LA Gangs Target the Conspicuously Rich

by Wall Street Rebel | James Dale Davidson | 04/18/2022 11:48 AM
LA Gangs Target the Conspicuously Rich

Suspects target persons wearing jewelry or driving expensive automobiles in "follow-home" robberies across the city.

 

LAPD says 17 L.A. gangs have sent out crews to follow and rob the city's wealthiest

More than a dozen Los Angeles gangs are targeting some of the city's wealthiest residents in a new and aggressive manner, sending out crews in multiple cars to find, follow and rob people driving high-end vehicles or wearing expensive jewelry, according to police. In some cases, police say, suspects have been arrested but then released from custody, only to commit additional robberies.

According to Capt. Jonathan Tippet, who spearheads a Los Angeles Police Department task force investigating these crimes, police have identified at least 17 gangs, most based out of South L.A. and operating independently, that are involved. He said there were 165 such robberies in 2021 and 56 so far this year, including several over the weekend. Elvia Limón and Laura Blasey, Los Angeles Times, April 13, 2022

 

The Maryland Club in downtown Baltimore is a stuffed chair of a social club, a perfect sanctuary for stuffed shirts like your author. My ancestors came to Maryland in 1650, and until I moved to Florida in 2009, the Maryland Club figured in my life.

It was a companionable place, famous for its Christmas party that I attended every year. It was there that I frequently repaired for lunch to eat the world's best crab cakes. I always sat at the same table with the same cast of characters.

It makes me pause that apart from Bill Bonner, most of my mates are dead from that phase of life. Greg Barnhill and J  Carter Beese were Baltimore's fair-haired boys in the 1980s. Literally and figuratively. We were certain that the world was our oyster and good things awaited us. Unhappily, their lives took turns we never expected, and they died young.

Regular of our inner circle who permanently joined our table at the Maryland Club Christmas Party was my remote cousin, longtime President of the Maryland State Senate, James Clark. Jim served as campaign manager to another of our regulars, Joe Tydings.

Joe was a one-time U.S. Senator and son of U.S. Senator Millard E. Tydings. Although he was a Democrat, Joe was born with the fabled "silver spoon" in his mouth. Joe also died young, at the age of 90. 

Joe's grandmother was Marjorie Merriweather Post, the cereal heiress and founder of General Foods, the richest woman in the world a century ago. Joe enjoyed an enchanted youth, sailing the oceans in his grandmother's 360-foot yacht, The Sea Cloud, and taking his holidays at his grandparent's Palm Beach estate Mar-a-Lago, now the haunt of Donald Trump.

Cash and Cary

Joe always slept in the Tower Room at Mar-a-Lago. The holiday parties there were exceptional, even when the cast of characters was limited. Joe recalled one Christmas at Mar-a-Lago as a teenager when he was just one of three guests, not counting the servants. In addition to Joe, the others were Cary Grant and Barbara Hutton.

Joe Tydings was always welcome at our table at the Maryland Club Christmas party with that background.

I took a particular delight in Joe's company. We shared an affinity — a mutual weakness for beautiful women. Joe once married a woman who was Miss California, Miss USA, and the first runner-up to Miss World. He later found out that she had hired a divorce lawyer in the week they married, then plotted with him for a decade to divorce Joe from any residue of Marjorie Post's millions.

After my father died, Joe Tydings inherited the role of my romantic advisor.

If I have given you the impression that few, if any, of the members of the Maryland Club made their livings as steamfitters or barbers, then I have given you an accurate account.

Part of the charm of hanging around the Maryland Club arose because so much exciting gossip was stirred up there. Old money had tales to tell.

One of the more interesting involved the formidably clever real estate tycoon, Kingdon Gould III. Kingdon is a direct descendent of Jason "Jay" Gould; the 19th-century railroad magnate counted among the foremost Robber barons of the Gilded Age.

Jay Gould was an aggressive businessman who started in tanneries, then went into the ice business and ultimately into railroads. When Jay Gould died of tuberculosis in 1892, his fortune was conservatively estimated at $72 million (equivalent to $2.07 billion in 2022). He left his whole fortune to his family, some of which trickled down to Kingdon, who did an artful job of multiplying it.

Nothing flashier than a Buick 

It was reputed that Kingdon Gould III was the only member of the Maryland Club to keep a liveried butler on duty in his home. He considered that to be a relatively conservative indulgence. But he strongly advised against driving luxurious automobiles.

Kingdon had starred into his crystal ball. He reputed felt that the trends that were impoverishing the middle class and aggravating the wealth divide were unlikely to be alleviated any time soon. What he saw was a perilous future.

With the Maryland Club as an island of privilege in a sea of woe, Kingdon Gould III reportedly foresaw the day when members retreating from the club to their homes in leafy suburbs in Mercedes and Beamers, not to mention Bentleys and Rolls Royce cars, could find themselves assaulted by mobs of less affluent Marylanders, and dragged from their cars, then tarred and feathered or worse.

When I read the article from the Los Angeles Times quoted at the top of this blog, I naturally thought of Kingdon Gould's wisdom. The downside to driving flashy cars that he anticipated is being realized emphatically:

"More than a dozen (17 separate) Los Angeles gangs are targeting some of the city's wealthiest residents in a new and aggressive manner, sending out crews in multiple cars to find, follow and rob people driving high-end vehicles or wearing expensive jewelry, according to police."

The moral of this story is that if you find yourself in the top one percent, don't buy a Rolls Royce. You should think first of hiring a butler to impress Bernie Sanders when he comes to lunch. Or you might want to take some tricks from wealthy Brazilians.

I was once married to a Brazilian beauty queen whose father's business partner was a billionaire. His typical attire consisted of cut-off jeans and sandals improvised from old truck tires. But the heart of his disguise was a grimy old tee shirt that looked as though it had seen service as a mechanic's rag to wipe dip sticks of excess oil. He didn't look at it.

He looked so shabby; you would have been surprised that any restaurant would give him a table. Not that he never dressed for dinner, But when he did, he first flew to Paris, where he thought the odds of being attacked and kidnapped at a three-star restaurant were tolerably low.

If you will subscribe to StrategicInvestment and become wealthy, be prepared to use delicate judgment in spending your money.

 

In Strategic Investment, I only provide an impartial viewpoint. I studied philosophy at Oxford, which the University claims helped me think clearly. Even so, you have the same ability that I have. So only believe what makes sense to you.

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