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San Leandro Police Department
Friday April 19th, 2019 :: 03:32 p.m. PDT


Blind woman robbed of her cellphone in downtown San Leandro, suspect caught and arrested  

A visually impaired woman who frequents San Leandro and who is known by many in the community was violently robbed of her cell phone while walking on Davis Street near downtown San Leandro.
The incident occurred on Wednesday morning, around 9:30 am when the 38 yr old victim was walking from the San Leandro BART station to an address on Haas Avenue for a meeting.
The victim stated that she was walking on Davis Street near Clarke Street with the assistance of her white cane, which is used by many people who are blind or visually impaired. The White cane primarily allows its user to scan their surroundings for obstacles or orientation marks. However, it is especially helpful for others in identifying the user as blind or visually impaired person.
As the victim was walking on the sidewalk, scanning her path, she stated she felt her cane contact what she thought was another person. Before the victim could react, she immediately felt someone attempting to grab her iPhone out of her hand.
The victim stated that she tried to fight back by resisting and holding onto her phone from whoever was pulling it away. The victim stated that during the struggle she lost her balance, which caused her to fall to the ground. The victim stated that suspect continued to pull on her cell phone until it slipped out of its case and it was taken from her grip.
During the struggle, the victim screamed for help which drew the attention of witnesses in the area. One witness who was on a bike called 9-1-1 and reported the incident to the San Leandro Police Department. The bicyclist followed the suspect as he ran into the neighborhood, however, the witness gave the location of the suspect to the police dispatcher as he was running.
Another witness from an elevated balcony on-viewed the robbery from his apartment after hearing the screams from the victim. This witness also assisted police in the investigation.
San Leandro Police officers and detectives arrived in the area and with the assistance of the witnesses, were able located the suspect who was hiding between two parked cars several blocks away.
As officers and detectives attempted to take the suspect into custody, he began to run and resist arrest. The suspect also attempted to discard some of the evidence from the crime.
An A/C Transit bus driver who was passing on Davis Street observed the commotion on the sidewalk and saw the victim fall to the ground. That driver stopped and assisted the victim by guiding her onto his bus, taking her back to the San Leandro Bart station where she was able to get help from the BART station attendant.
The suspect, 18 yr-old San Leandro high school student Jujuan Despanie was taken into police custody and found to be in possession of the victim's cell phone at the time of his arrest.
Typically, in robbery cases like this, the normal course of a police investigation would require the victim to make a field identification of the suspect. But due to the fact that the victim is completely blind, she was unable to identify her robber. However, both witnesses in the case were contacted and both positively identified Despanie as the suspect who robbed the blind woman of her cell phone.
"I have seen many cruel acts committed against different people, but this one is especially disturbing," said San Leandro Police Lieutenant Isaac Benabou. "People in our community with disabilities are sometimes defenseless and should never be seen as a target for criminals due to their vulnerability. Rather than to prey on those who cannot protect themselves, we have a moral responsibility as human beings to help one another when in need.”
Today, the Alameda County District Attorney charged Jujuan Despanie with two felony offenses; robbery and abuse against a dependent adult, and one misdemeanor offense of resisting arrest.
On a more positive note, the San Leandro Police department would like to thank all the good Samaritans in our community for stopping to help the victim and assist the officers in locating the suspect. The outcome of this case is largely due to a community effort.
Despanie remains in custody at Alameda County's Santa Rita Jail in Dublin.

San Leandro Police Department
901 E 14th St
San Leandro, CA 94577

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 510-577-2740

Isaac Benabou
Investigations Commander

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400 Davis St
San Leandro, CA 94577

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