A Berkeley resident who acted as a good Samaritan by returning a wallet to its owner — and unwittingly became involved in an attempted murder case as a result — has been identified.
Berkeleyside broke the story on August 30 of the mysterious note that accompanied the return of a wallet belonging to Hamed Mirabdal who was 19 when he was brutally assaulted and almost died in October 2006 on Poppy Lane in Berkeley.
Mirabdal’s wallet went missing during the attack. It was sent to his parents’ home in Lamorinda earlier this summer, but the signature on the accompanying note was indecipherable. Berkeley Police Department sent out a public appeal for help in discovering who mailed the wallet, a potentially important piece of evidence in the trial of the two men accused of almost stabbing Mirabdal to death, but one that cannot be introduced into evidence unless the prosecution can show the court who sent it.
Now, according to BPD’s Sgt. MC Kusmiss, a Berkeley resident has identified herself as having found Mirabdal’s wallet:
A community member and homeowner on San Lorenzo Avenue in North East Berkeley, she said she “had not done any gardening or landscaping for years”. She was clearing plants and brush from her front garden when she found the worn black men’s wallet. She felt “it was the right thing to do” and placed it inside a manila envelope and wrote a note that said, “Hamed, found this while gardening on San Lorenzo Avenue in North Berkeley.” There was no return address on the envelope that arrived July 13, nor was there any other information about the woman sender.
She shared that she was “relieved” that her friend saw the posting on the BPD website and called her. She also told the Detective Sergeant that she was “surprised” it was connected to such a brutal crime and “was relieved” that it could now be used in the ongoing trial.
Sgt. Kusmiss added that, despite much media exposure, the Berkeley Homicide Detail only received about five calls regarding the wallet.
The Alameda County Superior Court trial of the two men implicated in the assault — Nicolas Flatbush and Blake Mastro — has been delayed for further investigation. It was scheduled to begin on September 1, but will now start on November 15 under District Attorney Patrick Moriarty.