Thursday, March 30, 2006

Peer Pressure

Los Angeles, CA

When your mom asked you those stupid rhetorical questions like, "If Timmy jumped off a bridge, would you?" I don't think she had breaking out of jail in mind.

Yesterday, two more juveniles escaped from a County detention center, walking out of the Dorothy Kirby Center during a medical visit.

That brings the number of escapees to eight in the last week, and it looks like heads are going to roll.
Any probation officer whose negligence may have contributed to the escape of the four teenagers will be fired, Higa said. He told the Times that at least three people will be fired over the incident.


Wednesday, March 29, 2006

This Is What We Call A "Long Con"

Los Angeles, CA

Here's a gem from the L.A. Times. Ha. A gem. I crack myself up.

The short of this story is that Emile Chayto, a Geneva diamond dealer with decades of experience, gave $14 million worth of gems to a stranger claiming to be the wife of the deceased president of the Congo. He never got the money.

This one's a pretty classic pigeon drop. What made the mark so easy in this case is that they're used to dealing with their customers this way.
"Look, I make a deal for millions, and all I do is shake hands. I don't even give a check. I give my word," he said. "Cases like this are very rare," he added.

Wow. If I'd known that... well, I still wouldn't fuck with the diamond traders. Those Russian-Israeli mobsters are fucking hardcore.

What's The Rush?

Torrance, CA

Linda Evans (no, not that Linda Evans), 56 is being held on charges of solicitation of murder and solicitation of arson for asking 24 year old Cristobal Rodriguez, 24, to kill her husband.

Here's what I don't get. The husband is 89. It's not like he's not going to last that long. If you really need to speed things up, put a kink in his air hose. Send a hooker to his bedroom. Killing old people is not that hard. The flu does it all the time.

To add insult to injury, though whose I'm not quite sure, Mrs. Evans is looking at life. She was convicted on 3 counts of robbery back in '82 and the state tends to frown on repeat offenders.

Troubled Teens Trot... Hell, It's Too Early For Alliteration

Looks like the Los Angeles County juvenile work release program is working pretty well. Oh, wait. They don't have one.

Two juvenile inmates have escaped from the Camp Afflerbaugh juvenile detention facility in La Verne. Second escape from a County lockup in 5 days. Last Thursday, 4 kids bailed froma facility in Sylmar.

Our prisons at work.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Little More Detail, Please

Laguna Hills, CA

Okay, so there's this guy, see. And he robs a BofA in Laguna Hills. People see him. He flashes a gun in the face of a teller. So what do we get out of this?

...the suspect is described as 5’ 8”, probably in his mid-30s, and wearing a baseball cap.

With witnesses like that they'll have this guy in no time. Thank god I don't wear a baseball hat.

And You Thought Photos Added An Extra 10 Pounds

Long Beach, CA

Long beach police have released a composite sketch of a man wanted for attempted kidnapping. He's approached two women so far, threatening to shoot them if they didn't get into his car. Both escaped and gave their descriptions to the police.

With luck, he hasn't been successful. With more luck, they'll catch him before he is.

What gets me is that he's described as being between 160 and 180 pounds. 160? Based on the picture, that guy's a good 200 if he's a pound. And ugly.

I wonder if this sort of thing gets into the profiler's report. "Based on his crimes I'd say this man is a bed wetter, probably has a small penis. And did you get a load of that picture? Of course he's trying to kidnap young women. I mean, would you date that? Yech."

Will You People Just Fucking Quit It, Already?

Riverside, CA

A Riverside Superior Court jury has recommended that Jose Luis Leon, 26, should get the death penalty for murdering 65-year-old Hope Ragland and her 13-year-old grandson, Austin Perez back in 2003.

His reason?

Leon was jealous that his girlfriend, Veronica Haft was going to study at Oxford University in England and had broken up with him.

So he tracked down her family here in the states and stabbed them to death.

Riverside. Now there's a fucking surprise.

Wishful Thinking

2005 was a banner for Compton. By this time last year there were 22 homicides. This year, only 5. And gang related shootings are down, too.

