Suspect in robbery spree targeting Asian women faces hate crime charges

Photo by Jane Tyska, Bay Area News Group

San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin said Tuesday his office is filing multiple charges, including hate crime allegations, against a man accused of targeting Asian women as he went on a six-month robbery spree.

Officers arrested O’Sean Garcia, 20, last Wednesday after he allegedly stole a backpack from a woman that contained a laptop with a tracking feature that led officers to his location.

Officers were then able to link Garcia to at least six other alleged robberies that have occurred since March, all involving victims who are Asian women, many of whom speak only Cantonese, Boudin’s office said.

Thousands of people rallied in San Francisco and Oakland on Feb. 14, 2021, to protest violence against Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. (Photo courtesy of Chinese for Affirmative Action @CAAsanfrancisco on Twitter.

In one robbery, Garcia and another unidentified suspect allegedly pulled a 40-year-old woman to the ground as they tried to take her backpack. In another, the pair allegedly pushed a 52-year-old woman to the ground and then dragged her before taking her bag and fleeing in a vehicle.

In each case, Garcia and the unidentified suspect fled the scene in a red sedan, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

Prosecutors have filed four robbery charges and three attempted robbery charges, with each charge carrying a hate crime enhancement.

“We do not tolerate hate or violence in San Francisco, and those who commit violence or target our AAPI community members will be held accountable,” Boudin said in a statement. “We know the pain that crimes like this can cause to the broader community; these attacks against Asian women occurred during a time when many in the AAPI community across the nation have felt especially vulnerable. We condemn these crimes and we will continue to work to protect the AAPI community and keep everyone safe.”

Garcia remains in custody and is being held without bail, according to jail records. His arraignment on the charges was set for Tuesday afternoon.

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