Private Jet Tagged “FLAME LMK” ~ Van Nuys Airport

flamecloseup (1)

Looks like someone in the 818 got into some mischief at Van Nuys Airport last weekend. RIP FLAME LMK was was spraypainted on the $2.3m LearJet’s side, leading to an investigation by the FBI and LAPD. Channel 4 did the story last night, full video here.


Taco Truck Extortionists Busted ~ Los Angeles

Taco Truck 1987

The Los Angeles Times reports today that members of one LA’s most notorious gangs were indicted today in protection-racket scheme targeting taco truck vendors in Los Angeles:

A grand jury indictment was scheduled to be unsealed Monday for about two dozen reputed members of the notorious MS-13 gang in connection with a violent extortion racket that targeted food-truck operators.

The victims of the alleged organized shakedown were not four-wheeled foodie cuisine servers, such as the Kogi BBQ truck, but those who serve blue collar workers at construction sites, according to several law enforcement sources familiar with the case.

Those arrested were reputed Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, gang members but the sources, who did not want to be identified because they were not authorized to discuss the case before details were revealed in court, said the arrests were the culmination of a year-long investigation centered in the Los Angeles Police Department’s Hollywood Division.

Just another example of how hard it is out there slangin street food– our local taqueros work long hours and are squeezed on all sides by fuel prices, local regulators, drunk customers, and criminal elements. Salute your local lonchera the best way you can- stop in for a taco tonight.

T. Martin ~ Downtown

Downtown ~ Los Angeles

We’ll Always Love Big Poppa ~ R.I.P.

“When I die, fuck it I wanna go to hell
Cause I’m a piece of shit, it ain’t hard to fuckin’ tell
It don’t make sense, goin’ to heaven wit the goody-goodies
Dressed in white, I like black Tims and black hoodies.” ~ Biggie

Today marks fifteen years since Christopher Wallace (AKA The Notorious B.I.G. AKA Frank White AKA Big Poppa AKA Biggie Smalls) was tragically shot and killed in front of the Petersen Museum at Wilshire and Fairfax. Go lay down your E&J, White Owls, and flowers today for Brooklyn’s dearly departed legend.

Rampart ~ Official Trailer

Los Angeles, 1999. Officer Dave Brown (two-time Academy Award(R) nominee Woody Harrelson) is a Vietnam vet and a Rampart Precinct cop, dedicated to doing “the people’s dirty work” and asserting his own code of justice, often blurring the lines between right and wrong to maintain his action-hero state of mind. When he gets caught on tape beating a suspect, he finds himself in a personal and emotional downward spiral as the consequences of his past sins and his refusal to change his ways in light of a department-wide corruption scandal seal his fate. Brown internalizes his fear, anguish and paranoia as his world, complete with two ex-wives who are sisters, two daughters, an aging mentor dispensing bad advice, investigators galore, and a series of seemingly random women, starts making less and less sense. In the end, what is left is a human being stripped of all his pretense, machismo, chauvinism, arrogance, sexism, homophobia, racism, aggression, misanthropy; but is it enough to redeem him as a man?

RAMPART will open for a one week run in New York and Los Angeles on November 23rd.

Geezer Bandit Strikes Again, Authorities Probe Costume Shop

The “Geezer Bandit”, reported to be an elderly bank robber who is surprisingly light on his feet, may actually be a younger man in a mask. Take a look at the latest security footage of the geezer above, and a mask called “The Elder” by SPFX Masks below. See a resemblance? The Feds do- they’re looking into a costume shop in the San Luis Obispo area that sells the mask. This outlaw hero to geriatric criminals everywhere may just be an act, and his 3,000 facebook fans are sure to be disappointed.

(the mask)

(previous robbery)

Homicide Cop’s Callous Tweets and the Power of Social Media

“Guess where I’m at??? It never ends”

That’s what @Lamudercop tweeted in the early morning on October 11th. Sal La Barbera, according to his google and twitter profiles, is a supervisor for the Criminal Gang/Homicide Division. Hes been with LAPD for 30 years, 24 of those with CGHD and is the current Squad Leader of FBI/LAPD SOS ll Homicide Task Force. A New York transplant, he’s also provided consulting to writers and film makers throughout Hollywood and appears on television regularly.

Everyone knows the life of a murder cop is tough, and no one expects them to be cuddly, but I’m baffled as to why he would tweet a picture of a recently deceased person lying on the street and not show even a shred of compassion for the person or their family. On the job, cynicism is to be expected, but the world of social media changes things as it becomes public.


RAND: Closing Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Causes Crime

Russian Kush does not cause crime

UPDATE 10/11/11: Pressure from the City Attorney’s office has caused RAND to remove the study from their website.

