Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Monday, July 30, 2007
For years Pasadena has been able to keep its gang problem in check. Down from 30 homicides in the 80's to just 3 in 2002, the city is seeing a resurgence in the last year and a half. 18 deaths in 18 months.
In south Pasadena, home of CalTech and the Huntington Gardens, it's a city of immaculate lawns and the stink of big money. The homes are gorgeous craftsmen models, some going as far back as the early 1900's. Colorado Boulevard, the spur of Route 66 that runs through the city, has turned into a retail Mecca.
But in the north not so much. Poverty breeds crime, creates gangs, commits murder. There's a high black and Latino population with incomes far below that of their counterparts to the south. And almost a dozen gangs have moved into the area.
Police can only do so much. Responding to crime is like responding to symptoms. You might be able to do something about the tumors, but they'll come back if you don't take out the cancer.
Money and opportunity alone won't do it. Never has. The people themselves need to see a better way than crime to get what they want. And that's not just Pasadena's problem, but all of ours.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
Jack McClellan likes little girls. Just ask him. He's been very public about it. For a few years he ran a Seattle based site called Seattle-Tacoma-Everett Girl Love giving out tips on where best to find little girls to take pictures. The site was shut down by his host but he has been able to put a new one together.
Now, here's the thing. He hasn't actually done anything illegal. He isn't wanted for anything, isn't accused of anything. Just really likes little girls, and is happy to share ideas about older men and little girls. Because he's not a sex offender, he can go to kid friendly events and places to take pictures. Of little girls. Which isn't actually illegal. Got all that?
Well, someone recognized him in the children's section of the Santa Monica Public Library last week. Seems they got a picture, too. And a car and a license plate.
And so the police, as police will do, put out a bulletin on him.
He's not happy about that.
Now, I'm conflicted here. Yes, he admits to being a pedophile and has possibly done harm just in passing tips about how best to get close to little girls. But he hasn't done anything illegal. So, did the police step out of line?
Well, I'm not that conflicted. Yeah, I'll admit they stepped out of line. But look, Jack, you're a fucking moron. You go around posting pictures of girls on your website and admit to getting off on it. What the hell did you expect?
Saturday, July 28, 2007
Apparently, yes, you can.
Russell Jackson, 46, of Pasadena, was arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor child annoying. You read that right. Child annoying.
Seems the law has a different idea of what annoys a child than I do. When I was a child being called names was annoyance enough and I never got to get anyone arrested. Of course, no one tried to ply me with alcohol, show me porn and get me naked, either.
Friday, July 27, 2007
Pico Rivera, CA
There are a lot of ways to break into a building, but you don't see folks using a car very often.
Around about 3:30 this morning, two men and a woman broke into a CVS pharmacy in Pico Rivera by ramming a stolen car through the front. They took off in a van as police arrived. Back on the 18th, burglars did the exact same job at a CVS in Anaheim. No word if it's the same people, but the fact that all they took was cold medicine with pseudoephedrine in it speaks volumes.
There seems to be a theme of pharmacy burglaries, lately. A Rexall in La Mirada got tagged, too. No car, but the front doors were busted open. No word on what was taken.
I see two ways to deal with the drug problem. One clearly has a track record of not working, and that's to increase the risk. It didn't' work in prohibition, it doesn't work now. Drugs are lucrative. Increasing the risks just increases the rewards.
Another way, is to stop making them so damn lucrative. Legalize marijuana, for example, and the turf wars and jacked up peripehral crimes will dry up. How many people get shot over smuggled untaxed cigarettes compared to the folks getting shot over pot deals?
I doubt that legalizing meth would necessarily do the same thing, because the substance itself jacks people up so much, but just making it more difficult to create makes it worth more. Demand stays the same, but supplies dwindle, which attracts more people into the trade, as the amount of available money goes up.
Look, I don't have an answer, but I do know what's not working.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
The whole point of a confidence man is to make you trust him. He doesn't need to sell you a bridge, or swampland in Florida. Sometimes, he just needs to be trusted enough to get in and steal your wallet.
Like Leslie Earl Raymond, 37, who has been connected to thefts in hospitals in Corona and Riverside while dressed as a priest
Raymond, 37, has pulled the same scheme in other places, including Georgia, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Dakota and Texas. Raymond, also known as James Kennedy, is wanted on outstanding warrants from three of those states -- and now California...Looks like he's made a career out of it. He might want to hang up that particular gig, though. If he's not careful he'll get picked up as a pedophile.
Monday, July 23, 2007
Brent Hopkins over at It's A Crime, the Daily News crime blog, has a story up on some of the fun times over around 77th Street.
The 77th has logged more crime in Los Angeles than anywhere else. Twelve square miles of gangs, drugs and bullets. You want an epicenter of crime in Los Angeles, this is it.