The reason? Sheriff Lee Baca has been sending more deputies to Compton in the annual shuffle of resources.

There's only one snag. Next year they'll likely go someplace else. The Sheriff's department has been running on a shortfall for years now and they don't have the money and resources to cover every area of the County that they're responsible for.

And the gangsters know this. It's kind of like setting cats into the barn to take out the rats. They're not stupid. They'll go someplace else. That's largely why Compton got hammered last year. This year I don't know who's going to get the coveted Murder Capitol of State award. Whittier, maybe? North Hills?

Either way, the residents of Compton are right to be worried. At some point the cat's going to leave and the rats will be back.

Friday, March 17, 2006

More Fun From The Land of The Dirt People

Indio, CA

Shane Joseph Espana was arrested on suspicion of "committing a lewd and lascivious act with a minor". He met the young (under 14 - exactly how under I have no idea) lady in an internet chatroom.

Not to worry, Shane. By the time you get out she'll be legal and then some.

Like There Was Ever A Good Time To Eat At Denny's

Anaheim, CA

Following shootings at Denny's restaurants in Pismo Beach and Ontario earlier this week, we now have one closer to home.

Ya know the thing that bothers me about this particular incident?

Officers found a gun near the scene, but aren't sure if it was the weapon used in the shooting.

Just how many guns do they find lying around there, anyway?

Author Events This Weekend

The Mystery Bookstore
Westwood, CA

Saturday, March 18, 12:00 p.m.

Sue Ann Jaffarian signs Too Big To Miss

Sue Ann is the president of the Los Angeles chapter of Sisters In Crime, which means that she heads up the nicest group of people to ever murder countless victims in more gruesome, creative ways that I've ever met. The best murderers, after all, do it with a smile on their faces.

So buy her book. Really.

Saturday, March 18, 1:00 p.m.

Robert Crais signs The Two Minute Rule

Known for his Elvis Cole novels, particularly the fantastic L.A. Requiem, Robert Crais is back with a new stand-alone.
The day bank robber Max Holman gets out of jail, his long-estranged son Richie, a straight-arrow LAPD officer, is killed. The circumstances of Richie'’s death suggest that he might have been involved in some high-level corruption, but Max doesn'’t believe it and he sets out to clear his son's name, with some help from the former FBI agent who sent him to prison.

Sounds like another winner.


Mysteries To Die For
Thousand Oaks, CA

Saturday, March 18, 1:00 p.m.

John Morgan Wilson signs Rhapsody In Blood

Sunday, March 19, 1:00 p.m.

Robert Crais signs The Two Minute Rule


Book 'Em Mysteries
Pasadena, CA

Saturday, March 18, 5 p.m.

Robert Crais signs The Two Minute Rule

Sunday, March 19, 2:00 p.m.

John Morgan Wilson signs Rhapsody in Blood


On Television
Adelphia, CA

Saturday, March 18th, 8:00 p.m.

Author Rob Roberge, will be reading from his noir novel More Then They Could Chew on Marty's Corner, on Adelphia Channel 3 (KCAT) at 8:00.

If you've never read this book go buy a copy. Now. That's not a request, it's a demand. For every one of you who doesn't go buy a copy of this book God will kill a kitten and the baby Jesus will weep. You don't want to disappoint the Baby Jesus, do you?

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Twenty Bucks Says Somebody Gets Loose

Due to the recent racial violence at the Pitchess Detention Center jails near Castaic, the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department will begin transferring some of the more dangerous inmates to the downtown Twin Towers facility.

In order to make room, they need to transfer women inmates out of the facility (Tower 2 contains the women's jail). This game of musical cells is designed to spread the wealth or the violence, or whatever metaphor.

What could possibly go wrong with such a large prisoner transfer? It's not like inmates are trying to escape when they're not actually in the cells. Oh wait, they are.

Behind The Orange Curtain

Anaheim, CA

Ah, Orange County. Home of the Anaheim Angels (of Los Angeles), Disneyland, and gangbanger mothers who egg their kids on to gangrape a rival's girlfriend.

