Berkeley police have finally figured out who returned the wallet of a man who was attacked nearly four years ago, leaving him permanently injured.
Hamed Mirabdal, who is now 23, was stabbed more than 25 times in his neck and chest in the Oct. 15, 2006 attack. The attack cost him the complete use of his left hand and partial use of his right. He's also in perpetual agonizing pain from nerve damage, and one of the injuries he suffered in the attack will eventually require him to have open-heart surgery, according to his father, Ali Mirabdal.
Miradbal's wallet was stolen during the attack and in July, his mother received a manila envelope at her Orinda home with no return address. Inside was a worn black wallet with her son's old driver's license and a handwritten note.
"Hamed, found this while gardening on San Lorenzo Avenue in North Berkeley," the note said, and it was signed with an illegible signature.
Police did not think the person who sent the wallet was involved in the attack, but were seeking its sender to authenticate the item so it could be used at the trial of the two men suspected of the attack, 22-year-old Blake Anthony Mastro and 26-year-old Nicolas Flatbush.
At the end of last month, Berkeley police reached out to the community to find out who sent it, and earlier this week a woman contacted homicide detectives to say she had sent the wallet.
The woman, identified only as a homeowner on San Lorenzo Street in northeast Berkeley, said her friend saw the alert on the Police Department's website and recognized the handwriting on the note. The friend contacted her and she then called police.
She told police she had not done any gardening or landscaping for years on her property and came across the wallet while clearing brush and plants from the front garden.
She told police she was "surprised" that the wallet was connected to such a brutal crime and was "relieved" that it can now be used in the ongoing trials of Mastro and Flatbush.
Mastro and Flatbush are charged with attempted murder and second-degree burglary for the attack. They are due back in Alameda County Superior Court on Nov. 15.