December 27, 2012

One Year of San Leandro Arrests

Since November 2011, the San Leandro Police Department has been publishing a list of all of the adults arrested each week, including the name, birth date, gender, city of residence, and the crime(s) with which the person is charged.

The published information included many errors and typos that were corrected prior to analyzing the data. Note that some errors in the data likely remain.

Arrest data for the period from December 24, 2011 to December 23, 2012, was analyzed. During that time, there were 3,063 arrests. Males accounted for 75.5% of those arrested while females accounted for 24.5%. The national averages for 2011 were 74% for males and 26% for females, according to the 2011 FBI Uniform Crime Report.

Residents of San Leandro accounted for the most arrests, at 37.7%, followed by Oakland at 32.5%, Hayward at 7.8%, San Lorenzo at 2.3%, San Francisco at 2.2%, no city listed at 1.8%, Castro Valley at 1.4%, and Alameda at 1.2%.

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The races of those arrested, as classified by the San Leandro Police Department, are 41.6% Black, 26.6% Hispanic, 23% White, 3% Other, 1.8% Filipino, and 1.3% Chinese. According to the 2010 census, San Leandro's population was 12.3% African American. and Oakland's population was 28% African American. The census listed San Leandro's 2010 population as 37.6% White, 29.7% Asian, and 27.4% Latino.

San Leandro Bytes analyzed the arrest data to determine the most common statutes for which people were arrested. Note that many of those arrested were charged under multiple statutes, so a person could be counted multiple times if they were arrested for burglary and drug possession, for example. The misdemeanor and felony warrants did not include information about the specific statutes alleged to have been violated.

Number ArrestedStatute
509Misdemeanor warrant
485Theft, 484 (A) PC
470Drunk in public, 647(F) PC
225Felony warrant
220Drug possession, 11377 HS
179Burglary, 459 PC
174Driving under the influence, 23152(A) VC
167Possession of drug paraphernalia, 11364 HS
152Possession of a controlled substance, 11350(A) HS
111Resisting arrest, 148(A) PC

According to the data, 257 people were arrested more than once during the one year time period (2,365 people were arrested once). One individual was arrested 16 times, with others arrested 14, 13, and 9 times during the one-year period. The most common charges for these frequent arrestees were public intoxication and parole violations.

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March 28, 2012

San Leandro Police Chief Spagnoli Reassures Residents After Sexual Assault

The Estudillo Estates Homeowner Association hosted a meeting with the San Leandro Police Department today in the wake of a sexual assault last week on Bridge Road.

The meeting was attended by more than 50 residents and eight members of the San Leandro Police Department, including San Leandro Police Chief Sandra Spagnoli.

Spagnoli was quick to point out that there were a lot of details that the police could not share with the community. Spagnoli said that the Police Department's priorities for violent crimes are to protect the victims, provide the community with information and to "protect the facts of the case and the integrity of the investigation."

Seeking to reassure members of the audience, Spagnoli stated, "I want you to leave here tonight knowing that public safety is a priority. We do not tolerate violent crime in this town."

Spagnoli said that the Police Department believes that the suspect entered the home with the intent to steal and that the sexual assault "was a crime of opportunity." In response to a question from the audience, Spagnoli stated that the police have enough information that leads them to believe that the suspect won't return to the area and "We don't feel that the community is in danger."

Contrary to some speculation and rumors, Spagnoli stated that there is no evidence of a personal connection between the suspect and the victim nor that the suspect worked for the victim or for others in the neighborhood.

Spagnoli informed the audience that all available resources were working on the case and that the Police Department would issue a press release via Nixle, Facebook, and the City's E-Notify service.

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January 15, 2012

Fifth Coffee with the Cops Focuses on New Laws

The San Leandro Police Department's Fifth Coffee with the Cops focused on new laws for 2012, including:

  • Booster seats required for children until they are eight years old or until they are four feet nine inches tall
  • Requires that police allow another licensed driver to drive a vehicle away (instead of impounding the vehicle) if the driver of a vehicle at a sobriety checkpoint does not have a valid license
  • Allows a person convicted of reckless driving to apply for a restricted license prior to the end of the one-year suspension
  • Vehicles will be prohibited from crossing double parallel solid white lines, except where permitted.
  • Electric vehicles must now be plugged in for refueling when occupying an EV-designated parking space
  • Local governments can now regulate advertising signs on any motor vehicle parked or left standing upon a public street
  • Courts may revoke a driver's license for 10 years if a person is convicted of three or more DUls

Lt. Jeff Tudor and Detective Josh Brum described a series of strong arm robberies in the area of Estudillo, Bancroft, Joaquin and Juana from December 26, 2011, to January 7, 2012. The suspects are a young African American female and a young African American male, 18 to 25 years old. There is no specific time of day at which these robberies occur, but they appear to be target people of either sex walking alone. The female approaches the victim and claims to have a gun in her purse. One witness confirmed that there was a gun in the purse.

The next Coffee with the Cops is at Creekside Bistro on February 7, 2012. Creekside Bistro is located at 500 Davis Street.

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December 5, 2011

San Leandro Police Press Conference on Black Friday Walmart Shooting

On Tuesday, November 29, 2011, the San Leandro Police Department held a press conference to announce the identity of the suspected shooter in the Black Friday robbery and shooting at Walmart. The suspected shooter was identified as 29-year-old Detwone Watson. Another suspect, Tony Phillips, 20, was restrained by the robbery victims until police arrived. San Leandro Police also released surveillance video from Walmart that shows the robbery and shooting. The shooting victim, Christopher Murillo, was shot in the neck, but survived.

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November 8, 2011

San Leandro Police Holiday Crime Prevention Tips

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October 20, 2011

San Leandro Police Announce the Arrest of Triple Homicide Suspect

San Leandro Police Sergeant Ted Henderson announces the arrest of Paul Arthur Stevenson, 20, a suspect in a triple homicide at 2661 Alvarado Street in San Leandro on October 2, 2011. The three people killed were Leneasha Northington, 16, a student at San Leandro High School; Joshua Alford, 23, of Oakland; and Shanice Kiel, 19, of San Francisco.

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October 12, 2011

San Leandro's Second Coffee with the Cops Focuses on Online Information and Recent Incidents

Tuesday morning, San Leandro Police held the second "Coffee with the Cops" meeting with about 15 community members and 11 police officers in a banquet room at Dick's Restaurant.

After a brief introduction by San Leandro Police Chief Sandra Spagnoli, Officer Pete Ballew stated that the $2.4 million COPS grant that San Leandro received in 2010 enabled the hiring of five former San Jose Police officers who were in the process of being trained. This enabled the department to add a bicycle officer , a school resource officer, and two more tactical officers. The COPS grant funds five police officers for three years and requires that San Leandro pays for the fourth year, estimated at $800,000. Ballew noted that the citizen police academy, which always has a waiting list, starts again in March and applications are accepted in December and January. The first teen police academy was launched this summer and had 16 graduates.

Officer Tim DeGrano was next up with a presentation about information available from the police department website. DeGrano explained CodeRed, a service from Emergency Communications Network that allows the police department to "record, send and track personalized messages to thousands of citizens in minutes." DeGrano recounted a use of CodeRed that enabled the capture of a suspect that had fled from police into the Bay-O-Vista neighborhood.

Next DeGrano showed off the new daily log web page that displays the daily dispatch log which includes most police responses since September 12, 2011. Incidents involving domestic violence, sexual assaults, medical responses, and incidents involving children are not included in the daily logs. Each day's log can be downloaded in PDF or Excel format.

DeGrano noted that San Leandro has a full service police department and will respond to barking dog and burglar alarm calls, unlike many cities. When asked if the police should be called for copper thefts, even when unsure of the date of the theft, DeGrano responded, "Absolutely," because there may still be evidence or may be indicative of a pattern.

Certain crime information can also be reported online, but DeGrano noted that crimes that include a suspect should be called in to the police department and not reported online.

When a business owner asked about whether lights should be left on at her business on E. 14th St., DeGrano said that some prefer to leave lights on while others close up everything to hide what they have. DeGrano asked that anyone who has a cash register empty out the cash register in a way that is visible.

DeGrano encouraged the audience to call the police, even for something like speeding cars, because officers may see the speeding cars just by happening to be in the right place in the right time. Officer Rick De Costa noted that one dispatcher will be on the phone taking a report while the other dispatcher is already sending out information to officers.

Spagnoli noted that there are seven beats throughout San Leandro and there are 7 to 15 officers patrolling San Leandro at any given time of day. According to Spagnoli, there are currently 89 officers, including the Police Chief, captains, lieutenants, and sergeants, a dozen detectives and investigators, three officers assigned to the schools, and two crime prevention and community outreach officers.

Officer Doug Calcagno presented a summary of the incident in which Darnell Hutchinson died after being restrained and tased by four San Leandro Police officers outside of Nations on October 9, 2011. Calcagno noted that "The four officers involved in it happen to be probably four of the nicest officers we have in our department." Calcagno summarized the triple homicide that occurred after a party on October 2, 2011, and noted that San Leandro Police are dealing with similar issues that face Oakland when it comes to trust of the police: the unwillingness of people to come forward with information.

Finally, Calcagno summarized the theft and car chase that resulted in the death of two suspects and major injuries to a third suspect involved in a theft from FoodMax.

One resident complimented the police and then said, "I think too many people try to make Oscar Grant a hero when he was nothing but a thug and the cops are getting a bad rap." Calcagno noted that nearby incidents in Oakland and other places reflect on all police departments.