Jesus H Roosevelt trout fucking Christ. Does it get much more fucked up than this?

In lighter news, Ituau Leauasoga, who was convicted Monday of the December, 2003 road rage murder of Mike Decker, faces 50 to life.

Go O.C.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Yes, Mr. Jacobs, It Is About Goddamn Time

Rodger Jacobs over at 8763 Wonderland points out an important event yesterday.

A star near the Walk of Fame at La Brea and Hollywood was put in place to memorilize Hollywood Division officers killed in the line of duty.

Too many dead, not enough remembrance.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Feeling Like Homer Simpson At A Donut Factory

The LAPD has answered my prayers and created Crime Maps. Want to know how many crimes have been reported within a 1 mile radius of Sunset & Gower in the last 3 days? Twenty-four, as of the time of this writing (8 robberies, 5 aggravated assaults, 4 personal thefts, 3 grand theft autos, 2 thefts from vehicles, and 2 burglaries).

I could be at this for hours.

Link via LAVoice

Author Events This Weekend

The Mystery Bookstore

Westwood, CA

Saturday, March 11 at 3:00 p.m.

Planting Clues and Red Herrings: A Workshop with John Morgan Wilson - Probably signing his new one, Rhapsody In Blood, too.

Edgar Award winning author, John Morgan Wilson will be running a workshop for mystery writers and shilling using his new book, Rhapsody In Blood as a reference.

Disgraced journalist Benjamin Justice agrees to go with his friend, reporter Alexandra Temple, to the Haunted Springs Hotel, where they’re making a movie based on the hotel’s grim history. That history includes the rape and murder of a movie star, the last lynching in California history, and the suicide of the movie star’s daughter, decades later. A new murder pulls Justice into an investigation of old and new crimes.

Sounds neat. Now, I don't know Mr. Morgan, but he has taught at the Writer's Program at UCLA Extension for quite a while. UCLA grabs some damn fine talent. What I don't understand, though, is the need to name characters "Justice".

Saturday, March 11 at 4:30 p.m.

Thomas Perry signs Nightlife

Calling this book “eagerly awaited” would be an understatement. Thomas Perry’s first novel since 2002’s DEAD AIM is the story of Charlene Buckner, who changes her identity each time she commits a murder, and Portland police sergeant Catherine Hobbes, who’s been one step behind since Charlene’s first victim. Perry has an incredible penchant for detail, time and place, while surgically stripping the layers off complex characters. Publishers Weekly says, “This is Perry at his best.” Settling down with this book is a treat.

This is listed as Bobby's Favorite. Bobby is the guy who runs the place. Listen to Bobby. If you listen to Bobby you cannot go wrong. With books. Anything else, I couldn't tell you.

Saturday, March 11 at 6:00 p.m.

T. Jefferson Parker signs The Fallen

Now this one looks interesting. T. Jefferson Parker wrote California Girl, which won too damn many awards if you ask me. Not that it didn't deserve them, just that I'm jealous.

Two-time Edgar winner Parker returns with another remarkable standalone. San Diego homicide detective Robbie Brownlaw has suffered from synesthesia since falling from a hotel window three years earlier. His senses get mixed up; he sees voices and hears colors, which he describes as “a primitive lie detector.” Brownlaw and his partner investigate the apparent suicide of an SDPD ethics investigator, and Brownlaw discovers layers of deceit and corruption that extend high into San Diego’s political establishment.


Mysteries To Die For

Thousand Oaks, CA

Saturday, March 11, 3:30 p.m.
T. Jefferson Parker signs The Fallen

Yep, same guy.


Book 'Em Mysteries

Pasadena, CA

Friday, March 10, 5:00 p.m.
T. Jefferson Parker signs The Fallen

Catch him early, beat the rush.

Sunday March 12, 2:00 p.m.
Joanne Fluke signs Cherry Cheesecake Murder

Okay. I can accept that cozies do very well. Cozies with food do even better. Wine cozies, opera cozies, greeting card cozies. Personally, I'm holding out for a plumbing cozy.

