Where the Hell Is She? 

An amputee bandit strikes the Claremont District, defamatory fliers appear in Walnut Creek, and for the families of missing persons, suspense is dreadful.

Folks vanish. And although they vanish from the headlines too as their cases chill, their unexplained absences continue tearing their loved ones apart. Alicia Amanda "Mandy" Stokes, who worked at Oakland's De Bartolo Cafe, was last seen leaving her Merritt Avenue apartment on November 25. Two days later, her car — containing the 33-year-old, 120-pound, 5'4", North Carolina-bred blond's wallet and phone — was found in East Oakland. Homicide detectives investigated, but four-plus months later, "not much has changed in the way of new developments or new evidence," Mandy's brother Cody Stokes tells Apprehension. "Where the hell is she? ... This type of thing could go on forever, and we will never know what happened to her. I don't know which is harder to deal with, closure of a terrible situation or never knowing. My mother is really scared; my other sisters are worn out emotionally, but being strong. I can hear the fear in my brothers' voices when I talk to them. All we can do is wait, and trust that the detectives are doing all they can to locate Amanda and solve the case."

The bones of Oakland's Chiquita Ford, missing since October, were found by a recycling-scavenger near Los Gatos last month. "I'll miss you Kita!" a friend posted at Ford's online memorial guestbook. "Now you can be with your baby boy."

Prone protest

Thirty-two black-clad activists will stage a lie-in on the quad at Oakland's Laney College at 11 a.m. on April 16 to mourn the 32 people killed by guns in America daily and to promote AB 2235, a bill created by Contra Costa-based Assemblyman Mark DeSaulnier that would require new handguns sold in California to incorporate biometric technology such as fingerprint or grip recognition that would render them inoperable by non-owners and by criminals who can't legally buy guns. "That way, guns wouldn't pass so easily from hand to hand — say, by a bunch of gang members or kids," says Griffin Dix, president of the Oakland/Alameda County Chapter of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, stagers of the lie-in. Dix's son Kenzo, a Berkeley High School freshman, was accidentally shot to death by a friend in 1994. The legislation applies only to new guns, not those already on the street, but "criminals like to use new guns," Dix says, "because they don't 'have a body on them' — that is, they can't be traced to previous crimes." One-third of the guns confiscated by police are three years old or less, he says; half are less than five. The lie-in, one of 72 nationwide, also marks the first anniversary of the Virginia Tech massacre; 32 died there too.

Holey city

Oakland is full of bullets. Witness three days of OPD logs: At 4:30 a.m. on March 30 on Foothill Boulevard, someone was shot in the foot. At 4:23 p.m. on San Pablo Avenue, someone else was shot. Yet another was shot at 4:35 p.m. on 34th Street. At 4:55 p.m. on March 31, two people were shot on 23rd Avenue; "an unknown number of suspects fled northbound." Less than an hour later on E. 10th Street, a man was shot in the abdomen. Less than half an hour later on 11th Avenue, a youth was shot in the thigh. At 10:42 p.m. that night, someone shot in the head on West Street died. At 12:30 p.m. on April 1 on San Pablo Avenue, a man was shot in the leg. At 11:30 p.m. that night, someone was shot in the buttocks on Bancroft Way. During that same period, seven armed robberies and a stabbing were also reported in Oakland.

It was Vixen

Swiped from a house on the 2100 block of Woolsey Street on March 27 was, according to the Berkeley Police Department log, "1 female reindeer, not real."

Footage deficit

Parents, students, and staff at Berkeley's Cragmont Elementary School continue to dispute the Berkeley Police Department's account of what happened when officers seeking two armed robbery suspects boarded a bus on March 6, questioning a school coach in front of kids. Security cameras would have recorded it, but AC Transit spokesman Clarence Johnson says the Van Hool buses plying the Berkeley Hills lack cameras. "New buses are not necessarily" outfitted with them, Johnson says. "We're in the process of getting grants to get some more" cameras, but even those wouldn't show on-board activities because they point outside, not inside, "for accident purposes."

The Berkeley tip-jar thefts continue

Hit this time: La Cascada Taqueria (home of the salmon taco) on College Avenue. According to the police report, witnesses described the thief as an African-American male with "no legs, in a wheelchair."

Libelous labels

Walnut Creek cops were called on March 28 because fliers posted around a Walker Avenue apartment complex stated that the caller "and some other neighbors are terrorists," the log explains. According to the defamatory fliers, "residents in 101, 103, and 214 were all Islamic fascists."


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