WHERE’D YOU STEAL THE CAR, KID?
By: Brad Mills #1132 (FPK ’65-’72)
It was a couple of months after Harry Penny’s academy dummy blew the emergency lights and siren off the top of Harry’s Radio Car. (See “Blew off the top of the radio car?”) As an aside, I recall mumbling under by breath when it looked like the Sarge wouldn’t break us up – something like “Oh shit, the dumb sumbitch is going to get me in trouble again.”. The Sergeant (could have been Andanias Hall) may have heard this comment but probably didn’t know if I was talking about him or Harry.
Harry and I survived our academy ride-a-longs that night and were once again riding a car together. 15PM, on a Saturday night. At the conclusion of briefing, the PA rang out with those words we all just loved to hear – “15PM’s Check The Desk.”. Since Harry was booking, I got the shotgun and put our gear in the car while he “checked” with the dispatcher.
Harry came out to the car a few minutes later with 5 “details”. I fired up the car, went “10-8” and headed for our district. In route to the district, we received two radio calls. Now, Harry has SEVEN things to handle. After handling the first 3 details, Harry has THREE reports to write. He’s working on the first report as we are rolling south on Willowbrook Avenue.
It’s just turning dusk, we’re between 124 th Street and El Segundo Boulevard and Harry is writing away. Traffic is moderate and normal for the area. Notice I said “Normal” – but apparently not to Harry, whom I’ve never known to be “Normal”.
All of a sudden, Harry looks up from his report and says “ I want to stop that car”. I responded, “Harry, what the hell for! You’re two reports behind and we still have two more calls to go.” Harry said, “I don’t care, I want to stop that car”. Since Harry was booking and in charge of the car, I dutifully followed his order and lit him up, thinking “I’ll get even with Harry tomorrow night when I’m booking.”.
When we had him stopped, we did our crisscross and Harry walked up to the driver window. Harry – being the smart ass he is – said to the driver, “Where’d you steal the car, kid”. To which the driver, a dumb ass teenager, replied “Over there”, pointing to the heart of Willowbrook. After Harry recovered his composure and told me what the kid had said, Harry obtained more information on just where “Over there” was.
We asked another unit – probably 15A – to check it out for us. They responded that they had a car theft victim - who had just discovered his car gone when they contacted him - and would take a report. With that, Harry hooked up the kid for GTA. So… because of Harry’s smart ass remark, or maybe damn good police work, we had a suspect in custody and an impounded vehicle. However, because Harry was still behind answering details, calls and writing reports, I took pity on him and wrote the CHP 180, the arrest report and booked the little scrota.
To this day (2002), I still don’t know why Harry wanted to stop that car (neither does he).
And… I’ve never let him forget how I bailed him out. No, I never got Harry back!
ps. Harry and I are still working together – after 36 years – as Court Security Officers, Federal
Courthouse, San Diego CA. (So, I’ve still got a chance to get him back)