SAN LEANDRO (CBS SF) — Police Thursday released the name and a photo of an ex-convict from Southern California who’s been charged with kidnapping and other charges for allegedly trying to kidnap a woman in San Leandro last July by pepper-spraying her and dragging her toward his car.
Police said they didn’t previously release 43-year-old James Jenkins’ image to the public because they thought there may have been other victims or witnesses and releasing his image earlier could have jeopardized those investigations.
But they said that at this time they don’t believe there are any other victims and they have identified and interviewed all the witnesses in their investigation.
According to San Leandro police Lt. Robert McManus, Jenkins, whose adult criminal record dates back to 1992, attempted to kidnap the 23-year-old woman as she was walking to work in the 14700 block of Washington Avenue at 7:45 a.m. on July 28.
He said Jenkins had been paroled from state prison only 10 days before the crime.
McManus said Jenkins didn’t know the victim and investigators don’t know why he drove all the way from his home in Orange County to San Leandro to commit the crime.
In announcing last Sept. 20 that Jenkins had been arrested out of state, McManus described the incident as an attempted stranger abduction and as “something you would see in a television crime drama.”
McManus said a passerby who saw the struggle and intervened, allowing the woman to escape, was “a Good Samaritan” and “a hero.”
McManus said Jenkins, whom he didn’t name at that time, drove away from the crime scene, ditched his car near the Oakland International Airport, took a long flight across the country and might have gotten away with the crime if not for a business owner near the airport who told police on Aug. 17 that Jenkins’ silver 2014 Nissan Sentra SR car was parked nearby.
That information helped investigators break the case because they were able to track the car and ultimately identify Jenkins, McManus said.
Jenkins is charged with one count of kidnapping and two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, namely pepper spray, for attacking the victim in the case. He’s also charged with carjacking for allegedly moving the Good Samaritan’s car because it was blocking his own car when he was trying to get away from the scene.
In addition, he’s charged with having five prior felony convictions, two in Orange County and three in Los Angeles County.
Prosecutors said Jenkins has one conviction each for second-degree robbery, indecent exposure with a prior conviction, evading a police officer, assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury and assault on a peace officer or firefighter.
Jenkins, who was charged last Sept. 7, is being held in lieu of $529,000 bail and is scheduled to return to Alameda County Superior Court in Hayward on March 8 for a pretrial hearing.
San Leandro police Det. Michael Benz wrote in a probable cause statement that after Jenkins ditched his car near the Oakland airport he used Uber to get a ride to the airport.
Benz said cell phone records show that Jenkins first flew to Salt Lake City, then flew to Minneapolis and finally to Lansing, Mich.
Benz said Jenkins applied for a job in Redford, Mich., and his previous employer, the Home Depot store in Laguna Niguel, had been contacted for references.
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