Stolen Car

One day, when Bruce Wright and I were working in the Firestone Street Gang Unit, we had to go to Willowbrook to interview a possible 187 witness in a gang-related homicide. We were on our way back to the station and I was in the front passenger seat. We were travelling northbound on a street close to the Jordan Downs projects and we had to stop because a fire truck was blocking the street while the crew put out a vehicle fire.

We were both checking out the various people loitering in the area since we were stuck there for a while, and were somewhat blocked in. As I was looking around, I realize that a black male, about 12-14 years old, is trying to catch my eye, and he’s looking around for his safety, to make sure that no one is watching him. He’s about 10-15 yards away and begins to slowly make his way in our direction, without drawing any attention to himself. Eventually, he makes it to a point near the front of our car and slowly walks by my open window. My arm is laying on the door and he slips a piece of paper into my hand and keeps on going out of our sight.

I open the folded piece of paper and after reading it I laughed out loud and Bruce asks what it says. I told Bruce he wasn’t going to believe it, but the kid had written “Stolen car in Jordan Downs parking lot” with the description written like a cop would write it, such as: 1978 Chev, 4dr,Blue, CA ABC123. So, I run the plate and it does come back as a recent LAPD stolen. When the traffic clears out, we start moving up the street and we realize that we can see the stolen in the JD parking lot.

We found a spot to watch the car and about 20 minutes later, we observe four male adults come out of Jordan and get in the car and start driving north. We make contact with Fpk patrol units and advise them of the situation and shortly thereafter they stop the car and make the arrests.

When I go to Compton Court for the prelim, the defense attorney hammers me re: the issue of the unknown informant who gave me the paper. Of course, my memory was a little weak by that time and I may have inadvertently slipped and made him a little older than he actually was.

As it turns out, the defendant had been at Compton Court previously, for a GTA prelim, on the day that the vehicle was stolen when it had been parked near the courthouse. He was released on bail for that GTA and didn’t have a ride home so he stole the vehicle in my case.

When the judge rapped his gavel at the end of the prelim, he turns to his court clerk and says, “Mary remind me not to park in front the court house anymore!”  The court room erupted in laughter at the judge’s remark, and the defendant looked around with a sheepish look on his face.

                                                               John Stacy