Spagnoli responded to a question about the length of administrative leave by noting that the length of the leave is determined on a case-by-case basis. The administrative leave to ensure that the officers were mentally fit and have been appropriately debriefed.

Spagnoli went on to address questions she has received about tasers. She stated that, "Tasers are a best practice" and noted that tasers can be used to gain control of a suspect when "you can't gain compliance in another way. There's a fallacy out there that tasers kill people and actually, if you read every report that anybody has been killed associated with a taser, is tasers have not been the primary cause of death in any case. Taser International, the company that puts that out, is very active in defending their use of that equipment." According to Spagnoli, the taser can be used with or without darts. "And it's [an] effective tool, really, to maintain control of somebody who is not complying with peace officer's requests." Spagnoli added, the taser "comes in one speed and you can choose anywhere between one and five seconds, meaning it stops after X amount of seconds."

When asked about dealing with mentally ill people, Spagnoli said that there are specially-trained officers who deal with an estimated 1,000 police calls involving mentally ill people.

The next question involved gang activity in San Leandro, which Officer Neil Goodman described as a generational problem with two gangs, Davis Street Locos and Manor Dro Boys splitting San Leandro into north and south at Marina Boulevard. A shooting two years ago at McKinley Elementary involved the Davis Street Locos and resulted in a sentence of 22 years for the shooter because of gang enhancements to the sentence. Goodman said that kids begin in gangs between the ages of 12 and 14 and that the police are working on a diversion program.

The last question was about funding for more police officers and Spagnoli noted that funding at the state and federal level was drying up. Spagnoli said that they were working on a police foundation to raise money for specific programs and to talk to Officer Ballew for more information.

The next Coffee with the Cops is scheduled for November 8, 2011, from 8 to 9am at the Marina Inn, located at 68 Monarch Bay Drive.

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August 15, 2011

First Coffee With the Cops at Main Street Bagel on September 13

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According to a press release issued today by the San Leandro Police Department, the first Coffee with the Cops will be held on Tuesday, September 13, 2011, at Main Street Bagel.

The monthly program was announced by San Leandro Police Chief Sandra Spagnoli on June 30, 2011, at the Town Hall meeting for Council Districts 3 and 4.

Police personnel, including the chief and officers, will discuss neighborhood crime trends, provide crime prevention tips and answer questions.

Similar "Coffee with the Cops" meetings are also in place in Albany, Antioch, San Ramon, and Napa County.

Coffee with the Cops is scheduled for 8am to 9am at Main Street Bagel, located at 1099 MacArthur Boulevard in San Leandro.

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May 29, 2011

Violent Crimes Drop in San Leandro for 4th Consecutive Year

With new crime statistics showing violent crime in California decreasing 6.4% from 2009 to 2010, San Leandro showed a 16% drop in the same period. Violent crime and violent crimes per capita have been dropping in San Leandro since 2006 (see chart below).

San_Leandro_violent_crime_rate_2004-2010.png

San Leandro's violent crime rate of 4.11 violent crimes per 1,000 residents is lower than neighboring cities of Oakland (15.3, the highest in California for large cities) and Hayward (4.51), but higher than Fremont (2.37). Oakland had the highest crime rate in California and the sixth-highest crime rate in the United States for cities with more than 100,000 people. The table below compares violent crime rates of some cities in Alameda County:

CityViolent Crime Rate in 2010
Oakland15.3
Berkeley5.19
Hayward4.51
Newark4.49
San Leandro4.11
Fremont2.37
Alameda2.34

Violent crimes are defined as murders, rapes, robberies, and aggravated assaults.

When asked about the drop in violent crime in San Leandro, Police Chief Sandra Spagnoli said, "Crime in San Leandro is at a 30 year low..." Spagnoli attributed the drop in crime to community involvement in crime prevention, proactive policing practices, relentless follow up on serious/ violent crimes, technology such as cameras, and specialty units, like traffic and the tactical unit.

Spagnoli noted that "Benicia had a similar drop in violent crime," although the nature of the crimes committed was becoming more violent.

The drop in crime nationally has experts puzzled. Many have predicted that crime increases as unemployment increases, but that has not happened in recent years. James Q. Wilson wrote in the Wall Street Journal that "greater incarceration can explain about one-quarter or more of the crime decline." Wilson also speculates that a change in police focus from making arrests to reducing crime, a decrease in blood level levels (since leaded gasoline was banned in 1974), decrease in cocaine use, and finally a change in culture have all contributed to the decline in crime. He dismisses Steven Levitt's (Freakonomics) explanation that legalization of abortion has contributed significantly to the drop in crime.

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March 20, 2011

Crime Prevention Tips from San Leandro Police Officer Tim Degrano

At the March 16, 2011, meeting of the Broadmoor Neighborhood Association, San Leandro Police Officer Tim Degrano shared some crime prevention tips with the audience.

Degrano emphasized that "We require community assistance because we cannot be everywhere 24 7....We love the nosy neighbor....We love Mrs. Kravitz. [the nosy neighbor in the television series Bewitched who was known for peeking through her curtains at her neighbors]"

"I will tell you the honest truth is we don't catch the smart ones…right away," said Degrano, but if residents are there to help the police, then they can be much more effective at catching the criminals.

He noted that very few people have taken advantage of CPTED, which stands for crime prevention through environmental design. CPTED consists of designing or changing the exterior of your house or building to discourage crime through proper lighting,

Degrano and his partner Kerri Kovach "will go out to your home or business on request….We'll let you know if your shrubs are covering that porch where someone can hide behind them."

According to Degrano, they know from talking to suspects that some of the reasons they target homes is because they don't have an alarm system [because there is no sticker] or the porch light has been on for two straight days.

Degrano notes that an alarm system may not prevent a burglary, but it will certainly give the police a better chance to catch the burglars in the act.

When asked about crime and apartments, Degrano said that they have a crime-free program for multi-housing communities. This program has a lease addendum that tenants sign that allows the owner to evict tenants that commit a crime on or off the property, that cause a disturbance, of if their guest causes a disturbance. Degrano said it is a great program that it has been challenged at the US Supreme Court and been upheld.

On home alarm systems, Degrano stated that you get two false alarms a year and after that, there is a $75 fine. Degrano was correct on the two false alarms, but according to the the San Leandro Municipal Code, you get two false alarms within a 90-day period.

For more information about crime prevention, see the San Leandro Police Crime Prevention page at http://www.sanleandro.org/depts/pd/prevention/default.asp

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San Leandro Police Chief Sandra Spagnoli at Homeowner Meeting

On March 16, 2011, San Leandro Police Chief Sandra Spagnoli addressed the general meeting of the Broadmoor Neigborhood Association. Spagnoli has been on the job for about two and a half months after replacing Ian Willis, who retired.

Spagnoli told the audience, "Last year crime dropped across the whole city by 8% which was a very good thing. In fact, last year in 2010 our crime stats were at an all-time low." In contrast, Spagnoli noted, "Burglaries last year for 2010 were up by about 15%, so we are seeing an increase not only in our city but statewide in thefts, larcenies, burglaries, residential and auto burglaries as well."

In her remarks, she noted that "You have a full service police department. We will respond to any call." This is in contrast to the City of Oakland where residents are asked to complete a report online for certain crimes.

Spagnoli was proud that San Leandro still had a crime prevention unit with two officers assigned to it, since that is typically one area that gets cut when there are budget cuts.

On a typical day, San Leandro Police receive about 211 calls and arrest 10 to 12 people.

According to Spagnoli, the San Leandro Police implement two things last year that should help in responding to crime. First, e911 was implemented, which means that 911 calls from your cell phone will automatically be routed directly to the local communication center. However, calls made while on the freeway will be routed to the California Highway Patrol, so Spagnoli recommended getting off the freeway before calling 911 because "we'll probably answer the phone a little bit quicker." Spagnoli said, "We were one of the last police departments to go online in the state with this."

The second thing that was implemented last year was a "new system for monitoring reports and report writing" - "customized reports to help us predict crime and where crime is going to occur in the future." This new component isn't fully functional right now but she plans to roll out more information to the community in the future. Spagnoli also recommended crimereports.com for finding information on crime in your local area.

On LicenseLook, a tool from local resident Wayne Gregori, Spagnoli said that it is a good way to document which license plates are in your area, but call us if something doesn't look right or feel right, because it probably isn't right.

Spagnoli went on to answer questions from the audience.

The first question was "What percent of the crime rate is drug-related and what is being done to combat the sales of drugs in the community?"

Spagnoli responded that at least 60% of crime was drug-related and went on to criticize the current parole system in which some offenders are released into communities with no supervision or conditions. According to Spagnoli, the rate of recidivism for people that have been released back into the community is more than 90%.

The second question was, "Welcome to San Leandro. Will you stay more than two years?"

Spagoli said, "My commitment to the community is to stay here, make a commitment and make a difference in the community and also been involved and engaged in the community." Spagnoli said that she wouldn't be eligible for retirement for "many, many years." She said that she wanted to make an impact on the community and that it would be hard to make an impact when you're here for only a few years. She acknowledged that she didn't really answer the question, but said she would have an attachment to this community for many years "as long as they still want me."

When asked, "Why did you want to be a police chief in San Leandro?" Spagnoli responded that San Leandro is a "gem in the Bay Area" that offers many challenges that she can make a difference in, San Leandro has a full-service police department, and San Leandro is larger than her former city [Benicia]. Her experience in community engagement, using technology and reducing crime were the reasons why she thinks she was selected.

