Thursday, May 31, 2007

I Thought Immolation Was A Buddhist Thing

Los Angeles, CA

On October 16th, 2005, Josefina Martin was praying at the Mary Immaculate Catholic Church. She got a little too close to a lit candle, or maybe God just really hated her wardrobe choice, and her skirt caught fire. She suffered 3rd degree burns to her ankles, legs, back, arms and hands.

Now, some people would take this as a sign. Of what, really depends on the point of the prayer. Should I get married, play the lotto, let Slick Willie sell my ass down on Santa Monica to keep me in heroin for the next month and a half.

I know I would. "Dear god, what do you think about my idea of- OW! OW! FUCK! I'MONFIREOHDEARCHRISTPUTITOOOOOOOOOOUT!!!!" Seems a pretty clear sign to me.

Seems in this case that sign meant, "Make a lot of money." And seeing how God loves a settlement, she stands to make a nice chunk of change for her trouble.

No word on how much Mrs. Martin will receive from the coffers in The House O' God, but enough, I'm sure to drop this matter once and for all and sweep it under the rug along with the rest of the church's dustbunnies.

Have You Considered The Benefits Of Amway?

Buena Park, CA

There are a lot of hazardous jobs out there. Police officer, firefighter, bareback gay porn actor.

Though maybe it doesn't seem like it, but Liquor Store Owner has to be pretty high on that list.

Mote Malhaus, owner of Sunshine Market & Liquor in Buena Park was shot in the head last year during an armed robbery of his liquor store. Last night he got the other end of the gun when armed robbers pistol whipped him while knocking over his store.

Shot in the head, pistol whipped. What's next? Waking up in a bathtub full of ice and missing a kidney?

Dude, time to work out of the house. EBay? Herbalife? Something where people aren't trying to shoot you over a few hundred bucks and a bottle of Stoli?

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

I Love The Phrase "Person Of Interest"

Anaheim, CA

When someone is wanted as a "Person of Interest" the cops just think they can answer a question. Most times, I suspect, that question is, "So, why'd you do it?"

Last week, the burned bodies of Jayprakash Dhanak and his 20-year-old daughter Karishma Dhanak were found burned almost beyond recognition (they needed dental records for pop) in a forested area in Irvine, after their Anaheim house was set ablaze and Leela Dhanak, Jayprakahs's wife, was found severely beaten outside the home.

Iftekhar Murtaza was picked up as a Person of Interest by U.S. Marshals on a fugitive warrant in Phoenix in connection to the double murder. Seems he was planning on leaving the country. Almost made it, too. They grabbed him at the airport. I wonder if he shook his fist and said something about "those meddling kids".

Iftekhar is 22 years old. This has just edged closer to the "Cemetery Love" category we love so much here. I can't wait to see how this one turns out.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Overreactive Dads And Non-existent Pedophiles

Garden Grove, CA

You can't blame a dad for being protective of his kid. You can, however, blame him for tackling an off-duty cop for taking photos of children at a Strawberry Festival.

Mark Dornan caught a man taking photos of his five-year-old daughter and decided that that wasn't kosher. So he chased him, tackled him and, after getting him to the ground, found his Colt Commander .45 tucked into his shorts. According to Garden Grove police, the photos found on the officer's camera were not pornographic. Mr. Dornan, however, feels otherwise.

Look, I get it. He's worried about his kid. He's worried about child abductors, pedophiles, serial killers, the possibility that someone will take away or hurt his daughter. I commend him for being a protective dad. If I had children (and be glad that I don't) I'd murder anyone who so much as laid a hand on them.

But, dude, not everybody at a festival taking pictures of kids is a perv. Some of them are what we like to call "photographers". They're people who take pictures just because they like to take pictures. Some of them are even photography students. That's how photo classes go. They tell you, "Go out and take pictures. Festivals are a great place to do it." I wonder how many photo students in the crowd were watching this exchange and trying to hide their cameras.

Then there's the unidentified cop. You let a civilian drop you and get hold of your gun. 'Nuff said.

And, of course, we have the sensationalistic nature of news reporting. There's a quote by Mr. Dornan on the web page.
"It must have been a pedophile's dream," Dornan said of the festival.
Well, yeah. They tend to be. That's an unfortunate reality. You're just now figuring this out?

However, plastering this quote in large italics on the right side of the page, underneath a photo of some fresh, moist, tasty looking strawberries two photos down (and if that ain't Freudian, I don't know what is) and then using that quote to end the piece, seems a bit excessive.

