Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Okay, So It's Not The Porn Guy

Garden Grove, CA

Yesterday, three people, a man, woman and young boy were found murdered in their home in Garden Grove. A surviving one-year-old child was found at the scene.

There was some speculation that the home might have belonged to Curtis Cleveland of the XXX porn company Dusk 'Til Dawn Productions. Turns out that's wrong.

Oh well. I was hoping for a vice trifecta. Murder, porn and, hell, I don't know. Cocaine in a suitcase? A gimp in a cage?

Well, the truth is slowly starting to come together, though what it means is anybody's guess.

Turns out the man, Phuong H. Lee, 30, was a former gang member who did a 6 year stint for robbery and damaging jail property. He lived at the house with his wife, Ngoc Lam, their one-year-old daughter, and Lam's son by a different father.

Answers yield more questions. I wonder who the investigation is going to turn toward next. The father of the boy? Someone from the mother's casino job? Former gang rivals?

There's money in here, somewhere. I can smell it. Faint whiff of jealousy, too, I think. This one ain't going away any time soon.

Next Time Try Jacking Something Less Conspicuous

Valencia, CA

I love car chases. What I don't understand is what makes people think they can get away with them. Especially when they steal an ambulance.

Yevgeni Gnesi, 20, of Lakewood, stole the ambulance after being released from Mission Community Hospital in San Fernando.

"He was using the ambulance radio, talking to the Fire Department, saying he would give (the ambulance) back to them when he saw his girlfriend," said Officer Wendy Hahn of the California Highway Patrol.

What, you couldn't have taken a cab?

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

If You Have To Ask...

Rancho Cucamonga, CA

About two months ago Anthony Baguindo stabbed a man. Well that man recovered and, being curious, decided to ask Tony why he'd stabbed him.

So Tony stabbed him again.

Some people just never learn.

Security Guard For Hire. Cheap.

Rancho Dominguez, CA

Saturday, at a distribution center in Rancho Dominguez, four men in trucks conned a security guard into letting them hook up cargo containers loaded with $2.5 million in electronics equipment to their trucks and leave.

Boy, I bet he feels stupid. And unemployed.

Dead In The Suburbs


Now this is an interesting bit of detective work and speculation.

Rodger Jacobs, over at 8763 Wonderland posts an email he received from Steven Huff over at Huff's Crime Blog.

Mr. Huff has done a little digging and it looks like the address where the three corpses were found might possibly belong to one Curtis Cleveland of Dusk 'Til Dawn Productions, purveyors of such fine XXX gonzo porn as "Amateur Cream Pies" and "Beach Bunnies with Big Brown Eyes". I can't imagine what they might be talking about with that title.

It remains to be seen if he's right or wrong on this, but either way, this should be an interesting story to watch develop.


Garden Grove, CA

It's easy to forget that the suburbs can be just as crazy dangerous as the city.

Three people, a man, woman and 8-10-year-old child, were found dead in a Garden Grove home last night around 7pm Monday night. A baby was found unharmed at the scene.

It's unclear when it happened and names and details haven't been released, yet. The police are treating it as a triple homicide, though.

And They Say We're Only Fourth In Road Rage

Los Angeles, CA

If there's one thing you can bet on with a holiday weekend it's vehicular manslaughter.

On Saturday, a 17 year old girl was charged with murder after chasing her former girlfriend's SUV through a red light and into the pickup truck of an off-duty firefighter and an MTA bus. The girlfriend, Shayla Phillips of Pacoima, was killed and the firefighter, name withheld, is in critical condition at Northridge Hospital. Have you noticed in this town we're willing to shoot our police officers, but don't you dare fuck with our firefighters?

Then down in South Los Angeles, two people were shot by a man in an SUV. A female passenger died and the male driver was injured in the elbow. For once this doesn't look like a gang related shooting and the police are treating it as a road rage incident.

Over near Inglewood, though, it is a gang related shooting. Hyde Park near Crenshaw. Saul Reyes was shot outside his home when a Dodge Stratus drove up and opened fire, striking him several times in the legs and upper body. He died at the hospital.

Remember folks, only a month before the next holiday. Buy your body armor now.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Brothers In Arms

Please pardon me as I wax a little philosophical today.

The choice to join the military's a funny thing. You're not going to do it for the money, for example, or if you want to increase your odds at a long life. Some times people join because they're looking for direction, or discipline, or just a routine. Sometimes they're looking to be a part of something greater.

The military is about sacrifice. Right or wrong, whether you agree with its policies or its reasons to exist, there are fewer things more sacrificial than being a soldier. They ask of you to give nothing less than your life. And every day soldiers do exactly that.

Though I never served in the military, I've been surrounded by it in one form or another my entire life. My father had been a drill sergeant in the Army. Taught freaked out kids how to use a bazooka, how to throw a grenade. Though he had been out for some years before I came along it remained with him. You can take the boy out of the Army, but you can't take the Army out of the boy.

The military influenced how he thought, what he did, how he communicated. He had his Sergeant Voice, for example. And when he used it, you listened. He told a lot of stories about the Army. I think, mostly, because he never saw combat. He joined voluntarily, not drafted, and was discharged about a week before his unit went over to Vietnam.

My grandfather did see combat. He was the captain of a US Navy dredge in the Pacific during World War II. His job, during some of the fiercest fighting with the Japanese, was to steer his ship between the Japanese guns on shore, and the US ships protecting him, and make beachheads for troops to land on. This could take hours with artillery trying to actively take him out. I have no idea how he did it.

I have an uncle who served in Vietnam. Marine pilot. Flew Phantoms. He went back and visited Vietnam a few years ago. I don't know what went on for him over there, but I know that it was rough and that going back for him was a letting go. After thirty years he was finally able to see it as just a place, and not just a burial ground for his friends.

My father-in-law was UDT, a Seal before there were Seals. He fought in Korea and his records are classified. He did things for his country that his country will not actively acknowledge. He was awarded medals, but he can't get them. Because he wasn't officially there. He is scarred from shrapnel, gunshot and knife wounds. He tells stories of some of the fighting he has been in and some of the men he has killed. There are some stories he won't talk about. I suspect ever. He is 78, a brilliant and good man. And he can still kick my ass. In any fight my money's on him. He may be the toughest sonofabitch I have ever met, and I have nothing but respect for him and the sacrifices he has made.

Ultimately, it was my father who dissuaded me from joining the military. Though he instilled in me a great respect for the men and women who serve, he was also a realist and hated the idea of war. On the one hand he was ready for the Apocalypse, and on the other he truly believed that it could and should be avoided. The idea that I or my brother might find ourselves bleeding in a ditch from a bullet scared the shit out of him. Frankly, I've never been fond of it myself.

