"A basic tenet of ambulance thievery," the Beachcomber newspaper's Steve Propes lectured his readers, "is to avoid turning on the siren unless the emergency lights are also activated." So learned a suspect who committed such a lapse, arousing the suspicions of officers after he had taken an ambulance out of a company's Long Beach parking lot.
Some minutes later, the driver crashed into a bridge in Dana Point, where he was arrested. He suffered minor injuries and was transported to a hospital. In an ambulance -- a different ambulance.
A different type of escape route? Dianne Bradfield snapped a shot of a stolen sport-utility vehicle whose driver ignored the sign posted at a lake in Long Beach's Heartwell Park (see photo). The thief, who abandoned the vehicle, obviously had to wade to shore.
Still another crash item: Back East, Kim Airs saw a house-for-rent blurb with colorful language that might have alarmed some airline travelers (see accompanying).
Hopefully NOT a crash item: The site LAVoice.org noticed that a used "Space Mountain Attraction Vehicle" from Disneyland sold on EBay for $3,550 (see photo).
The buyer was warned by Disney that the six-seat vehicle was for "display" only -- no driving on the freeways -- and that "all hydraulic and electrical systems have been disabled."
Here was the spooky part: "Persons seated inside the vehicle should not activate the lap bar," Disney said, "as it might not be possible to release the lap bar from the down position." Good advice unless the buyer wants to become known as "the prisoner of Space Mountain."
Umbrella coverage?: Henk Friezer of Eagle Rock points out that one insurance company's sunny approach was at odds with an ad below it (see photo).
Which reminds me: Mrs. Only in L.A. was in line at a coffee shop when she overheard a guy say he had recently moved here from out of state and couldn't believe how "depressing" Southern California's weather was.
And where was he from? Sunny Seattle, which has received less than half as much rain as L.A. in the last year. Imagine a Seattle native calling our weather "depressing." No telling what he thinks of our coffee.
miscelLAny: Hazel Cole-Givens had a question about a term I used in an item on Southern California freeway conditions. "What does 'the fast lane' mean?" she asked. Nothing, actually. I admit I was showing my age there, using an outdated term. These days, every lane on the freeway is a fast lane. Except in weather like this.
Steve Harvey can be reached at (800) LATimes, Ext. 77083, by fax at (213)237-4712, by mail at Metro, L.A. Times, 202 W. 1st St., L.A. 90012, and by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.