Patch Reader Was Caught Up In Safeway Robbery

San Leandro resident Leah Hall was on a routine shopping trip Tuesday night when a gang of gunmen took over the store, robbed the till and fled.


It was business as usual Wednesday at the Safeway at 555 Bancroft Avenue where, the night before, five gunmen had invaded the store, ordered patrons and employees to hit the deck and cleaned out the till.

"I was there shopping in the back of the store at the time," San Leandro resident Leah Hall told Patch. "I didn't see or hear much, but I did drop to the ground and pray with a few other shoppers and staff members."

It was a quick but terrifying experience.

"Some of us ran to the stock room and hid in a (computer) office," Hall recalled. "The young manager called 911 on her cell phone. The police arrived about 3-5 minutes later and took reports."

Patrons like Hall who had been in the back of the store and didn't see much were allowed to leave. But even those in the front where the robbers cleaned out two cash registers could see very little. 

That's because the gunmen wore hoodies and masks. Witnesses say they ran out of the store heading north. The police have released no information about any getaway vehicle that may have been used.

Getting caught up in the Safeway robbery is not Hall's only brush with crime in San Leandro. "We've had 4 robberies in the last 2.5 years, and that is only our house," she lamented, adding, "What is this neighborhood coming to?"

Concerned about crime? Citizens For a Safer San Leandro has helped organize a forum on community policing on Tuesday, October, 2, from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm at the Senior Community Center, 13909 East 14th Street. The San Leandro Police Department's Crime Prevention Unit will be on hand to discuss how citizens can help make law enforcement more effective.

