Vigilante Dumper Hits Hollywood Police HQs

The car parts decorating a Hollywood man's front lawn.
The car parts decorating a Hollywood man's front lawn.
Photo courtesy Stephan Cleveland

For people like Stephan Cleveland who are trying sublet a condo, the weekend is prime time for prospective tenants to come calling. Which is why he was mighty peeved when on Friday afternoon, he discovered a pile of busted car parts on the grassy swale in front of his condo.

Turns out a car accident had happened one block to the north, on Hollywood Boulevard. A tow truck contractor with the Hollywood Police Department had come to haul away the cars, but it had moved the debris just one block -- to Cleveland's condo. A bumper, a rocker panel, a two-gallon radiator fluid overflow container, and hubcaps among other scraps of what was once a Chevy Impala: "The towing company just dumped it near one of the main walkways to the condominium entry," says Cleveland.

He phoned Hollywood police, and an officer told him they'd send someone by to pick it up. As the hours ticked by, Cleveland became more and more furious. "I didn't want the condominium property looking like a junkyard when a potential tenant showed up," he says.

An even-more-frustrated Cleveland called again Saturday, and this time the officer told him that the junk couldn't be picked up till Monday. "That's 72 hours of garbage being in my front yard," fumed Cleveland. "No way!"

So he gave the police officer her choice of three options: 1) Have the tow truck company come to pick up the stuff; 2) send police department staff to pick it up; or 3) "I load it in the back of my [Dodge] Nitro and throw it into the Hollywood PD's parking lot."

Cleveland says the officer responded with one word: "Fine." Which sounded to him like Option No. 3. So that very day, he loaded the debris, drove to the police headquarters on Hollywood Boulevard, and deposited it in the east parking lot.

"Last time I drove by, it was already gone," says Cleveland. He has filed a complaint with the city attorney, asking that the police and tow truck company be cited for illegal dumping.

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