I'm in no position to comment on the idea of responsible behavior or journalistic integrity. Not that I don't, I'm just in no position to. People die and I make jokes about it, for god's sake. But this sort of thing is up there with "Storm Watch 2007!!" whenever there's a slight drizzle in Los Angeles.

I think this whole thing can be summed up in the words of Garden Grove police Sgt. Jim Fischer. "Right now, this whole thing is getting blown way out of proportion."

Happy to do my part adding to the general hysteria, Sergeant. You're welcome.

Any Guy Who Says Women Aren't Tough Doesn't Know Women

San Dimas, CA

I had an argument the other day with a guy who felt that women were not up to military standards and should not be allowed to fight. "They're too emotional," he says, "won't get the job done, and can't make a hard decision on who lives or dies." The funny thing about this was that two of the women in the conversation were ex-Army and the third used to be a surgical tech at Martin Luther King in the trauma ward doing triage on GSWs.

Yeah, he's a fucking idiot.

Anyway, I found myself thinking of that when I saw this story of a woman who was kidnapped in San Dimas, driven to a park, kicked out of the car and shot. She then, with a bullet in her, managed to flag down a car. She was taken to a local hospital. No word on how she's doing.

That takes guts. I've never been shot. I hope to never be shot. It's messy and I happen to be rather attached to the idea that all of my insides stay on my insides. I don't care where she was shot or what she was shot with. It takes a level of fortitude, that not everyone has, to get her ass up and do something about her situation, rather than just lying there and bleeding out like a stuck pig.

So, ladies, the next time some guy tells you you're not tough enough, or you're too emotional, kick him in the balls and see how tough and emotional he gets.

Friday, May 25, 2007

It's The Dad

Anaheim, CA

A couple days ago I mentioned that two bodies were found burned in Irvine. One of them turned out to be 20-year-old Karishma Dhanak, whose mother Leela was found unconscious and severely beaten outside the family's Anaheim home, which had been set on fire. The second body was so badly burned that they were expecting to rely on dental records to confirm identity.

Looks like that second body is Karishma's 56-year-old father, Jayprakash. The youngest daughter, whose name is being withheld, was not living at the home and is currently in protective custody.

Jayprakash's body shows evidence of trauma (duh), but the police haven't released any details.

I suspect that this is going to be like so many other tragedies; simple, brutal and stupid. Money, drugs, guns or cemetery love. I'm thinking 1 or 4, personally. My money's on a mysterious boyfriend, or a business partner. But definitely someone known by the family.

Location, Location, Location

Los Angeles, CA
*this one came in through an email list, so no linky goodness today*

Committing crimes is an art. There are so many things to take into account, so many things that can go wrong. This is why you never hear about the really good criminals. They can keep all the plates spinning at once and never get caught.

But we only talk about the dumbasses here.

Three armed men were apprehended for robbery yesterday in Westchester at a house at 79th and Osage... right behind the police academy.

Looks like some folks might have known something fishy was going on in the hosue, because the LAPD followed these guys out to Norwalk where they were seen committing a burglary. Cops lost them in traffic, so they staked out the house in Westchester and waited for them to come home. Nabbed two coming out of their car. Caught the third in a yard where he was running from a neighbor's dog who'd bit him on the leg after he tried losing the gun.

In checking the house, police found 7 flat screen tvs, jewelry and loads of other items from earlier burglaries, and got three other people at the house on parole violations.

The police academy. The fuck are you people thinking? That's like Al Quaeda setting up shop in Oceanside.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Somebody Likes Fire

Anaheim, CA

One of Leela J. Dhanak's daughters has died.

Wait. Let's back up. Last night, Leela was seen by a neighbor being dumped (by what a witness says looked to be a 20-year-old man) into her front yard, unconscious. She had been severely beaten. Moments later, the house burst into flames. She was taken to a hospital where she is expected to survive. Her husband, Jayprakash Dhanak, 56, and daughter were missing.

Around 4:15am this morning, fire fighters responded to a brush fire near Concordia University, about 20 miles away. They found two bodies, badly burned. One so much so that they're expecting to need dental records to identify it. The other, identified through fingerprints, has turned out to be that of Karishma Dhanak, one of Leela Dhanak's daughter.

Often, these things end up being fairly simple crimes that escalate, hit a tipping point and spiral wildly out of control. It's amazing how quickly things go to shit, sometimes.

This one has a lots of open questions, which, I suspect will not yield easy answers. The Dhanaks have another daughter who doesn't live with them. It's unclear on whether she has been located. If the second body doesn't turn out to be either her or her father, it's going to get even more weirder.

