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Old August 15, 2000, 06:39 PM   #1
Covert Mission
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Apparently, the concept of self-preservation and defense is one that is alien to this guy. There have been numerous armorered car robberies in LA/SoCal where guards have been shot and sometimes killed dead, before resisting the robbers. Executed, in other words. Any armored car guard who doesn't assume that this is the likely threat, and waits for the BG's to act before responding, may not live to see another day. This guy needs a megadose of reality, imo.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The president of Costco stores questioned on Monday why an armored car guard exchanged shots with two robbers during a deadly gun battle that took place in an area filled with weekend shoppers.

The botched robbery on Sunday led to one shopper’s death. Three other shoppers wounded included a husband and wife in critical condition. An alleged robber also was wounded and later captured.

‘‘I don‘‘t want to pass judgment in the absence of facts,’’ Jim Sinegal, president and chief executive officer of Costco, said of the shootout in front of a San Fernando Valley store of the warehouse chain. ‘‘But obviously we have to investigate why this happened in a crowded and congested area.’’

About 30 shots were fired, including three from the guard’s 9-mm pistol, police said.

The wounded gunman was captured inside a getaway van, which had been rammed by the driver of the armored car. The van came to a halt a short distance from the store with a flat tire, police said. The second gunman and the van’s driver fled on foot, and were still being sought Monday.

Owen Alexander Wolf, 29, a television production assistant, died when he was shot in the head while walking toward the store’s entrance. Wolf, who lived in the valley’s Studio City section, was an aspiring screenwriter who had worked on the ‘‘Felicity’’ series and an upcoming television crime drama.

Kien Chau, 57, and his wife, Bachtuyett Tran, 51, were in critical condition Monday at San Fernando Valley hospitals. A fourth shopper, Vicky Cheung, 21, was treated for a minor gunshot wound and released.

The shooting began about 2:30 p.m. Sunday. A guard returning to the armored car from the store with a bag of receipts was approached by a man armed with an assault rifle, and the gunfire began.

A second gunman among customers in a food court outside the store also began shooting, as the guard held onto the bag and raced into the armored car for protection.

Store officials said Monday the bag’s contents were mostly checks and credit receipts.

It was not yet known who fired the first shot or whether bullets that hit the shoppers were fired by the suspects or the guard who worked for Pico Rivera-based Sectran Security Inc., said Los Angeles Police Detective Charles Stubbs. The identities of the guard and the armored car driver were still being withheld Monday.

The arrested suspect identified himself as Ramon Gutierrez, 38, of Tijuana, Mexico, said police who were checking fingerprints to confirm his name. They said Gutierrez was shot in the left leg, presumably by the guard. He was held at the jail ward of County-USC Medical Center.

The store reopened on schedule Monday at 10 a.m., said warehouse manager Kevin Green. The broken glass of car windows and windshields was gone and the blood of victims had been cleaned. The store offered counseling to employees and increased its own security.

An armed guard will be at the store ‘‘for the foreseeable future,’’ said Shawn Parks, operations vice president for Costco stores in Los Angeles County.

AP-WS-08-15-00 0300EDT
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Old August 16, 2000, 02:47 PM   #2
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I personally think they ought to take away them pesky handguns from those guards. How dare they try to protect their lives, while endangering potential customers...that's p**s poor PR. ;
If those guards had let the BG's have the money without a fight, then who knows? the BG's could come back and spend the money at Costco. Then everybody might be happy : , except the guards who could have been "executed right away because they were unarmed."
I think the guards might have been better off if they had just thrown the money into the air and let the BG's fight it out with the customers, who were probably better armed than the BG's.
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Old August 16, 2000, 06:57 PM   #3
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‘‘But obviously we have to investigate why this happened in a crowded and congested area.’’

I thought that was obvious. It happened there because that's where the armed BG chose to do it.
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Old August 16, 2000, 09:59 PM   #4
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Some people will say "but it's just money; nobody should die over it." Possibly. I gotta ask...what is money?

Money is a medium representing and facilitating a barter of goods and services. Most money recently represents services. Services are what a person spent a portion of his/her life doing; i.e., money paid for services represents an exchange of a fraction of someone's life for other goods/services.

Let's say I make $20/hour. I give up an hour of my life for, say, a nice dinner out (tack on another hour traded for m'lady's half of the dinner).

On the way to dinner and fiddling with my cash for some trivial & reasonable reason, some perp snatches $20 from me - he has stolen an hour of my life, an hour I gave up for...his next crack hit.

Ticked, out $20 (an hour) of adequate dinner money and still hungry, I find an ATM and withdraw $320, figuring I need money for the next week anyway. Distracted by the previous theft, I fail to notice the incoming thug who whacks me upside the head and takes my just-withdrawn wad. $320/($20/hr)+(8 hrs daily sleep) = a full day of my life stolen.

Sore, pissed and late for my date, I go back to my car so I can get m'lady and pay for dinner with plastic. No car. $&#**^% car is gone. It was right...there. Gone in 60 seconds. My just-purchased-for-twenty-grand slightly-used loaded '98 Mustang is so much air. $20,000 - poof. $20,000/($20/hr)+(n days * 8 hrs sleep) = 2 1/4 months of my life given up. A fifth of a year of my life spent banging my head against buggy beta-level programming tools in exchange for...raw materials in a chop shop.

See where this is going?

Let's consider the armored car in the original article. The perps, dreaming of a million-dollar Brinks heist (servicing CostCo? never said perps were smart), figure out the routine and show up to knock over the truck. Let's say they're luck and the truck does contain $1,000,000. Most of that money is there because of people exchanging their time for small green pieces of paper, at an average of $20/hr. That megabuck truck contains the representation of 8.5 straight years (including sleep) of human life.

$1,000,000 = 8.5 years. If I'm 70 years old, and on average have 8.5 years to go, and some thug decides to take my life before my proper time, I've got every right to stop him by any means. Similarly, so does the Brinks guard when some perp decides to take the exchanged-for-greenbacks 8.5 years of people's lives.

Anyone buying this analysis? Just a thought.

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Old August 17, 2000, 11:16 PM   #5
Gary H
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Legal and public relations posturing. That is his job and that's his position. I can't second guess the guards actions, but three shots fired from a 9mm sounds like a minimum response. In any case, the heads of corporations feel obligated to go PC and have an ear to the lawyers.
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Old August 18, 2000, 05:51 AM   #6
Art Eatman
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ctdonath: Well, an advantage of age is refining your argument down to few enough words such that even the Sinegals of this world can understand. Your own argument, while valid, is too complex for them.

"I spent part of my life acquiring that (money; property). Nobody has the right to say that my life is worthless or meaningless, or to steal part of that life."

, Art
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Old August 18, 2000, 10:31 PM   #7
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Costco has the wrong idea about this whole thing . Consider this as an alternative . BIG SIGN !!!! " Attention BG's ,perps ,skels and other assorted scum of the Earth . The armored car will arrive promptly at 3:00 on Wed. Fri. and Sun. to pick up money . In our ongoing crusade to curb violence we are offering the following suggestion . Please arrive at least 15 min. before the arrival time of the Armored car and announce your intention to rob our money at the time of transfer to the Armored Vehicle . Our manager Bob Wimpo will gladly release all funds that were initially intended for the Armored Vehicle . Just don't shoot . In case of duplicate robbery teams the team arriving first will receive all monies .
We hope to make your robbery of our facility a safe and memorable event . And remember , if there is not enough money on any one day we have 3 pick ups a week ."
I bet this would work .
Hey , Jim Sinegal !!! Check this out .

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