The Daily Mirror

Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

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Mystery photo solved

The correct answer is Caryl Whittier Chessman. A very impressive showing by Duane Laible. I didn't expect anyone to guess so quickly.   

Meet the boy bandit gang, which terrorized Los Angeles with a string of robberies and shootings in early 1941. The gang formed while the young men were assigned to county road camps for stealing cars.


Los Angeles Times photo

From left, William Taylor, Caryl Chessman, Robert Tollack, Andrew Rutledge and Donald Abbott, Feb. 7, 1941.

"[William] Taylor and I were in Road Camp No. 7 in Las Flores Canyon," Chessman said. "Auto stealing. You pick up ideas there. We did. And here we are."

Gordon Klee, who was later eliminated as a suspect, said: "The rest of us were in Camp No. 1 in Soldedad Canyon. Same rap. I've known Chessman all my life. We went to school together. So when we got out last autumn, we just naturally drifted together."

Before they were arrested, the gang stole cars and robbed service stations and liquor stores across Los Angeles. Several gang members, sitting in a stolen car in Flintridge, got the drop on a pair of sheriff's deputies who stopped to question them, and stole their patrol car.

A Times reporter asked why they committed the robberies.

"Lucrative," Chessman said.

Here's a 1948 picture of Chessman:


Photograph by Bob Jakobsen Los Angeles Times

David H. Knowles, left, and Caryl W. Chessman.

Bonus fact: Chessman lived at 3280 Larga St.

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