I have had family and friends in the military. Men and women who have served and served well. So, like many of us, I have a personal stake in Memorial Day.

To the men and women who serve, have served and will serve, I thank you. Your sacrifices are not forgotten. You do something that I did not choose, and not a day goes by when I wonder if I made the right choice.

And to everyone, this Memorial Day, please keep these people in your thoughts and prayers.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The L.A. County Coroner Would Like You To Be Really, Really Careful

Los Angeles, CA

Because they've run out of room. This has been a problem for some time now, with reports of bodies stacked double in the drawers or left in body bags in the hallways. Stories of rat and maggot infestations have been cropping up and the workers are demanding a new building.

So the County has finally taken decisive action. They've commissioned a study.

Right now there are over 400 corpses in the morgue and only space for 325. With a population explosion in recent years, and the difficulties of identifying and notifying next of kin, the corpses have been piling up, some staying as long as five months.

And let's not forget the backlog at the county crematory. About 90 corpses are cleared for the big burn, but County-USC medical can't take them.

I hope the County can see its way clear to fund new facilities and additional space to handle the backlog. Because if we have a zombie plague we are so fucked.

Imagine That, Another Drive By

Inglewood, CA

A 26 year old gang member was shot outside Morningside High School yesterday during a drive by shooting. At least he's got good instincts. He ran into the nurse's office after getting tagged.

His wounds are not life threatening, though he wasted a bunch of ER staff time at County-USC. Not surprisingly, he's not telling who shot him.

Hopefully they'll have better aim next time.

It's A Euphemism For Body

South Gate, CA

"Human remains" were found at a nursery near the 710 Freeway and LA River. Not much on this one, but when they call it remains it usually means a couple of things; it's been there for a while and they don't know if it's a man or a woman.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Domestic Spats And The Enterprising Con Man

Long Beach, CA

And you thought your relationships were bad.

Charles Crutcher has a rather colorful history. Born in Los Angeles, he moved to England in '77, posing as Lord Peter de Vere Beauclerk, the son of the Duke of St. Albans. Though he married and had a daughter, he continued to seduce a string of women, including the daughter of the royal jeweler, eventually asking her to marry him.

When the engagement announcement popped up in the London Daily Telegraph, the real Lord Peter saw it and went with the police to arrest him in a pub.
As plainclothes officers moved in, the pretend peer jumped into a rented car and sped off, dragging along one policeman who was hanging on to the car's door handle. He drove through a rhododendron hedgerow to escape.

In the '90's he tried to sell a stolen painting, Teniers "A Peasant Filling His Pipe", to a London gallery for $150K.

When the gallery realized that the painting had been stolen back in '87, Crutcher was back in California working in a Belmont Shore sports shop for six bucks an hour. During the course of two trials a number of ex-girlfriends from Britain and the United States testified against him.

He went to prison for a year.

Fast forward to today. Jeannie Maxon knows Crutcher as Charles Decrevecoeur. She met him 7 years ago in Long Beach, where he claimed to be a firefighter and a paramedic. She didn't find out his real name until one of his ex's heard about her and showed up at her door.

She then went on to dig up the truth, finding out his past and checking with the Long Beach fire department, which says he never worked with them. He even misspelled the fire chief's name on his fake ID. She kicked him out of her life and he kept talking his way back in.

Well, she's apparently done now. Jeannie has brought a suit against him and is trying to make things public to warn off other women. Chuck seems to be a little vindictive, however.
Decrevecoeur has retaliated by alleging to the Department of Motor Vehicles that she is an unfit driver, reporting her to the Internal Revenue Service as a tax cheat, telling the college where she takes classes that she made unauthorized use of a school database and accusing her of misrepresenting herself to a healthcare group to get free passes to a trade show, according to court papers.

I've always had a grudging respect for chutzpah and con men. The way I respect alligators and tax attorneys. Don't get me wrong, the man's a slime. And if I'm right about him he's just loving that his name's in the paper. It wouldn't surprise me if he googles himself and finds this, in fact.

So just in case, hi Chuck. How's it hangin'? Stay the fuck away from me and mine.

From The Frying Pan To The Fire - Or Is It The Other Way Around?

Los Angeles, CA

Devon Calloway, six week old son of 17-year-old Dominique Calloway was kidnapped in front of her home on West 42nd Street in South L.A. by two women who had previously tried to buy him for $6000.00.

Apparently, two women approached Ms Calloway on Saturday outside a 99 cent store, offering $6K for the child. They even showed her the money.
She told police she did not take the money but accepted a ride home, said Det. Maria Rivas of the Los Angeles Police Department's Newton Division.

Apparently, she saw them again on Sunday trolling around in a Ford Explorer. Then they came by on Monday.
She said she did not agree to the deal but brought out the child for the women to hold.

Is it just me, or has all this just been one bad idea after another?

My money's on the kid being found and there being a hell of a lot more to this story than what we've got. I'm thinking there are a few holes here and there in this story.

And if not, god help the kid. With a mother like that I'll be surprised if he makes it to puberty. If he survives to the end of the week.

If you know anything about this one call the cops at (323) 846-6576 or (323) 846-6547.

That's Pretty Quick Turnaround For A Floater

Avalon, CA

Last Thursday a body was found floating about 6 miles off the coast of Catalina Island. Coroner determined the cause of death yesterday. Gunshot wound.

Four days to cause of death in an overflowing morgue tackling rat and maggot problems is actually pretty damn good. Especially when the guy's been in the water for a while.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Today's Word Is "Flammable"

Los Angeles, CA

Kids. Why, back in my day, my parents taught me the essentials. You don't tug on Superman's cape, you don't spit into the wind, you don't pull the mask off the ol' Lone Ranger, and you don't light up a doobie while you're huffing paint in a closed vehicle.

Some lessons are more expensive than others.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Cadillacs And Old Lace

Los Angeles, CA

Remember that Cary Grant movie? Where the two bumbling old ladies are killing lonely old men and burying them in their basement?

Yeah, it was pretty funny.

In real life? Not so much.

Helen Golay and Olga Rutterschmidt were arrested for collecting over $2 million dollars in life insurance money after befriending two homeless men, taking out policies on them and then running them down in the street.

Is it just me or does that guy on the bottom look like Wolverine?

Everybody Panic! He's Got A Bomb!

