Trio arrested after string of takeover robberies

A series of robberies targeting Bay Area restaurants ended with the arrest of three suspects last week, Berkeley police announced Thursday.

Kristoffer Jones, 18, of Albany, and two Oakland residents, 40-year-old Shawan Spragans and 46-year-old Merl Simpson, were arrested in connection with 23 takeover-style robberies since early March, according to police.

The trio was arrested while allegedly attempting to rob a San Francisco bar on Friday.

Nine of the robberies have been in Berkeley, police said.

Businesses in San Francisco, San Leandro, Albany, Oakland and Hayward were also targeted during the spree.

Berkeley police called it a “steadily evolving robbery series” in which restaurants were hit after closing time by the same suspects, who had a calm demeanor during the incidents.

After the third Berkeley location was robbed, Berkeley police detectives began working jointly with other local police departments as well as the FBI on the investigation.

It was when the suspects tried to rob a San Francisco bar that was under surveillance by the San Francisco Police Department early Friday morning that arrests were made in the case, police said.

Police are asking anyone who has additional information on the case to call (510) 981-5900.