Spagnoli is San Leandro's 10th police chief and its first female police chief. She previously served as the police chief for Benicia and took over from former police chief Ian Willis in January 2011.

Press releases from the San Leandro Police Department can be found on Facebook and you can subscribe to the RSS feed without a Facebook account. Maps showing the general location of recent crimes can be found at Crime Reports. You can sign up to receive free notifications about emergencies, including crimes, at Nixle and CodeRed.

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January 12, 2011

Oakland Car Chase Ends in San Leandro Crash

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Photos by Tim Holmes

A car chase that began in Oakland ended at about 8:10am this morning in the parking lot of 1st United Services Credit Union at 600 Bancroft Ave. (at Dutton). San Leandro Police assisted Oakland Police in searching for suspects that ran from the vehicle after it crashed. Although the chase ended at the time students were on their way to school, there were no reported injuries to bystanders.

Washington Elementary, Roosevelt Elementary, and Broadmoor Preschool were placed on lockdown for 40 to 50 minutes while police searched for the suspects.

According to one resident, the one of the suspects jumped the wall behind Sweet Maria's and then calmly walked across Bancroft Avenue toward Safeway. Preliminary reports from police indicate that there were two suspects and one was arrested near the corner of Dutton and Kenilworth.

If you are looking for press releases from the San Leandro Police, you can find them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/San-Leandro-Police-Department/111943215483731?v=wall (no registration required). An RSS feed is also available at https://www.facebook.com/feeds/notes.php?id=111943215483731&viewer=100001022488700&key=8764a2c01a&format=rss20

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December 30, 2010

San Leandro Police Press Conference on San Leandro Police Officer Shooting of Woman

At 2:45pm on December 30, 2010, Lt. Jeff Tudor of the San Leandro Police Department held a press conference about the fatal shooting of a Hayward woman by a San Leandro police officer on December 29, 2010.

The shooting occurred in Oakland near the border with San Leandro. According to Tudor, the suspects' vehicle came to the attention of San Leandro police when it quickly left a liquor store. When the police called in the suspect vehicle's license plate, they learned it had been stolen from the 600 block of Lewelling earlier in the day and police attempted to pull it over. The vehicle crashed and one police officer shot and killed the driver when he said that he feared that the driver would run over the other police officer.

Tudor would not release any information about the police officers involved except to say that they were veteran officers. Similarly, the only information Tudor revealed about the suspects was that both had criminal records, the female driver was from Hayward and the male passenger was from Oakland.

A KTVU news story said that neighbors "heard at least nine shots," but when Tudor was asked how many shots were fired, he replied, "It's an unknown at this time."

KTVU reporter John Sasaki noted, "It [the suspects' stolen car] ends up in a 180 degrees, crashes into the green car that's parked the right way - It's a Pontiac sitting there on the street and my understanding is that it was parked with its rear quarter panel against that car with a police car, perhaps the pursuing officers, their car in front. So essentially that sounds like the car was boxed in and couldn't go anywhere." Tudor replied, "Again, this investigation is ongoing. I don't have all the details."

Sasaki continued, "The reason I bring that is some witnesses have told us they didn't think that individual needed to be shot." Tudor responded, "There's various witnesses that have been identified and there's been various statements made regarding the incident."

The complete press conference can be seen below:

More coverage at San Leandro Patch.

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November 29, 2010

San Leandro Police Town Hall Tuesday Nov. 30

slpd_logo.png The San Leandro Police Department will hold a community town hall meeting at 6pm on Tuesday, November 30, 2010. The event flyer states that topics will include tips for burglary prevention, personal safety, holiday safety tips, and recent crime statistics. Wayne Gregori will present information about LicenseLOOK, an online tool for crime prevention.

The meeting will take place at 6pm at the Marina Community Center at 15301 Wicks Boulevard.

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October 18, 2010

Dead Male Found in San Leandro Creek on Sunday, October 17

According to updated information from the San Leandro Police, a deceased male was discovered in San Leandro Creek at approximately 6:15pm on Sunday, October, 17, 2010. The body was observed in the area of San Leandro Creek near Memorial Park and was reported to police by two residents who had been out for a walk. The victim, possibly a transient, was pronounced dead at the scene by Alameda County Fire Department personnel. San Leandro Police originally suspected foul play, but police now are leaning away from homicide, according to San Leandro Police Chief Ian Willis. An autopsy is scheduled to be performed on Tuesday, October 19, 2010. If you have any information about the victim, please contact the San Leandro Police Department at (510) 577-2740.

Update, 10/18 at 8:54am: According to a posting on a homeowner association mailing list, the victim was a male in his 20s or 30s.

Update, 10/18 at 1:17pm: Revised with new information from the San Leandro Police.

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December 21, 2009

San Leandro Checkpoint Nabs Robbery Suspects

The sobriety checkpoint conducted by the San Leandro Police Department this weekend resulted in four arrests for suspicion of driving under the influence, two arrests for being drunk in public, and the arrest of two suspects in a strong-arm robbery earlier in the day at Lucky's. A "be on the lookout" alert had been issued for the robbery suspects and they were arrested without incident. The checkpoint, which had been publicized in local media, also resulted in six other citations and ten vehicles being towed.

A total of 537 vehicles passed through the checkpoint, which was scheduled to be held from 10 p.m. until 2 a.m. on December 18 and 19, 2009. A similar checkpoint conducted in August 2008 netted 10 arrests for people suspected driving under the influence, but the checkpoint lasted slightly longer, from 9 p.m. until 3 a.m.

The checkpoint was funded through a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, which provided the grant as part of the "National Impaired Driving Campaign" campaign from December 16, 2009 to January 3, 2010.

According to a fact sheet from the California Office of Traffic Safety, "In California, 1,029 people were killed in alcohol related crashes in 2008, down from 1,132 fatalities in 2007 – a decrease of 9.1 percent (FARS). Additionally in 2008, there were 28,457 people injured in alcohol-related crashes, down from 30,641 in 2007 (SWITRS 2008 provisional data)."

As noted in an article about the August 2008, sobriety checkpoint, guidelines for sobriety checkpoints were established by the California Supreme Court decision Ingersoll v. Palmer (43 Cal.3d 1321 (1987), which include advance notice of the checkpoint and using a neutral formula (not officer discretion) to decide which cars are selected to be stopped. Critics claim that the checkpoints violate the Fourth Amendment, but the Supreme Court said that the infringement of this right was outweighed by the public interest in reducing drunk driving.

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October 22, 2008

San Leandro Police Web Site Goes Live

The San Leandro Police Department's new web site at http://www.slpdinfo.org/ was live as of October 22, 2008, although the official kickoff seems to be scheduled for October 24, 2008.

San Leandro Police Chief Dale Attarian plans to publish crime alerts, statistics, and other useful information for San Leandro residents.

For now, the site has little information and is difficult to read because of the background graphics that are used. Clicking on Crime Statistics gets you a "Coming Soon" page while Crime Alerts gets you what appears to be a test entry for someone wandering aimlessly at City Hall.

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September 13, 2008

Coming Soon: More Crime Information

slpd_logo_small.jpg According to San Leandro Police Chief Dale Attarian, San Leandro Police will be making crime information available online at a new web site in the next month. The name of the web site, slpdinfo.org, was purchased in late July 2008, but nothing has been posted yet. Attarian hopes to publish crime alerts, statistics, and other useful information for San Leandro residents.

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April 7, 2008

Attempted Carjacking Ends With Shooting Death and Manhunt

An apparent attempted carjacking on Monday morning, April 7, 2008, ended with the shooting death of the victim who was being carjacked. The incident unfolded in the parking lot of Washington Plaza near the intersection of Estudillo Avenue and E. 14th Street. The suspect escaped a police manhunt that focused on the area near the intersection of Marina Boulevard and San Leandro Boulevard. Police were unable to locate the suspect.

The driver of a white Land Rover, who was the apparent target of the attempted carjacking, was taken to Eden Hospital, where he later died. This is the first murder in San Leandro since December 23, 2006, when two people were shot and killed at the Lucky Star Lounge on Doolittle Drive.

The Land Rover owned by the victim of the attempted carjacking

Carjacking scene

News coverage from the local CBS station and the Daily Review.

Update: The shooting victim was identified by San Leandro Police as Ernest Ray Sauceda, 25, who recently moved to San Leandro from Fremont.

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April 1, 2008

Tiger Mauling Victim Arrested for Shoplifting in San Leandro

Amritpal Dhaliwal On Thursday, March 27, 2008, Amritpal "Paul" Dhaliwal was arrested on suspicion of shoplifting at the Bayfair Center Target store. Normally, shoplifting arrests aren't newsworthy, but Dhaliwal was one of the brothers mauled by an escaped tiger at the San Francisco Zoo on Christmas Day in 2007.

San Leandro Police said that Dhaliwal hid two Nintendo Wii controllers in his pants and was placed under citizen's arrest by Target store security. According to a police report by Officer Warren DeGuzman, Dhaliwal "admitted to selecting and concealing the merchandise." Dhaliwal was released from jail the next day after posting $1,500 bail.

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February 10, 2008

Community Meeting on February 19, 2008, at San Leandro Library

A group called Quality of Life Services of San Leandro has organized a Community Open House partially in response to a meeting held on January 29, 2008, about crime in San Leandro. At that meeting, there was some confusion about whether the meeting was intended for all San Leandro residents, since maps of reported crimes on display at the meeting were only for Estudillo Estates and the area west of Estudillo Estates. The organizer of that meeting, Connie Stephens, indicated that the meeting was intended for all San Leandro residents.

