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January 05, 1988|JACK JONES | From Staff and Wire Reports

Azusa police obliged when James Alan Hawes, 40, asked them to stand by while he removed some of his belongings from a house on Dalton Street. Sgt. Bob Garcia said Hawes explained that he was not on the best of terms with relatives. He wanted the cops there to keep the peace.

The officers' interest soared sharply, Garcia said, when they saw Hawes digging up $20,000 that had been buried in tin cans in his backyard. They were openly skeptical when he told them the money, in large bills, was his life savings. They got a search warrant and called on the Covina Police Department for the assistance of a nosy dog named Cliff.

At the home, in Hawes' car and at a Duarte mini-storage complex, Garcia reported, the officers turned up five ounces of cocaine, 10 pounds of marijuana, a small amount of LSD packaged for sale, scales and other drug paraphernalia. They also allegedly found $4,000 worth of silver bars and $5,000 in gold coins.

Hawes and a 25-year-old woman friend were in the Azusa Jail Monday on suspicion of narcotics possession. Bail was set at $20,000 each.

Police were not clear on why Hawes asked them to watch. "We have all been wondering about this guy," Garcia said.

As Temple City Sheriff's Deputy Dean Scoville tells it, two fellow deputies recently took out after a speeding Volkswagen Rabbit, whose driver kept losing them by whipping around corners.

At last they found themselves in an empty side street. The VW had vanished. The officers stopped when they spotted wet tire tracks leading to a closed garage door. A woman was watering the front lawn. "Do you own a Rabbit?" Deputy Jerry Trueman asked her.

"Yes," she said.

"Is it brown?"

She admitted it was and seemed impressed by the deputy's intuition.

"Does it have four on the floor?"

"The luckier ones do," the lady said.

Trueman asked to see it. She opened the garage door.

A brown rabbit gazed up at him.

At that, Scoville said, the officers "lost control and called it a day."

Pastry chef Mark Carter, 37, finally got back his black 1987 Toyota MR-2. A lot he cared. What he really worried about was his recipe book--the work of 15 years without which he would have been hard pressed to operate the restaurant he plans to open next month.

The car disappeared a week ago. Carter, who has studied his art in Paris, offered a $250 reward for the cookbook but not for the vehicle.

Police found the car over the weekend. It was being stripped by some youths in an alley at 38th and Hoover streets. Safe in the glove compartment was the recipe book containing what Carter's father, Jack, said are recipes for "some real exotic stuff--of no value to anybody who doesn't have a big oven."

The car strippers apparently didn't.

Milt Wagenheim calls it quits today. After 32 years of operating his Civic Cleaners in downtown Los Angeles, the "Mayor of 2nd Street" has steam-pressed his last pair of pants.

At 69, Wagenheim has cleaned and pressed for more judges, lawyers and other Civic Center denizens than he can remember. Frequently a customer trapped in slow traffic coming out of the 2nd Street tunnel simply honked and threw his laundry bundle out the window. Wagenheim was a friend of mobster Mickey Cohen, as well as those on the opposing team.

He recalled that the late Chief Los Angeles U.S. District Judge Thurmond Clarke once called to find out if his blue suit was ready, "and I got nervous because I couldn't find the pants."

"You've got to," Clarke said. "I've got to see President Eisenhower in Palm Springs this afternoon." Wagenheim found them.

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