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Venice's one-woman crime fighting machine

August 29, 2010 | 11:25 am

Ready with the cuffs

"Cuts hair by day and crime by night."

The motto on the business card pretty much sums up Boston Dawna, who for many years has been a one-woman, bicycle-riding, crime-fighting machine in Venice.

By her own estimate, she has initiated thousands of private citizen's arrests of "thieves, burglars and robbers," pouncing on them from bushes and restraining them with handcuffs she buys in bulk from the Pleasure Chest sex shop. Police scanner in hand, she has blown the whistle on bootleg apartment units and rousted backpack-toting vagrants.

"When it comes to community policing, she's one of the few I've come across in 23 years of being a police officer who really understands what that means," said Capt. Jon Peters, commanding officer of the Los Angeles Police Department's Pacific Division, which includes Venice. Although he doesn't condone her hiding in the foliage at night, he does appreciate the assist. "She has been able to make her neighborhood safer," he said.

But come Sept. 15, Boston Dawna will be returning to her native Boston. The news has greatly dismayed those residents who have come to rely on her nighttime patrols aboard her purple beach cruiser bicycle.

The Neighborhood Watch block captain and Red Sox fan will depart amid a media whirl. Recently, she helped nab a woman suspected of pouring the stinky contents of a motor home holding tank into the beachside neighborhood's streets. Los Angeles City Atty. Carmen Trutanich has vowed to prosecute the alleged crime, a misdemeanor.

Police praised Boston Dawna, 58, for quickly alerting them and handling the arrest. She in turn praised "my cops."

Read the full story: "Venice's one-woman crime-fighting machine is heading back to Boston."

-- Martha Groves

Photo: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times