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Vacationing family frisked on 405 Freeway in stolen vehicle mix-up

A family of five heading on a camping trip was stopped at gunpoint and handcuffed Friday on the 405 Freeway by L.A. officers who thought their minivan was a stolen vehicle.

Officers in a half-dozen police cruisers surrounded the minivan shortly after 6 a.m. Friday as a man in shorts and a T-shirt got out and was forced to lay spread-eagle on the freeway. The stop was carried live on KTLA.

Next, a woman in the passenger seat got out. Three others were then seen climbing out of the minivan, which had camping gear tied to the roof and a cooler in the rear cargo area.

All five were briefly taken into custody on the northbound freeway just past Rinaldi Street. They were quickly released when it became clear the van was not the stolen vehicle police were seeking, said LAPD Capt. Matt Blake.

"It turned out it was a nice family," Blake said. "The minivan thief had swapped license plates with their van recently ... They'd driven the van without noticing the changed plate."

Blake said the swapped license plate indicated the vehicle was stolen, which prompted an LAPD cruiser to start following the minivan on the 10 Freeway before it transitioned to the 405 Freeway. Officers waited to stop the vehicle until a department helicopter was overhead.

Police cars with their lights on followed the vehicle for several minutes before the minivan driver realized the cruisers and spotlight were meant for him.

The stop was handled following standard procedures, and the family was quickly sent on its way once officers determined it was not related to the stolen vehicle, Blake said.

Officers are continuing to look for the stolen minivan, he said.

-- Richard Winton

 
Comments () | Archives (70)

Stuuuuupid!!!!

Once again our brilliant police force got outsmarted by the real felons. They probably thought that they were going to actually solve a crime for once, but not a chance. Maybe they should stick to busting pot fields.

The L.A.P.D. is a BIG JOKE!!!
How stupid are they???
Oh we're sorry, DUH...

And they wonder why they are always being sued, maybe they should pay the settlements out of THEIR OWN pockets for being STUPID!!!
As a tax payer I'm tired of paying for their mistakes...

Don't blame the LAPD as they were only doing their job.

After the craziness this morning that family really needs a vacation!

Did any of you read the rest of the story??? Clearly states that the license plate was from a stolen mini-van! How is L.A.P.D suppose to know that the family is innocent? I guess no matter what cops do they still dont get the respect they deserve. so sad.....

Crime! Ug good God what is it good for! Well this incident
goes to show how crime effects us all.Our current president for reasons of his own is going to lessen the penalties for "CRACK" crimes because of the fact that CRACK is the drug of choice for many drug users in the African-American community. Some how Obama has turned this plague into a civil rights issue and chooses to portray CRACK dealers and users as victims. What the Prez does not take into consideration are the crimes related to CRACK starting with crimes against children, murder, robbery, rape and violence. We need to shut down the CRACK trade completely and by any means necessary, NOT BY DE CRIMINALIZATION, WHICH IS OBAMAS PLAN!!!!!

Nice Job LA your boss Major Viretardo will be proud!!

Why are u bashing the police on this one? The car had stolen plates.

Nothing like the LAPD. They are freaking idiots.

Spread eagle? really?

I wonder if the people, unlawfully stopped, knew they could have resisted, to the point of taking the officers lives, and no crime still would have been committed.

You can't blame the police for doing their job. They conducted this stop BY THE BOOK with all reasonable expectation of catching the car thieves. The license plates were from a stolen van like the one stopped. How many of you know your own license plate number let alone that someone swapped the plates on your car? No police officers were hurt and the innocent folks in the van were not hurt. They were on their way in a few minutes and have quite a tail to tell. Everyone did a good job in this incident and should be COMMENDED!

For those of you that bad-mouthed the police -- please note that the folks in the van complied with the orders of the police, the situation was cleared up quickly, AND NO ONE WAS HURT. Everyone should take heed!

You can't blame the police for doing their job. They conducted this stop BY THE BOOK with all reasonable expectation of catching the car thieves. The license plates were from a stolen van like the one stopped. How many of you know your own license plate number let alone that someone swapped the plates on your car? No police officers were hurt and the innocent folks in the van were not hurt. They were on their way in a few minutes and have quite a tail to tell. Everyone did a good job in this incident and should be COMMENDED!

For those of you that bad-mouthed the police -- please note that the folks in the van complied with the orders of the police, the situation was cleared up quickly, AND NO ONE WAS HURT. Everyone should take heed!

So how would you guys have handled it?

I can't believe that the owner of the van didn't notice that his tags had been switched! This was not the L.A.P.D.'s fault and only a complete and total idiot would say that it was.

6 cop cars in the picture, maybe more there out of the picture. Why is every stop needing every cop in the area? Can't 3 or 4 stop a van?

Did they apologize to the family? I think not.

pathetic!

Oops! Can the officer who originally ran the plate articulate his probable cause? Yeah, it came back stolen, but there is no way he could have known that prior to getting the report back from dispatch/his MDT. I'm not real crazy about our police cruising around checking plates at random; Madison wasn't, either.

I guess that the lesson is that we all need to check our plates every time we drive anywhere?

Wow.

LAPD's FIRST clue that these people were innocent was the fact that the driver pulled over as soon as the police turned on their lights.

How long would it take you haters to realize someone had switched YOUR license plates? Do you ever check them?

THESE ACTIONS SPEAK FOR THEM SELF WE LIVE IN A POLICE STATE
THE POLICE HAVE NO RESPECT FOR ANYONE, IN FACT YOU COULD SAY THERE MIND SET IS, IT'S US AGAINST THEM, ASK YOURSELF THIS QUESTION, WHY DO THE POLICE PUSH AS HARD AS THEY DO,
TO DISARM AMERICA?

What's with the trash the police comments. Did you miss the part where it says the license plates matched a stolen minivan. Seems to me that the police where on top of it all the way.

I guess the plates matched the make/model of the van too

 
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