Charisma's a dangerous thing. It's easy to get swept up in the enthusiasm of a person who talks a good game and tells you what you want to hear. Sometimes, though, it takes a nasty turn.
A few years ago, James Wilson started a youth oriented anti-gang program in Northwest Pasadena called The Movement. Now, Mr. Wilson is going to trial for the murder of 16-year-old Frank Mitchell, a member of the group.
Wilson approached Timothy Rhambo, an anti-gang activist in Pasadena who helped him get it off the ground. After a few months, though, amid questions of where the money was going that was being collected, Rhambo left. That's when he started hearing the rumors that Wilson was raping teenage boys recruited into the group.
"He told me it wasn't true, that I didn't have to worry about nothing," Rhambo said. "He said he was working on helping (the teens). He made it sound real good."Don't they always?
Friday, July 20, 2007
Strangling your spouse and dumping her off the side of the freeway, however, isn't one of them.
The body of 31-year-old Gabriela Herrera was found last November. Yesterday, her husband, Angel Cerna, was picked up for her murder. They had been married 6 months and had two children together.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Not exactly Twin Peaks, but there was a corpse found wrapped up in something (cops aren't saying what) in a Riverside orange grove Tuesday morning. Cops think it's homicide. Ya think?
Gangland shooting? Doubtful. Somebody was trying to hide the body, if not too hard. You don't wrap a guy up if you're sending a message. And you don't dig a hole if you're just trying to get the body as far away from the crime scene as possible. I'm betting he was killed pretty far away, and the killer's just trying to divert suspicion.
That never works, by the way.
Once you ID the body it's pretty much cinched up. Guaranteed somebody will say so-and-so didn't like him and, oh look, these Spongebob Squarepants sheets are from so-and-so's kid's room. Well, whatta ya know.
Patrick Daniel Piceno, 23, was convicted for the beating and rape of a 73-year-old woman in Garden Grove in May of 2005. Yesterday, he got his sentence; 23 to life. He confessed to the beating, but not the rape, saying that he masturbated during the attack.
Now that's got to take some gymnastics. I'm trying to picture the logistics of this. Ball peen hammer in one hand and a tiny little todger in the other. Yeah, I don't see it working.
Well, with a little luck they'll bunk him with some Nazi Low-Rider. I hear they don't like rapists much.
Okay, so they're actually calling him The Landscape Bandit, but I like mine better. Seems he robs banks dressed in gardening clothes and smells like dirt.
Well, they they think they've caught him. Michael R. Varela, 37, was picked up at a gas station yesterday after having his home staked out. Boy obviously likes jail, because he's been there twice before on felonies. If they get him on this one he's not coming back out again.
Joe Silva and Nichole Surkala were arrested on charges of felony child endangerment after police went to their home after receiving a complaint and found the family living in a feces strewn house with seven dogs and a miniature horse they rented out for parties.
Yes, that's right. A horse. Inside.
The child told her he slept in the tent inside his bedroom "because it was clean," Sol said.I think this is just another case of keeping up with the Joneses. Only the Joneses are the crazy cat ladies of the world. There's some guy reading this right now thinking, "Fuck, I need more dogs. And a goat. No. A Giraffe. Yeah, that'll show those fuckers. A giraffe. I wonder if I could get an elephant in the garage."
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
An 81-year-old woman ran down two other women, 77 and 81, respectively, at the corner of Wilshire and 25th in Santa Monica last night around 10:30. I like to think it was because they were dissin' Auntie Marge, The biggest geriartric crime maven on the Westside. Cutting into her black market Viagra business. Horning in on her Geritol Bitches internet prostitution ring.
Don't fuck with the old folks, man. They'll take your shit out.
Laws are funny things. If something's not specifically stated it creates a loophole. Take, for example, Huntington Beach's laws regarding public nudity. If it's not done for sexual gratification it's legal.
The Huntington Beach city council is considering closing that loophole in response to one Michael Ferreira, who is known for standing on his porch in the buff.
Ferreira often held a cigarette in one hand and a beer in the other, and waved to passersby, the newspaper reported.Classy.
I drive along Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu pretty much every day. And there's this guy on a bike who tools up and down the coast. Old guy. White hair and a beard. Wears a straw hat, sandals.
And a Speedo. A very tight Speedo.
Can they go and ban this, too? Please?
Four teens, ages 15 to 17, were arrested for attacking homeless people Downtown and taping it to post on the internet. They're being charged with assault with a deadly weapon for such things like setting a homeless man on fire, tossing a bicycle into one's tent, shooting someone with an air-pistol.
Today's enterprising young sociopaths. Bum fights today, snuff films tomorrow. Something tells me they're going to have a long and storied career in the San Quentin laundry rooms.
First, the good news. The baby's fine.
