Montclair’s Dumb and Dumber Criminals

MONTCLARION: June 10, 2011

Crime is no laughing matter, except when you’ve got thieves so dumb they make the burglars in “Home Alone” look smart.

Take the case of the Alameda cabbie who was arrested last week for possession of stolen property. He probably would have cleaned up a little if he’d known the camera on the stolen Apple MacBook was recording him. The photos of the suspect sleeping by the MacBook and using it shirtless in bed are all over the Internet now. Call me crazy, but I’m guessing he would rather have a poster at the post office.

And how about the hapless burglars who cut a hole through the roof of Montclair Hardware the other night and discovered, when they dropped inside, that the building was empty? I can just hear the exchange: “Hey — you said they had copper wiring.” “Shut-up and let’s get out of here before we get nailed.” I could go on and on about crime in the hills, including the robberies at the Toy House and Montclair Pharmacy, but who needs to hear more bad news? I say let’s focus on the things that make our town great.

SNAP SHOTS: Next time you hear the word “smile” — run your fingers through your hair and stand up straight. You might just be in Reenie Raschke’s new coffee-table book called “My Town Montclair; The People and Places we call Home.” Raschke is a popular photographer who’s lived here for 24 years and is documenting the local flavor and characters that makeMontclair so special. Look for her book to be out in the coming months.

ON STAGE: People love stories of human strength and resilience. It’s no surprise that the Berkeley Rep is selling out so many performances of “Let Me Down Easy.” Actress Anna Deavere Smith (“The West Wing” and “Nurse Nancy”) is brilliant in her one-woman performance that portrays the struggles and triumphs of 20 celebrated Americans. How she slips seamlessly into characters as diverse as cyclist Lance Armstrong and former Texas Gov. Ann Richards is nothing less than ingenious. The Rep never fails to deliver material that engages its audiences — long after the curtain has dropped.

AROUND TOWN: After 10 years, Melt Massage has moved down to a street-level location at 6180 Antioch St. in Montclair. Owner Hana Levin says her new shop is much quieter, which is good when you consider that one of her offerings is a four-hour massage.

GIVING BACK: The local Bay Oaks U-10 Girls Soccer Team has made it their mission to buy soccer balls for the cash-strapped Oakland public schools. These aren’t just any soccer balls — they’re the new One World Futbol, the world’s first ultradurable, all-terrain soccer ball that never deflates. If you’d like to buy a ball or two as a donation, go to and click on “Give One to Oakland’s Schools.”

PARTY FOR CHANGE: There’s still time to buy tickets for the WDDC auction, 3 to 6 p.m. Sunday at Sequoia Lodge. The Women’s Daytime Drop-in Center is such a wonderful place. The warm brown-shingle home in west Berkeley is a joyful place for women and children who need help getting their lives back on track. To that end, more than 30 volunteers from Montclair and beyond do everything from serving hot meals to teaching crafts and other skills. For more information see


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