Ever since the murder, friends of Carmel had suspected her ex-husband, Robert Sanger, was somehow involved. Their suspicions appeared to have been confirmed Jan. 14, when police charged Sanger with plotting Carmel's murder in order to collect the $400,000 insurance policy he'd taken out on her shortly after their divorce.
Actually, it was the 53-year-old Sanger's history of insurance boondoggles that tripped him up -- he was first arrested at the Mexican border on suspicion of insurance fraud involving a customized motorcycle he'd reported stolen. The $30,000 Harley had been stripped of parts and rebuilt onto a different frame, but mysteriously sported identical accessories as those on the supposedly stolen bike, including the same personalized "Skull" license plate.
Murder suspects Marcos Ranjel and Amber Tyler are also in custody. Ranjel and Tyler were arrested earlier by FBI agents at a hotel in Seattle.
While friends and family of Carmel followed developments with their fingers crossed, police had been hoping for a break in the case against Sanger for nearly a year. The court case against Sanger, Ranjel, and Tyler is expected to last several months.
"It's a positive note, but it's not very satisfying," says a close friend of Carmel. "If there were any way for her to come back and kick his ass, she would."
Ten Percent More Annoying
Dog Bites' staff enjoyed several moments of amusement over San Francisco Metropolitan's "Second Annual Guide to the City's 50 Most Annoying People, Places, & Things" (especially No. 7, The New York-Obsessed -- hoo, boy), but we must ask, why stop there? So much annoys us on a daily basis that we find ourselves compelled to vent our considerable spleen by proposing a few additions to the list:
1) "Authentic" coffeehouses
By all means, bash chains like Starbucks and Peet's for their corporate-mandated decor and "sterility." But at least they aren't frequented by the kind of glowering youths who hold court at, say, Clement Street's Java Source, horking all over the floor for hours on end. Corporate sterility doesn't look so bad when it comes with a floor mop.
2) El Nino news
There are many offenders, but let us single out Channel 2, whose "Storm Front '98" reports often border on satire. Sunday night's broadcast was a prime example.
Portentous voice-over: "In downtown Oakland, shopkeepers tried to keep storm drains clear -- with their bare hands!" (Shot of someone plucking a leaf out of a gutter.) "Meanwhile, in the Oakland Hills, water seeped into Joe Smith's basement -- soaking the carpet!" (Shot of harvest-gold pile rug to whose existence an insurance claim will soon put a merciful end.)
It almost makes you long for the regular coverage of fires, stabbings, and dog attacks. Almost.
3) The Tonga Room
The basement bar's floating-barge floor show is, sorry, not ironic. It's lame. OK? Lame. Dog Bites is forced to draw this conclusion despite the sworn testimony of hipsters that the place is cool. The main reasons: the insupportable cover charge, the exorbitant drinks, and the inevitable crowd of Sansabelt slacks-wearing tourists leaning over the railing to take flash pictures of the tropical rainstorm.
4) The San Francisco Examiner's weekend real estate section
Every week, atop three-quarters of a page of tasteful line drawings of 3br, 2.5ba homes with w/b/fps in Forest Hills and Presidio Heights, the Ex runs a column that covers one of two controversial topics: 1) There's never been a better time to get into the market. 2) Getting into the market: It's easier than you think. Stop -- we're going to break a rib.
5) San Jose-based pseudo-alternative publications that call themselves San Francisco anything, and then print lists of annoying things about San Francisco.
-- Laurel Wellman
Dog Bites welcomes tips, especially those pertaining to disgruntlement. Write to Dog Bites, c/o SF Weekly, 185 Berry, Lobby 4, Suite 3800, San Francisco, CA 94107, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.