Student carjacked in Berkeley while packing up for college

The robbers made off with the young man's trombone in addition to his car, computer, books and clothing. Neighbors set up a GoFundMe.

Student carjacked in Berkeley while packing up for college
The carjacking took place on Virginia Street not far from the North Berkeley BART station. Google Street View

A 19-year-old student was carjacked and attacked in Berkeley last week while packing up for college, according to police and community reports.

Now his neighbors have launched a GoFundMe to help him replace what was taken, including his trombone.

On Wednesday, Sept. 20, the 19-year-old was packing up his car in the 1500 block of Virginia Street, not far from the North Berkeley BART station, and getting ready to head to UC San Diego for his sophomore year.

All of a sudden, at about 11:45 p.m., several masked individuals in an older car pulled up on the block. They punched him in the face several times before taking off with his car, according to police and community members.

"Fortunately, apart from a fat lip, he is physically OK," his neighbor Shoana Humphries wrote on GoFundMe. "But he and his mother, who ran out when she heard her son yelling, were traumatized."

The student had already packed up the car to get ready to leave. In addition to his trombone and his vehicle, the robbers took his computer, books, housewares, clothes and shoes.

"He lost EVERYTHING he owned," Humphries wrote. "Any amount you can contribute to help this kind, intelligent and musically-accomplished young man replace his belongings would be very appreciated."

Carjackings are up significantly in Berkeley this year compared to prior years, according to Berkeley police data.

Read more about crime in Berkeley.

The types of vehicles taken in recent Berkeley carjackings have run the gamut, police said, although oftentimes the culprits show up in Hyandais and Kias, which are notoriously easy to steal.

There have already been at least 24 carjacking reports in Berkeley this year compared to the historic average of 14 total annually.

Last year at this time, there had been 10 carjackings.

Robberies overall in Berkeley are up about 10% compared to last year, with more than 260 so far in 2023.

A reader asked us about this incident, which resulted in this report. Have questions about crime in Berkeley? Alert The Berkeley Scanner.