Burned Mini-Mall


May 1, 1992

This mini-mall on Western Ave. was one of many that were burned down in Koreatown.

A few blocks south, at another burned out mini-mall, I watched as a giant pickup truck with a crane pulled recklessly into the debris-strewn parking lot. Two guys that looked like professional wrestlers jumped out waving pump shotguns. A third man backed the truck up to what was left of a store and lowered the crane into the rubble. He attached the cable to something and began raising it from the ashes. Out came a polished cube, glinting in the sun like a black diamond.

The two grim-faced henchmen positioned themselves on either side of the truck with their feet spread, waving their guns menacingly as they faced off with a crowd of gathering spectators. The driver lowered what I assumed to be a safe into the bed of the vehicle. Then the three men quickly jumped back into the truck and peeled out. The whole operation took less than five minutes.

I have no idea which side of the law these guys were on, but since they seemed to know exactly where the booty was, it must have belonged to them or the people they were working for.