A 27-year-old man was arrested seven times in Alameda County for a string of alleged crimes including assault, vehicle theft and trespassing, but was repeatedly released until the spree came to an end with an attempted carjacking in Dublin, deputies said this week.
Waseen Hani Abuhwaidi was held at the Santa Rita Jail on May 9 on $200,000 bail after Dublin deputies chased him down near the Dublin BART station, sheriff's Sgt. Ray Kelly said.
“Hopefully, not to get out,” Kelly said.
Abuhwaidi allegedly tried to steal an Amazon delivery driver's van that evening when the driver got out. The driver fought back as Abuhwaidi allegedly physically beat him until deputies arrived in response to a 9-1-1 call about the fracas.
Abuhwaidi ran, but was quickly captured and taken to jail.
Police discovered Abuhwaidi had been repeatedly arrested, but rarely spent any time behind bars because the state is not holding people for nonviolent crimes during the COVID-19 pandemic. Authorities are trying to keep jail populations lower to reduce the spread of the coronavirus among inmates.
The state Judicial Council told law enforcement to release people arrested on lower level misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies. Those arrested are released on $0 bail and given court dates to appear.
The policy has not been popular among some law enforcement agencies.
“#Zerobail is a fail,” the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office wrote on its Facebook page when announcing Abuhwaidi’s arrest.
"You could get arrested every day on certain crimes and you get released," Kelly said.
According to Kelly, Abuhwaidi was arrested March 11 and again on March 22 in the City of Alameda in connection with two assaults. Dublin police arrested him April 27 on suspicion of grand theft for allegedly taking a television from a hotel. Oakland police arrested him April 30 on suspicion of disorderly conduct. Oakland police again arrested him May 4 in a stolen vehicle. Three days later, Alameda deputies held him on a trespassing allegation.
"All this in multiple cities in Alameda County," the sheriff's office posted on Facebook. "$200,000 bail will keep him in custody for now."
Departments are planning to create a database so each agency can share information about arrests to keep track of repeat offenders, Kelly said. Agencies are also writing to the California Judicial Council asking for restrictions on repeat offenders so they are not released from custody.