Riveside, CA

About a week and a half ago 686 sticks of dyanamite, 30 pounds of potassium nitrate and a whole mess of fuel oil were stolen from a mining company in San Bernardino. About 600 sticks of it were recovered when a bag of it was left in the driveway of a fire station. Later the potassium nitrate and the fuel oil was found. So far all but 39 sticks of dynamite are accounted for. The FBI, BATF and local authorities had no idea who took it.

Well, now they do.

The jolly looking gentleman above is one Joshua Gawn, 33, of Moreno Valley, California. He is currently the chief suspect in the theft, being charged with one count of possessing explosives as a felon.

Mr. Gawn is, of course, nowhere to be found.

If you happen to know anything about his whereabouts, you should call the ATF's bomb hotline at the unimaginative number of 1-888-ATF-BOMB (283-2662). You probably don't want to tackle him yourself.

39 sticks of dynamite can make an awfully big bang.

Thank God I Don't Write Screenplays

I have relatives and friends who work in Hollywood. Of course, in this town that's like saying Bessie-May out around Appalachia has a couple pinheads in her non-branching family tree. One thing I'm abundantly clear on after listening to their incessant whining about The Industry is that I want absolutely nothing to do with it.

But there are those who still aspire. After all, someone has to make it big in this town. Jeremy Slater and Dan Whitehead of How To Write Screenplays. Badly. would like you to know that you're not it.

Willing to share their expertise nonetheless, they set the record straight on what to do in Hollywood.

On writing sex scenes:
Spend any amount of time in the movie business and you'll hear some jumped up little ball-smear of a studio bootlicker tell you that your screenplay needs more romance. Even if your script is about a guy stuck on a desert island with a volleyball (and, yes, that idea was stolen from me and turned into a movie you may have seen - rest assured, my original vision contained a lot less dentistry and a lot more cyborg pirates).

It's here that a little Hollywood translation can go a long way. When they say "romance" what they mean is "fucking".

On Politically Charged Thrillers:
The question isn't should you write a politically charged's how fast can you crank one out? With the recent runaway success of films like Bullworth and Welcome to Mooseport, the market for political issue films has never been hotter.

On Mr. Ed:
The sad truth, of course, was nothing quite so glamorous. It turns out the horse wasn't ad-libbing his dialogue after all; he was simply repeating jokes written by some cabal of erudite Jews in a smoke-filled Manhattan writer's lounge somewhere. Much like my tender pelvis during one of Uncle Herb's midnight visits, the illusion was shattered.

If only more screenwriters would share their secrets with the rest of the world we might all be getting casting couch blowjobs from Oklahoma ingenues. I mean, without having to pay for it.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Good Question

On Monday, I posted about some shootings over the previous weekend. In particular there was a story about James Guajardo and Sisavath Soukangouane who were killed at the La Vie Lounge in Stanton. I mentioned it and posted a phone number where anyone who might be paying attention could contact the police should they have any information.

Seems a friend of James' dropped by and left this comment.
I was wondering why you post these stories. I found your site while searching my deseased friend's name. Do you know these people?

It got me to wondering. Why do I post these stories?

It's a bit convoluted, I think, so bear with me.

First off, no, I don't know these people. I don't know anyone I've written about here. All my information comes from newscasts, newspapers, occasionally a piece from a radio show.

The fact that I'm a sick son of a bitch is pretty well documented. When I was a kid I wanted to work in the coroner's office. But as I got older I wanted to make more money and not get tuberculosis in an overrun morgue, so that career path kind of got shelved.

I've always been fascinated by crime. If I had more balls, I'd probably be doing long con land grabs in Louisiana right about now. Instead, I just write about it. My fiction isn't half bad, if I do say so myself, and one of these days I hope to make some real money with it.

Part of the reason I think I post these stories is because I don't know these people.

A kid gets shot outside an apartment building at 3am. Ya know, I don't really care why he was there. Maybe he's in a gang, maybe he's just got insomnia. Maybe he's got a high school crush and the only way he can steal a kiss is to meet her outside her bedroom window on a moonless night. I don't know if he's a murderer, or a thief, if his family is destitute or if he's an upper class brat with daddy's credit card and a backpack full of blow.

All I know is that he's dead. He's a complete stranger to me and I don't know if anyone is going to mourn him, or avenge him, or bring his killer to justice. Maybe I'm trying to make a difference. Maybe I'm just trying to rack up my site traffic. I really don't know.

Of course, I'm also an asshat with a soapbox and a bullhorn. I'm a rude, arrogant smart-ass with a sick sense of humor, who enjoys making inappropriate jokes about death and tragedy. Without going into too much self analysis and Meyers-Briggs profiles (I'm an ENTJ by the way, which should surprise no one who actually knows what that is), I'd say it's a defense mechanism. If I can write about it and joke about it, it's somehow less real, less tragic.

And I'd really like to see L.A. become less tragic.

Do The Feds Know How To Pick 'EM, Or What?

Mission Viejo, CA

The good news for Douglas William Bates, an officer with the Department of Homeland Security, is that he's had his charge of voluntary manslaughter dropped in the slaying of 20-year-old Bassim Chmait.

The bad news is that he's now being charged with second degree murder with a gun enhancement.

Apparently there are some discrepencies between his story and the stories of witnesses.
Bates told police that he was checking on a disturbance outside his apartment and that the gun went off when he was being beaten by the group.

But Chmait's friends say Bates pistol-whipped one of them, then shot Chmait when he tried to intervene.

This one should be interesting to watch. With all the problems that the DHS has had since its inception, I'm sure this is goign to turn into yet another politically driven media circus.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Time To Stick The Shotgun In The Car

Los Angeles, CA

L.A. drivers are considered some of the worst. We got nothing on, say, Beirut, of course. But in this nation we pretty much get the brunt of the jokes. We have some of the worst freeway shootings, drive bys pretty much every day.

So I find it surprising that we're only ranked 4th in road rage in the nation.

We really need to do something about this. If we're not number one, goddamn it, we're nothing. Those poncy fucks in Miami got nothing on us. New York? Please. Everybody takes the goddamn subway there. And what is this Boston shit. Drunk drivers, maybe, but that's just because of a handful of Kennedy's.

So kick it up a notch, people. Don't drive your SUV, aim it. We need to regain the title fast, or the next thing you know Bakersfield will be leaving us in the dust.

People Still Use Knives In L.A.?

Los Angeles, CA

Downtown L.A. late at night is a good place to get shot. I had no idea it was a good place to get stabbed.

An unidentified man, 30 to 35 years old, was stabbed to death last night. Someone getting off a bus at Main and Olympic noticed him and called the cops. He died on the way to the hospital.