I'm not saying there's anything wrong with cozies. They're just not my thing. If they're yours, though, well, what the hell are you doing here? Anyway, Joanne Fluke is signing another one on Sunday.

Irony, Thy Name Is Little Weasel

Downey, CA

As usual, I'm going to go with my gut, here. I don't have all the facts. I don't know the people involved. That in mind, this story pisses me off.

A former gang leader who founded an anti-gang center in Hawthorne called No Guns was arrested Thursday when police found him with a handgun.

Hector Marroquin Sr., 49, of Downey was taken into custody when police raided his home looking for his son, Hector Marroquin Jr., a reputed gang member nicknamed "Little Weasel," Hawthorne police Lt. Tom Jester said.

Back in 1998, Hector Marroquin, opened an anti-gang center called No Guns in Hawthorne. From what little I can see, it looks like he was really trying to turn things around.

Yes, he is an ex-felon. He has been convicted and has done time. He was grabbed and acquitted in '98 for gun possession. Last year he was arrested "on suspicion of kidnapping, robbery and false imprisonment". The charges were dropped.

In looking for his son, who is suspected of taking part in a home invasion robbery in December, the police also arrested Hector Sr. and his daughter Charleeda. A handgun was found in Hector Sr.'s bedroom along with a small quantity of marijuana. Charleeda was grabbed on suspicion of possession of methamphetamine and marijuana.

I'm not condoning his past, or hell, anyone's for that matter. Mr. Marroquin got to where he is in his life through a combination of choices and responses to an ugly and violent environment. He also appears to have helped out a lot of kids through the same means.

No person is going to come to a realization that things need to be turned around and suddenly become Mother fucking Teresa. So he has some pot. BFD. So he's got a gun. He lives in the middle of gang territory with a son who goes by the name "Little Weasel", for chrissakes. Not having a gun there is like not having a gun in Texas. It's socially unacceptable and possibly suicidal.

I'm glad Hector Jr. is in custody. If he committed the crime, lock his ass up. But the charges against Hector Sr. sound trumped up. Is he the subject of a wider investigation? Or is Hawthorne PD just fucking with him because they can?

At what point does a person earn redemption? And who judges it? There's a wide gap between law and justice, and justice rarely wins out.

So, am I talking out my ass here? Does anyone know this guy? Know the organization? Is he really a monster and the cops are doing us all a favor for throwing his ass in jail? Or are they just being stereotypical assholes?

Thursday, March 09, 2006

She's Not A Suspect, She's A "Person Of Interest"

The LAPD is looking for Kimberly Carter, the convicted bank robber girlfriend of 42 year old Harry Phillips, who was found stabbed to death in their home in Northridge, Tuesday.

Hmm. He's dead. She's missing. It can only mean one thing. She's been kidnapped by space aliens because Mars needs women.

Come on. Person of interest, my ass. Let's just throw that phrase into the same file with "allegedly", shall we?

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

One Con, Two Con, Short Con, Long Con

Fontana, CA

Who says kids today got no initiative? Ya know, when I was a kid the most ambitious thing I ever did was try to make shit from my dad's Army Improvised Munitions Manual. Man, if I were thinking ahead, I could have set up an elaborate sting to nail a child molester, too.

Several teenage boys lured a suspected child molester into police custody at a Fontana park after posting a fake profile of a 15-year-old girl on the website as a joke, authorities said Tuesday.

Some joke.

I wonder if the guy said something like, "And it would have worked, too, if it weren't for you meddling kids," shaking a fist at them as the police hauled him away to get butt raped in Corcoran.

Yeah, they're heroes. Got the guy. Congratulations.

What people don't seem to get here is that this is just the beginning. I see three card monte and Maradonas on Korean tourists in their future. Pigeon drops will give way to Spanish Prisoner scams. Can pyramid schemes and Scientology be far behind?

No good deed goes unpunished, after all.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Flashing In The Gutters

I have a story up at Flashing In The Gutters. Go read. It may not be good, but there's a lot of stuff over there that is.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Hot Dang! A Ree-ward!