Instant Karma

Pacoima, CA

I've always wondered about the thinking that goes into trying to kill someone by parking a car on train tracks. I mean, what exactly is going through the head of the guy who does that? Besides the steering wheel, I mean? Take today's mishap.

Brandon Julius Funches, 21, of South Los Angeles, parked his 2005 Dodge Magnum at the rail crossing at San Fernando Road and Branford Street in Pacoima. Yeah, you guessed it, right in front of a speeding train. His girlfriend, whose name hasn't been released, yet, also in the car, was severely injured, though she's expected to make it.

Brandon, not so much. The impact popped him out like a champagne cork. Shrapnel finished the job as he was running away.
Detectives believe that Funches placed the car on the tracks with the passenger side facing the train in hopes of killing his girlfriend.
Ya think? Witnesses say they saw the couple fighting inside the car moments before it happened.

Man, we've all been there, haven't we? Doesn't matter if you're a man or a woman, young or old. At some point you just want your significant other to shut the hell up. You think, "Maybe if I just drove into oncoming traffic. I might die. But then he might die, too. No more of his fucking snoring. No more falling into the toilet at 2am because he forgot to put the seat down. Or worse, he forgot to put it up in the first place. Yeah. I'll just pick up some speed. He goes or I go. Either way, I win."

Congratulation, Brandon. You won.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Speaking Of The Top Ten

Los Angeles, CA

With the removal of three of Los Angeles' most wanted, three new ones are all set to take their place. Ismael Alejandro Campos, 32, of the Crazy Riders, Soperry Chea, 18, of the Asian Boyz, and Eric Robert Cahuex, 37, of the Magician's Club.

Two things jump out at me on this one. The first is that the crime that Chea is wanted for, the stabbing death of a man in the parking lot of a Buddhist temple (how's that for irony?) took place in 2005, which would make him sixteen at the time. Yes folks, sixteen. This is the face of our future. Makes ya warm all over, doesn't it?

And the second, also age related, is Caheux. How many gang members actually make it to 35? To 40? He's an old man. I can't remember what I was doing when he killed a man on his porch in 1999. Well, whatever, it wasn't murdering people, that's for sure. Considering some of the people I knew, I'm not sure that's necessarily a good thing.

I have to wonder, with Caheux, will the LAPD get him, or will the fact that he's 270 pounds and only 5'6" do him in first? Good god, man. What are your triglycerides like? I'm sure getting on this list can't be good for your blood pressure.

The Problem With The Top 10

Los Angeles, CA

We love lists. We are pattern matching organization monkeys. We like to find order out of chaos, no matter how fruitless. And so we come up with top ten lists.

Today it's been announced that half of the ten most wanted gang members list has been culled in half. Apparently, they're either dead or in custody. Personally, I think dead is better, or at least cheaper.

In the last several months, the city, along with county and the FBI, has been making an effort (or a grandstanding publicity stunt depending on who you talk to) to hit the most violent, prolific gangs in the area. This came after the publicized shooting death back in December of 14-year-old Cheryl Green by members of the 204th Street Gang after she crossed to the wrong side of the street.

So having a chunk of the top 10 list down is good news. The more of them that aren't around the better. However.
Some believe the list is a publicity stunt because there are 30,000 gang members in Los Angeles.
Shut up.

Yes, that's a problem with these lists. Take one off, there will always be someone to replace them. God knows there's a big enough pool to choose from. But the release of this data is important. People need to know that progress, as little or as much as it might be, is being made. Is it a good PR move? Yes. Does it lessen the importance that the list is being culled? No.

My concern is that it can, to those not paying attention (and there are a lot of those in this town), look as though enough progress is being made that we can start to ease off. Or worse, that the task is so daunting that it can't be done. Like any other large effort, it's going to take a lot of time and money. Both in enforcement and preventive measures.

Los Angeles has a huge gang problem and it's not going away any time soon. Not so long as education, economic opportunities, and cultural biases (on all sides) continue to be as pervasive as they are. It's a long, slow haul. Enforcement is a tiny part of the solution, but it's a crucial part of the solution.

Friday, May 18, 2007

This Is Not Sparta

Lake View Terrace

Sometimes people just go a little wacky. For some reason this seems to involve fire, blades, guns or camo. Sometimes you get all four.
Police say paramedics were called to the church Tuesday night when a man dressed in army fatigues attacked another with a sword.
Seems he also set fire to a couple of houses on church property, too.

So, why a sword? What makes someone think that a sword is the best choice for this sort of thing? Did he watch too much 300? Kill Bill a few too many times? I'm sure someone will bring video and role playing games into this at some point, the lack of mental health facilities or blame it on the Amish.