Karen Fernandez was at that meeting and offered to hold another meeting, which has been scheduled for February 19, 2008. She intends to join efforts with HealthySanLeandro Environmental Collaborative to discuss the concerns of San Leandro residents from all neighborhoods.marc_decoulode.jpg

At the meeting, Lt. Marc DeCoulode of the San Leandro Police Department is scheduled to give an overview of crime definitions. Seventy minutes of the meeting will be allocated for residents to speak about any subject.

The group has started a mailing list, which can be found at http://groups.google.com/group/QualityLifeSL.

The Community Open House will be held on Tuesday, February, 19, 2008, from 6:30 to 8:30pm at the San Leandro Library Lecture Hall at 300 Estudillo Avenue. For more information, contact slcitizens@gmail.com.

Daily Review coverage.

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January 18, 2008

Mayor Tony Santos Takes Heat from Residents on Crime

Mayor Tony Santos displays a report with 2007 crime statistics to residentsAt a meeting at the San Leandro library on January 15, 2008, San Leandro Mayor Tony Santos and Assistant City Manager Steve Hollister faced a crowd of more than 100 energetic and increasingly hostile residents.

Santos had originally sent letters inviting the leaders of 15 homeowners associations "to hear comments and concerns you have regarding crime and safety in our community." That invitation got sent to electronic mailing lists and published in the January 10, 2008, edition of the San Leandro Times. After noting that there more RSVPs for the meeting than invitations, the meeting was moved from a small conference room at the library to the lecture hall.

Mayor Santos focused on statistics provided by the San Leandro Police Department showing a 5% decrease in crime from 2006 to 2007 while meeting participants were more concerned about crime in their neighborhoods.

In response to a letter from a resident concerned about safety in the Best Manor neighborhood, Santos said that he parked at City Hall, walked back and forth to the Oakland border and saw that things were fine.

Similarly, he noted that he gets around town, which allows him to know what is going on in each neighborhood. In District 2, he noted that he goes to lunch at Harry's, Guadalajara, La Bella Italia and Carrow's for breakfast sometimes.

Santos went on, "You live in a very safe community. A lot of you don't believe that. Statistically, you're wrong."

After nearly 25 minutes of listening to Santos share some of the email he had received, letters-to-the-editor, and, strangely, crime statistics for the city of Adelanto, Santos asked the crowd how many had been affected by crime. Santos then shared that he had been a victim of crime 10 times, including having his car stolen three times. When Santos asked, "Is crime up in San Leandro? Do you know? Do you know? How many of you feel crime is up?", the crowd indicated crime was up and one resident answered, "On my street it is." There was grumbling from the crowd as Santos called the show of hands "a clear majority" and noted that nobody thought that crime was down. Santos showed the crowd statistics and stated that crime was down 25% over the last 10 years and that it was down an additional five percent in 2007. [Editor's note: The city's statistics show that the total number of crimes is down 24% from a high of 6412 crimes in 1994 to 4848 crimes in 2007, but without the population numbers for those years, it is difficult to know if the crime rate went up or down. It should also be noted that the years 1993 to 1995 had abnormally high numbers of crimes.] Tim Holmes, owner of Zocalo Coffeehouse and a Broadmoor-area resident, responded, "How do you define crime? What does that mean?...Car thefts are up 72%." Santos said, "Tim, you're wrong." Holmes cited the FBI as the source of the information. [Editor's note: According to the FBI, which gets it data from the San Leandro Police Department, auto thefts went from 725 in 1996 to 1247 in 2006, an increase of 72%.] .Santos then claimed that the most recent FBI statistics are from 2005, which was quickly refuted by a member o the audience [Editor's note: FBI crime statistics for 2006 are available at http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2006/index.html].

Santos went on to state "The City of San Leandro Police Department responds to every single call..." which was greeted with loud skepticism from the crowd. After Santos asked, "In which year of the last 25 years did we have the most crime?" the crowd had had enough. People in the crowd shouted that they wanted to know about what was happening now. An audience member asked Santos to clarify whether he was discussing crime statistics or the crime rate. Santos first said that the numbers are down and then claimed that he was discussing the crime rate as well. When Santos indicated he was going to report the crime statistics to show that crime was down, Holmes interrupted by asking the crowd, "Is anybody here going to believe the statistics that he's about to provide us provide an accurate portrayal of the area in which you live?" and the crowd indicated that they didn't.

Throughout the meeting, Santos stated in defense that he had intended the meeting to be with the leaders of 15 homeowners associations, but residents questioned what Santos had expected to present to the homeowners association leaders. William Cousins was at the meeting representing residents of Aileen Street and complained about a resident on his block who had been arrested "200 times" and was quickly back on the street after each arrest.

Wafaa Aborashed of the Davis West Neighborhood Association said that the police chief needed to be there to the applause and agreement of the crowd.

Linda Perry, of the Halcyon-Foothill Homeowners Association, asked for crime information relevant for specific areas so that residents could be warned and be on the lookout.

Santos noted that the Washington Manor area had the lowest overall number of crimes and said that it was because of a "strong homeowners association going back the better part of 50 years," and because "they've established a neighborhood watch."

After asking and challenging Perry about attendance at Halcyon-Foothill Neighborhood Association meetings, Santos took questions from the audience.

Emmett Cadigan of the Assumption Parish neighborhood said that "it's more of a quality-of-life issue" than a crime and stats issue. When Cadigan complained about an event at the high school and a "rude" dispatcher, Santos challenged him to cite the date and time of the incident. Aborashed noted the large amount of graffiti in the Davis West area and five automobile break-ins in one block and said, "The elders in our neighborhood are terrorized."

Aurora Drive resident George Bond, a law enforcement officer, noted that the numbers being claimed to show a decrease in crime didn't necessarily affect the crime rate, which can be affected by changes in population. Santos didn't respond to Mr. Bond's comments and moved on to other comments.

Brenda Salgado, from the Farrelly Pond Neighborhood Association said, "The best thing that can come out of this meeting is if the homeowners associations and the people in our community put our heads together and say What concrete suggestions do we have ... to fix this problem together and it also means looking at our homeowners groups and saying ok, what can we be doing."

Santos noted that he has been pushing to hire more officers to get the number of sworn officers up to 100. In its presentation on Monday, January 14, 2008, Police Chief Attarian stated his goal of hiring nine more sworn officers and six more non-sworn staff. In response to concerns about auto thefts, Santos said that the San Leandro Police Department will begin using a camera on police vehicles that can automatically read license plate numbers and check them against a stolen vehicle database as a police car is driving through the city.

Bo Johansen of the Mulford Gardens Improvement Association suggested that the neighborhood associations organize together as the Associated Homeowners had done in the past to ensure that the residents of San Leandro "can tell the city what we want."

One resident complained about city's lack of responsiveness to her concerns about speeding in her neighborhood. She also said she didn't feel safe having her children see movies at the theater. Assistant City Manager Hollister agreed, saying that he wouldn't let his teens go to the theater and explained that Madison Marquette and the City have been demanding more security at the theater. Another resident said that she goes to the theater weekly, but never sees a police officer at the theater come out of his car.

Santos offered to walk residents' neighborhoods at their request at any time as often as requested. Holmes basically ended the meeting, stating, "I think everyone in the room knows that crime doesn't happen when there are people around watching. It makes a huge difference if you'll get out and walk. Twice a day, get on your block. Find out who on your block is home during the day. Ask to schedule something with them. See if they can go on a regular basis....It means calling in, it means getting people on board, it means getting to know your neighbors better, it means getting more involved. And every single person in the room here has some responsibility for that...Every single one of us has to do something. Paying for more police is extremely expensive and does a very poor job of deterring crime unless the cop happens to drive by at the right time...Tony didn't create this crime. This crime's been going on longer than he's been Mayor. He has little ability to affect it, in my opinion. Adding six more policemen, according to the stats the FBI has...does not make a significant difference in how much crime you have. It has a huge amount to do with how many people are out, how many people are involved in their community and know what's going on."

Many in the audience left frustrated by what they felt was Mayor Santos' failure to seriously address their concerns and in some cases being dismissive and even condescending. One resident also said that the Mayor came across as rude a few times while another left the meeting "disgusted."

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January 16, 2008

Presentation on Crime Posted on City Web Site

Council Report, Crime Trends, Staffing and Future TrendsSan Leandro Police Chief Dale Attarian's report entitled, "Council Report, Crime Trends, Staffing and Future Trends," which was presented at the City Council Work Session on Monday, January 14, 2008, has been posted to the city's web site.

The report received by Councilmembers at the Monday meeting included a few additional pages which reported crime information for each of the six City Council districts.

Copies of the report were handed out to leaders of homeowners associations at a meeting held by Mayor Tony Santos at the San Leandro Library on Tuesday, January 15, 2008.

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January 14, 2008

San Leandro Crime Statistics for 2007

The statistics on crime in San Leandro in 2007 are out and, as San Leandro Police Chief Dale Attarian has previously stated, crime is down overall in San Leandro. Despite statistics that show an overall decrease in crime and San Leandro Mayor Tony Santos assuring residents that "It's just fear" in response to concerns about public safety, heightened concern about crime is reflected in discussions at recent City Council meetings, a Town Hall held by Councilmembers Diana Souza and Joyce Starosciak, and a meeting scheduled for Tuesday, January 15, 2008, with the leaders of homeowner associations.

