The Detective: suspect shows up in costume

Anomalous LAPD crime reports from June 8-14

Illustration of a costumed suspect


Here are a couple of recent anomalies in Los Angeles Police Department data found by the Detective, our data-crawling robot, and aggregated by the robot’s human assistant, Kylie Storm.


On June 9, a 36-year-old woman was visited by her current or former partner in Pacoima. The visit, which was in violation of a court order, must have been a strange one. Her partner, the suspect, after all, was in costume as a character, a very rare occurrence indeed. In fact, the code for “suspect was costumed character” has only been used eight times ever since the LAPD started making their data publicly available in 2010. 


Crime suspects like to mess with everyone’s life –– including students. On June 12 in Historic South-Central, a stranger forced entry into a woman’s home and ransacked the place. The incident was labelled with the crime class code “disruptive presence school/college.”


Most cases of this crime code occurs on or around school premises, but this one occurred at a multi-family dwelling, likely due to remote schooling. Overall, this code has been used a total of 48 times.


Not one, but two incidents of impersonating an inspector occurred on June 12, with both having very similar circumstances. In one, a 48 year-old street vendor was approached by a stranger and hit with a weapon in Green Meadows. The other victim, also a Green Meadows street vendor, was pushed. In both cases, the suspect removed each victim’s property.


Both cases were recorded as having occurred at the same time, which may mean that one suspect attacked both victims.


How we did it: At Crosstown, we examine publicly available crime report data from multiple Los Angeles County law enforcement agencies. We have a robot on the team called the Detective that scans the LAPD publicly available 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.


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