"Serious Condition" Is Better Than Dead, But Not By Much

Los Angeles, CA

A 15-year-old boy and a 14-year-old girl were shot in South L.A. around Florence and Gramercy last night when a gray compact drove up and opened fire. The boy took three rounds and is in serious condition. The girl was grazed in the leg.

Considering the sorry state of emergency services in the County, it's a wonder he's alive at all.

Well, At Least He's Guilty Of Something

Hawthorne, CA

There's been a string of assaults on teenage girls in Hawthorne, lately. On Monday, a suspect was arrested for assaulting a woman and her 12-year-old sister over the weekend. Turned out it was the wrong guy.

Oh, he assaulted the woman and her sister over the weekend all right. He just didn't assault the other three girls. They're still looking for that monster.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

It's A Good Thing I'm Not Running For Office

The other day a friend emailed me with, as he put it, a "moral dilemma question". He had just picked up his daughter from school and on their way back home was confronted by and almost run down by a couple of kids who decided to play chicken. Obviously, he's pissed. If he'd been armed, he might have lost his head and done something about it. And that bothered him immensely.

That’s my problem with vigilantism – in the hot homicidal passion of the moment, having the weapon is all the justification I need to pass judgment on whatever creep I’m dealing with.

So I thought about it for a while and penned a response, which I thought might be interesting grist for the mill.

My question to any and all who might be reading this, what do you think? Is there any merit to my remarks, or am I just a psycho? Should I not be let out on a day pass? Let me know in the comments.


You raise an excellent point. What gives any of us executorial authority over someone else? What gives individuals the authority to attack or kill another person?

The scenario you're talking about is at best self defense and at worst road rage. I think the idea of vigilantism gets conflated with these from time to time, but I don't think it quite fits either.

The police cannot protect the individual. They can only protect the community. There aren't enough police to patrol all areas, or to respond to all crimes.

Back in the 70's there was a sea change in the way police went about doing things. New York started and Los Angeles is only recently shifting to follow suit. Essentially, police work was defined by their ability to respond to calls, reacting to crimes in progress. The shift came when New York started increasing police presence in heavy crime neighborhoods, acting as a preventive. Increased foot patrols, stronger community presence.

Look at MacArthur Park 5 years ago and compare it to today. The place was essentially cordoned off into 4 areas as gang territory and an open air drug market. The LAPD experimented by increasing patrols and stopping people over minor infractions. Or just going up to random people and asking what they were doing. Are there still problems? Absolutely, but the place has changed dramatically from a no man's land into a place where families have picnics on weekends.

On the one hand this approach has helped because it's preventive, on the other it's hindered because it's shifted the face of crime such that it moves into areas that it takes time for law enforcement to respond to. Compton last year is an excellent example. The place had a ridiculously high homicide rate, largely because the LA Sheriff couldn’t get enough personnel in the area.

Preventives take planning, and more resources to move into an area. Reactives move more quickly, but only help in the short term.

There are still huge problems. Rampart, Devin Brown, the basic perception that the police are the enemy, a perception that the LAPD has been slow to do anything about.

So policing in general is improving, though Los Angeles has been slow to change. Like him or hate him, Bratton has largely been responsible for any positive changes in the LAPD.

Either way, in the scenario you described, the police couldn't have protected you. They weren't there.

If you were attacked and defended yourself, obviously that's self defense. If you attacked before being attacked that's assault. But if you attack after the fact and you or your daughter is wounded, what does that gain you? The moral high ground and a sucking chest wound.

I see vigilantism as a citizen run crime preventive. A neighborhood watch is a form of vigilantism. The police can't watch every neighborhood, so the neighbors damn well better watch out for themselves. But in a city as spread out as Los Angeles and a 911 system so overworked that it can take twenty minutes to get through for an emergency call and another 10 to 15 to get a car out, they're going to have to do more than just watch.

But getting groups of people, especially in a society that has led the last 50 years with an expectation of safety, to do more than watch and report is damn near impossible. People want to talk, not take action. So beyond a neighborhood watch, you're not going to get much.

But then there are the Guardian Angels. They haven't gotten much press lately, but they're still very much around. That's a form of vigilantism, too. Much more direct vigilantism, in fact. Citizen run crime prevention. Communities taking back the streets without the need for police and city resources. Getting off their asses and doing something about it.

They've gotten some bad press in the past, especially in New York, and they've been accused of some extreme measures, but no one else is doing it.

But I don't think that really addresses your point.

Back in the late 90's Florida made it ridiculously easy to get a Concealed Carry Weapon permit. In Los Angeles it's next to impossible to get a CCW. It was a policy that was both hailed and vilified by the usual groups.

Interesting thing. Violent crime dropped substantially. Something like 20,000 fewer violent crimes from 1997 to 1998. Pretty much everything showed a dramatic drop except forcible rape, but even those numbers dipped.

I don't know if the CCW had anything to do with it. In 2000 there was an uptick in crimes. Maybe more criminals were off the street and got out on parole in late '99. Maybe Heinlein was right and "An armed society is a polite society". I don't know.

But one thing that I had heard, and unfortunately can't corroborate, is that crimes against tourists in Florida spiked and have stayed fairly high. Is it because criminals know in Florida that the locals are armed, but the tourists aren't? No idea, but it's an interesting thought.

Societies are self regulating. Remove a central authority and at least one will emerge. In some places you get a Lord of The Flies routine, like Afghanistan, but if you shift the central authority to a more distributed model, the society will begin to police itself. People like order, and they'll gravitate to it and create it as much as possible.

I think if you armed everyone in Los Angeles you would have a spike of deaths like what you're talking about. Road rage, panicked defense shooting. The gangbangers are already armed. Give the common citizen a gun to match it and things will shift radically. Balding white men from Reseda will gun down Hispanic gangbangers in Glendale. A middle class black doctor will pop some white punk because he got in his face.

And then it will settle down. Because rapists will begin to wonder if that girl walking alone on the UCLA campus at night is packing. Because carjackers will wonder if the guy in the Porsche has a Glock.

Our social dynamic is not one of self protection. The majority of people believe that they're safe. They can walk down their street and be okay. They can sit in a parking lot at night and not get popped. None of that is true, and we have emergency rooms full of gutshot kids that tell us it isn't true. But we believe it, anyway.

I think that the thing that gives us executorial authority over others, me over you, you over me, is the responsibility we all have to make this a safer place. Safety is not simple and it isn't clean. If the police cannot protect us we have to protect ourselves.

I think that this kind of thinking requires a certain arrogance. The kind of arrogance that comes from the certainty that we're right.