By the numbers, crime in San Leandro is down, from 5,115 crimes in 2006 to 4,848 in 2007. Those numbers include rapes, murders, robberies, aggravated assaults, simple assaults, burglaries, larcenies, auto thefts, and arson.

As reported previously, there were no murders in 2007 compared to four in 2006. Rapes declined 59% from 29 in 2006 to 12 in 2007. Aggravated assault declined 18% from 302 in 2006 to 248 in 2007. Larceny declined 11% from 2,176 in 2006 to 1,933 in 2007.

Arsons increased 33% from 12 in 2006 to 16 in 2007. Burglaries increased 3% and auto thefts increased one percent.

In 2006, Las Vegas was listed as the metropolitan area with the highest auto theft rate by the National Insurance Crime Bureau with a rate of 1,310 vehicles stolen for every 100,000 residents. In 2006, San Leandro had a rate of more than 1,580 vehicles stolen for every 100,000 residents.

According to Chief Attarian, some vehicles are now stolen just to remove the catalytic converters, from which the platinum catalyst is recovered for its value. Last year, four vehicles stolen from San Leandro were recovered at one Oakland address and all were missing their catalytic converters. The owner of Converters West, a San Leandro auto parts dealer, was recently arrested for buying stolen catalytic converters.

But the numbers don't tell the whole story. Crime in one area of the city could increase while crime in another area is flat or dropping. Unfortunately, that data isn't available yet, but San Leandro Bytes is working on it and will publish it once it becomes available.

At last night's City Council work session, the Councilmembers received a report entitled, "Council Report, Crime Trends, Staffing and Future Trends" by Chief Attarian. Included at the end of the report were specific crime statistics for each City Council District. That data is reproduced in the graph below. Chief Attarian noted that the total number of crimes when separated by district (4761) doesn't match the 2007 number of 4848 because of problems with identifying the proper district for each crime. Click here for the data used to create the graph.

San Leandro Crime Statistics for 2007 by District

Chief Attarian noted that the high number of larcenies (thefts) in District 2 is because the area includes Bayfair Center and the commercial corridor along E. 14th Street.

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City Council Work Session on Crime, Monday, January 14, 2008

The City Council will be discussing police services, a strategic plan for the police and crime statistics at its work session meeting on Monday, January 14, 2008.

The meeting starts at 7pm and is held in the Helen Lawrence South Offices Conference Room, located south of City Hall and the Police Department at 999 E. 14th Street.

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January 10, 2008

San Leandro Store Owner Charged With Buying Stolen Catalytic Converters

Christopher Panarra, 44, owner of Converters West, was arrested today and charged with buying stolen catalytic converters from undercover police officers. According to CHP Sgt. Les Bishop, the store was a "central delivery and processing location for the stolen converters." Police reported that 40 stolen cars have been recovered and 14 other people have been arrested as part of the investigation.

There were 1,267 automobile thefts reported in San Leandro in 2007. According to San Leandro Police Chief Dale Attarian, four stolen cars were found at one address in Oakland, all with their catalytic converters removed. In the November 28, 2007, San Leandro Times, one resident noted that the catalytic converter from his vehicle had been stolen three times in eight months while parked at the San Leandro BART station.

Catalytic converters use precious metals such as platinum, palladium, and rhodium to reduce emissions from motor vehicle exhaust. These precious metals are what make catalytic converters so expensive.

Converters West sells remanufactured catalytic converters and is located at 1669 Abram Court in San Leandro.

Coverage from the Daily Review, San Francisco Chonicle and KTVU.

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January 2, 2008

San Leandro Ends 2007 With No Murders

According to San Leandro Police Chief Dale Attarian, there were no murders reported in the City of San Leandro during all of 2007. The most recent year prior to 2007 in which there were no murders in San Leandro was 1984, according to Chief Attarian.

This appears to at least partially corroborate Chief Attarian's previous claim that "San Leandro has seen the lowest crime rate in the past five years." The City of Oakland also recorded fewer murders in 2007 than in 2006.

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December 13, 2007

Crime in San Leandro by the Numbers

Is crime up in San Leandro as some people believe? Is crime down, as San Leandro Police Chief Dale Attarian said in his December 3, 2007, letter to the San Leandro Times? The answer depends on how you look at it.

Crime statistics for the years 1996 to 2006 are available at the FBI’s web site as part of the Uniform Crime Reports at http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/ucr.htm#cius. These statistics include the population of San Leandro and the number of police officers in the San Leandro Police Department.

From 1996 to 2006, San Leandro’s population increased by 12%, from 70,478 to 78,882, according to the FBI data.

The good news: During that same time period, murders and non-negligent homicides decreased 50% from 6 to 4, with only one murder reported in 2000 and three murders in 1999 and 2003. Larceny-theft decreased by 29% from 3,073 to 2,176 and arson decreased by 57%, from 28 to 12. Robberies increased by only 1.3% from 305 to 309 and burglaries increased by 1.2% from 764 to 773. Aggravated assaults increased by 11%, from 278 to 309.

The bad news: Forcible rape increased 33% from 21 to 28 and motor vehicle theft increased by 72% from 725 to 1247.

More recent data isn’t available yet, so recent trends may not be apparent yet. Larceny-theft and arson are down in recent years, but all other crime categories are up.

From 1996 to 2006, the number of police officers in the San Leandro Police Department has varied from 92 to 93, with a high of 98 officers in 2000 and a low of 88 in 2001. If there’s a correlation between the number of police officers and crime, it doesn’t readily appear in the statistics. Mayor Tony Santos campaigned for increasing the number of police officers and repeated this at the December 3, 2007, City Council meeting. However, if San Leandro were able to increase the number of officers by four or six, it’s not clear that it would have any significant impact on crime.

The following graphs summarize crime, population, and the number of police officers in San Leandro from 1996 to 2006. Here's the data for those of you who want to play with the numbers yourself.

After looking at the statistics, what do you think?

Arson, Rape, and Murder in San Leandro from 1996 to 2006

Aggravated assault and robbery in San Leandro from 1996 to 2006

Burglary, larceny-theft, and auto theft in San Leandro from 1996 to 2006

San Leandro Population from 1996 to 2006

Police officers in San_Leandro from 1996 to 2006.

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December 5, 2007

On Crime in San Leandro

Local crime has been in the news recently with Jot Mangat, the owner of the Englander getting shot outside his restaurant, an attempted robbery of a teenager's iPod and bicycle, and two robberies that occurred while customers were present.

As a result, a letter written to the San Leandro Times in November 2007 describes the current situation as a "rampant increase in crime" and claims that it is something "our leaders don't want to talk about." However, crime is discussed by the City leaders on a regular basis, including at its most recent meeting.

At the December 3, 2007, City Council meeting, Councilmember Bill Stephens made the following remarks about crime:

However, in the past few months several high profile events have occurred which have created a perception of a shift in public safety. Perception, as we know is reality. I am talking of:
  • A robbery in which a prominent restaurant owner was wounded.
  • Robberies at two downtown establishments during a time when patrons were present
  • Strong arm robberies of children on their home street
  • Vandalism – Broken windows at a restaurant, barber shop and hardware store in my neighborhood
  • Auto thefts
  • Increased vagrancy and pan-handling
  • Traffic violations
Now, I recognize that statistics may support the fact that the city is safer, but I submit that we must evaluate this and confirm. I think we need to both ensure and assure our citizens of their individual safety. We need to both project protection and promote an image of a safe community. We need to make San Leandro synonymous with that of being the safest city in the East Bay. We can do this.
First, I would ask that we receive a report of crimes over the past five years. Broad categories. Auto Theft, Robberies, etc.
I ask that this report be provided to the Council prior to its January retreat. I also ask that the police provide their view on what they need to combat crime. I would like to hear how they may use community assistance, technology, lighting, communications, new deployment and tactics to advance crime prevention.
With this information, the city council can take strong and appropriate action to enhance community safety. I am not talking of symbolism, but action that will result in quantifiable reduction in crime in one year. I do not have all the answers. None of us on the council have all the answers. But together, all of us – the community, the staff, and the police have the needed solutions.

In addition, City Manager John Jermanis delivered a copy of a letter-to-the-editor prepared by Police Chief Dale Attarian to each member of the City Council at the December 4, 2007, meeting. This letter will likely appear in the December 6, 2007, edition of the San Leandro Times:

In response to a recent letter ("SL's Mounting Crime Problem" 11/22), I think it is important to clarify for the community what the actual crime trends in San Leandro have been and San Leandro's high priority for public safety.
As Police Chief for San Leandro, I regularly review crime reports and statistics. The most recent San Leandro statistics, which are based on 2006 numbers, actually indicate that crimes such as assaults have dropped 6 percent this past year compared to last year and incidents of even more egregious physical crimes such as rape have dropped by 60 percent.
Although the state and federal reports compile vast quantities of crime statistics, the rankings they create are typically based on a limited number of crime types and may not reflect the full picture of how a community is faring. For instance, what is clear from the latest report is that crimes against property have increased, some by as much as 10 percent (which is also a trend throughout Alameda County), but crimes against persons have dropped substantially. Since the 1990s, San Leandro's overall crime rate has dropped nearly 25 percent and, so far in 2007, San Leandro has seen the lowest crime rate in the past five years.
While even one crime is too many, it should be noted that the San Leandro Police Department works diligently to ensure the safety of our citizens. The City's dispatch center handles roughly 70,000 to 80,000 calls per year and the City's sworn police staff take some 16,000 police reports each year. We provide 24/7 police services and have a strong record of responding to calls for immediate assistance within minutes of receiving them.
We certainly understand the concerns of community members, and want to make sure the community knows that the San Leandro City Council ranks public safety as their very highest priority. We continually monitor crime trends in the city and will apply the necessary resources to effectively combat crime so that our city remains healthy and safe.
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October 24, 2007

Suspect Arrested in Shooting Death of San Leandro Student

According to the Daily Review, Dwayne M. Stancill, 19, has been arrested for the shooting death of San Leandro High School student Greg Ballard Jr.

