Berkeley Telegraph Ave Crime-in-Progress

by Steed Dropout
Apr. 15, 2014

If you want to catch crooks and fight crime, you head for the Med.

That’s Telegraph’s Caffe Mediterraneum to you; to me its a crime lab.

Tom came to the stairs, where he called out to me, “someone’s ranting and raving.” Here at the Med you can’t tell the rants from the raves.

Raving Begins. Photo by Ted Friedman.

Med owner, Craig Becker, rushed to the microwave behind the kitchen counter to head off trouble. He told the customer, who had asked to use the Microwave, that he could buy something and have it microwaved or buy something down the street and they’d let him microwave it.

The surly customer replied, “do you know who you’re talking to?”

“It doesn’t matter [whom I’m talking to],” said the owner. “All that matters is that you can’t use the microwave. It’s not a public microwave.”

When Becker, left the kitchen, he exchanged more words with Microwave Man. Becker couldn’t remember the words, but a by-stander heard, he told me: “I should knock you on your ass.”

Becker: “Why don’t you? [knock me on my ass]” Becker told me later that his last Med-fight was in September. A wrestler in college, Becker calls himself an instinctive fighter, able to direct a blow on the mark when necessary. In two years Becker’s fight record is 7-0 with one draw, which Becker claims as a win.

Fight words. Photo by Ted Friedman.

After a face-off with Becker, Microwave Man, stepped to the nearby counter and swung at Kahuku, duty barista. Kahuku dodged the punch. From the end of the counter, I saw the sloppy punch and the artful dodge.

Leave him alone already. Photo by Ted Friedman.

When Microwave left, Becker pursued him on Telegraph Avenue. I tagged along. “How often have you tracked down Med perps? I asked. Adding “perp-by-perp, the Med rids Telegraph of crime.”

“I’ve gone after them before,” Craig said. “How often? I asked. “At least four others,” Craig said. “I can’t afford to not deal with these problems.”

Failed manhunt leads to cop. Photo by Ted Friedman.

The suspect seemed to disappear, but turned up later in People’s Park, where Tom and I tracked him down and I shot him again. I followed him, shooting, as he walked down Dwight and, surprisingly walked by the Med–scene of the alleged crime.

Elusive suspect in People's Park. Photo by Ted Friedman.
Suspect heads for Telegraph. Photo by Ted Friedman.

Having been tipped on the ave by Craig and me, Berkeley Cop, S. Lee, on a bicycle stopped Microwave in front of the Med. She called for back-up. “That’s just policy,” said the diminutive young officer.

Nabbed. Photo by Ted Friedman.

The suspect was cuffed, interviewed, and given a ride to the station-house jail. He did not resist.

Jail-bound. Photo by Ted Friedman.

At the table where officer Lee, with Becker, prepared her crime report: “I never get to see a crime report, much less watch one in progress,” I enthused. Officer Lee had Craig tell and retell his story and asked him to correct mistakes.

Reports take time. Photo by Ted Friedman.

Lee promised Becker he’d get a stay-away order against the suspect to ensure the Med’s microwave remains private property and its customers can return to ranting and raving.

These views do not represent those of publications in which my work appears.

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