A man police say broke into about a dozen cars in one of Berkeley's most popular shopping districts in December is now facing felony charges, court papers show.
Stacy Tidwell, 23, has been charged with auto burglary in connection with seven victims in the College-Ashby corridor from Dec. 4-19, 2023.
Berkeley police say the break-ins stopped when Tidwell was in jail in December, then picked up again when he was released.
According to police, more than $6,000 in property was stolen during the break-ins via window smash.
Victim vehicles included three Toyota Corollas, two Teslas, a Lexus and an Audi, according to court papers.
Most of the auto burglaries took place during daytime hours, from about 8:15 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The series began Dec. 1, police wrote, with one of the early incidents resulting in surveillance footage and photographs that helped solve the case.
Some of the auto burglaries took place in sets of three, including on Dec. 4 and Dec. 13, police wrote.
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On Dec. 13, just after a set of auto burglaries at College and Alcatraz avenues, Berkeley police officers tried to pull over the suspect vehicle. The driver fled and managed to escape.
(BPD's pursuit policy does not allow officers to chase vehicles for property crimes.)
Later that day, Oakland police officers stopped the same car and arrested Tidwell, the driver, in connection with an auto burglary in Oakland.
Two people in the car with him managed to escape on foot, according to court papers.
"Tidwell was in custody at Santa Rita Jail from 12/13/23 until he bailed on 12/15/23," Berkeley property crime investigators wrote. "During this time there were no auto burglaries in Berkeley involving a suspect with Tidwell's description."
Tidwell was released on bail in mid-December in connection with the Oakland case, BPD wrote.
More Berkeley auto burglaries followed, on Dec. 18 and 19, police wrote, including one involving a black Honda, which Berkeley investigators flagged in the system.
Two days later, Pleasanton PD stopped the Honda and found Tidwell behind the wheel, according to court papers.
When he was stopped, he had a window punch tool, Berkeley police wrote, in addition to other evidence that tied him to the case.
According to court papers, Tidwell was also out on bail in December in connection with a separate felony gun possession case.
Stacy Tidwell. BPD
In addition to the seven felony counts of auto burglary Tidwell now faces, he's also been charged with allegations that the crimes took place within a short period, which could increase the penalties if he is convicted.
(Several of the Berkeley auto burglaries did not result in charges.)
According to court papers, Tidwell had two convictions for robbery when he was a juvenile, in 2017 and 2018.
He was convicted of felony burglary in 2019, as an adult, and placed on probation.
Since Tidwell's arrest last month, he has entered not-guilty pleas in the Berkeley case and been released on a bond for $50,000 bail.
He is scheduled for a preliminary hearing, where a judge will determine if the case should go to trial, in mid-February.