‘Jogger Joe' charged with robbery for allegedly stealing cellphone

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OAKLAND (BCN) A man dubbed "Jogger Joe" after video emerged on social media websites of him throwing a homeless man's belongings into Lake Merritt in Oakland last Friday has been charged with second-degree robbery for allegedly stealing the cellphone of a man who recorded him the next day.

Oakland police Officer Michael Ransom II wrote in a terse probable cause statement that Henry Sintay, 29, was recorded committing a strong-arm robbery of a cellphone last Saturday and Sintay confessed to the crime when he was interviewed by police.

Prosecutors allege that Sintay, who lives in the 1300 block of East 27th Street in Oakland near Highland Hospital, has a prior felony conviction for selling or transporting marijuana in Riverside County in 2009.

The charges the Alameda County District Attorney's Office filed against Sintay on Tuesday allege that he stole a cellphone belonging to Matt Nelson.

Oakland police arrested Sintay on Monday afternoon on suspicion of robbery. 

Police said on Wednesday that Chief Anne Kirkpatrick was made aware of the video that was circulating on the internet. She immediately contacted the Criminal Investigation Division commander to order an investigation into the matter. 

"Investigators were able to identify the victim and additionally offered resources. Further investigation led to the identification of the suspect male," police said in a statement.   

Nelson said in a Facebook post that it occurred on Saturday when he used his cellphone to videotape Sintay when he asked Sintay why he threw a homeless man's belongings into Lake Merritt on Friday evening.

That incident was videotaped by another person and was posted on the Lake Neighbors Facebook group page.

Nelson alleged that Sintay, who was accompanied by another man, grabbed his cellphone on Saturday and "assaulted me multiple times."

Nelson wrote that he suffered "a mild concussion, some cuts and bruises and many sore and strained muscles."

A GoFundMe website to help the homeless man whose belongings were thrown into Lake Merritt had raised $11,718 as of 9 p.m. Wednesday, well above its $3,000 goal.

The site at https://www.gofundme.com/j98zu-help-drew was set up by Kenzie Smith, a black man who allegedly was harassed by Jennifer Schulte, a white woman, for holding a barbecue at Lake Merritt in late April.

The GoFundMe site says the homeless man is known as "Drew" and he's lived at Lake Merritt for a long time.

The site says, "We're disgusted that someone thought it was OK to treat Drew this way and want to show him through our care that what happened to him is unacceptable. It's not OK to destroy someone's things just because they are homeless. Help us show Drew that his community is here for him and that we care."

The site says the money raised will help Drew replace his belongings and "also get him a tent so he can sleep more peacefully and his belongings can be more protected."

It says, "Drew told us that would help him feel more safe after this incident."

Alameda County jail records indicate that Sintay is being held at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin with a bail set at $55,000. Sintay made his first court appearance on Wednesday.