The Call Box

The Call Box: My Short Kidnapping Career

Part 2 of 2

By Ed Meckle, Retired LAPD

As I was formulating my plans I couldn’t help but think of “the Fortress” as I had called it. It was that in every sense of the word. It took up and entire city block and stood there looking like “Half Dome” at Yosemite. It was imposing, formidable, and let’s add insurmountable. We will see about that.

Before the day was out, I acquired a photo copy of a Times employee’s pass, which now bore my photo and the name, George Hearst—Patty’s father and Chandler’s major rival as the editor of the Examiner. I figured if I was captured, it would really piss them off.

I called in two of my teams and laid out the plan. Team one, “The Suits,” would try to talk their way in or if unable to do that, enter however they could. Team two, “The Window Washers,” would brazen their way in. I would bluff my way through Security. We would try to get close enough to touch Chandler and tell him he “had been taken.”

The next morning—in a suit, of course—and carrying a folder stenciled in large letters, “LA Times London Bureau—” Now let me pause here for a moment. As any cop can tell you, an air of confidence is all important, especially when you are going somewhere you shouldn’t or that has been denied to you. You cannon, repeat, cannot be hesitant or timid but must act with authority. Maybe even a bit of arrogance and superiority. “Stand back, I’m coming through and don’t even think of questioning me.”

Which is exactly what I did, flashing my “ID” while talking to the person next to me as though we were old friends.

So far, so good. I’m on the elevator but the floors are not marked. I don’t know where Notions or Lingerie is but I’m willing to bet the boss man has a top floor corner office.

The top floor is executive country. There is a receptionist in the hall as I exit but I ignore her and turn toward the northwest corner. Anything on the south would overlook a poorer section of downtown. Northeast is China Town but northwest is Civic Center.

Yeah, there it is. Outer over-sized door open to the hall with a tough looking old biddy guarding Chandler’s closed office door.

So far, so good—again. Courage, my boy. Breeze right past her with “He’s expecting me.” I opened his office door, entered. Even though it is the largest, fanciest office I have ever seen, he is not there.

All right, now quickly, plan B. Plan B? I barely had a plan A. And then to save the day, at that moment, Otis Chandler walked in not 10 seconds behind me with the biddy trying to explain who I was—followed by my window washers carrying a step ladder and bucket. Just like we planned. Yeah—I touched his shoulder.

I introduced myself and the team. Gave him the chief’s regards and informed him he was kidnapped, assassinated or whatever. He tried to talk but just stammered and sputtered, which I took as “Well played, lads. Give the Chief my best. Tell him he was right as usual and fortunate to have such clever and ingenious chaps such as yourselves working for him. Jolly good show.” Or at least, that’s what I thought he would have said if he could talk.

Back at the office, we laughed as we recounted what happened. “The Suits” were stopped at several points but then went to the loading dock and got in there. They got to the office about 2-3 minutes after we left. The “window washers” just walked in. Nobody even looked at them.

I discovered there was no official form to cover “the kidnapping of a newspaper publisher by police personnel.” One sheet of paper, single spaced, no embellishment to tell what we did, phony ID attached and I gave it to the captain. I came back from the chief several days later with one word in the upper right corner—“Wow.”


Speaking of kidnapping, “Intent to Hold” is an element of kidnapping which is the primary crime in my second novel Intent to Hold. Click on the link to check out the sample on


By Thonie Hevron

Mysteries to keep you reading through the night.

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