Okay, maybe I'm the only one who will blame it on the Amish. They're shifty fuckers, those Amish. And I can make fun of them here and not worry about them showing up on my doorstep with a buggy whip and a wooden rake to put some Pennsylvania Dutch Country smackdown on my ass.

Here's An Idea, Try Locking The Door

Hollywood, CA

Most home invasion robberies occur when someone breaks in, forces entry after a door has been opened by an occupant, or done by people who know the occupants.

But then sometimes they just walk in the front door.
The suspects entered through the unlocked front door of the bungalow in the 2100 block of Prospect Trail about 11:30 Wednesday...
Unlocked front door. Okay, yes, this is not good. No one should have to have their home burglarized. But for god's sake, people, this is L.A. Lock the fucking door.

Now, I'm sure this was a matter of casing the joint first. The place was at the top of a steep hill and long flight of stairs and doesn't sound like a spur of the moment snatch and grab. It was on a street off the side of Laurel Canyon. When I say "steep", I mean damn near vertical. With next to no parking. Seems they had to walk their ill-gotten gains down the hill.

What fascinates me about these things is all the things I don't know. The choices made that lead to an event like this. Did they know the occupant? How long were they planning it? Why this place? It's not exactly accessible. Were they looking for something specific? Why was the door unlocked?

Good fiction is built on less.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

And You Thought This Only Happened In Slasher Flicks

La Habra, CA

The chainsaw, the butcher knife, the Garden Weasel. And the ever popular circular saw.
La Habra police said today that a man decapitated a woman with a circular saw and then tried to cut off his own head. He died of severe injuries to his neck.
This one's all kinds of fucked up.

So, he slices through her neck. Please, someone tell me she wasn't alive when this happened. People are not easy to cut through. The soft tissue alone will take you a while. And when you hit the vertebrae? Hooo boy. Imagine the sound of that grinding through a chunk of bone. Blood and bone dust everywhere. Of course, at that point, you're pretty much standing in a fountain of arterial spurting as it is, so you probably don't much care about the mess.

Then he slices through his own neck. Now I'm all for removing certain people from the gene pool. But it takes a certain kind of balls/drugs/insanity to decide that taking off your own head falls into the category of "good idea".

Guess he really wanted to stay out of jail.

The capper to this is that three other adults and a child were in the house while this was going on. Okay, I see three possibilities: they didn't hear it, they didn't care, or they cared and were too freaked out to do anything about the whacko with the buzzsaw hacking a performance art piece through Marie Antoinette in the bedroom.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Thanks For Saving Us The Trouble

Long Beach, CA

A man (name hasn't been released, yet) suspected of a murder in Los Angeles, holed himself up in a Long Beach home for six hours before shooting himself in the head.

Mighty neighborly of him, you ask me.

When Thrifty Shoppers Go Bad

Palm Springs, CA

Nicholas Karas, 65, of Desert Hot Springs really likes his newspaper. Well, actually, it seems he really likes his coupons. After not receiving his newspaper for two days he allegedly phoned in a bomb threat, saying he would have to blow up the building if he didn't get his paper.

Brother's just trying to save some scratch, ya know? Cops don't quite see it that way. He's cooling his heels in the Palm Springs Jail with bail set for $25,000.00.

I wonder if they have coupons for that.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Criminal Tip #27,823: If You Point It, They Will Shoot

Los Angeles, CA

People seem to have a problem with the logic of guns. Much like the action of recoil when you pull the trigger, there's a cause and effect for everything.

For example, 21-year-old, Pedro Rentaria, while evading police and ducking out of an apartment fire escape, pointed his weapon at Officer Daniel Robbins. Now, see, when police see a gun pointed in their direction they're pretty inclined to believe that the wielder of said gun means to do them harm. Makes sense. So, if you're a cop and it looks like someone's about to take a pot shot at you, what do you do?

You shoot him. Rentaria died at the scene. The coroner will be checking to see if Robbins weapon did it, or if it was self-inflicted.

Them's Some Nice Shootin', Tex

Los Angeles, CA

Sergeant Pedro Torres, 40, of the 77th, responded to a radio call around 4 A.M. Seems three guys had tossed an unconscious, naked woman into the back of their van and were about to leave. After ordering them to exit the vehicle they chose instead to drive away.

Sergeant Torres made the choice to shoot at their tires. Ballsy choice.

You ever try to shoot out a tire on a moving vehicle? They do it in the movies all the time, but it ain't easy, even from a stationary position. It's not big, it's moving away rapidly and if you miss, you run the risk of hitting someone in the car.

He didn't miss.

Good shot, Sergeant.