By Ed Meckle, Retired LAPD
I am a sergeant assigned to the robbery detail at Wilshire detectives. This week I am working with Tom Ferry. Our respective partners are off for some reason and we have teamed up until they return.
Tom’s regular assignment is “rolling business,” mine “street robbery.” We are hoping for some quiet time so we can catch up on the paper work that always seem to dog us and is usually overdue.
I have known Tom since our metro days. We never worked together but I know he’s a good solid investigator. Physically, he resembles the old movie actor, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. Now, you youngsters have not a clue who I am referring to but he is a look alike, mustache included. He dresses impeccably and can be considered suave and debonair, “Mr. Cool.”
Our hope for some quiet goes out the window early when we are notified of the armed robbery of a payroll messenger carrying just under 100K, in cash. Why cash? I don’t remember, but it was destined for a publishing house on Wilshire Boulevard.
Upon arrival, the radio car was just finishing their report. A careful interview of the messenger revealed the two stickup men were “mouthy” and let it be known they knew details of the delivery.
I don’t recall particulars but after talking to a lot of people, we got a solid lead that within hours gave us the names of both gunmen and set us on the hunt. We spent the rest of the day and well into the night after them.
We caught the first one just about midnight and missed number two at LAX as he took off for Houston (extradited within the week).
We got some sleep and back at work, we filled in the lieutenant. He briefed the captain, who showered us with accolades, “You did o.k. there.”
Several weeks later after the extradition and the preliminary hearing, we are once again back with our own partners.
Now I mentioned earlier that the victim was a publishing house and the boss deals in, what else? Words. So, he felt the need to write a commendation. Alright!!
In his letter, he expressed the chief what a difficult task he had and praised him for a wonderful job, and on and on and so on. Finally, he got around to the robbery which he recounted and then as my fading memory recalls said something along these lines: “…and there appeared before me two rather large, imposing very well-dressed gentlemen who looked as though they had been sent by central casting to play detectives.” He continued in that vein until he mercifully concluded with, “…they are, in my consideration, the flower of the community.”
Oh my God, did he really say that?
Not content to just send the letter to the chief where it would have disappeared into our files never to be seen or read again but no, he copied the captain who posted it on the bulletin board.
The bulletin board…. flowers…. community…for all the world to see.
We took a lot of ribbing until something better came along.
Both robbers pleaded guilty and most of the payroll money was recovered from one of their attorneys (who else?).