The LAPD’s Northeast Division on Wednesday warned residents of a man who tried to grab one of two girls as they walked to Washington Irving Middle School in Glassell Park. The news was troubling enough but what also bothered some residents was that the LAPD sent out the Community Alert about a “Crime against child/Attempted kidnapping” more than week after the crime took place. In contrast, when a 14-year-old girl walking from East Hollywood to King Middle School in Silver Lake escaped an abduction last month, the LAPD sent out an email alert a few hours after the incident and held a press conference the next day.
One Glassell Park resident said she spoke to an officer about the attack on the Irving Middle school students but was not happy with the response. The officer “shined it off as no big deal” and said dthat etectives had been assigned to the case, the resident said in an email. “I know Mrs. Noble, the principal at Irving Middle School sent out a letter to the parents that afternoon. Now if this had happened in Silver Lake …”
The LAPD, however, does not play favorites when it comes to handling crimes in different neighborhoods, said Northeast Division Capt. Bill Murphy. In the case of the attack on the King Middle School student, officers were able to get a detailed description of the suspected kidnapper from the victim much more quickly than in the Glassell Park case, allowing the LAPD to create a composite drawing of the suspect. “We only completed the composite on the Irving incident on Tuesday … and immediately began to distribute,” Murphy said by email.
“The crimes were different,” Murphy said. “The East Hollywood incident was a clear-cut attempt kidnapping. The suspect grabbed the victim and attempted to drag her into his car (she had watched him pursuing her in the car). The victim tremendously fought back or would have been taken. Although the Irving [Middle School] flyer stated “Sexual battery/Attempt Kidnapping”, we would not have received a booking or filing for kidnapping on this crime. The suspect did commit a sexual battery when he grabbed the victim on the buttocks. Based upon our investigation, the suspect probably was not attempting to take the victim out of the area (kidnap her). He probably wanted to fondled her in the alleyway.”
Murphy said the department has “flooded” the area near the Glassell Park school with undercover officers, detectives and uniformed officers since the student was grabbed. Still, it’s not clear why LAPD did not alert the community at large about the incident even without a composite drawing in hand.
“We never handle a crime differently based upon neighborhoods,” Murphy said. “We made a decision to get a community alert flyer out and it took a few days to make it happen – no conspiracy here.”