Operating within the rules won't always keep us safe. We have parolees being released early because we don't have room in the jails. The 3 strikes law is a joke. It forces us to create more prisons, and at some point, if we don't do something to keep people from wanting to commit crimes, we're going to run out of room and we'll be releasing them, anyway.

Does this mean that I espouse the idea of killing some people for the good of the community? Absolutely. But I think the death penalty system in this state is a joke. It takes too long, and is overly complicated and cumbersome. We're killing old men who've forgotten what they did to get there.

Ridiculous as it sounds, I think we need Batman. We need someone who's willing to hide in the shadows and do the dirty jobs for us that we don't have the balls to do. We depend too much on the state to protect us. And it can't protect us. Hell, sometimes the state is exactly the thing we need protection from.

I don't know if this really answers your question, or gives food for debate, or if it's just talking out of my ass. I suspect the latter.

Monday, May 15, 2006

When They Say L.A. Is Fake, They Really Mean It

Los Angeles, CA

In 2005 $6 million in counterfeit cash ran through the L.A. economy. Nationwide it was $56 million. That makes L.A. the counterfeiting capital of the United States.

last week Solange Candelo was picked up for passing counterfeit $100.00 bills at a Studio City nightclub, paying for drinks with the phony Franklins and pocketing the change.

Inside her car police found $14,000.00 in fake cash, an unloaded pistol and half a dozen stolen Colombian passports.

counterfeiting has become a real problem for small businesses in Los Angeles with fake bills coming up through Mexico. Colombian and Mexican drug cartels turned to counterfeiting a few years ago and now a lot of the counterfeiting here comes up over the border. It's a lucrative business with less risk than drugs.

But the whole thing can unravel in the blink of an eye. Candelo's method for passing the bucks is a pretty standard one. The idea is to pass the money around for small things in places where paying with a hundred dollar bill won't arouse much suspicion. Like nightclubs.

Where she screwed up was in passing more than one. The club owner got suspicious when looking at one of the bills and was able to track her down when he found that she had used more in the same club. What she should have done was drop a hundred, grab her drink and leave.

Go when it's insanely busy. Be nondescript, look like you fit in. If you're passing stuff in a biker bar wear leather. If it's a gay bar... well, wear leather. Either way, you need to get in, make the drop and get out. The whole point is to not have anyone notice until the end of the evening so that when they do figure it out your face doesn't pop up in their memory.

Back in January an extensive counterfeiting ring starting in Guadalajara, Mexico was dismantled because one guy paid for a 3 hour lapdance with four fake hundred dollar bills. The dancer was not amused.

So who knows when, or even if, Candelo's suppliers will get hauled in. Could take years to trace the long winding road the fake bills traveled. In the meantime check those bills ladies and gentlemen. That hundred folded in your g-string might be worth a little less than you think.

Drive Bys Through The Southland

Los Angeles, CA

Traveon Jackson, 21 was shot and killed in the 600 block of West Rosecrans Avenue near the 110 freeway in what is being called a gang related drive by. He was in his car around 3 a.m. this morning when a white Chevy Tahoe drove up and opened fire. He died at the hospital.

Less than 3 miles away, just before 2 a.m. 17-year-old Shoshana Tate was killed and an unidentified woman was wounded in a drive by shooting.

And let's not forget the freeways. Shootings on both the 710 and 91 freeways this morning, leaving three wounded.

Looks like it's time to invest in those bulletproof windows.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Author Events This Weekend

Author Events This Weekend

Kinda light this weekend. People are probabl still recovering from the Festival of Books.

Mysteries To Die For

Thousand Oaks, CA

Saturday, May 13th, 12:00 noon

David Rosenfelt signs Dead Center
Our favorite clever, humorous, and wealthy defense attorney, Andy Carpenter, is living the single life with his golden retriever, Tara, after long-time girlfriend Laurie Collins moves back to Wisconsin to take on the job of Chief of Police. The arrest of Jeremy Davidson has Laurie calling Andy because she doesn’t believe the 21-year-old murdered two young women. Andy, all too willing to help Laurie with the investigation, packs up Tara and heads out to Findlay, Wisconsin. DEAD CENTER received a well-deserved starred review in Publishers Weekly. We’re great fans of this series!

Saturday, May 13th, 1:00 p.m.

Earlene Fowler signs The Saddlemaker's Wife
Earlene has temporarily left the coast of California and the Benni Harper series for the dryer inland town of Cardinal with a wonderful new character, thirty-six year old Ruby McGavin. Cole, Ruby’s husband of six months, has recently died, leaving her with a few surprises including a family that he said had died in a tragic accident and a quarter interest in that family’s Circle MG Ranch. Why did Cole hide his past and can his brother, Lucas a one time San Francisco attorney and now a saddlemaker, help Ruby uncover the truth to the secret in the McGavin family history that haunts them? This is a powerful and unforgettable novel.

Score One For The Lap Dance

San Bernardino, CA

On a regular basis, communities like to get in the way of good old moral turpitude. Alcohol, cigarettes, donkey shows. And they usually win. I mean, when's the last time you saw a donkey show outside a Tijuana whorehouse?

In the case of the all nude Flesh Club in San Bernardino, though, the courts have told the city, "Suck it."

They now owe the club's owner, Roger Jon Diamond (God, I love that name) $1.4 million dollars.

Do They Cover Sucking Chest Wounds In The After Care Instructions?

Reseda, CA

Two people were shot last night outside Needle Pushers Tattoo and Piercing at Saticoy and Louise in Reseda. One man is in critical condition and a woman was injured as she tried to run from the parking lot.

So far no word on who or why.

Well, I Guess They Can't All Live Next To Disneyland

Los Angeles, CA

God, I love the evening news. Such insightful journalism, such rapid-fire wit and repartee.

KTLA reports that they found several registered sex offenders living within half a mile of public schools. They found nine living in one house.
"How many sex offenders in the house? Who's in charge? Why are you closing the door, man?"

Why do you think he's closing the door?

And, of course, the reporter has to get the next door neighbor's opinion.
"Do you worry about your kids?"

"Of course I do. I don't sleep at night"

Well, duh. What's she gonna say? "Sure, I have my kids play Bad Touch in the convicted rapist's backyard." Ten bucks she didn't even fucking know about it until the reporter knocked on her door and told her.

Which, of course, is a statement on how bad things are right there. And then we have this exchange:

"I’ve seen all your biased reports."

"You've seen my biased reports? Why are they biased?"

"Because your making everybody look like a monster and they're not."

"I'm making it out like everyone's a monster?"

"You're giving the public a one sided view."

"I'm giving sex offenders a bad name?"

