Thief breaks into Hayward council candidate’s car, only steals campaign materials

Hayward City Council candidate Aisha Wahab at a town hall in Fremont earlier this month.

The vehicle of Hayward City Council candidate Aisha Wahab was broken into Saturday morning, but the suspect only pilfered more than a thousand dollars worth of campaign materials.

Roughly 1,500 pieces of professionally printed campaign flyers used for door-to-door canvassing, remittance envelopes, and business cards were stolen from Wahab’s vehicle as it was parked in a carport at her apartment complex, she said.

“It’s nothing new in Hayward. I’ve been broken into before,” said Wahab, who is one of seven candidates running for two at-large seats on the Hayward City Council this November. “But this isn’t a normal break-in. They didn’t take anything that a robber would ordinarily take.”

Items of value left in the car, such as a brand new designer bag, sunglasses, and loose change were left behind by the suspect, said Wahab, who filed a report with the Hayward Police Department.

A partially smoked cigarillo was left on one of the front seats. Wahab said she does not smoke and doesn’t know anyone who uses this type of cigar. The cigarillo was the first indication that something about the car’s interior seemed amiss, she said. Fingerprints on the vehicle were also taken by police, she added.

The suspect, however, was more curious about the several boxes of campaign materials in her trunk. Its contents left virtually empty, said Wahab. She estimates the value of the materials being worth more than $1,000.

“When I started this campaign, people told me, you have to be on extra alert. I genuinely feel violated,” she said. “Even though it’s just paper, it’s a setback that’s going to waste a week to get the materials reprinted.”

The robbery came the morning after Wahab won the support of the Hayward Area Democratic Club last Friday night. The endorsement generally represents the acceptance of her upstart progressive campaign by the city’s establishment Democrats.

But Wahab, who has made housing affordability and renters’ protections in Hayward pillars of her campaign, is also making landlord interests nervous, especially after the campaign proved its viability by reporting $42,000 in contributions through the first half of the year.

Wahab’s total cash on hand lapped the entire field of council candidates, including the two incumbents, Councilmembers Marvin Peixoto and Sara Lamnin. If elected, Wahab would become the first Afghan American elected official in the state.

“I feel very targeted,” said Wahab. “I’ve always felt targeted in this race.”

In addition, last spring, the Hayward Rotary pulled an invitation at the last-minute for Wahab to speak at a luncheon, citing a policy against candidates addressing the group during an election year. Hayward Mayor Barbara Halliday, however, gave a speech to the Rotary a few weeks later.

Then, last month, as Wahab was interviewed for open seats on the Hayward Planning Commission, a Hayward councilmember asked her if she would end her council campaign if chosen for the position.

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