail after allegedly pistol-whipping his sister 20 times with an illegal gun, causing her to lose two teeth just a month earlier.

According to charging papers, Gaines had gotten upset by the sound of the blender when his sister was making carrot juice in their shared Berkeley home.

A subsequent police search by BPD last year led to the discovery of a ghost gun with a high-capacity magazine at Gaines' home, as well as ammunition "and two human teeth," police wrote.

The 2022 case remains pending, according to court records online.

The Scanner has asked CXI for comment and will update this story if that is provided.

As of Friday, Gaines remains in custody with a combined bail of $295,000 from several cases, according to court records online.

He has plea and arraignment hearings scheduled on Tuesday.

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