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ORANGE COUNTY PERSPECTIVE : The Right to Know About Crime

August 24, 1991

It is difficult to accept the Anaheim Police Department's explanation of why investigators kept quiet a string of robberies and other attacks--including a rape--at Disneyland-area motels. Police Chief Joseph T. Malloy said secrecy was necessary in order to conduct the investigation that led to the arrest of three men. But, had the incidents been made public from the start, perhaps there would have been no crime spree to stop. The suspects may have been identified and apprehended sooner or, at least, tourists and area residents would have been forewarned and been able to take extra precautions.

As it was, police informed only motel and hotel managers of a series of incidents in which three men terrorized hotel guests with a knife and guns. They left it to individual managers to institute additional security precautions or warn their guests. That was an abdication of the Police Department's duty to protect.

Police say they suspect the three men were involved in as many as 19 incidents since July 19, including the rape of an 18-year-old woman in a hotel room while her friends were bound with rope nearby. The men are also suspected of raping a 14-year-old girl in a Cerritos apartment.

In announcing the arrests, Chief Malloy said earlier publicity wouldn't have helped because "tourists don't read newspapers or listen to things." That's an arrogant attitude to take, and a poor excuse for keeping these serious crimes from the public.

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