Cereal Offenders

An Alameda burglar gets comfortable; raisin hell in North O; weekend mayhem; and Critical Massers challenge the BPD.

The thief was in the kitchen eating a bowl of Fruity Pebbles at a house on Alameda’s Versailles Avenue on June 1 when the homeowner returned from a shopping trip. She arrived just in time to see him sprint out a back door, leap into a white truck, and speed away wearing a loot-stuffed stolen backpack and her A’s cap — backwards. “The one thing that really hurt,” the victim notes, “was that the thief broke into one of my kids’ piggy banks and stole his saved coins.” Entering another home soon afterward on Pearl Street, the unidentified suspect paused for a shower before stealing stuff.

The Wrath of GRAPES: Think the East Bay crime-fruit connection ends there? Wrong! Commercial buildings along Martin Luther King Jr. Way just north of 40th Street in Oakland are being repeatedly tagged with a cryptic message: GRAPES. It appears in blue spray-paint, in white — once, mockingly, directly underneath a Neighborhood Watch decal. On June 11, the facade of Alba Studios at 4219 MLK bore GRAPES in dark blue, again in white, and, across the door, GRA — with its A uncrossed, suggesting haste and/or imminent discovery. Over the door at 4026, only a G appears. Which might stand for anything really. Gosling? Or Greenland, perhaps?

Oral mystery: On June 2, Walnut Creek police were called out to the 1400 block of Creekside Drive after being alerted to a “female … by the bike path screaming. Almost sounds like she’s screaming that her tongue has been cut out,” the report reads. The woman was identified and questioned, police noted: “She did not have her tongue cut out.”

Cast out these demons: Vandals have been running amok amid the wisteria arbor and flower-lined paths of bucolic Halcyon Park near Prince Street and Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley, which was born after residents at a 1992 block party saw the need for a “community commons,” and invested countless hours to create the neighborhood haven. Among other mayhem, major graffiti this month defaced the park’s Father Sun bench, which, Berkeley being Berkeley, was handcrafted from recycled old-growth wood salvaged from a century-old railway bridge. To repair the damage, volunteers spent a weekend sanding, refinishing, staining, and oiling the bench. A ritual was planned, then canceled, to which locals were asked to bring “drums, rattles, and/or sage … to clear out unwanted energy and rededicate this precious greenspace for positive uses.”

Cosmic convergence: Waking to the screech of tires, a boom, and sirens blaring, an Oaklander peeked out of his house in the wee hours of June 9 to find no less than 21 law-enforcement vehicles — SFPD, CHP, OPD — converging on the corner of West MacArthur Boulevard and Market Street. Guns drawn, they cornered two carjackers who’d been chased over the Bay Bridge from San Francisco and had crashed into a dumpster. The jackers were caught. With drugs. Should’ve gone to that midnight Rocky Horror screening at the Parkway instead.

Saturday, bloody Saturday: It was just that kind of day. Contra dancer Warren Blier drove up from Monterey for a dance confab at Oakland’s Veterans Hall. His car was swiped from the parking lot. Calling 911, Blier was warned it would be a long wait, as all available police were busy with a nearby shooting. That was just one of four across the city that night: The coroner’s office received a 36-year-old man, lethally shot in the abdomen, from Highland Hospital, and a 31-year-old man from 71st Street and Hamilton, where he’d been shot in the head. Blier’s car was later found stripped, his priceless CD collection gone. Surely the perps are swinging to reels and jigs as we speak. Blier vows never to attend another Oakland dance event unless the safety/security situation improves.

The doormat gambit: A woman calling herself Melanie plies the streets of Oakland’s Maxwell Park area, ringing doorbells and telling residents that she has locked herself out of her car and needs cash to pay a locksmith. She’s been at it for five years. That’s one stuck lock. Locals compare notes online about the con. Melanie “is nicely spoken and plausible,” one warns. Adds another: “She certainly understands the ‘F’ word and ‘calling the police.'”

Street team: That May 11 clash between Critical Mass cyclists and a pair of septuagenarians in a minivan in Berkeley, resulting in the arrest of a cyclist for smashing the van’s windshield, both is and isn’t over. Massers have filed a complaint with Berkeley’s Police Review Commission “against the whole staff” of the BPD, “including the sergeant and the watch commander,” Lieutenant Wesley Hester says. “The officers will all be interviewed.” That’s while they’re trying to solve the murder of Terrence Broadnax, found dead of blunt-force trauma on June 8 at UA Homes on University Avenue, scene of beaucoup narcotics raids and a 2002 fire. And after a distraught father shot his two daughters and wife to death before killing himself in Tilden Park’s Mineral Springs picnic-area parking lot on Monday, BPD forced entry into the family’s home on the 1300 block of Northside Avenue to see whether anyone might be injured or deceased inside. Finding no one, they waited for East Bay Regional Park District police to arrive and continue the investigation.

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