This just in: Seal Beach had crime in 1928. And 1929. Not exactly late-breaking news, but for the Historical Society, a police blotter with more than a thousand entries found and purchased on the EBay Web site, it's crime story heaven.
Earlier this year, among an Attica Prison guard badge, a new 400,000-volt Panther stun gun and a British bobby officer's whistle on the EBay site, was the blotter notebook.
Fortunately for the city's Historical Society, a member spotted the gem while surfing the Internet and notified the society's president, Laura Alioto. Shortly afterward, a small bidding war began between other society members and retired Seal Beach Police Capt. Gary Maiten, Alioto said.
In the end, with the help of a friend, Alioto was able to secure the police blotter for $212.
What can be found in the listing of 1,216 entries is reports of profane language, nude bathing and a report of violation of city ordinance 108--undressing in a car.
How the blotter ended up on the Web auction block is somewhat of a mystery. A Denver-area resident who collects police memorabilia somehow had it in his possession. The heavy notebook came with notes by a Southern California police officer who left some clues as to why the blotter exists at all.
According to his notes, the unidentified officer was called upon to work a day shift in Seal Beach in 1972. He was asked to look over three boxes that were about to be trashed at the city dump. In the process, he discovered the blotter and saved it from extinction.
On Saturday, the blotter goes on display at the Red Car Museum off Electric Avenue. The notebook will give only a glimpse into the city's Prohibition and Depression-era past, Alioto said. During a time of rum-running, gambling and prostitution, the blotter documents mostly minor infractions such as speeding, alcohol possession and disorderly conduct.
"This town was rockin' and rollin'," Alioto said. "There's newspaper clippings that show there were murders" and other major crimes, but these offenses are not found in the blotter.
The Red Car Museum is next to the Seal Beach Mary Wilson Library, 707 Electric Ave. Information: (562) 683-1874.
Alex Murashko can be reached at (714) 966-5974.