Oakland police are looking into the possibility that two people who died when their BMW flipped on state Highway 99 north of Madera last Friday were responsible for a string of armed robberies along International Boulevard over the prior few weeks, police said. Both occupants of the 2008 BMW reported stolen at gunpoint in Oakland were killed when they were thrown from the car after hitting a Freightliner big-rig from behind, flipping the car multiple times at about 2 a.m. last Friday, according to the California Highway Patrol.
The Madera County Sheriff’s Office identified the occupants as 27-year-old Omar Jason Spencer of Oakland and 18-year-old Halyma Beana Alzanbaai. A criminal records check showed that Alzanbaai also went by the name Venita Patsy Jackson, 22, sheriff’s officials said. Alzanbaai missed an Oct. 6 court date in Las Vegas for a July arrest on prostitution and resisting arrest charges and a warrant was issued for her arrest, according to court records in Clark County, Nevada.
The BMW they were driving when they crashed was reported stolen at gunpoint at about 9:15 a.m. on Oct. 3 in the 1100 block of 10th Avenue, according to Oakland police records. Oakland police said that robbery could be connected to a series of at least four other armed robberies and carjackings in the area along International Boulevard between Lake Merritt and Fruitvale Avenue. The series of robberies all had a similar method — two suspects would approach victims on the street from behind, demand valuables at gunpoint, then flee in a waiting car, police said.
They were suspected in carjackings as well, with the description of the waiting vehicle varying in each incident, but police believed they were related. Since Spencer and Alzanbaai died in the crash, the robberies seem to have stopped, police said. The prior incidents in the string of armed robberies include a mugging shortly after 10 p.m. on Sept. 26 near the corner of Fifth Avenue and International Boulevard, another on Sept. 27 at 9:25 p.m. near the corner of 17th Avenue and East 15th Street, a carjacking a few minutes after that near the corner of 10th Avenue and International Boulevard and a robbery on Sept. 29 near the corner of International Boulevard and Mitchell Street.
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