sanleandronumerouno September 27, 2012 at 07:21 PM
If the city's budget situation is so dire why is the mayor offering the school district $200k a year to maintain the new sports facilities funded by Measure M?
Justin H. September 27, 2012 at 07:40 PM
I agree completely with Mr.Marchetti. We are at a crossroads in our city. Crime has hit the boiling point. This is largely due to our geographical location and our unfortunate lack of focus on making public safety a TOP opportunity in our city's agenda. I started in Loss Prevention over 16 years ago in Bayfair Mall. At that time we had the exact same number of resources as we do right now. Despite the fact that our population has grown to 85K. (actually less now) We can complain until we are blue in the face about pay, benefits, etc. The fact of the matter is we are actually one of the lowest paid departments in the Bay Area. If you want to be able to attract and hire top candidates who will make it through all phases of interview, background, academy and probationary period then you need to pay the price. Public Safety and Branding were the sole reasons I put my name on the ballot. I could have remained on the sidelines or in the stands, but I didnt. I have over 16 years of experience working with law enforcement successfully and I would love to bring that expertise in the city council. Please help me to do that by giving me your vote on November 6th!!
Dan Marchetti September 27, 2012 at 08:24 PM
Dave, Those are pretty much standard figures for ANY city in Alameda county. Are you assuming that every employee uses 96 hrs of sick leave a year? Please get some correct figures from Human Resourses or the Police on what is the average amont of sick leave used per employee.(It would be interesting) My current employer gives us up to 80 hrs a yr, nobody uses that much. I bet our company's average is in the 30hr range.
Justin H. September 27, 2012 at 09:51 PM
and David Just for competition sake....Retail Executive Team Leader Starts off with : 80 hours of vacation per year (120 after 5 years) Medical/Dental/Life 55-70k base salary (additional performance bonuses are available annually and quarterly depending on shift assignment for overnight) 4 Personal days 6 National Holidays Company Matched 401k 1x annual paid Life insurance 100% paid short term disability Not bad for someone who "manages security guards" as Marga puts it.
Ken Briggs September 27, 2012 at 10:15 PM
if the story on t v news about these robbers are true that the Oakland P D has found one of the bad boys and they got a van , why has patch not kept up with whatsgoing on . I hope the guy they got is one of them but if he is , then keep him locked up til he tells who the others are. then with the guns and all , keep them in prison for life . they scared the hell out of a few people and some may not want to work again . but lets hope all the people that was in the store at the time are o k . make these scums pay back everything they took . lets hope the police can find the rest soom .
Tom Abate (Editor) September 27, 2012 at 10:19 PM
I will see what I can find out, Ken.
Ken Briggs September 27, 2012 at 10:32 PM
Tom , chanel 2 had said something about the Oakland P D had got one of the robbers last night and a van on the 5 am news this morning and one other news station had said something last night about it . if its true lets hope the police can get the rest of them .
Tom Abate (Editor) September 27, 2012 at 10:40 PM
I appreciate the specific references but I see nothing on the KTVU website. I have queries with OPD and SLPD. No answers. If you see a published reference and can send a link that please do.
Tom Abate (Editor) September 27, 2012 at 11:28 PM
Why thank you. I will share this with Carol Parker, who is a fan of yours and my valued colleague.
Tom Abate (Editor) September 27, 2012 at 11:50 PM
Ken, the TV report was wrong. http://sanleandro.patch.com/articles/slpd-hunting-safeway-robbers-arrest-report-wrong
David September 27, 2012 at 11:53 PM
That's why ALL cities in the Bay Area are under policed. There was this foolish arms race to pay cops/firemen more and more because some city next door did. It needs to be reversed. There are thousands of people ready to work at OPD. I bet there wouldn't be that many fewer willing to work for 20% less.
David September 28, 2012 at 12:00 AM
And you started at that salary at 22-24 years old right out of college right? I don't think so.
Justin H. September 28, 2012 at 12:08 AM
David yep college recruits crazy huh.. It's a good gig for recent college grads especially with the economy being rough. I also get 1000 dollar bonus for a exec referral so if you know any let me know:-)
Ken Briggs September 28, 2012 at 12:14 AM
Thnk you Tom . I first listen to the early news around 4;30 am on ch 2 , 4 , 7 , .
David September 28, 2012 at 12:40 AM
I'd make 40k more as a cop, no thanks.
Carol Parker September 28, 2012 at 01:24 AM
Leah, how are you doing a day later? It must have really shook you up.
Fred Eiger September 28, 2012 at 02:06 AM
Wow, no comment from Richard Mellor or Craig Williams about the injustices of capitalism and how food should not be a commodity left to the profitteers? I'm glad Leah and others weren't harmed.
Leah Hall September 28, 2012 at 03:43 AM
Hi Carol, I was really sad and angry after it happened. I'm still very sad, angry, and dissappointed, though I am grateful for all the messages I have received asking if I was o.k. and concern expressed for my daughter. She wasn't with me at the time. As a parent, I am really most concerned for our young people. There isn't a teen living in my neighborhood who hasn't been mugged on the way home from school. I keep my own daughter under very careful watch and wish that I could feel safe letting her go to the park by herself and so one. She's not a teen yet, but she will be next year. When it comes to public safety and building strong communities, I think we need to be much smarter than we have been in the past. I like what the chamber has been doing with Leadership San Leandro. I was thinking today that it would be valuable to have similar panel discussions around public safety and real investment in familly health and well-being - and not just for those of us living on this side of the East Oakland/San Leandro border.
