Volkswagens and auto wrecking/towing seem a must in EAR’s background. A number of varying jalopies were associated beforehand with the neighborhoods in which he would strike. It can hardly be coincidental. In a Sheriff Department memorandum, December 8, 1977, the writer goes so far as to say that “almost every vehicle in the Blue Book has been sighted near the scenes of the crimes. However, the only one that recurs with any degree of consistency is a Volkswagen.” If not always seen, Volkswagens, because of their distinctive engines, were heard to start up. In one case, in Stockton, after an attack the victim said it was definitely a Volkswagen that she heard start. This is curious as it tends to support the theory that EAR would have to use his own car for long or overnight drives. During workdays, however, he could use the junker cars he was picking up or had the loan thereof for the day. EAR then seems to have graduated to a van, and a number of the major wreckers made parts delivery in vans.
EAR was once associated with a dark green Baja Bug with gray wide rear fenders.
When EAR suddenly appeared in Contra Costa County in 1978, his pattern had not altered. He used parks and canals and jogging trails as tactical allies. He also stuck right by the highway (680). There is no indication that he moved to the area, though that is possible. In So. Cal he would certainly drive far to hit his targets. Concord from Sacramento is only about an hour and 10 minutes. He drove as far to hit Modesto from Sacramento earlier in the year.
Auto wrecking and towing, parts pick up and delivery, all associated, can explain his long highway commuting. I’ve said it before, many times. I suspect a group of companies. I suspect a combination of delivery, pick up, etc. But how to prove a date and time with EAR in auto wrecking after near 40 years? It isn’t enough that my POI was known to be associated through family and family business with Volkswagens, mechanics, and auto wrecking. How to get any indication he was on the job?
In Danville there was a clue.
Here EAR is thought to have left those few pieces of notepaper with writing on them after he fled a botched attack (No. 48). In schoolbook tone the writer is cathartic. He laments how his 6th grade year ruined his life. Then he talks of General Custer. No clues really. But then there is a map. It looks like a tactical map. It is on a blank piece of the same type of notepaper. The community drawn on it is the kind that EAR hit. On the back of the map there are interesting and seemingly random jottings. “Come from”; “Milling”; “Melannie” and what is possibly “PUNSHMENT” in twisted, vengeful scrawling. These pencilings are in a more mature hand. I speculate that EAR was using an old school notebook and on the blank leaves therein he scrawled his tactical maps of communities he intended to strike. When he ripped his car door open to escape, the loose pages came out. There they were later found by police, led to the exact location by the bloodhound that followed his trail.
There is another jotting on the back of the piece of paper that holds the map.
“Teachers Leasing.” It’s the casual way to refer to Teachers Services Corp. They began in the late 1960s and shuttered in 1980. They had been a huge car leasing operation over the nation with various field offices, the first and main one in California in the LA area. In a 1969 article (still online) they boast that they will have over 100,000 cars in stock eventually, many GM brands.
What is the significance that the writer of the map quickly jotted down “Teachers Leasing”? Was he in the teaching profession? That would seem to nix my main POI. (Though Richard Shelby thought that at Danville the EAR had “Coach” embroidered on his blue windbreaker). Or is it an indication that EAR was given an assignment to pick up or take a car from/to Teachers’ lot? They closed in 1980, and we can speculate that they were perhaps liquidating their cars already, some to used car lots, some to wreckers for parts. Or, they may have been in need of parts.
EAR as he was described by the couple at the botched attack in Danville in July 1979. He wore a dark blue windbreaker. It was button-up, not zipper. There was some kind of name or logo on his chest. Something like CORN or COORS or something similar.
The paperwork found at Danville gives us a clue. It is certainly open to interpretation. But a major (though short lived) car leasing outfit is scrawled on back, as though EAR had a call at one point and reached for the back of a map he had present and wrote it down. This would indicate he had a Citizen Band Radio with him. He may have written it down before even drawing the map.
That there should be old school-era work in the notebook also indicates that EAR was not so old that he didn’t have a school notebook handy. This supports the reports by many of the victims that he was still relatively young, and the first victims especially place him as quite young– late teens to early 20s in 1976.
It seems far more reasonable to assumed that EAR was young and that he was still in some kind of towing or auto wrecking work in Contra Costa County. He had his old notebook handy at one point. It wasn’t used for business since he would have had his own clipboard, but for some reason, whatever the circumstances, he had it with him and wrote down “Teachers Leasing” quickly. The word under it must have been written first, for it seems that the writer extended the hastily scribbled “y” and marked back and forth over the word. It looks like “Reno” or “Rental” or “Rent” or maybe “Rodeo,” the last an East Bay town near Concord.
While it would probably not reveal a shortcut to EAR’s identity, the next step is to find where Teachers Services Corp. had its lots in northern and southern California. If there was major liquidation, wreckers over the state may have been picking up cars over a period of 1980-81 in So. Cal.
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For 25 years Gian J. Quasar has investigated a broad range of mysterious subjects, from strange disappearances to serial murders, earning in that time the unique distinction of being likened to “the real life Kolchak.” However, he is much more at home with being called The Quester. “He’s bloody eccentric, an historian with no qualifications who sticks his nose into affairs and gets results.” He is the author of several books, one of which inspired a Resolution in Congress.