Stancill was arrested on October 23, 2007, after he was stopped driving a stolen car and later confessed to shooting Ballard for no reason while he was drunk.

Ballard was shot on October 13, 2007, near the 9200 block of Sunnyside Street in Oakland.

According to police, a MySpace page devoted to the Oakland street gang Hyfee Boyz helped to identify Stancill, who is suspected of being a member of the gang. Perhaps it is this page or this page. Note that these pages are graphic and are not safe for the workplace.

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October 15, 2007

San Leandro High School Student Killed in Oakland

Greg Ballard, Jr.San Leandro High School senior Greg Ballard Jr., 17, was shot and killed near the 9200 block of Sunnyside Street in Oakland on Saturday night, October 13, 2007. After he was shot, Ballard was found at the back of a house and was taken to Highland Hospital, where he died at 8:49pm.

Ballard had joined the football team this year and earlier in the day, the San Leandro High School football team had defeated Bishop O'Dowd 26 - 21.

Extra counselors will be at the high school today to help students cope with the loss and a fund will be set up to help the family with funeral expenses.

If you have any information about the shooting, the Oakland Police can be reached at 510.238.3821.

Daily Review coverage.

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September 11, 2007

Englander Owner Shot During Robbery

Jot Mangat in 2005According to an article in the Daily Review, Jot Mangat, owner of the Englander Pub, was shot during a robbery on Saturday night, September 8, 2007.

Mangat was shot in the face after he was confronted by a man with a gun and gave up his laptop bag immediately, which only contained papers and keys to the pub. Mangat was able to provide police with a description of the gunman and his accomplice. Witnesses reported that the two suspects left in a gold-colored van.

Mangat was able to leave the hospital after only an hour as the bullet went through his cheek.

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June 7, 2007

City Settles Taser Death Lawsuit for $395,000

At the June 4, 2007, meeting of the San Leandro City Council, City Attorney Jayne Williams announced that the City agreed to settle a $10 million federal civil rights lawsuit for the death of Maravilla Perez Jr.

On October 20, 2005, police were called to an apartment at 540 Callan Ave. where Perez was allegedly violating a restraining order at his ex-girlfriend's apartment. Perez fled on foot, was caught, and Officer Tim Degrano applied a chokehold and used his Taser on Perez. After he was released from a restraining device at the jail, Perez struggled with police and Officer Mike Nemeth and Sgt. Bob McManus both used their Tasers and Perez became unconscious.

Perez was taken to Eden Medical Center, where he later died. According to an autopsy, Perez suffered a fractured neck and 21 Taser applications.

In the settlement, the City of San Leandro does not admit any wrongdoing in the case.

San Francisco Chronicle and Daily Review coverage.

Additional coverage about problems with Tasers in Wired.

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May 10, 2007

Ramirez Found Guilty of Killing San Leandro Police Officer

On May 10, 2007, after one day of deliberation, a jury found Irving Alexander Ramirez guilty of killing San Leandro Police Officer Nels "Dan" Niemi.

According to evidence presented at the trial, Ramirez shot Niemi seven times on July 25, 2005, at around 11pm at 14659 Doolittle Drive - six times after Niemi had fallen to the ground. Ramirez' attorney argued that Ramirez was drunk and that the shooting was not premeditated.

Ramirez was convicted of first degree murder, and could be sentenced to death.

Click here for Daily Review coverage or here for San Francisco Chronicle coverage.

Update: On June 11, 2007, after three and a half days of deliberation, a jury decided that Ramirez should be killed as punishment for shooting and killing Niemi.

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November 18, 2006

Tire Shop Owner Charged With Road Rage Shooting

Rafael Amezquita, owner of Savel Motorsports in San Leandro, was charged with two counts of assault with a deadly weapon for the October 7, 2006, shooting of Daniel Ryan Hernandez. The incident occured at the intersection of Amador Valley Boulevard at Iron Horse Trail after Hernandez and Amezquita tailgated and exchanged words.

Amezquita was arrested on October 17, 2006, and his plea hearing has been delayed until January 9, 2007.

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November 1, 2006

Teen Shot and Killed When he Returns to Oakland Neighborhood

Eighteen-year-old Erik Torres of San Leandro was shot and killed on Friday, October 27, 2006, when he returned to the Oakland neighborhood where he had lived two years earlier. His mother, Karen Torres, had moved the family to San Leandro because four of his friends had been killed and she feared for their safety.

The shooting occured on 105th Avenue and also wounded a 17-year-old friend of Torres.

A fund has been establishd in Torres memory and donations can be made at any Wells Fargo branch to account No. 5559673750, the Memorial Fund for Erik Torres.

There is a $15,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the killer. Call (510) 238-3821 if you have any information about this shooting.

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October 30, 2006

Stolen Almonds Recovered from San Leandro Warehouse

A trailer containing 44,000 pounds of stolen almonds was recovered from a San Leandro warehouse on Friday, October 27, 2006. According to the Fresno Bee, "The nut thieves hit Fresno County the night of Oct. 1, stealing a semi-truck carrying a container of almonds from the Devine Intermodal yard...The truck was attached to a 40-foot container filled with 44,000 pounds of blanched, sliced and diced almonds packed by Campos Brothers in Caruthers."

The almonds, which were ready to be shipped to Spain, were worth an estimated $135,000. Authorities were alerted to the stolen almonds when the person storing the almonds shopped them around and the almond board was contacted. No arrests have been made in the case.

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San Leandro Police Officer Charged With False Imprisonment

Veteran San Leandro Police Officer Greg Cannedy was charged with two counts of felony false imprisonment, one count of misdemeanor sexual battery and three counts of battery on Friday, October 27, 2006. Cannedy was placed on paid administrative leave in mid-September, when the incidents were reported.

Cannedy allegedly detained and inappropriately touched two women while on the job, according to a police department spokesman.

Cannedy has been with the San Leandro Police Department for five years. On Monday, October 30, 2006, Cannedy turned himself in at the Hayward Hall of Justice and was released on $27,000 bail.

According to a statement from San Leandro police Sgt. Rick DeCosta, in one incident on September 12, 2006, Cannedy allegedly grabbed a woman's hand and placed it between his legs and then rubbed her hand over his clothes after kissing her neck. In another incident between May and December 2005, Cannedy was alleged to have pulled a motorist towards him to kiss her neck as she got back into her car.

Click here for Daily Review coverage or here for San Francisco Chronicle coverage.

Update: On November 7, 2006, Cannedy pleaded not guilty to two felony counts of false imprisonment, three misdemeanor battery counts and a misdemeanor charge of sexual battery by restraint at the Hayward Hall of Justice.

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October 3, 2006

Police Sued Over Taser Death

The family of Jose Maravilla Perez Jr. has filed a federal civil-rights lawsuit in U.S. District Court in San Francisco against the San Leandro Police alleging excessive use of force, according to an article in the October 3, 2006, San Francisco Chronicle.

Perez died on October 20, 2005, after police were called to investigate him for possible violation of a restraining order at his girlfriend's apartment complex at 540 Callan Avenue. According to the results of an autopsy by the Alameda County Coroner, Perez suffered a broken neck and received 21 Taser applications. One of the Taser shots was received at the San Leandro jail after he was released from a restraining device.

The lawsuit was filed was well-known attorney John Burris on behalf of Perez' parents and children and seeks $10 million in damages. Burris has previously worked on the Rodney King and Oakland Riders cases.

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September 13, 2006

Woman Found Dead in Apartment

Early Monday, September 11, 2006, Sonia Ilustre, 47, was found dead in an apartment in the 300 block of Williams Street in San Leandro. According to Lt. Marc DeCoulode of the San Leandro Police Department, they believe that someone entered the apartment and struck Ilustre with a blunt object that killed her between 9:30pm Sunday and about 2:45am Monday. No suspect has been arrested.

This is the second homicide of the year. On July 31, 2006, Daryl Lamar Pierson was shot and killed at the Quik Stop Market at 1001 MacArthur Boulevard.

Update: More information about Sonia Ilustre from UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism.

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September 1, 2006

Camaro Crashes Into Parked Cars Near Le Soleil on E.14th Street

A brand new black Chevy Camaro smashed into two parked vehicles at approximately 6:50pm Thursday night, August 31, 2006, frightening customers at Le Soleil and Baskin Robbins near Pelton Center. The force of the crash broke the front suspension of a Honda Accord and pushed a Chevy Trailblazer up onto the sidewalk, bending a parking meter and breaking the vehicle's rim. After the crash, the heavily-damaged Camaro backed up and sped away. Witnesses tried to identify the vehicle by its license plate number, but the vehicle appeared to be new and did not have a license plate.

accord-damage.jpg

bent-meter.jpg

An unmarked police car arrived at the scene shortly after the suspects fled and witnesses told the officers in which direction to go. The Camaro was followed to the San Leandro BART station by witnesses where they were arrested. At this time, no information about the suspects is available. The case number is 06-34559.

