Homeless Woman Arrested for Setting a Fire Behind a Synagogue

Homeless Woman Arrested for Setting a Fire Behind a Synagogue
Photo: Shameka’s artwork

BERKELEY— One day after a fire was set behind a synagogue a suspected arsonist was arrested at a nearby park. The suspect is a homeless woman frequently in trouble, who has numerous prior arrests.

Witnesses saw a heavy-set woman set a fire on August 6 shortly before 9 p.m. It happened behind Congregation Netivot Shalom, located at 1316 University Avenue.

The suspect is 5 feet, 8 inches tall and weighs 200 pounds. She allegedly opened and set fire to the contents of a plastic trash bin.

Bystanders extinguished the fire and phoned the fire department. Responding firefighters made sure the fire was completely out and notified Berkeley police about the arson. No injuries were reported, and damage was limited to the trash bin.

After speaking with witnesses and reviewing surveillance camera recordings, investigators identified a suspect. Officers began searching for the woman who as it turns out has frequent contacts with police.

On the following night, officers located the suspect identified as 39-year-old Shameka L. Adams. Incidentally, she is a familiar face at the synagogue where she has received free meals.

Adams was detained by officers at Ohlone Park on the north side of Hearst Avenue. She was arrested on August 7 at 5:48 p.m., on suspicion of arson and an unrelated assault that occurred on July 31.

Adams was later transported to Santa Rita Jail in Dublin, where she remains in custody in lieu of $55,000 bond. Her charges are arson and assault likely to produce great bodily injury.

Thus far this year, Adams has been arrested a total of four times. Her prior offenses include burglary and vandalism. In 2019, she was arrested for arson causing great bodily injury, exhibiting a deadly weapon, and making threats of violence.

Homeless Woman Arrested for Setting a Fire Behind a Synagogue was last modified: August 14th, 2020 by admin
Categories: Alameda
Tags: arson

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Jim Emerson

Jim Emerson is a northern California writer covering crime and arrest related news in the Bay Area - focusing primarily on Alameda, Contra Costa, and Marin counties.