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Soliah Indicted, February 27, 1976

March 17, 2009 | 11:37 am



Now this is interesting ... and not at all what I expected.

According to our 1976 story on the indictment of Kathleen Soliah (now Sara Jane Olson), above, an 18-inch pipe bomb was found in the parking lot of a restaurant at Sunset Boulevard and Orange Avenue in Hollywood on Aug. 22, 1975, at left. Both Times' stories said the bomb had been placed on the ground beneath an LAPD patrol car and was noticed by restaurant customers after the car had driven away.

The Times also reported that after discovery of the first pipe bomb, police ordered a department-wide safety check and an officer at the Hollenbeck Division found a similar bomb on the ground beneath his car.

In neither instance, according to the original report, was the bomb attached to the vehicle.

Let's look at today's story by Andrew Blankstein:

[John] Hall and his partner were leaving an International House of Pancakes restaurant in Hollywood when someone noticed a long, cylindrical object protruding from under their car.

When the bomb squad eventually disabled and removed the device, Hall learned how close his brush with death had been: One-sixteenth of an inch separated the two metal contacts from the bomb detonator.

Authorities estimated the explosive and tightly packed nails in the device would have killed or maimed up to several dozen people.

Victims would have included a baby girl in her high chair and her 8-year-old sister, who waved to the officers from behind the restaurant's plate glass window as the officers were leaving, Hall said.

"It should have gone off," said Hall, who served with the LAPD for 31 years before retiring in 2002. "That it didn't was a stroke of extreme luck. The death toll would have been horrendous."

Let's see what we can find out. Stay tuned....