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August 29, 2006

Trial Date Set for Man Accused of Killing Officer Niemi

On Monday, August 28, 2006, Alameda County Superior Court Judge C. Don Clay set the trial date for the alleged killer of San Leandro Police Officer Nels "Dan" Niemi for February 20, 2007. Irving Ramirez is charged with shooting and killing Niemi on July 25, 2005, near the intersection of Doolittle Drive and Belvedere Avenue in San Leandro.

District Attorney Tom Orloff is seeking the death penalty in the case.

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August 27, 2006

San Leandro Woman Dies After Being Left at Hospital

A 36-year-old San Leandro woman died on Saturday night August 26, 2006, after she was dropped off at Highland Hospital in Oakland. The woman had suffered traumatic injuries and police are treating it as a homicide. The woman's name has not been released.

Update 8/28/06: The woman has been identified as Leslie Lamb.

Update 10/5/06: Earl Stefanson was charged with murder for the torture and beating death of Leslie Lamb. According to an article in the San Francisco Chronicle, a torture room was found in his Oakland home and blood from Lamb and two other people was found in the room. Stefanson was arrested after leading police on a chase through Oakland and Hayward. He was also charged with being a felon in possession of a gun after police found a handgun at his home.

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August 21, 2006

San Leandro Boy Shot in Oakland

A 15-year-old San Leandro boy was shot in the knee as he was walking to a party in Oakland on Saturday, August 19, 2006. The shooting occured at approximatly 10:47pm near the intersection of 82nd Avenue and Birch Street. Andrew D. Porter, 16, of Oakland High School was killed and a 14-year-old boy from Oakland was wounded in the leg.

More details from the Daily Review.

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July 31, 2006

Man Killed, Woman Hurt in Shooting at Quik Stop

A man was killed and woman was injured in a shooting early Monday, July 31, 2006, at the Quik Stop Market at 1001 MacArthur Boulevard in San Leandro. According to witnesses, a Chevrolet Tahoe drove up to the market, was approached by two men, an argument ensued, and the driver was shot twice and the female passenger was shot once in the shoulder. A passenger in the back seat helped get the victims to Highland Hospital.

No names have been released and the police have no suspects. Anyone with information is asked to call the San Leandro Police at (510) 577-3201

Update: As of September 13, 2006, there are still no suspects. The driver who was killed is Daryl Lamar Pierson.

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June 12, 2006

Police Officer Injured by Driver of Stolen Truck

On Saturday June 10, 2006, a San Leandro police officer's car was struck by a stolen truck driven by 20-year-old Linda Nazar. When police attempted to pull the truck over, the driver fled on Highway 238 and exited onto Foothill Boulevard in Hayward. When the driver made a U-turn, the truck smashed into the door of the officer's car, trapping her.

The officer, who was not named, was extracted by the Hayward Fire Department and treated for minor injuries at Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley.

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May 10, 2006

Man Shot in Leg Near Bayfair Mall

A 19-year-old man was shot in the leg near Bayfair Center at approximately 10:15am on Wednesday, May 10, 2006. The police believe that the victim knew his assailant. The shooting occured adjacent to the San Leandro Bay Fair BART station and the Century Theatre multiplex. The victim is expected to recover.

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April 25, 2006

Roosevelt briefly locked down for police pursuit

Roosevelt Elementary School was briefly locked down this morning as police pursued two suspects in a Castro Valley home invasion robbery. After a car chase and then pursuit on foot, the two suspects were arrested at about 8am. Two additional suspects are still being sought.

According to the police, four male suspects, one of whom had a gun, robbed a house on Mount Jasper Drive in Castro Valley at about 7:30am.

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February 25, 2006

San Leandro Resident Charged With Employing Aliens at SF Brothel

According to a February 24, 2006, press release from the US Attorney's Office in San Francisco, Hyon Chu Yim, 45, of San Leandro, was indicted on February 16, 2006, "with alien harboring, conspiring to launder money, and related offenses in connection with employing alien females as prostitutes for financial gain."

Hyon Chu Yim was one of two people indicted for running an alleged brothel at Suk Hee Oriental Massage, located at 483 Broadway Street in San Francisco. The charges include eight counts of alien harboring for prostitution, eight counts of alien harboring for commercial advantage or private financial gain, and 58 counts of money laundering.

Ms. Yim was arrested on February 22, 2006, in San Leandro and released on a $300,000 bond.

A discussion of Suk Hee's prices and services can be found at My Red Book, a site that reviews escort and massage services and the World Sex Guide.

A quick search for more information about Suk Hee leads to an article from the San Francisco Examiner in April 1997 about global sex slavery. Looks like it took some time to build a case, I guess.

Here's a photo from San Francisco blogger Chad Fox:

Suk Hee Massage & Sauna

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Busted for Growing Pot in Oakland

Loi Tan Nguyen, 26, and Hung Tan Nguyen, 28, were arrested on Friday, February 24, 2006, and charged with growing marijuana in an Oakland house on E. 17th Street. The two men live in the 15000 block of Andover Street in San Leandro, where $2,000 was found as part of the investigation.

Reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, ANG and others.

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February 11, 2006

San Leandro Pastor Charged With Illegal Shark Trade

Kevin Thompson, 48, pastor of the Bay Area Family Church in San Leandro, Calif., was indicted by a federal grand jury on January 24, 2006, along with five others, of illegal trade in leopard sharks.

Leopard shark

According to the press release from the United States Attorney’s Office of the Northern District of California, the six individuals were charged with violating the Lacey Act, which incorporates a California law "which places a minimum size limit of 36 inches for any commercial harvest of California leopard sharks."

In the indictment, Thompson is charged with four others in selling 465 juvenile leopard sharks to companies across the U.S., in the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands.

Also charged were Hiroshi Ishikawa, 36, of San Leandro, a member of the Bay Area Family Church, John Newberry, 34, of Hayward, California, Ira Gass, 53, of Azusa, California, Vincent Ng, 43, of Oakland, the owner of Amazon Aquarium in Alameda, California, and Sion Lim, 39, of San Francisco, California, the owner Bayside Aquatics, located in Oakland California. Thompson, Ishikawa, and two others were released on $100,000 bail.

The Bay Area Family Church is part of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church. This is of interest because in The Way of Tuna, the Rev. Sun Myung Moon writes, "When you think of the ocean you think about the movie "Jaws," don't you? Now instead of thinking a shark will use you as his food, you can think you will use the shark to feed the world. Not only men, but women will do it also. That is a long-standing goal of mine."

Of the 19 leopard sharks confiscated during the investigation, nine were released into the wild, three are on display at the Monterey Bay Aquarium and seven others died.

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December 8, 2005

San Leandro Man Arrested in Marijuana Growing Operation

San Leandro resident James Chiaverini, 36, was arrested last month as part of an investigation into a large marijuana growing operation. The Livermore Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration made the announcement on Thursday, December 8, 2005. A search warrant executed by the San Leandro police resulted in the discovery of a warehouse marijuana growing operation.

KTVU story

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November 29, 2005

San Leandro Man Killed at His Birthday Party

San Leandro resident Geraldo Salinas was stabbed and killed at his 21st birthday party on November 26, 2005, during a fight at his apartment on Sweetwater Drive. According to police, Luis Rene DeLeon stabbed Salinas multiple times. Salinas later died at Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley. Salinas previously attended San Leandro High School.

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November 22, 2005

San Leandro Police Widow Speaks Out For the Death Penalty

In an op-ed piece in the November 22, 2005, edition of the San Francisco Chronicle entitled Ultimate justice for cop killers, Dionne Niemi speaks out in favor of the death penalty. She is the widow of San Leandro police officer Nels Niemi, 42, who was killed on July 25, 2005. The man suspected of shooting Niemi, Irving Alexander Ramirez, faces the death penalty.

Related sites:
Office Down Memorial Page for Nels Niemi
San Leandro Police Dept. page on Nels Niemi

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November 17, 2005

San Leandro Man Accused of Killing Fiance's Daughter

San Leandro resident, Kaian Brandon, 24, was charged November 16, 2005, with murder and felony assault child abuse in the beating death of his fiancee's daughter.

According to police, Brandon beat three-year-old Kiara Irwine, after she had a toilet training accident. On Friday, November 11, 2005, Brandon called emergency personnel to a home near 1400 block of 165th Avenue. Irwine was taken to Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley, where she was pronounced dead.

An autopsy completed on Monday revealed that Irwine had broken ribs, a lacerated liver and abdominal injuries.

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November 15, 2005

San Leandro Man Shot and Killed

San Leandro resident Martress Clarence Rogers, 23, was shot and killed on Saturday, November 15, 2005, in Ashland, an unincorporated area south of San Leandro. Police determined that Rogers was shot near the 16100 block of Ashland Avenue at about 4:30am in the morning after getting into an argument with the occupants of an SUV. Rogers then managed to drive to his apartment on Tropic Court, where he was found lying down by police. Rogers was taken to Eden Medical Center, where he died hours later.

Police estimated that Rogers drove 1.5 miles from where he was shot to his apartment. The distance to San Leandro hospital is about 1.8 miles.

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July 27, 2005

Suspect Arrested in Shooting Death of San Leandro Police Officer

San Leandro Officer Nels "Dan" Niemi, 42, was shot and killed on July 25, 2005, while investigating an excessive noise complaint near the intersection of Doolittle Drive and Belvedere Avenue.

