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SPECIAL INVESTIGATIONS SECTION: WATCHING CRIME HAPPEN : LAPD's Secret SIS Unit : Citizens Terrorized as Police Look On

September 25, 1988|DAVID FREED | Times Staff Writer

Los Angeles Police Department crime scene photos taken Nov. 12, 1986, after SIS detectives followed Rodney Hickman and Alan Bradley and watched them rob the L.A. Video store at 4369 W. 3rd St. Victims from three previous armed robberies, including a man who was shot in the stomach, already had picked Hickman out of a police photo lineup. Still, the surveillance squad waited as Hickman and Bradley held up the video shop, in which store manager Brian Ahn, right, and a clerk were pistol-whipped and kicked repeatedly. As Hickman and Bradley attempted to leave the crime scene in their stolen car, the officers fired six shotgun blasts. Both men were wounded in the head. A revolver was later found in Hickman's pocket. Bradley was unarmed.

Facing more than 20 counts of armed robbery, assault, burglary and car theft--some stemming from crimes previous to the L.A. Video robbery--Hickman and Bradley arranged plea bargains. Hickman was sentenced to a minimum of 25 years in state prison. Bradley was sentenced to no less than nine years.

SAME BANK, SAME DISGUISES, A DIFFERENT ENDING

The SIS spent 18 days in 1982 watching Jane E. Berry, 36, and John H. Crumpton, 33, parolees who had been linked to five bank robberies and already were wanted on federal arrest warrants. On Sept. 15, 1982, 13 detectives and a police helicopter followed them as Crumpton stole a car. The couple then drove to a Security National Pacific Bank branch in Burbank. The detectives watched Crumpton and Berry put on masks and gloves--the same garb the two had been photographed in when they robbed the same bank a month earlier. The detectives watched the robbery proceed, but when Berry and Crumpton returned to their car, they were surprised by four SIS detectives. The officers fired 18 times, wounding Berry and killing Crumpton. Berry never drew her weapon. Crumpton was unarmed.

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