Suspicious Package! Everyone Congregate!

http://blogging.la/archives/images/2007/07/nonbomb-thumb.jpgBusy night on Franklin, part 1 of 3

Can you believe anyone would boo John Williams? But it happened, last night at the Hollywood Bowl, right after he performed the Star Wars suite and introduced his next selection: Memoirs of a Geisha. Indeed, it caused a distrubance in the force, causing many of the lightsabers that swarmed the audience to dim.

But thats not what this post is really about.

Walking home from the show, down Highland, and then turning right on Franklin, I noticed a number of police cruisers keeping away traffic north of the boulevard. I approached a small crowd of people up at Orchid and Bonita and asked what was going on.

A “suspicious package” was found outside the apartment down closer to Hillcrest, and police had evacuated the apartment building. (map here)

One twenty-something woman, who refused to be identified (and then clammed up when I said I wanted to write about it), took responsibility for calling the cops three hours prior (!) after she noticed a strange box sitting beside a stop sign outside the front door. What worried her was that it said it was from “Bolivia”, and a friend of her’s who lived on the ground floor happened to be from Bolivia.

When the police showed up, she said, they opened the box to find another box, and inside THAT box another box. And another box inside that one. At some point, the cop reached inside one box and supposedly said they felt wires of some sort, got nervous, then called in the bomb squad.

Even though a minimum of six cruisers and three bomb squad vehicles were on hand, I personally couldn’t take this as a serious threat as the police casually walked back and forth said package, nor did they make any effort to keep civilians further than forty yards from the scene. However, it was definitely a local nuisance as a number of people were turned away from driving in to the neighborhood to go home, or for some Bowl parkers from leaving (but serves them right for sneaking into a residential area for free parking – they were driving an Audi).

Forty five minutes after my arrival, the police officer who’d been giving a number of residents periodic updates finally said that there was no threat, and that they could go home. The cruisers and bomb squads would be leaving soon, allowing traffic to flow as usual.

The most rewarding part of the experience was meeting some neighbors from not so far away, but in a neighborhood that felt more like a community than my own. Known as Hollywood Heights, even this little nook had its own “unofficial” neighborhood watch, which they claimed was run by Hyacinth Macaw Parrot that they’d spot frequently – apparently an escapee from a home up off Mulholland. And a handful of residents recalled an incident a couple years back, just on the other side of Franklin, where the bomb squad was called in to detonate live grenades that were found in the home of an evictee.

Photo by me – crappy camera and night shooting don’t work, but it was a little more interesting than this alternate choice.

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