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Steve Harvey / ONLY IN L.A.

Botched Robbery an Inside Job of a Different Kind

April 30, 2006|Steve Harvey

With April coming to a close, it's time to name our stupid criminal of the month.

That would be the gullible gunman who broke into a Baldwin Park bank before it opened by accosting an employee in the parking lot. Once inside, as the Associated Press reported, the employee told the assailant she had to deactivate the bank alarm; instead she silently notified police. When the robber asked her to open the vault, she told him it would require the help of a second worker who would be arriving a few minutes before the bank opened.

The robber then asked her to step outside and look around; you know, make sure the coast was clear.

"As soon as she got outside, she immediately locked the door, locked him inside and took off," said Police Capt. Michael Taylor.

Police negotiated with the trusting gunman, who eventually surrendered and was transported to jail. There, he again found himself locked inside.

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And the runner-up was ... : The guy who was spotted in Redlands wearing a jacket with lettering that said: "CDC Prisoner." Several alarmed residents phoned police, thinking he was an escaped inmate, the Riverside Press-Enterprise said.

He wasn't. But he was a recent parolee who had walked off with his prison-issue California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation windbreaker, which is state property -- literally, a fashion crime.

He was also reportedly carrying a can of Mace, which is prohibited for felons. And authorities said he had not checked in with his parole officer within 24 hours of his release, as is required.

So it was back to jail for him.

And why had he called attention to himself with the jacket?

"I guess he must have been pretty proud of being a prisoner," Redlands police spokesman Carl Baker told the newspaper.

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Switching from crime to politics (no jokes): Gary Koop saw signs in Manhattan Beach stating that "you no longer have to buy a politician outright. You can now rent one" (see photo).

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Hungry for word: Tom Staple of Newport Beach spotted an aptly titled movie next to a restaurant (see photo).

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Hot time: An anonymous reader shared an ad for a retirement complex that sounds as though it could be a fire hazard (see accompanying).

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Surprise sequel: Half a century ago, Sierra Madre was featured in "Invasion of the Body Snatchers," a sci-fi tale about a takeover by alien clones who hatch from plant-like pods.

It came to mind the other day, believe it or not, after three new council members were elected in the town. A dispute arose when supporters of the three wanted them sworn in April 18, instead of Tuesday, as the old council had planned.

Opponents felt the losing candidates were being pushed out the door. Whatever, the winners were sworn in.

And soon afterward, the Pasadena Star-News said, makeshift pods appeared at one site in the city. They bore the names of the winners accompanied by a sign that read: "Invasion of the Council Snatchers." You could be next, Arcadia.

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miscelLAny: UC Irvine's business school is named for donor Paul Merage, the inventor of Hot Pockets snacks.

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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 steve.harvey@latimes.com.

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