Now, the not so good news. The baby was found in a Denny's dumpster on Katella about a block west of The Happiest Place On Earth. A customer noticed blood on the floor of the bathroom and movement in the trashcan before she found the baby.
A 17-year-old girl from Indiana who was outside the restaurant with a tourist group is suspected of being the mother.
I got nothin'. I can only think of what must be going through someone's head, the kind of panic and desperation, that leads them to do this. Whether the perception is accurate or not, you have to think things are pretty fucked up to dump your newborn into a dumpster.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
For those of you who don't know, Los Angeles has a river. No, really. Sure, it looks like a 50+ mile concrete ditch most of the time, but that's because it used to flood, and flood big. In the 1800's it put the Valley under water. In 1938, a flood destroyed over 5000 homes and killed 115 people, prompting the 1941 Flood Control Act, and the recall of L.A.'s most corrupt mayor, Frank L. Shaw. The thing that killed him was a speech during the flood where he said, "The sun is shining in Southern California and all is well." Yeah, that didn't fly too well.
During the summer, of course, it's a great place to film chase sequences for Hollywood blockbusters, as it really only swells during the winter. It doesn't, however, do this very often. If ever.
L.A. River Catches Fire Near 710 Freeway On MondayFire. In the river. Add it to the list of crazy fire shit we deal with in this town.
Friday, July 06, 2007
A woman was hit in the head in a vehicle to vehicle shooting in Lafayette Square in Culver City. She was taken to Cedars-Sinai where she died.
An Irvine woman, Janelle Peralta, 29, died in the hospital Thursday after being admitted, drenched in blood, after a fight with her live-in boyfriend. Both of them had multiple stab wounds, and the boyfriend, Javier Colon, 33, is listed in serious condition after extensive surgery. It's not clear exactly what happened, or who, in fact, was the aggressor. Police have booked him on suspicion of attempted murder, and as things get clearer, they're thinking maybe homicide. Their 14-month-old child wasn't at the scene, so that's something, I suppose.
And Jose Lopez, was arrested in Madera County, California, on suspicion of killing his girlfriend, Rosa Ramos, who has been missing since June 23rd. She was last seen driving a red 1993 Ford Thunderbird that has been found in Madera. Of Rosa, however, there is no sign.
Women are far more likely to be victims of domestic violence, abuse and sexual assault. Most of these tend to come from intimate partners, but not always. So, let's do something about that, shall we? Here are some links to places that might be able to help.
Thursday, July 05, 2007
Oh the patriotism. Nothing says America, mom and apple pie (Mmmmm. Pie.) like the Fourth of July. Except maybe gunshots, explosives and the occasional hit and run.
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
The people who successfully rob banks have a keen mind, excellent planning and nerves of steel. Unlike these guys.
Four gentlemen, after robbing a Citibank in Chino Hills, were pursued by San Bernardino Sheriff's deputies until they lost them on the freeway, whereupon they crashed their car getting off. They ran, of course, because that's what you do when you panic. Two of them were caught in an apartment complex nearby, and two others ran into a house and hid.
The owner of the house, one Duncan MacDonald, came home to find them, where they showed him the bag of money and said they needed a ride out of the area.
MacDonald, who "was pretty certain they were involved" in whatever crime had drawn police, had them sit in the back seat of his silver Volvo and "drove them right to where (police) were looking for them," Hunt said.I'm not sure what's more humiliating, being caught out of your own stupidity, or being caught in a Volvo.
Monday, July 02, 2007
I used to work 4th of July fireworks shows. At least until a friend, the pyrotechnician, got seriously fucked up in one. A round went off in the mortar and some stars (those burning phosphorescent things you see when it explodes) got through a small opening in his jacket at his throat. See, they have oxidizers in them. That means they burn even if you smother them, stick them in the water, or embed them two inches into a guy's vocal cords. He was in ICU for what, a week or two? Now he sounds like the midnight demon at the end of the alley who wants to eat your heart out with a side of hashbrowns.
I'm pretty clear on the dangers of fireworks. They are, after all, explosives. Some of them are pretty nasty. Worked a show where our finale went off wrong. Racks and racks of 8-inch shells, the big fuckers, fired only 6 feet in the air and went off. Looked like the Death Star going up. Fortunately, the guy with the road flare who set it off knew enough to be low. He was deaf for a couple hours. I was working the fire line at the extreme edge of the field and it punched through me like a sledgehammer. When things go wrong, you feel it.
So, yeah, dangerous, as I said. They shouldn't be in places where they might accidentally go off. Like your garage.
A "couple tons" of illegal fireworks were seized from a Watts residence Sunday.That's a lot of boom.
You get this crap every year. I heard one story last Friday that was pretty much the same thing. The authorities don't really like that sort of thing. Considering that it's, you know, a felony. I'm waiting for the DHS to get involved. Won't that be a hoot.