El Hombre de Michelin’s Got a Dark Side?

You may recall Sean’s post from September linking to Coop waxing poetic about the hand-painted Michelin Man sign on the side of J&J Tires in Atwater. It’s a jewel among L.A.’s already glorious tapestry of folky, handmade signage. Sadly, this warning popped up on the Downtown LA Life mailing list earlier this week:

Sun Jan 28, 2007 4:28 pm (PST)


Corner of Fletcher Drive and Perlita. Drugs run out of the Tire Shop.
2 boy runners on bikes. Customers/runners on all 4 corners. 24/7
activity. Lots of “out of area” cars and cruising for drugs.

This is getting serious and bad. This started just 6-8 months ago.
Lots of dope smoking also on the side of the Tire Shop.


All male Hispanic. Runners: 16-20 years old. One thin, one boy heavy
but NOT fat. Using dirt bikes. Lots of heavy tagging that’s new to
area. Gang activity in area. Apartments at Perlita and the Freeway and
the one story apartments across the street seem to harbor drug
activity. Neighbors are ready to enforce the drug laws if the
neighborhood is not cleared of illegal drug activity.

One local user that was seen buying drugs is in a wheelchair and has
friend with him. Most customers are male Hispanic.

…and I bet you’ll never guess which tire shop is the subject of these accusations. Oh, Se√±or Michelin, what has happened to drive you (allegedly) into the arms of the criminal underwold?!

5 thoughts on “El Hombre de Michelin’s Got a Dark Side?”

  1. Very odd. I knew the owner (I used to work with his son) and he had worked hard to buy the tire shop and had parlayed the tire shop ownership into owning several other businesses. He was truly an immigrant success story. I can’t picture the hardworking man I knew being involved in anything shady.

  2. It’s entirely possible that either a) this is all some kind of cultural misunderstanding or panic mongering and nothing illegal is actually happening or b) it’s been sold since you knew them and the new owner’s up to no good.

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