Town Crier: Peeved about ID theft, mail and package theft

MONTCLARION: November 8, 2016

The Town Crier is cranky today. Please don’t say it’s hormonal — I’m much too young for a mid-life crisis. Rather, it’s a deep-seeded disappointment in how some people behave.

My sour disposition started when I found a man rifling through my recycling bin. It wasn’t personal — he was cherry-picking the cans and bottles (and God knows what else) from every gray can he could find. One reader said she saw the bin bandit targeting homes on Armour Drive where no cars were parked in the driveway. His “getaway” vehicle was a light colored SUV.

OK — I know what you’re thinking. That poor man needs the recycling money. Or does he? A more skeptical person might think he was looking for other things, too, that might aid in identity theft.

This leads me to my second pet peeve — mail and package theft. It’s an ongoing problem, which gets even worse during the holidays.

If you have missing mail or packages, here are some steps you can take:
Report the crime online to the Oakland Police Department:

Report it online to the U.S. Postal Service:

Trail talk: Speaking of crime, a reader says she saw something odd on the Montclair Railroad Trail recently. “Maybe we’re reading too many mysteries, but when we found a pair of black patent-leather high heels, business cards, a picture frame, and a pad of order forms for wine … we found it strange.” One can only imagine a connection between all of these objects. Was there foul play? Or was it just someone’s discarded Halloween costume.

Email bag: Thanks to reader Morgan Fletcher for letting me know about Oakland’s citywide high school and middle school mountain bike team. Fletcher is the head coach of Oakland Composite, a team that competes in the NorCal League. If you’d like your kids to be involved in a sport that teaches mountain bike skills and trail etiquette (including volunteer trail work), practices begin in December and there’s an open team meeting on Dec. 4. See

Art alert: Nov. 19 is the last date to see the work of two Montclair artists in an exhibit connected to Pope Francis’ Encyclical on Climate Change and Inequality.

Randy Dixon and Olivia Eielson have pieces in the show entitled “Honoring Humanity’s Sacred Relationship With Nature.” The exhibit is free at the Encyclical Gallery, 2566 Telegraph Ave., and you can see a preview at

Looking back: Famed author Jack London died 100 years ago this Nov. 22. If you’ve got a favorite quote or book excerpt, drop by the no-host party at 3 p.m. at Jack’s Oyster Bar & Fish, 336 Water St., or the toast to London’s life at Heinold’s First and Last Chance Saloon, 48 Webster St., at 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. The Jack London Legacy Celebration is the organizer and the locations were picked because London was an oyster pirate at 15 and he used to study at Heinold’s. In fact, Johnny Heinold paid for London’s semester at UC Berkeley.

Got news? You can reach Ginny Prior by email at or on the web at http://www.


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