While Niemi was talking to a person when two people drove up in a white 1995 Ford Thunderbird. The suspect got out of the card and reportedly fired six shots without warning at Niemi, who died about 30 minutes later at Eden Medical Center. Niemi was the first San Leandro police officer killed in the line of duty since 1961. He is survived by his wife Dionne, a six-year-old daughter and a 13-year-old stepson.

On the following day, July 26, 2005, the suspect, Newark resident Irving Alexander Ramirez, 23, was arrested without incident while he was sleeping in a Daly City apartment leased to his sister and her husband.

A trust fund has been established and contributions can be made to the Niemi Family Fund, c/o San Leandro Police Officers Association, 901 East 14th St., San Leandro, CA 94577.

San Francisco Chronicle article
Oakland Tribune article

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July 13, 2005

San Leandro Man Killed in Oakland

Harold Gary, a 26-year-old from San Leandro, was killed after being shut numerous times late Friday night, July 8, 2005. He was found near the intersection of Foothill Blvd. and Seminary Ave. in Oakland.

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May 5, 2005

Hayward Man Killed Outside San Leandro Liquor Store

George Cleveland, a 62-year-ol Hayward man, was shot and killed outside E-Z Shop at 650 MacArthur Blvd., San Leandro, at approximately 1:30am on Monday, May 2, 2005. Cleveland was pronounced dead at 2:07am at Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley.

According to police, the two suspect left the scene in a 1990s model Buick LeSabre with black rims and no hubcaps. Police ask that anybody with information about the murder call the San Leandro Police Department at (510) 577-3237.

The murder was San Leandro's first homicide of 2005.

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April 6, 2005

San Leandro Man Killed Outside Hayward Store

San Leandro resident Kente Jones, 24, was shot and killed outside a store in unincorporated Hayward at approximately 9:30pm on Monday, April 4, 2005. Witnesses reported that Jones was involved in an altercation with two men, during which several gunshots were reported. After the altercation, Jones walked into Quart House Liquors at 22596 Center St. and collapsed.

Jones was driving a 1993 Lexus and robbery is suspected as the motive since he had recently cashed his paycheck and had no money on him after the confrontation.

Jones' older brother, Arthur Wright, was shot and killed in Oakland on January 29, 1994.

Call the police at (510) 667-3622 if you have any information about the suspects, who reportedly fled in a light-colored vehicle.

Update: The Carole Sund/Carrington Memorial Reward Foundation put up a $5,000 reward on May 10, 2005, for information that leads to the two suspects in the murder of Kente Jones.

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March 10, 2005

San Leandro Men Arrested After Robbery at Stoneridge Mall

San Leandro residents Jesse Lee, 18, and Ronan Maher, 18, and Dublin resident Brandon Eastman, 20, were arrested on Wednesday, March 9, 2005, after a victim reported being robbed at Stoneridge Mall in Pleasanton. The victim was relieved of his cell phone and wallet at gunpoint.

The robbers fled in a blue Honda, but the victim reported the license plate number to police, which enabled the San Leandro police to stop the car in San Leandro. The police recovered two pellet guns and the victim's property. A cell phone from a similar robbery that occured on Monday, March 7, 2005, was also recovered. The three suspects reported all worked at the same Dublin restaurant.

See coverage from the San Francisco Chronicle, KPIX, and the Tri-Valley Herald.

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January 6, 2005

Missing San Leandro Woman Found Dead Near Westport

According to the Mendocino Beacon, Kathleen Leung, who had been reported missing by her husband on January 1, 2005, was found dead in the Chadbourne Gulch area nearly one mile from the shore near Westport, California, on January 3. Leung was found by the crew of a local fishing boat at around 1pm, and law enforcement believed that her body had been in the water for less than 24 hours.

If you saw or had contact with Kathleen Leung between January 1 and January 3, 2005, contact the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office at (707) 463-4411.

Update: Here's a picture of Kathleen Leung from the San Leandro Police Missing Person Flyer:

k_leung.png

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December 11, 2004

Failed Car Jacking Attempt in San Leandro

At approximtely 8:25pm Wednesday, December 8, 2004, a Union City man foiled a car jacking attempt near the 2600 block of Marina Boulevard.

Men carrying a shotgun and a handgun confronted the driver when he was dropping off a passenger and the driver threw the keys out the window. The driver grabbed the shotgun barrel as the gunman looked for the keys and the second gunman lated fired at the driver and missed.

The gunmen fled in a late model blue Ford Sedan.

[Editor's note: I'm glad that nobody got hurt, but is it worth it to risk your life for your car?]

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December 7, 2004

Third San Leandro Murder Ties Previous Year

Ruben Arturo Perez, 26, became San Leandro's third murder victim of the year after he died of gunshot wounds on Saturday, December 4, 2004.

The shooting was reported to police Saturday afternoon and responding police found Mr. Perez lying in the street near the 1000 block of Douglas Drive with two gunshot wounds to the chest.

Police have named Adam Galvan, 19, as the suspect in the murder, and expect to issue a warrant for his arrest. At this time, however, he is currently at large.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Perez was reported to be a member of the South Side Locos gang and Galvan, known by the nickname "Lazy," is "associated with the Border Brothers and Norteos gangs."

San Leandro's other 2004 murder victims were William Simpson on September 24, 2004, and Shenise McLemore on May 28, 2004. San Leandro had three murders in 2003, five murders in 2002, and one murder in 2001.

Update: On Friday, December 10, 2004, shooting suspect Adam B. Galvan turned himself in at the San Leandro Police Department, accompanied by an attorney and family members. Galvan is expected to be arraigned at the Hayward Hall of Justice on Monday, December 13, 2004.

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October 16, 2004

Sheriff's Deputy Shoots Suspect Who Points Gun At Him

An Alameda County Sheriff's Deputy riding his motorcycle at about 10:40pm on Wednesday, October 13, 2004, heard what he thought were gunshots and stopped to investigate. He found a shooting victim near the intersection of 164th Avenue and Gordon Way in unicorporated San Leandro and a suspect with a gun nearby. When he tried to apprehend the suspect, the suspect reportedly pointed the gun at the deputy and the deputy shot the suspect. The original shooting victim and the suspect were treated at a hospital for non-life-threatening injuries.

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September 24, 2004

Man Killed at Bayfair Bus Stop

Two men were shot in the head with a handgun at approximately 4:15am on Friday, September 24, 2004, at a bus stop on E. 14th Street near Bayfair Center. A 27-year-old man was killed and another man was in poor condition at Eden Medical Center. Witnesses reported two people running from the bus stop and getting into a dark four-door vehicle.

This is San Leandro's second murder of the year. The first murder occured on May 28, 2004, at the Islander Lodge Motel.

9/26/04 Update: The Alameda County Coroner's Office identified the man who was killed as William Simpson.

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August 15, 2004

Police Hunt for Armed Robbery Suspect

San Leandro Police searched for an armed robbery suspect late Saturday night, August 14, 2004, near Washington Avenue in downtown San Leandro. According to police, the suspect held up the Quik Stop convenience store at 206 Marina Boulevard at the corner with Washington Avenue. Police used flashlights and dogs to search for the suspect, and at about 12:30am, a police helicopter began circling at low altitude with its spotlight aimed at the area where the suspect was believed to be hiding. The police helicopter was called off at about 1:30am Sunday morning, but police continued to search the area with search dogs.

Police cordoned off the one-block area bounded by Washington Avenue, Hays Street, Williams Street and Castro Street as they searched for the suspect.

As of 1:40am Sunday morning, the suspect was still at-large.

Update: According to police, the suspect was still at-large as of Monday, August 16, 2004. The Quik Stop clerk on duty at the time of the robbery said that the robber made off with about $500.

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July 2, 2004

Islander Lodge Murder Suspect Turns Himself In

Brandon Cayce, 28, the suspect in the murder of Shenise McLemore at the Islander Lodge Motel on May 28, 2004, turned himself in at the San Leandro Police Department on Tuesday, July 1, 2004.

Mr. Cayce was previously sentenced to four years in prison after being convicted of rape in 1997. He was being sought on a $50,000 warrant for failing to register as a sex offender, but has not yet been charged with Ms. McLemore's murder.

Posted by mike at 10:26 AM | Comments (0)

July 1, 2004

Bizarre Suicide at Military Recruiting Office

On Wednesday, June 30, 2004, a man walked into the Air Force section of the Armed Forces Career Center office at 15065 E. 14th St. in San Leandro, fired at least three shots at a recruiter, missed, and then turned the gun on himself.

According to police, the 42-year-old Hayward man died instantly, but left a handwritten note suggesting that he was targeting Air Force personnel. The police have not released the man's identity and do not yet have a motive for the attack.

Read more from the San Leandro Times and NBC Channel 11 or see the KTVU story video.

Update: The man has been identified as John William Martin. Accoring to police, Mr. Martin flunked out of basic training 20 years ago and at least two of the people listed on a note left at the scene were Martin's basic training instructors. Martin was dismissed from basic training in May 1984 after failing to meet physical fitness requirements.

San Leandro Armed Forces Career Center

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April 23, 2004

Bay Fair BART Tied for Most Robberies

According to this article in today's San Francisco Chronicle, the Bay Fair BART station had eleven robberies last year. That ties it with the Richmond station for most robberies. The Coliseum and Hayward stations were close behind.

Posted by mike at 11:10 AM | Comments (0)