"I didn't say that"

I'm not sure what's worse, convicted felons being where they shouldn't be, or asshat reporters parroting back somebody's words in an effort to make them look bad.

And yes, the irony of this post is not lost on me.

Does This Mean We Get To See Pictures Of Bratton's Kittens?

Los Angeles, CA

The LAPD has been making some interesting headway lately into the digital realm. They revamped their website some time ago, put up the city's most wanted list, lots of monthly statistics, and launched the ever popular LA Crime Maps.

So it shouldn't be all that surprising that they now have a blog. Unlike the L.A. Fire Department's blog, they don't seem to be giving information on particular crimes or incidents.

Instead, they're using it as a PR vehicle more than a useful information site. Sure, if you want to know about the new Northwest station being built, or read editorial rebuttals to newspaper accounts, by all means check it out.

But that's not really what a blog is supposed to be, is it? Blogs are places to dump your most personal, embarrassing photos, diatribes on your pets’ latest antics, angsty poetry for the world to see and mock. And if you can piss off some anonymous guy who can barely type, so much the better.

So what they really need is to take some cues from MySpace. Stoned party girl pics, fuzzy boob shots from a NoHo drunk tank. Post the day's best mug shot. Come on, Chief, there have to be dozens of pics of 3am tweakers with a broken noses and blown out pupils that you can throw up there.

Can't ya share? Just a little?

Hat tip to Mack at LAVoice

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Apparently, The Best Way To Man's Heart Isn't Through His Stomach

Santa Ana, CA

Ah, the speedy wheels of justice spin, yet again.

Jee Hyun Song, 28 was arrested for the murder of her husband, Dong Uk Kim, 24. When it happened she claimed it was an accident. She was cooking, she says, and he approached her from behind, spun her around and gave her a great big hug.

Would have been nice if she hadn't been holding a butcher knife at the time.

This happened in November. It's now, what, May? 6 months to figure out that it wasn't an accident? Not bad, I suppose. At least they're being thorough?

Heads up on the story thanks to The Lorax

Criminal Tip 9,827: On The Internet They Don't Say They're Cops

Fountain Valley, CA

Daniel Ross Best, 52, is going to jail. He was arrested back in January as part of an FBI sting where an agent was posing as a 12 year old girl that Best was trying to seduce. After arranging to meet the "girl" at a mall in West L.A. he was picked up.

Yesterday, he entered a guilty plea, which means he gets 5 years minimum. Gotta love those mandatory sentencing laws.

It Might Help If They Had A Photo

Lancaster, CA

The body of a man was found in Lancaster off the 14 freeway at Avenue K back on March 24th. Nobody knows who he is or how he got there. And so the County Coroner's office is looking for a little help.

The John Doe is described as a 45 to 55 year old male.

He was white, about 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighed about 150 pounds, with brown/gray hair and brown eyes, a full beard and mustache. He had no upper teeth and partial lower teeth.

If anyone has any information, call investigator Daniel Machian at the coroner's office at 323-343-0754 or 323-343-0714.

Where's The Kaboom?

Riverside, CA

I'm hoping that the boxes of dynamite found dropped off at a fire station in Riverside are the ones that got stolen from a San Bernardino mining company the other day.

So where's the rest of it?

Ladies, Please, Carry Weapons

Santa Monica, CA

An attempted assault and kidnapping at a parking structure at the Santa Monica 3rd Street Promenade has police looking for a man in his 20's, 5 feet 5 inches tall, 160 pounds, with black, slicked or gelled back hair, wearing a tan long sleeve shirt and black pants.

He assaulted a woman on the 6th floor of Parking Structure 5 a little before 11 last night. As he was trying to drag her into one of the stairwells she resisted, screamed and drove him off.

This is why every woman should be armed. There are some very nice, small handguns on the market these days. Or mace. Or a taser. Or a big fucking knife.

There should be city sponsored self defense classes. Hell, everyone should be trained to defend themselves in elementary school. I bet it would cut down on the number of child abuse cases, too.

The police cannot protect you if they're not there, and they won't always be there.

The Happiest Pedophiles On Earth

Anaheim, CA

Recently it came out that the California Department of Corrections had been setting paroled sex offenders up in motels in Anaheim. Next to Disneyland.

You know, with all the kids?

Well, they've started to see the error of their ways and starting to move them. Four of them were yanked for parts unknown the other day. More will undoubtedly follow.

So sleep tight, America. Now you only need to worry about the perv in the Goofy suit feeling up grandma.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Now, What Would You Do With That Much Dynamite?

Big Bear City, CA

Last Wednesday, 686 sticks of dynamite and a 30 pound bag of ammonium nitrate were stolen from a storage bunker at Gold Mountain Mine Company in San Bernardino County.

There's a lot you can do with this stuff, all of it bad. Boil the dynamite and skim the nitro. Mix the ammonium nitrate with Vaseline and get a very serviceable plastic explosive. You can make pipe bombs, shaped charges with coke bottles halves. Pack it into a purse with a couple hundred nails and loops of wire and you've got one nasty bus bomb.

If we're lucky whoever took it only wants it to blow out tree stumps. A whole fuckload of tree stumps.

The FBI, BATF, and local police are looking for this shit, and they've just offered a $25,000.00 reward. If you have any information, give the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department a call at 909-387-3545.

Naked, Unconscious And Sunburned Is No Way To Go Through Life, Son

Newport Beach, CA

A man found lying naked, unconscious and slightly sunburned on a bike path in Newport Beach on Sunday was finally identified after police showed his photo on a local newscast.

Wade Ryan Garrison, 24, remains unconscious in good condition at Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian. A pile of clothes were found about 100 yards from where he was lying. Why he's out and what he was doing there is, at this point, anybody's guess.

I'm sure when he wakes up this story will get a lot more interesting.

Murder For A Nickel

Los Angeles, CA

It's no secret that the area downtown around 5th street has problems. Skid Row, The Nickel, L.A.'s little slice of hell. Whatever you want to call it, it's a shit pot that acts as a dumping ground for the homeless and the insane. Worse, it's also a place for violent parolees who have nowhere else to go.

Which leads us to the murder last Wednesday of Kristi Morales, 49. Morales had struggled with drugs and alcohol for years, her family intervening when it could with trips to rehab and an apartment in South Pasadena.

Her alleged murderer, Gregory Hampton, has a criminal record going back more than 30 years and has at least 42 arrests for violence, narcotics and burglary. It's not clear how or even if Hampton knew Morales. Either way, he knocked her to the ground Wednesday at 5th and San Julian and started stomping on her head. Passers by tried to intervene, but were fought off by Hampton. Eventually a police officer got on scene and pulled him off.

