BERKELEY (BCN) — A stolen cellphone helped police track, identify and arrest two suspects Saturday and recover a stolen SUV and other property, Berkeley police said.

The cellphone was hidden under some clothing in the trunk of an SUV that was stolen from a man who had left his keys and other belongings on the ground, while playing basketball Saturday evening at Grove Park at 1730 Oregon St.

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“Unbeknownst to the thieves, the cellphone was actively pinging/tracking at Pleasanton Mall near the Macy’s,” Berkeley police said in a news release. “When officers spoke with Pleasanton PD, they learned that the stolen SUV had been used in a grand theft from Macy’s.”

Pleasanton police investigating the Macy’s theft had obtained photos of the suspects and the SUV, and the vehicle was tracked via the cellphone to a market in the 2200 block of 35th Avenue in Oakland.

In the market, officers found and arrested a 25-year-old Pittsburg man and a 19-year-old Berkeley man on suspicion of vehicle theft and possession of stolen property.

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Berkeley police noted an increase in vehicles stolen in the area since early May, saying “In many of these cases, the suspects are accomplishing this by taking the car keys from people at Grove Park who set their personal items down while they engage in recreational activities.”

Police advise the public to keep personal belongings with them or leave them with a trusted person, and to consider keeping keys in possession with a lanyard or long keychain.


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