This Just in, From the “Slightly Spooky” Department

211 in progress at the BofA, Laurel Canyon, north of Kittridge”

By Ken K. Gourdin

This just in, from the “Slightly Spooky” department. I work for a contractor that contracts with automakers to locate customers’ desired destinations and download them directly to customers’ GPS units so as to spare customers the distraction of entering addresses manually (and, thereby, to increase the safety of the motoring public).

One of my customers requested an address on Laurel Canyon Boulevard in North Hollywood, California. As it happens, a Bank of America (BofA) on Laurel Canyon was the scene of one of the most notorious attempted bank robberies in the annals of American crime. (“211” is the section of the California Penal Code, which is also used by dispatchers and officers to refer to the crime over the radio.)

Emil Matasareanu and his confederate, Larry Phillips, had robbed several other banks in Southern California and elsewhere before targeting that particular BofA on February 28, 1997. Matasareanu and Phillips had planned meticulously, fashioning full body armor that, largely, was impervious to the level of weaponry carried by most officers at the time, bringing several high-capacity, high-powered firearms, along with thousands of rounds of ammunition.

While, miraculously, no one except Matasareanu and Phillips lost their lives, several officers and civilians were wounded in what became known as the North Hollywood Shootout, as officers and the robbers exchanged thousands of rounds of gunfire. Driven by little more than what I freely admit is a morbid sense of curiosity, I wanted to see how close the Laurel Canyon address the customer requested is to the scene of perhaps the most infamous bank robbery in American history.

Doubting it was close, since more than a few streets in Los Angeles city and county, respectively, are miles upon miles long, before I dispositioned the call after downloading the customer’s desired destination to his GPS unit, and knowing that the address given multiple times by dispatchers to responding units is “Laurel Canyon, north of Kittridge,” I entered that intersection—”Laurel Canyon Blvd. @ Kittridge”—into the Destination Assist program.

The Destination Assist program’s way of telling me, “I think I’ve located the address you want” is to place a red dot that looks like a push-pin at the address in question. When I entered “Laurel Canyon Blvd. @ Kittridge,” the program placed the red push-pin just a few blocks south of the address the customer had requested.

As I said, “Slightly spooky.”


About kenngo1969

Just as others must breathe to live, I must write. I have been writing creatively almost ever since I learned to write, period! I have written fiction, book- and article-length nonfiction, award-winning poetry, news, sports, features, and op-eds. I hope, one day, to write some motivational nonfiction, a decent-selling novel, a stage play, and a screen play.
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