Mission Hills, CA

You know what I miss? Wanted: Dead or Alive posters. Yeah, I know. They breed vigilantism, encourge bounty hunters and undermine the police state's hold on authority.

Which, come to think of it, might not be such a bad idea.

Well, this is the modern age, and instead of walking into the sheriff's office with a head in a bag, the city is preferring that its citizens rat out a killer. And it'll be worth $50K, too.

The reward is for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of suspects unknown for the killing of 92 year old Sofia Gomez, who was found bludgeoned to death last month.

I have great faith in the avarice of the common man. With a little luck, and a hefty check, we should see the people resonsible working out a plea bargain in no time.

So Much For The Single Bullet Theory

San Dimas, CA

Back in February, Frank Fidel Beltran allegedly shot Glendora police officer David Vega in the hand. The cops have been looking for him ever since.

Chances are good he's still around. Seems he shot his estranged wife eight times on Friday in a busy San Dimas intersection.

Let's put aside my usual rant about psychotic, trailer trash drama queens going after their Ex's, or my views on a society that values hypocritical standards of morality over the needs of victims to be able to defend themselves. Let's ignore the gender issues surrounding the dom/sub dynamic that our society not only allows, but perpetuates. And let's turn a blind eye to the difficulties of policing against the waves of domestic violence that are far too prevalent.

Instead, let's focus on the one overriding fact that comes out of this sordid escapade.

Mr. Beltran is a lousy shot.

He fired at least twenty rounds at his wife. Eight hit. 40%. That's an F no matter how you look at it. And none of her wounds are considered life threatening, thank god. And the fact that he tagged a cop in the hand is further testament to his ineptitude.

So I say to you, Mr. Beltran, hide. You are dangerous only in the way a half blind, mad dog is dangerous. Officers of the law are coming for you and they want your head on the end of a stick. And while you probably won't hit any of them, I can promise that they can definitely hit you.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Make Mine A Molotov

Oh, Compton, you wacky over-achievers, you. Highest murder rate in the nation just isn't good enough for ya, eh? Of course not, because you're ambitious. You've got big plans. You've been listening to a little too much Bloodhound Gang.

Two men were arrested this morning around 4 a.m. for chucking molotov cocktails at a couple of houses in the 800 block of West Spruce Street and the 800 block of South Bradfield Avenue.

So, what, you guys hate the numebr 800?

This Week On The Shield

Los Angeles, CA

Life imitates art, eh?

The Nineties were a bad time for the LAPD. Aside from a scandal involving drug dealing anti-gang cops that further eroded an already shaky public trust, now you have this.

In a case reminiscent of the LAPD's Rampart scandal, five rogue cops used squad cars, badges, uniforms, radios and guns to lead a criminal gang that stole hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, drugs, weapons and jewelry by staging phony police raids, officials announced Thursday.

This all happened between 1999 and 2001. After a four year investigation, this week's indictments have pulled in nineteen people, five of whom were law enforcement officers; three LAPD, one Long Beach and the fifth a Department of Corrections officer.

The leader of the group, LAPD officer Ruben Palomares, a former Golden Gloves boxer who joined the LAPD in 1993, was part of a Rampart Division CRASH (Community Resources Against Street Hoodlums) unit at one point before transferring to the Northeast Division and then later over to Training.

Officials believe Palomares' group - which included then-LAPD Officers William Ferguson and Jesse Moya, then-Long Beach Police Department Officer Joseph Ferguson and Department of Corrections Officer Rodrigo Duran - staged fake robberies at houses after Palomares received information that the locations were drug havens.

Gotta admit, it's a sweet idea. Hit fat targets who won't complain. And when things get morally ambiguous, well, there were drugs. They're the bad guys. You're just cleaning things up, and if you make a buck or two on the side, what of it?

Eventually, of course, it all fell apart. The investigation started after Palomares got picked up in San Diego in 2001 on suspicion of trying to buy 10 kilos of cocaine from undercover DEA agents.

