Ramblings by Hal

Ramblings, Stake outs, part 2

By Hal Collier, LAPD, Retired

Hal is a thirty-five year veteran of LAPD. We are pleased he is sharing his stories with us.

This post is the first half of Stake outs, part 2. The last post (part 3) will be posted Sunday  Feb. 8, 2015

My last story was about stake outs. Most of them were boring and did not result in any arrests. Police work is like that; sometimes you put your hand in the cookie jar and pull out a whole cookie and other times you get crumbs. I got a couple of responses from partners about stake outs that I didn’t mention. I told them that stake outs require patience and they should have some too.

A lot of preparation goes into a stake out. Location, probability of committing a crime where you’re watching and when you’re watching. You’re fighting off boredom and often the cold. You see a likely suspect enter the target area. Your senses become keen, the adrenaline starts flowing. Picture your dog sitting next to the dinner table as you eat. He watches every bite, waiting for you to drop something. Ok, you’re a cat person. Picture this: you’re a cat about to pounce on some imaginary foe, tail twitching, and muscles tense. My suspect keeps looking around, then he steps into a doorway that I’m waiting for him to break into. But he only urinates. What a letdown and only four more hours left on the stake out.

My story:

Cinerama Dome  photo by
Cinerama Dome
photo by

I’m still working a hype car with Dave. We’re on the prowl for car burglars. Hypes will break into cars in parking lots where the owners will not return for a couple of hours. Tonight we’re on the roof top of the Wells Fargo Bank on Sunset next to the Cinerama Dome. We have a good view of two parking lots. The weather is mild and Terri refused to make coffee! We’re only two stories up and our anticipation is high. The movie “1941” with John Belushi is playing at the Cinerama Dome.

We’ve been on the roof for two hours when we spot two guys park in the lot. They exit their car and walk straight to the box office. They return a few minutes later with their tickets to the 10 P.M. show. It’s a little after nine. They go into the McDonald’s at the far end of the parking lot. I know what you’re thinking–why should you care that they went into McDonald’s? Remember patience is required in stake outs.

These two guys sit in their car eating McDonald’s and drinking beer. 10X50 power binoculars tell me it’s Budweiser in bottles. They begin throwing out their empty beer bottles onto the parking lot along with their hamburger wrappers. Dave and I are a little peeved that these two jerks are littering and breaking beer bottles in the parking lot. It’s almost 10 P.M. and they walk toward the box office, only to return a few

Okay, they didn't get into a fight, but arguing is not as photogenic.
Okay, the jerks didn’t get into a fight, but arguing is not as photogenic.

minutes later. They are cussing at each other because they can’t find their tickets. Dave and I watch in amusement as they search their car and the trash they threw out in the parking lot. The longer they look the more Dave and I enjoy it. They are now walking back and forth in the parking lot to see if they dropped the tickets between their car and the theater. The two jerks are blaming each other for losing the tickets.

Dave looks down and we’re standing on pea gravel. We both pick up a handful and hurl it at the closest jerk. He immediately blames his buddy. We giggle and watch as their friendship degenerates. We figure this stake out is over and climb down. The two jerks are about to leave and we approach and badge them. We tell them to clean up all their trash, including the broken bottles.

As we leave one of the jerks runs up to us and says, “Hey, I think someone was on that roof throwing rocks at us”.
Dave looks him straight in the eye and says, “We’ll look into it”.

I wonder how long it took them to put two and two together?


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