The robbers who invaded two Piedmont homes Monday morning aparently tried to enter a home on Pershing Drive in Oakland about 10 minutes before they kicked in the door of a home on Estates Drive in Piedmont, according to a Piedmont Police Department spokesman.
Detective George Phifer said that someone knocked on the door of the Pershing Drive home about 6 a.m. When the resident peered out, she saw a light-skinned black male adult wearing a ski mask at the door. The man left when he realized he was being observed, Phifer said.
Minutes later, three men — two of them armed — kicked in the door of a nearby home in the 100 block of Estates Drive, confronted two residents and forced them to lie on the floor while they ransacked the house, according to police.
Less than an hour later, a group of three to five men — one armed with a shotgun or rifle, another with a handgun — kicked in the door of a home in the first block of Arroyo Drive, police said. One resident was forced to lie on the floor while the robbers ransacked the home. Another resident was locked in the home's basement but managed to ecape and alert police.
The robbers fled and fired a shot when one of the residents attempted to follow. The intruders escaped, most likely in a silver Suburban SUV, police said.
Police believe the same group was responsible for all three incidents.
Also Monday morning, burglars entered a home in the first block of Prospect Avenue about 6:40 a.m. and took computers, a camera, iPods, iPhones and jewelry. No one was home at the time, and the burglars apparently entered through a rear French door, although there were no signs of forced entry, Phifer said.
He said nothing in the Prospect Avenue burglary specifically ties it to the home invasions during the same time period.
Monday's robberies brought the total of home invasion robberies in Piedmont to six in less than one year. The earlier robberies were on Park Boulevard, April 1, 2012; on Oakland Avenue, May 28, 2012; on Scenic Avenue, Dec. 12, 2012; and on Indian Road, Jan. 7, 2013.
Arrest in Scenic Avenue Home Invasion
A suspect in a Dec. 12 home invasion robbery was taken into custody by Oakland police on Monday, Detective Phifer said.
Damani Mathews, 18, of Oakland was arrested about 11 a.m. on Jan. 21 on suspicion of weapons violations and was also held on a Piedmont arrest warrant in connection with the Scenic Avenue robbery, Phifer said. Mathews was interviewed by Piedmont police later in the day.
Mathews is being held at Santa Rita County Jail.
Police are also hoping to question a second person about the same incident.
Phifer said the robbery began about 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 12, when three black male adults approached a young man who was retrieving a pair of sunglasses from his vehicle, parked in front of his parents' home in the 100 block of Scenic.
One of the robbers held a gun to the victim's head and forced him up some steps and into the house, Phifer said.
Once inside, the trio of robbers located the victim's parents and corraled the three residents in one room, Phifer said. One robber remained with the victims, while the other two ransacked the house and took items that included jewelry, computers and cell phones, he said.
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