Christ, if that's not noir, I don't know what is.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Criminal Tip 4562: If You Steal A Car, Don't Steal A COP Car

Lancaster, CA

There's a Sheriff's cruiser parked on PCH up near Malibu, I'm assuming to dissuade speeders. Of course, it's been there for 6 months, unoccupied, with a thin layer of dust on it. I've been driving by thsi thing for months now, and I'll admit there are times I think, "Yeah, I could steal that."

But I don't. Because I'm not an idiot.

Ms Ramsey, if the car is black and white, has sirens on the top and the words Los Angeles Sheriff's Department, it's a pretty good bet that it's not a good idea to drive away with it.

Even if you are in Lancaster.

Dear Christ, I've Been Memed

Damn you, Reed! Damn you to hell!

So, apparently, I've been the victim of a drive-by meming (or is that memeing?). Fine. Four things about L.A. I can do this. I think.

Four Jobs I’ve Had In My Life in LA:
- Lighting technician
- Receptionist
- Software Quality Assurance Geek
- Enforcer for the Hawaiian Mob. Yeah, you may think that we're just eating Spam all the time. That's what we want you to think.

Four Movies About LA I Could Watch Over And Over:
Only four? Fine.
- The Big Sleep
- Chinatown
- L.A. Confidential
- Blade Runner

Four Places I’ve Lived All Over L.A. (With Food Memories From Each):
- Playa Del Rey - The Shack - Nothing like a Shack Burger when you're really hung over. I didn't say there isn't anything beter, just that there isn't anything like it.
- West L.A. - El Pollo Inka up on Wilshire - Nastiest chicken thing I can't pronounce I've ever had, hands down. What? You just said memories, you didn't say good ones.
- Mar Vista - Menagerie - This one's gone, but it used to be on Motor in Palms. They made these fucking incredible soups. And a champagne chicken that you'd sell your left nut and kill your mother for. Really.
- Westchester - Vinnie's Pizza on Lincoln. If it's good enough for the LMU frat boys, it's good enough for me. This sentiment does not, however, extend to funneling cases of Meisterbrau, puking on the neighbor's lawn or running naked down the street with my underwear on fire. Just so you know.

Four LA-Themed Shows I Love(d) To Watch:
Yeesh. I've never really watched much television, but I'll give it a go.
- Emergency! I dug the exclamation point in the title. I'd watch this in reruns after all the Bugs Bunny cartoons were over on Channel 11 after school. And the cartoon version? Pure gold, baby. Pure gold.
- Boomtown - Okay, I only saw, like, two episodes of this, but I thought it was pretty good.
- Angel - Yes, I'm a geek. Deal with it.
- 24 - The first season, I think. Part of it at least. There was this guy, and he did stuff. I think there were Albanians in it. Maybe Chechens. How come the Norwegians are never the bad guys?

Four Places I Would Vacation At In LA:
Why in the hell would I vacation in L.A.? I live here. All right, for the sake of the exercise:
- Camping in Sycamore Canyon - Off of PCH in the Santa Monica mountains
- Camping on Catalina - Nothing says good morning like having your tent eaten by buffalo.
- Camping on Santa Cruz Island - Technically this is in Ventura, isn't it? Bastards.
- I got nothin'.

Four LA-Based Websites I Visit Daily:
- 1947 Project
- BoingBoing

Four Of My Favorite Foods Found In LA:
- Tito's Tacos - The only burritos and tacos that I will actually stand in line for. In the rain.
- Johnnie's Pastrami - For when the rain is too much or the line too long at Tito's. Or when I've got a hankerin' for chili fries.
- The Stinking Rose - When they call it Forty Clove Chicken they mean it. With a vengeance.
- Moun of Tunis - Dar Maghreb is a cold, unfeeling shadow compared to this place.

Four Places In LA I Would Rather Be Right Now:
- Not at the office
- Over at Synergy Cafe getting some real work done. Now, this begs the question, why is it that I can focus better when I'm stuck in a corner surrounded by a cafe full of people than I can at home in my office with no one around? Must be the coffee.
- Not at this Office, either. Christ, $600 a month? They betetr give complimentary blowjobs they want that much money.
- Okay, maybe this office.