Beloved Oakland baker on life support after robbery

The doors of Oakland's Angel Cakes bakery were open Wednesday, as friends gathered to show support as the bakery's owner Jen Angel who lay in a hospital across town.

"She's on life support and she's probably not going to make it," said Jeremy Smith, a friend who said Angel's mother had flown in from Ohio and her fiancé was also by her side at the hospital.  

The small bakery that rose from a run-down corner on 5th Street in Oakland, was a sweet dream for Angel who also had worked in punk rock music publications and political activism.

"It was a huge part of her life. She put so much of herself into this bakery.  Always thinking about it, worrying about it, planning around it," said Angel's friend Michelle Nogales, "She had such a hard time keeping it going during the pandemic and then there was the car crash that ruined the front of the bakery, and it was so important to her to keep it going, to keep the jobs for the people that she supported."

"She brought people together who needed each other and who could help each other and love each other," said Nogales.

Angel was downtown about 12:30 Monday afternoon near Wells Fargo Bank. Oakland police say someone broke into her car while she was sitting there and grabbed some items. She got out of her car and tried to get the items back, but the suspects drove off, reportedly dragging her as they got away. 
She was taken to the hospital with head injuries.

"Unfortunately she hasn't regained consciousness and it seems pretty unlikely that she will," said a close friend Moira Birss, "She was a baker, she was a community gatherer like I said and she was an activist...part of what was so special about Jen is she held on to all these threads of her that were interwoven throughout her life."

"There's a community space tonight to honor Jen and there are about 550 people invited on Facebook. That gives a little look at how many lives she's touched," said Matt Leonard, a friend in Oakland. 

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Friends say Angel was a baker who had the ingredients of a loving friend and connector, helping to mix people from different backgrounds and from her past life as a punk rock writer and political activist, into a community.

"She always asked we talk to somebody we don't know, to make new friends," said Dana Perls who reflected on how much Angel means to her, "Jen has really taught me to think about the space in between black and white and what are the nuances of life and decisions and connections."

Friends have set up a donation website on to help cover medical expenses, Angel's house payments and to keep the bakery going.

Oakland police told KTVU that the investigation is active and they welcome any tips from the public that can lead to an arrest.