The Detective: When a marriage is a crime

Anomalous crime reports May 21 - 30, 2019

Here at Crosstown, we examine publicly available crime report data from multiple LA County law enforcement agencies. We have a robot on the team called the Detective that scans the LAPD data for anomalies. LAPD officers tag most crime reports in their system with MO codes, for “modus operandi,” Latin for operating method or style. The MO codes are shorthand for describing what happened in a crime incident.


Here are a couple recent examples of what the Detective has found, aggregated by the robot’s human assistant, Kate Lý Johnston.


May 21, 2019

The Detective noticed a spike in the LAPD’s crime code 647: Throwing Object at Moving Vehicle. According to LAPD data, a suspect stood at the intersection of Venice Blvd. and Fairfax Ave. in Mid-City and spent the day throwing rocks at passing cars –– 11 of them, to be exact.


While throwing objects at moving vehicles is a felony, at least the suspect didn’t discriminate, targeting victims of all races, different sexes and ages ranging from 25 to 54 years old.


By total coincidence, our editor-in-chief, Gabriel Kahn, witnessed this incident as he was driving home that day.


“I heard thump, thump, thump,” he said. “When I got to the light, I saw a shirtless man hurling rocks, one after the other, at the cars while they were stopped at the light. The rocks were leaving deep dents in the car doors. I’m amazed no one got hurt.”  


May 30, 2019 

On this day, the Detective noticed the rare crime code 948: Bigamy. Bigamy, the act of getting married to another person while still married to someone else, is illegal in California and punishable by up to three years in prison. The victim was described as a 57-year-old white female, and the only MO Code attached to this incident was 1822: Stranger. We’re not sure who the stranger was in this situation.


Stranger or not, reports of bigamy are rare. There have only been three reported cases of bigamy in the City of Los Angeles in 2019, and 13 in total since 2010. Before this year, the last reported case of bigamy was in 2015.


Of all 13 cases, nine of them took place in a “single family dwelling” (presumably the person’s household). This case, however, took place on the 6400 block of W. Sunset Blvd in Hollywood, which is home to beloved record store Amoeba Music.


While a music store could be romantic, what’s strange is that apart from the address, the crime was actually labeled as taking place at a restaurant or fast food joint. Perhaps the suspects were actually located at the Jack in the Box across the street, though in my opinion, a music store is a far superior place to get married, even illegally.