By that time, though, Morales was brain dead.

This whole sordid episode underscores the problems in the Nickel. The homeless are routinely dumped there by the LA Sheriff's Department who doesn't want to deal with the problem on their turf. There's an open air drug and gun trade, prostitutes turn tricks in porta-potties. Predators just out of prison, or who have been hanging around with nowhere better to go, prey on the city's most vulnerable. All in sight of City Hall.

The problem is becoming more compounded for the city, which has made noises about improving conditions, though it's taken little solid action. Nearby areas are becoming gentrified with luxury lofts and as the hipsters move in, the hipsters who vote and have money, the city feels the pinch. Ultimately, the gentrification will push more of the homeless into increasing smaller enclaves on the street.

Eventually, some woman making 6 figures will be attacked, raped and killed as she walks Princess, her ground skeet lap dog, around the block, and then the shit's really gonna hit the fan.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Apparently, "Nowhere" Is A Bad Place To Be From

Athens, CA

Around 12:20 this morning, three men, Levi Lydell and two unnamed men, were driving around 98th and Normandie when a car pulled up beside them. The driver asked them where they were from and when they answered "Nowhere," he pulled out a gun and shot them.

Damn, and I thought being from the Valley was bad.

Grumpy Old Men

North Hollywood, CA

Most old folks spray their neighbors with the hose, shake angry fists and call them incomprehensible names between loose fitting dentures.

But not 78 year-old Hual Sriptech (10 points if you can say that without spitting). No, looks like he's taken a more direct approach in his problems with his neighbor and landlord, 76 year-old Chamras Thara.

He shot him.

Thara was discovered behind the house he rented to Sriptech. Apparently, the two men argued and one thing led to another. No one knows what the argument was about, but one would presume it was pretty serious, like parking spaces, or something. I mean, hell if people can get shot over trash cans in this town, why not?

Monday, May 08, 2006

Where The Wild Things Are - 77th Street

April's crime numbers are up on the LAPD website. It was a close race with the Southwest Division the leading favorite with a whopping 133 aggravated assaults and 9 rapes.

But death trumps assault in our book, so it looks like the April winner is the 77th District. Making a strong showing with 11 murders, 4 rapes and 114 aggravated assaults for April alone.

Depressed yet? If not, check out the stats for yourself.

Hate Crime Or Murder, The End Result's The Same

Los Angeles, CA

Juan Jose Jacobo Preciado, a transgender man who also went by "Romina", was killed in her apartment Saturday morning around 4:30 a.m. by two men apparently intent on robbing her and her live-in boyfriend, Jose Mares.

The police are treating it as a robbery and not as a hate crime.

I'm a little fuzzy on the whole hate crime thing. If a white man kills a black man because he doesn't like him, it's a hate crime and he gets really busted. But if he kills him because he wants his wallet, well, he doesn't get quite so busted.

So killing some people for some reasons is better than killing those same people for different reasons? Why not just make all murder equally serious? I don't get it. Can someone explain the rationale behind this to me? Romina is just as dead either way.

One suspect is described as a 26 year old black man, about 6 foot 3 with a thin build and no facial hair, wearing a black hoodie and jeans. The second is described as a short black man wearing a black short sleeve shirt and black pants.

Yeah, I know, not much to go on. But if you know anything, call the Rampart homicide detectives at 213-207-2000 or at 877-529-3855.

Insult To Injury - Eleven Years Later

Santa Ana, CA

Back in 1995, a 21 year old man was shot during a robbery in Santa Ana. Somehow, and I'm having trouble figuring out the incompetence of this little move, the robber managed to shoot himself in the hand, leaving a shell casing and a blood trail.

Enter Eloy Gonzalez, currently serving a life sentence for killing a 17-year-old high school student in Tustin in 1999. Police tested his DNA against the blood left at the scene and voila!

He's now facing a possible death penalty. After eleven years. Hooray for the speedy wheels justice.

Gunshots Across The Southland

Busy weekend.

Cypress, CA

Police responded to a call Sunday night about a suicidal 70 year old man in Cypress. Not finding him at home, they searched the area and found him driving his car. After pulling him over, the man stepped out of the vehicle waved around his gun and got what he was looking for.

Stanton, CA

James Guajardo, 23 and Sisavath Soukangouane, 28 are dead from multiple gunshot wounds after being attacked by an unidentified assailant at the La Vie Lounge on Beach Boulevard in Stanton. A third victim, an unnamed woman, is in the hospital and expected to live. If you know anything about this one, call the cops at 714-628-7170.

Lynwood, CA

Two men were involved in a shootout in Lynwood Saturday morning. One of them is in critical condition, the other's on a slab.

Carson, CA

And no details on the man shot in Carson at 2:10 Sunday morning, other than that he was hosting a party for his daughter in his home.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Chutzpah Isn't Only for The Jewish

Santa Ana, CA

Raul Rosas Hernandez, previously a pastor at Faith in Action church in Santa Ana, got popped February 15th for seven counts of committing lewd acts on two girls and one boy, all under the age of 14.

He decided to skip on his court date after hearing that special enhancements had been added to the charges that could very well put him behind bars for the rest of his life.

So, instead, he tried to pull together some cash for an emergency trip to Mexico. From the same parishioners whose children he is accused of molesting.

Don't worry, Father, if you're taking it up the butt, it's only a venial sin if it's in prison.

Criminal Tip 114: When You Leave The Scene, Don't Leave ID. Like Kids.

Canoga Park, CA

After driving into several cars, getting into a car chase with the police and then bailing on foot, Jesus Herrera, 22, has finally been arrested. He is accused of hit-and-run, and driving a vehicle without the owner's consent.

Oh, yeah. And child endangerment. Turns out he left his injured three year old niece and five year old nephew in the car when he ran.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Today's Mugshot - Suspected Rapist German Perez Ramirez

South Gate, CA

German Perez Ramirez is being sought by police as the primary suspect for two rapes that occurred Friday in South Gate.

I find myself wondering what brings a person to become a rapist. Rape isn't about sex, it's about power. Sex gets conflated with rage and this is is the way it comes out. What it is about his life that brought him to the point where this was even an option?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not excusing him. I think he should be hung by his nuts from a flagpole while hungry fireants swarm over him. I'm just wondering about the things that bring a person to this point.

It probably doesn't help that he's butt ugly.

Anyway, Mr. Ramirez is 6-foot-3, weighs 190 pounds, and lives in an apartment in Newell Street in Huntington Park. If you see him, or know where he might be, give the South gate PD a call at (323) 563-5436.