Leah Hall September 28, 2012 at 03:54 AM
correction: I meant to say San Leandro by Design, though I admire the mission of Leadership SL as well.
Barry Kane September 28, 2012 at 05:25 AM
I am so glad you were not hurt Leah. I am also very sad and find it ridiculous that most teens have been mugged in your area, that is absurd and is not any way to live. I won't walk around SL at night anymore and not even in my own neighborhood after dusk. It is sad and frankly it is unacceptable.
Fred Eiger September 28, 2012 at 05:31 AM
Kids in the Broadmoor have been getting jumped, bikes stolen, beaten for decades. It was happening in the 1970's, (more so then), 80's, 90's. 00's and now. Breed, Beverly, and Warwick all provide easy escape for the the East Oakland criminal element to come in, do there vile deeds and escape with impunity.
Mike Katz-Lacabe September 28, 2012 at 07:30 AM
San Leandro received a COPS grant of $2,417,175 from the US Dept. of Justice in 2010 to fund five police officers for three years. In order to receive the grant, the City of San Leandro had to agree to fund the positions for a fourth year, which is about $800,000.
David September 28, 2012 at 01:31 PM
Just think if there were a couple dozen more cops, there could be 3-4 posted nearly permanently at the border with Oakland at E.14, Bancroft and MacArthur.
Anne September 28, 2012 at 03:43 PM
35 comments - lots of opinions - I agree that there are a lot of things that could be done by the city and police department. By way of metrics, a trend of rising crime isn't one that is great for the police department or city. The reality is the economy is continues to be bad, jobs are VERY hard to find for people who don't have relevant skills or a defined career. I have been very fortunate to remain employed and it would be easy for me to think things are turning around. My employer is hiring and has open positions. However, what keeps me from burying my head in the sand regarding the economy is my husband's pursuit for work. Imagine being 47 and standing in a line with 100+ other applicants just to get a shot at an internship. I digress. What is a crime free San Leandro worth to you? Is it worth a couple hundred dollars? We could pay that in taxes to get more cops (which could take years), or...we could each buy a wireless camera and put it on our homes facing our neighbors houses. We could even post signs on our lawns stating our participation in citizens for a crime free San Leandro. Those are things we could do NOW. Or... we can just keep posting our opinions about how the crime in our city sucks. I bet if there were interest and we brought this to SLCAN, we could really make it happen. So there... I'm in for a $200 investment in a wireless camera to put on my house. Are you?
Tom Abate (Editor) September 28, 2012 at 05:06 PM
Fred, this could come under the heading of be careful or you'll get what you wish.
Tom Abate (Editor) September 28, 2012 at 05:10 PM
Anne, the wireless camera is an interesting idea. When we had that terrible rape on Bridge Street a few months ago a private video cam was among the critical pieces of evidence that led to a speedy arrest. One other thing that we can do now is attend the community policing forum on Tuesday, October, 2, from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm at the Senior Community Center, 13909 East 14th Street. It was scheduled before the Safeway robbery but it couldn't have been better timed.
Anne September 28, 2012 at 06:48 PM
Tom, I absolutely plan to be at that meeting with my husband. The nice thing about the wifi cameras is that it will only take a few arrests for the word on the street to get out that San Leandro Citizens have set up wifi cameras. If we could get this together, we won't be the first city to do something like this... New Orleans and Los Angeles are doing this to fight crime but I believe this was mostly in business districts and instituted by city government and not residents. To my knowledge this idea hasn't really been implemented in a residential community. Wouldn't it be fantastic to pioneer and bring to action a community based effort like this? I think so. I'd personally contribute my own time to help makes this happen provided there is interest.
Ken Briggs September 28, 2012 at 07:45 PM
Anne we got to get the courts to do better . the police bust the bad people and the courts let them loose . if the courts would back the police departments up and make these bad folks stay away from some of these areas things might be better . if the police department could have more unmarked cars that might help also . give a hand to the police department , just have the courts do a better job , let some of these bad people live with the judge for awhile .
Anne September 28, 2012 at 08:31 PM
Ken, I don't disagree that there are bigger issues regarding addressing crime and keeping the criminals off the street. I understand that its not only important to catch the criminals but that it also is important for there to be ramifications for their offense. Honestly, I think that just catching them would be a great first step to deterring crime in our neighborhoods. Criminals look for the 'easy target' and tend to skip the hassle of homes with dogs, alarms, video cameras (certainly not always, but many times). Without doubt, the mountain is steep. Let's just take the first step.
Ken Briggs September 28, 2012 at 09:11 PM
Anne if we would do some rough justice like whack off a leg, it might help . now we got to let them keep a hand so they can feed them selfs and wipe them selfs but then they may think next time . But for the ones that are in jail and prisons got it made . they get free room and board fre medical care and able to use the courts to get what they want . we tax payers got to pay for all that . make them work for the room and board . . just bdo some rough justice and maybe some of this stuff will stop .


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