Former senator, 80, assaulted and robbed in Oakland
OAKLAND, Calif. (KPIX) — Former California Senator Barbara Boxer was assaulted and robbed near Oakland’s Jack London Square Monday.
A post on Boxer’s Twitter page said, “The assailant pushed her in the back, stole her cell phone and jumped into a waiting car. She is thankful that she was not seriously injured.”
The strong-armed robbery happened near her home around 1:15 p.m. Monday afternoon. She was out walking and talking on her new iPhone that she bought two days ago. She said she did not see a weapon on the teenage boy.
The 80-year-old Boxer later told KPIX 5 she was shaken up, but otherwise unhurt. Boxer said she walked a couple of blocks to a Verizon store after the robbery to call police.
A Verizon worker, Joseph Hauken, said Boxer went into his store to get help and wait for police. Hauken had sold Boxer the iPhone two days ago.
“I just knew that she was shaking, very scared, traumatized. Just in distress, emotional distress. So I just was here to help her, get her water, whatever she needed,” said Joseph Hauken.
“I’m really saddened by this experience because here is a grandma alone, on her phone, and two young people attacked,” said Boxer. “I’m not hurt physically at all. I’m just shook up.”
The two assailants appeared to be younger than 18 years old; one was the driver, one was the attacker, Boxer said.
“Well, he pushed me very hard,” said Boxer. “It’s hard for me to describe what happened because it was so fast, but, when I started to move away from him, he came behind me, pushed me hard, and then before I could fall it was like he grabbed my phone in front, so it’s just hard to put all together.”
Boxer said she addressed her attackers before they departed.
“I said, ‘Why would you do this to a grandma?’ I was yelling at the kid as he was running with my phone,” she chuckled. “I said ‘I want to call my grandkids, why are you doing this?’ He could care less. He got in the car. But I hope he has some guilt.”
Police were looking for a black sedan. A police source tells KPIX the teens were involved in several other burglaries and attacks in recent days.
Police believe the robbery targeting Boxer was a crime of opportunity since her iPhone was worth more than a thousand dollars.
Boxer retired in 2017. But she says she’s still working behind the scenes to advocate for young people.
“There’s not one silver bullet, okay? It’s a host of things we have to do, to give our kids hope in the future, to give them opportunity, the education, the jobs, all of those things, the after-school (programs). But also when they step out of line, go after them,” said Boxer.
Police are still looking for the teenage boys. They did not release any suspect descriptions.
Boxer served as California’s U.S. Senator from 1993 to 2017 after previously serving as U.S. Representative for California’s 6th congressional district from 1983 until 1993.
The police department and Crime Stoppers of Oakland were offering up to $ 2,000 dollars for information leading to an arrest in the case. Anyone with information was asked to call the OPD’s Robbery Section at (510) 238-3326 or the anonymous tip line at (510) 777- 8572.