The Detective: a burglary and fowl behavior

Local crimes involve cockfighting, making change, and an unsavory shoplifting twist

Alarmed rooster illustration


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. This period covers Aug. 31-Sept. 6, 2020.


? There’s a national coin shortage, so hold on tightly to your quarters and dimes. While you’re at it, be aware that someone seeking to make change may have an ulterior motive. On Sept. 4, an unidentified person approached a 56-year-old street vendor in Watts. At some point the suspect either offered or asked the victim for change, and then made off with unspecified property. The LAPD code “suspect offers/solicits change” has been used 232 times since the department started making its data publicly available in 2010.


? On Sept. 5, an unidentified individual snuck into a yard in Atwater Village and stole some personal property. Details are thin, and the incident involved an unspecified weapon. What made the reported burglary stand out was that police also listed it as a “crime related to cock fighting.” That fowl behavior pops up every so often in Los Angeles, and authorities in August seized thousands of roosters in Chatsworth that had been bred for fighting. The LAPD has recorded 18 incidents of a crime related to cock fighting since 2010.


? Life is hard these days for customer service workers, who deal with everything from whiny patrons to individuals who refuse to wear masks. A new and unsavory wrinkle was added to the mix on Aug. 31. An unidentified person shoplifted from a business on Santa Monica Boulevard in the Sawtelle neighborhood, stealing either clothing or jewelry. What made the situation truly unsettling was that the suspect also urinated on the property. The incident was captured on video.


? The Detective has recently seen a number of reports in which crimes involved someone impersonating another individual. That happened again on Sept. 6, when an unidentified person stole property from a 53-year-old woman in a yard in East Hollywood. The incident was classified by police as “suspect impersonates delivery.”


How we did it: At Crosstown, we examine publicly available crime 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.


Questions about our data? Write to us at