It's a northernmost-Oakland crime wave: six muggings, three burglaries, and five smashed windows in six weeks, some within feet of the socially conscious, keenly green Nomad Cafe. "The good news is: There is no indication whatsoever that either the Nomad or I myself are being targeted," owner Christopher Waters told Apprehension on December 30. Two days later, the cafe was burglarized.
Caught on video, the perp wore "the standard-issue long white thug T-shirt," Waters reports, "and a light or white winter beanie," with a light mustache "just covering the incisive fossa, almost like a Hitler mustache."
Around 7 a.m. on New Year's Day, he called Oakland police to report a break-in. "The dispatcher kindly and regretfully informed me that the response time would be slow due to several murders and shootings that were in the queue." Waters says that, what with several stickups at Pizza Plaza and Jump'n Java, local business owners "are all wondering if and when the time is going to come that we decide we have to leave this town behind, before it makes Republicans out of us."
He theorizes that the area is being hit because "the Uptown Market at Aileen and Shattuck finally installed eight security cameras and began actively dissuading its resident thugs from loitering and plying their drug trade there. This has made the usual suspects feel unwelcome and they have begun migrating back up toward, and above, Alcatraz. It's a shame that the best we have been able to do so far is continue kicking these people back up and down Shattuck Avenue."
Neighborhood wit Deborah Mikuteit proposes posting a sign on local telephone poles that reads in part: "Warning! ... In this community live several middle-aged menopausal women who suffer insomnia at night. ... We sleep so lightly that we bolt awake at the sound of a shim delicately being placed into a car door to gain criminal entry. ... Age has made us more farsighted. ... If you have driven into our street to commit a crime, we have Myrna and Ethel, retired busybodies with nothing to do all day but fight crime, each possessed of a long jalopy, who are skilled at parking these extremely heavy trash cars sideways to as to lock you into our narrow street and force you to flee on foot. You may get away with a stolen radio or spare change from the glove compartment, but then we get to keep your car, whose rims we will for sure sell at the Ashby Flea Market, where we will no doubt find you selling our radio."
Shop till you drop your target
A man exiting an AC Transit bus at Bay Fair station on December 30 told a BART cop that he had just observed "four juveniles aboard the bus, two of whom were in possession of handguns." By that time, according to the log, the kids were walking (and packing) toward the Bayfair Center mall. San Leandro police arrested one. BART cops caught two more, but the fourth "fled into the neighborhood and eluded capture." One of the apprehended kids had two no-bail warrants — e.g., wanted by the law, with no option for bail — and was taken to Juvenile Hall.
Let's look at the toll Yule took. On December 1, an employee dressed as Santa's helper was punched in the head after refusing to give his money to a 300-pound robber at Great Mall, according to the Milpitas Post. On December 13, Christmas decorations were reported stolen from the front yard of a Pleasant Hill home. On December 20, Walnut Creek cops recorded further decor-desecration at a home where miscreants "placed deer ornaments in a precarious position." On the night of December 23, someone stole a nine-foot-tall inflatable Santa from a Rockridge front lawn but didn't take all the extras needed for him to stand upright. The next day in Lafayette, "A life-sized decorative Santa Claus was reported missing from the front yard of a residence. ... The 50-year-old lawn ornament was worth $3,000." The same day, a Lafayetter "woke up to find the $200 Christmas reindeer sculpted from white wire missing from his front yard. The figure was strung with lights," reads the log. WCPD recorded two sisters' Christmas Eve tiff during which "the eighteen-year-old threw a snowglobe." Purloined presents area-wide included "two packages of cufflinks" from a Walnut Creek home and "$2,800 worth of merchandise" from a Lafayette home whose residents, according to the police log, left their door unlocked on Christmas Day "while they went on a brief stroll through the neighborhood." On December 22, a Creeker reported the "theft of Baby Jesus from the nativity scene in the front yard." Another Holy Infant was abducted from a Fremont mobile-home lawn on December 27. Eight East Bay supermarkets burgled while they were closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas — by the same pair, police think — include Luckys in Martinez, Hayward, Pleasanton, San Ramon, and Pinole (where surveillance video showed them nabbing "products from the cigarette stand," according to the Fremont Argus.
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