Hysteria, Thy Name Is Myspace

Santa Clarita, CA

Okay, this whole freaking out over Myspace thing? Stop it. Really.

Some asshat posted on Myspace that Tuesday should be "Bring a weapon to school day" for Hart High in Newhall. The LA Sheriff's Department took it seriously and posted deputies on campus to monitor the situation. Apparently, a fight broke out on campus last week and classes were dismissed early.

Some fight. Considering some of the crap that goes on in these schools, I'm really not surprised. What I don't understand is what makes the LASD think that "Bring a weapon to school day" is different from any other day?

Monday, May 01, 2006

LA Time Festival of Books - After Action Report

So I hit UCLA yesterday for the second day of the Festival of Books. Holy Christ there was a lot of people there. The place was packed. I accidentally wandered over into the children's stage where Dr. Emilio Lizardo was reading to what looked to be about 10,000 screaming rugrats spread out on the lawn to the south of Dodd Hall, and almost didn't make it out alive.

But in all, it was good. I had the requisite overcooked, overpriced hamburger and lemonade. Yes, you can overcook lemonade. These people sure as hell did. Wandered the rows of swapmeet-like tents hawking everything from free bibles to self published epic conspiracy screeds. Picked up a book of short stories from a fellow Brother In Crime at the Sisters In Crime booth. Got Diana Gabaldon's signature on a book for My Better Half.

Met Sean Doolittle over at the Sisters In Crime booth and got my copy of Rain Dogs signed. Cool guy. Excellent writer. If you haven't read any of his stuff, go out there and grab some. He did a great job on his first two novels, Dirt and Burn, but Rain Dogs, I think is probably his most thoughtful novel so far.

Hit a couple of panels, one with Stephen J. Cannell, Paula Woods and Rochelle Krich, talking about... well, it was kind of disjointed, so their books, I guess. The panel was called "The Detective Had A Familiar Face", whatever the hell that means.

Either way it was a good panel. Lots of talk about place and setting, most of which I couldn't remember with shock therapy. One thing that did jump out on this panel though, was a discussion on how much can a character see before they crack? All three authors write series characters, and they all recognize that they can't have these people witnessing all this horror and be able to wake up the next day completely unaffected.

Caught a second panel with Harlan Coben. Lisa Scottoline and Stuart Woods. Apparently, Stuart is a big hit with the prison set, Lisa wants a date and Harlan knows nothing about sports. And ya know, Harlan and Lisa are fucking funny. Stuart not so much.

Met a couple people in the flesh that I've only known in bits and blogs. Clair Lamb over at AnswerGirl and James Lincoln Warren over at The Sword & The Quill.

Clair wrote a fantastic story in Paul Guyot's short story contest a ways back titled "Guard Your Treasure" that deservedly won against a whole host of other stories, mine included. And Clair, if you're reading this, we need a link to your story now that Paul's site is no more. Everyone should read it.

James is the president of the So Cal chapter of the MWA, and has convinced me that I must be a member. My check is in the mail.

So, yeah it was a good day.

They Don't Call It Porn Valley For Nothing

Encino, CA

The Valley is the porn capitol of the world. No, really. Something like 3,900 adult films are shot in L.A. every year. Whole chunks of the city were built on the backs... well, boobs, actually, of the skin trade.

For some reason, seems the locals aren't too thrilled with that.
When the call sheet calls for neither witty patter nor rich Corinthian leather but instead for orgiastic sex, cachet isn't what the neighbors talk about. Morality, their children's physical safety, property values — those are the topics on many people's minds.

What do you mean, there's no witty patter or rich Corinthian leather. Why some of the dialog of those films is outstanding! And leather? Hell, they got leather in spades.

But I really love that last one. Property values. God forbid they shoot gay porn over there. "Whoa! That triple anal just cost my house $20K!"
Sure, the neighbors concede, they didn't actually see any nudity or obscene activity, but the mere idea that it was going on next door bothered them.

Because after all, with all those children in their houses, it's not like the neighbors have actually, you know, fucked.

Now here's a question. How many of you fathers in that neighborhood have some of those movies stashed in your underwear drawer? Come on. Raise your hands. Don't be shy.

Okay, I get it. They don't want their children exposed to a bunch of overly tanned, silicone hootered bimbos doing blow off each others asses, banging guys hung like horses, bent over the kitchen sink while they're eating Wheaties.

Excuse me. I'm having a moment. It was the Wheaties.


Of course, it doesn't help when they're living next door to a house that everybody wants to shoot at.
Not 24 hours after the Califa trucks drove off, a new crew arrived. This time it was Playboy Entertainment Group, working on a reality television show. The Playboy shoot went through the end of the week, with dozens of trucks entering and exiting the cul-de-sac.

Last Monday yet another company arrived, PW Productions — this time to shoot explicit DVD and video cover art for a series of adult films.

Apparently Larry Flynt was supposed to shoot there, too, but pussied out at the last minute.

There's a lot of talk about the encroaching of Los Angeles on the local wildlife, but what about the encroachment of the adult trade on gentrified neighborhoods? It's like anything else that's considered undesirable. The more gentrified the city gets, the more there will be clashes between the residents, and some of the less savory realities.

In the meantime, enjoy the show boys and girls. If you stand on the upstairs toilet and get the binoculars, you can just make out the pool scene.

Family Matters

Boyle Heights, CA and Long Beach, CA

Fathers and sons, mothers and daughters.

A father and son were shot in Boyle Heights this morning around 1:15 a.m. at the Carioca restaurant in Boyle Heights after getting into an argument with another customer, who left and returned with a gun. Both are listed in critical condition.

In Long Beach, a mother (33) and daughter (6) were found dead in their bedroom after firefighters put out the flames that engulfed their apartment building.

Hold on to your family, folks. You never know when you're going to lose them.

And He Wonders Why She Wants A Divorce

Fountain Valley, CA

Christopher Jason Brown Sr., 41, is being sought by Fountain Valley police today after allegedly driving up to his estranged wife, Stephanie Maria Brown, 25, while she sat in her car and unloading a shotgun in her general direction. The fast way.

Good thing she had that door between her and him because she's expected to survive. Note they don't say "recover", they say "survive". With a shotgun blast to the upper body this could be a very important distinction.

So, anyway, that's him up there. Ain't he a darlin'? He drives a '93 black Ford Thunderbird with California license plates. Number 4FXZ630.

So if you've seen Mr. Brown or his Thunderbird, call the Fountain Valley police at (714) 593-4485.