Police arrested two female teenagers who punched a young woman and took her car in a carjacking in central Berkeley on Thursday night, authorities report.
The incident began at about 8:30 p.m. in the 1800 block of University Avenue near Grant Street, Berkeley police said in response to a Scanner inquiry.
That's when two suspects punched the woman and took her belongings in what police said began as a strong-arm robbery.
After punching her, the teenagers took the woman's vehicle and fled the area, Berkeley police said.
Minutes later, Berkeley police officers found the pair driving nearby on Grant Street, BPD said.
They were stopped and taken into custody without incident, according to police.
The suspects were identified as Maryah Bell, 18, and a 17-year-old girl, neither of whom live in Berkeley, police said.
(Their cities of residence were not available as of publication time.)
Bell remained in custody at Berkeley Jail as of publication time, according to booking records.
She was arrested on suspicion of robbery and carjacking and is being held on $150,000 bail. She is scheduled for arraignment Wednesday in Oakland.
No information was available about the juvenile suspect due to privacy laws that protect minors.
Carjackings spiked in Berkeley last year, going from 14 in 2022 to 41 in 2023. That's a 193% increase.
Thursday's incident may have been Berkeley's first carjacking of the year, according to BPD data, which has not been updated since last weekend.
There has been at least one other robbery in Berkeley this year. It took place last weekend on Eton Avenue near Claremont Avenue.
(Last week, The Scanner asked BPD for information on that robbery and will share it when it becomes available.)