Jen Angel of Angel Cakes
Jen Angel, the founder of Oakland bakery Angel Cakes, inside her bakery in March 2016. Credit: Melati Citrawireja

Angel Cakes
745 5th St. (at Brush Street), Oakland
GoFundMe for Jen Angel
Caring Bridge site for Jen Angel

Jennifer Angel, the founder of Angel Cakes, a nearly-seven-year-old Oakland bakery, is fighting for her life today after a robbery gone wrong in Uptown Oakland. At present, she remains in “grave” condition, police told Nosh Thursday, and those close to her say it will be “several days” before it’s known if she will recover.

Angel, a former book publicist, began her career as a cupcake maker in 2008. Baking “is by far the most pleasurable job I’ve ever had,” she told East Bay Nosh in 2016, and she turned that passion into a successful business when she opened Angel Cakes at 745 5th St., inside Oakland’s iconic TJ’s Gingerbread House building.

Angel was running errands for her business on Monday, including a stop at the Wells Fargo branch near Webster and 21st streets, her fiance, Ocean Mottley, told the San Francisco Chronicle. According to a spokesperson with the Oakland Police Department, around 12:30 that afternoon, “an individual broke into” Angel’s car while she was in it and stole an item from her, then ran back “to a waiting vehicle.”

Jen Angel serves a customer at Angel Cakes. Credit: Melati Citrawireja

Angel jumped out of her car and gave chase, police said. “While the victim struggled for their belongings, they were knocked to the ground and sustained injuries.” According to a crime brief published by the San Jose Mercury News on Monday that did not name Angel as the victim, she was somehow snagged by the suspects’ car door, “and was dragged more than 50 feet before falling free in the middle of the street.”

According to private social media posts published by those close to Angel, she is “receiving great care” at Highland Hospital’s trauma unit. “Jen was initially stable when she reached the hospital,” one such post read, “but her brain swelling increased to the point that she was rushed to emergency surgery several hours after the incident.”

Angel has remained in a medically induced coma since, and according to the poster, efforts to alleviate the swelling have not been successful. It remains unclear if she will regain consciousness.

Related: Angel Cakes: A bakery in a gingerbread house

“She is currently on life support,” the poster said, “and there may be no clarity about her prognosis for several days.”

When contacted by The Oaklandside, a worker at Angel Cakes confirmed that the business remains open, “though we’re a little overwhelmed now,” they said. According to Moira Birss, a friend of Angel’s who is posting updates on her condition to Caring Bridge, a website that helps provide information to friends and family of those negotiating health crises, Angel’s friends “are assisting [Angel Cakes workers] at keeping the business running during this interim period.”

Jen Angel serves a customer at Angel Cakes bakery. Credit: Melati Citrawireja

Birss has also launched a GoFundMe to “go toward the various expenses that may arise, including medical care for Jen, support for her partner Ocean in covering household and related expenses, for her mom in covering travel and living expenses, and for Angel Cakes bakery.”

As of publication time, Oakland police characterize the attempt to rob Angel as an ongoing investigation, and say that no suspect information is available nor have any arrests been made. According to the Merc, however, “investigators believe the suspects are responsible for several similar robberies and vehicle break-ins in the city.”

Anyone with information in the case is asked to call OPD at 510-238-3326. In addition, Crime Stoppers of Oakland is offering “up to $7,500” for information leading to the arrest of the suspects, and can be reached at 510-777-8572.

Eve Batey has worked as a reporter and editor since 2004, including as the co-founder of SFist, as a deputy managing editor of the SF Chronicle and as the editor of Eater San Francisco.