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Friday, September 30, 2016

Old Rampart station becomes a magnet for metal thieves

The LAPD moved out of the old Rampart police station a few years ago but the Historic Filipintown building is not necessarily empty. While the cops moved out, criminals in search of valuable pieces of scrap metal and copper have moved in – or more like broken in – to the former station at Temple Street and Benton Way.  Residents who attended a community meeting last month heard that the station sustained water damage in late November after copper thieves cut into pipes that were still in use.  A few months earlier, burglars broke into the building and made off with electrical boxes,  said burglary Dect. Teresa Hernandez of the Rampart Division, which is now housed in a new building on Sixth Street. “We have been having ongoing problems.”

The burglars who stole the electrical boxes were not caught but two men were arrested by police following the day-time break-in on Nov. 29.  Neighbors alerted police to the break-in, and officers encountered the men as the thieves were carrying a large pipe across the property, Hernandez said.  The men ran off and climbed over a fence only to be apprehended by officers waiting nearby.  A third suspect – who tipped off the two other men with a cell phone call – got away. A judge ordered both men to pay the city $37,500 in restitution to repair damage to the building, Hernandez said.

After cutting into the pipe with running water, the two men found a valve to shut off the water and then proceeded to start cutting other sections of pipe, Hernandez said. The men also apparently cut into some asbestos material as they were trying to steal the pipes.

Community activist Anne Hars, who is leading an effort to re-use the station for other public purposes, said the breaks-in and damage could have been avoided if nearby residents were allowed to become more involved in the conversion of the old police station,  which is slated to be converted into the home for the LAPD  SWAT Team and other elements of the Metro Division. “How many hundreds of thousands of dollars will tax payers have to shell out to cover the damage through neglect that the property has undergone,” Hars said an email to Councilman Eric Garcetti.

Dect. Hernandez said she advises citizens to lock everything  but is not sure what else can be done to protect the old Rampart station given staffing and financial limitations.  “It’s got a fence and there are locks all around.”



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8 comments

  1. More pressure needs to be put on landlords who let thier property sit vacant for years. It would seem to a logical person that to get a lower rent and allow the property to be used by someone with an interest would be better than letting it sit for many years being run down, graffiti sprayed, weeds growing around it making it an eyesore to the community. Maybe for the landlords it make more financial sence to do it this way . They always seem to want to hold out for the highest rent or sale price. I guess it’s thier right, but not at the expense of the community. That seems worst than a slumlord to me.

  2. Where’s a cop when you need one?

  3. The site of the vacant, boarded-up old Rampart Community Police Station is progressing according to plan.

    Not all of the plumbing and electrical has been stripped, yet. Another 2-3 truckloads is waiting to be taken by thieves and sold for scrap value.

    Next up , the property is anticipated to suffer damage in a series of fires. Some accidentaly set by squatters and some arsons set by malicious vandals.

    At that point, the city should be ready to allocate funds for a rigged-bidding asbestos removal contract.

    After the rigged-bid asbestos removal project is done, the city can begin negotiations on a long term lease for the property.

    Nothing has been announced yet, but insiders claim the greatest support for leasing the property at one dollar per year for the west coast New Product Development and Research Center of Omni Consumer Products.

  4. Literally, where are the cops? Where is the new Rampart Division headquarters? I remember when they moved, but where did they move to?

    • Thats the exact same question I was asking one evening when I went to the old Rampart Community Police Station and stood at the front desk trying to submit evidence for an incident of graffiti vandalism.

  5. B.E. & Foghorn – The new Rampart Station is at 1401 West 6th Street (6th & Valencia), the site of the old L.A. City Central Recieving Hospital. Sad to see that the old station fell into disrepair and is ignored…by everyone but the crooks. Typical of the City, however, not to have better plans already in place on what to do with an old building after leaving it empty.

    • this is to be expected- and even sadder is that Rampart would be moved into OLDER Central Receiving( once home to our defunct city hospital and the disbanded L.A.Housing Authority PD) Proof positive that the city of L.A. creates “ghettos”, while other cities try to fix or eliminate them to better the community….. maybe allowing crack heads and the homeless to strip the building, sleep in it, use it for drugs, and then let it burn, is the “go green” plan mayor Tony Vato believes in…

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