An Oakland man on probation for robbery is back behind bars charged with another theft and Fremont police on Wednesday were crediting an alert community for the arrest.
Fremont police say 24-year-old Charles Stewart was spotted on surveillance camera following a woman wearing an expensive gold chain inside the Lucky's grocery store in the Charter Square Shopping Center on September 24th.
Investigators said Stewart continued to follow the woman out of the store and to her home in the 3400 block of Wellman Terrace.
"She got out of her car and was proceeding to go into her residence when she heard really large banging footsteps behind her and the suspect approached and told her not to move," said Fremont Police Spokeswoman Geneva Bosques.
"He then ripped her gold chain off of her neck and took off running" Bosques said. "She sustained some pretty significant scratches to her neck and down into her chest."
Police searched the area but failed find the suspect.
Residents concerned about the police activity turned to their online community group for information.
Police posted a message detailing the crime and gave a description of the suspect. That description led to a tip.
A neighbor had seen a man matching the description getting into a vehicle and recorded the license plate number.
Fremont police said that information led them to Stewart, who was on probation for a robbery conviction.
Bosques said detectives contacted Stewart's parole agent, who helped set up a meeting on Monday. That was when he was arrested.
Stewart has been charged with grand theft and robbery.
Police believe he might have tried to strike gold again if neighbors hadn't been so vigilant.
"It really does take all of us to work together to solve crimes like this, and this was a perfect scenario of that happening," Bosques said.
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