Local Briefs

SMPD Seeks Car Keying Suspect

The Santa Monica Police Department were seeking the identity of a man seen defacing automobiles near Arizona Avenue on Lincoln Blvd on Thursday, 11/4/21.

The middle aged man apparently deliberately dragged his key down the sides of parked cars. He is described as a white male about 50 or 60 years of age, with gray hair.

LAPD Ends Search for Venice Suspect

Police Thursday night ended a search for an armed suspect who disturbed a Venice neighborhood by pulling out a gun Thursday afternoon.

Officers were chasing the armed suspect about 4:10 p.m. near Washington and Oxford Street, an LAPD dispatcher said.

Police asked residents to stay inside their homes while they set up a perimeter to search for the man. The LAPD apparently arrested no one, but called off the search several hours later.

Spate of Bike Thefts

Local residents reported that several bicycles have been stolen from the front yards of residents recently. While this is not new, some have been tagging the bikes and tracing them back to the thieves.

One man who said he lived near 10th and Ashland posted that his "bike jacked from porch in broad daylight. Not happy to report but my electric bike was stolen at 1:15 PM (Wednesday). I’m pretty sure I was followed back and targeted because this bike left the Westside in a few hours,” he said.

Some bicycle owners have complained that the SMPD and LAPD do not make the theft of bicycles a high priority.

Mystery of Jetpack Man Solved

A pilot flying a Boeing 747 over Los Angeles looked out of the cockpit one evening in late July and saw something so strange that he alerted air-traffic control. “Possible jetpack man in sight,” the pilot said.

That report prompted a warning. “Use caution,” an air traffic controller said. “The jetpack guy is back.”

The July 28 incident was the third time in less than a year that a pilot flying near Los Angeles International Airport reported someone zipping around in a jetpack. All three incidents prompted the FBI and Federal Aviation Administration to launch investigations. The aviation community — including jetpack manufacturers — was abuzz with theories about how someone could get their hands on a relatively rare item, take off with one and fly thousands of feet in the air — all while escaping everyone’s notice, except for the pilots who reported them.

More than 14 months after the first sighting, federal investigators have no definitive answers. But the FBI this week floated a new theory, one that doesn’t involve jetpacks at all. It turns out that “jetpack man” may have been a balloon all along — possibly one shaped like the lanky Jack Skellington, the main character in 1993 Tim Burton film “The Nightmare Before Christmas.”

The first report of a jetpack flier came on Aug. 30, 2020, from an American Airlines pilot who was about to land at LAX. A commercial pilot made the second one about six weeks later on Oct. 14, saying they’d spotted someone more than a mile above ground.

From the start, several aviation experts said they were skeptical. There aren’t many jetpacks, and it’s difficult to get your hands on one, they said. David Mayman, CEO of the Los Angeles-based company JetPack Aviation, has five available for flying lessons, at $4,950 a session. He told the Los Angeles Times his company disables them when they’re not being used. The company’s JB-11 JetPack — which is powered by six modified turbo jet engines that feed on kerosene or diesel — weighs 115 pounds, can top 120 mph and run for 10 minutes.


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