By Wendy Moya
ALAMEDA, CA – Several police officers from Berkeley Police Department testified here Monday in Alameda County Superior Court in a preliminary hearing involving a man accused of three separate burglaries that occurred in a single night.
Darnell Kent has had a number of run-ins with the Berkeley Police Department due to a history of suspected burglary, said the prosecution, explaining that Kent is suspected of having targeted and burglarized three businesses in Berkeley, including Lama Beans Cafe, Milan, and Turkish Towel Collections on July 31.
Officer Kevin Peters said he was dispatched to investigate a burglary that occurred in Berkeley. A small business named Milan was broken into on July 31, 2021. Peters claimed that Milan’s glass door was shattered when the suspect allegedly kicked at the glass to force his way into the business.
The surveillance footage showed the way the suspect violently entered the business, struggled to open one of the cash registers, gathered the business’s two cash registers instead, and fled the scene with both of the cash registers.
Peters and other officers interviewed the store owners and a couple of employees. The owners estimated that the suspect fled with around $200 in the cash registers and the two cash registers (each valued at approximately $350).
Additionally, the owner estimated that it would cost approximately $1,000 to fix the glass door that the suspect had smashed.
Later, Officer Aaron Gasper testified the Turkish Towel Collection was broken into in the same way as Milan had been. According to Gasper, who interviewed two of the owners, the suspect did not take anything from the business.
Similar to what had occurred at Milan, the owners estimated that the cost of repairing the glass door was around $1,000.
Detective Zackery Nash was assigned to investigate the series of burglaries and discerned the three burglaries were committed by the same suspect due to the “same clothing, same general description, same MO, [on the] same day,” all within “two and a half to three hours of each other.”
Nash claims Kent was identified by Sergeant Lindenau and Detective Hogan of the Berkeley Police Department, whom they knew from previous run-ins with Kent prior to this series of burglaries.
Nash noted that, despite the fact that the suspect in the surveillance footage of the burglaries had their face partially covered, Detective Hogan identified Kent due to his “large, thick glasses, distinct style of hair that he could see from the back of the bandana, distinct walk” and a “bowlegged” quality to Kent.
After Kent was identified, Detective Nash contacted Kent’s probation officer in hopes of locating Mr. Kent.
There were a number of warrants issued against Kent after he was suspected of being responsible for the three burglaries, including a warrant to track his vehicle and another to search a storage space Kent had been linked to.
In Kent’s vehicle, Detective Nash found two black jackets, a pair of black pants (which he alleges were the pants worn by the suspect the night of the burglaries), and two flathead screwdrivers that had been filed down to tips.
They ran the license plate numbers associated with Kent’s vehicle and linked it to a storage facility.
During the investigation, Detective Nash spoke with the manager of the facility in which it was believed that Kent had a storage unit. However, she told him that there was no unit registered to Darnell Kent.
With the help of a warrant, the manager of the storage facility identified a locker that Kent had control over, despite the fact that it was not registered to Kent himself.
In the storage space which Kent had access to, Nash discovered a green bandana which Nash alleges was the same bandana worn by the suspect in the surveillance footage.
The hearing is set to reconvene at a later date.