The RAND corporation, a non-partisan rightwing think tank, has released a study today which shows that crime shot up over 60% in the three block radius around shuttered pot shops. From today’s Daily News story:

RAND Corp. studied crime reports over the 10 days before and after June 7, 2010, when the city shuttered hundreds of pot shops. The Santa Monica-based think tank found that crime shot up 60 percent within three blocks of closed dispensaries as compared to those where dispensaries were allowed to remain open. “There’s the common wisdom that dispensaries are crime magnets,” said Mireille Jacobson, the study’s lead author and a senior economist at RAND. “And this flies in the face of that.”

“If medical marijuana dispensaries are causing crime, then there should be a drop in crime when they close,” Jacobson said. “Individual dispensaries may attract crime or create a neighborhood nuisance, but we found no evidence that medical marijuana dispensaries in general cause crime to rise.”

The City Attorney’s office had a characteristically nonsensical reply:

“(Dispensaries) are a center for crime,” said Detective Robert Holcomb of LAPD’s Narcotics Enforcement Detail in the San Fernando Valley.

“Look at it from a criminal standpoint: Here is a location that you know contains narcotics, money so what better location to rob?”

By that logic, pharmacies and banks should be shut down immediately, as clearly they are magnets for crime! Also, we should definitely allow criminals to dictate what type of businesses are allowed to operate in our city, and not patients, caregivers and doctors.

The Biggest Art Thefts in (Recent) Los Angeles History

With the news of the Rembrandt sketch (pictured above) heist in Marina Del Rey, we decided to look back into LA’s long history of art theft and pick out some of the biggest and most interesting art crimes in Los Angeles in recent years. The FBI estimates that art theft is a $6-billion-a-year industry, and it’s growing fast. Less than 5% of all works stolen are eventually returned to their owners…

Update: Rembrandt found outside Encino Church.

West L.A. Warhols Stolen

In September 2009, noted art collector Richard L. Weisman had 11 Warhols stolen from the walls of his dining room. The works were large portraits of celebrity athletes such as O.J. Simpson, and were commissioned by Weisman in the 1970s. The total value of the heist is up to $11m dollars, and to date police have no significant leads other than a maroon van that may have been spotted in the neighborhood.

One Boston Gangster Down, One to Go

Two big items in the LA Times yesterday about Boston transplants in Los Angeles. First was the news about Boston’s Whitey Bulger:

Legendary Boston crime boss James “Whitey” Bulger, who has been on the run for more than a decade, was arrested Wednesday in Santa Monica, multiple law enforcement sources told The Times. Bulger, 81, has been the subject of several books and was the inspiration for “The Departed,” a 2006 Martin Scorsese film starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon and Jack Nicholson.

Bulger fled Boston in late 1994 as federal agents were about to arrest him in connection with 21 killings, racketeering and other crimes that spanned the early 1970s to the mid-1980s. He was arrested by the FBI inside a building without incident, according to the sources, who asked not to be named because they were not authorized to speak on the matter. The details surrounding his arrest were unclear Wednesday night.

Next was this nugget about Frank McCourt, who apparently plans to hold the Dodgers hostage once he’s rubbed out as an owner by Major League Baseball Capo di Tutti Capo Bud Selig:

Dodgers owner vows to retain the stadium and related assets even if he loses the team because of financial problems. McCourt’s vow to retain Dodger Stadium and related assets even if he loses the team caught the attention of at least one prospective buyer. Mark Cuban, owner of the NBA champion Dallas Mavericks, said the Dodgers appeared to be “such a mess” financially.

It was also revealed that the Dodgers’ charity was primarily a vehicle to make the McCourts look good, and Frank had to pay back $100,000 that the California Attorney General found was improperly used to promote his wife and her luxurious travel schedule rather then the needs of the people the charity was supposed to have helped.

OK, so McCourt hasn’t actually killed anyone (although the family of Brian Stowe holds him liable for his beating and subsequent coma), just the spirit of a city’s beloved team.

Supreme Court Orders California to Release 30,000 Prisoners

Ruling today that the overcrowded conditions in California’s prisons violate the constitution’s “cruel and unusual punishment”, the US Supreme Court ordered the release of at least 30,000 prisoners in the system. From the NY Times:

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, writing for the majority in a 5-to-4 decision that broke along ideological lines, described a prison system that failed to deliver minimal care to prisoners with serious medical and mental health problems and produced “needless suffering and death.”

The majority opinion included photographs of inmates crowded into open gymnasium-style rooms and what Justice Kennedy described as “telephone-booth-sized cages without toilets” used to house suicidal inmates. Suicide rates in the state’s prisons, Justice Kennedy wrote, have been 80 percent higher than the national average. A lower court in the case said it was “an uncontested fact” that “an inmate in one of California’s prisons needlessly dies every six or seven days due to constitutional deficiencies.”

There are currently about 28,500 people in California prisons for non-violent drug offenses, according to the California Department of Corrections. Just sayin’.