Wallet Lifted, Union Station Security Needs Upgrade
By Susan McAdams, TRAC Board Member, August 30, 2018
Dear Metro Board Members,
On August 14, 2018 at 12:50 PM, my wallet was stolen from my purse while I was eating at the Cafe Crepe at Union Station. The waitress noticed that the suspects were two middle aged Hispanic women that had sat behind me briefly, announced to the waitress they were going to eat outside and left the restaurant and disappeared at 12:50 PM. The waitress could give a good description of them, including their clothing.
For an entire hour afterwards, I attempted to locate someone who would help me. Five separate Metro Security Officers, each posted on the Alameda side of Union Station, were asked. Each pointed to Patsaouras Plaza, and said, talk to the LAPD. Each also warned, the LAPD Officers were getting ready to go on break.
While walking over to the other side of the station, I canceled my credit card and then called 911 to file a Police Report. While walking through the passenger tunnel, I encountered two Homeland Security Officers. When told of my dilemma, the officers shrugged and told me to talk to the LAPD. At Patsaouras Plaza, I found two LAPD Officers. They told me it was not worth filing a police report and to hang up the phone. We were joined by two other police officers. They suggested the same thing. I hung up the phone and left them.
Standing nearby were three Metro Security Staff. The guy with the beard was very helpful. He said, did you check the cameras? He points to the ceiling. See that camera, he says, there are cameras everywhere in the station. I said, you are the first person to suggest that. I walk back to the restaurant. Working with the wait staff, we find a security camera outside the door of the restaurant and they give me a more accurate description of the suspects.
I return to Alameda to ask security officers if I can view the security cameras, they say absolutely not. I have to file a Police Report and then the policeman can watch the security camera. But in order to do that, I have to call for a Metro Security Supervisor. He will take me to the LAPD.
I call for a Supervisor. He arrives. We talk. I explain what happened. Suddenly there are other security officers that want the Supervisor’s attention and I must wait for him.
While waiting, I run into some women that I know. I tell them my wallet has been stolen and that I need $5.00 to get home. My TAP card was in the wallet and in order for Metro to issue me a temporary card, I have to pay $5.00. One of the women gives me the money. Now I can get home.
This is getting really funny to me. I like Security at Union Station. While I worked at Metro, Duane Martin was the head of Security. He was also the pitcher on the company baseball team and I was the catcher. We talked a lot on the topic. So I find this lesson amusing. On the same day my wallet was stolen, about at the same time of day, many Metro Officials were at the North Hollywood Station unveiling the latest Homeland Security devices, and yet no one seems to be able to help me when my wallet got stolen in the middle of the day from the middle of Union Station. TAP card stolen? That will be $5.00 please. But I don’t have $5.00. The TAP lady shrugs and says, no card for you then.
Finally the Metro Security Supervisor takes me to the LAPD. Officer Mendieta takes the information and files out the Investigative Report. He gives me a copy and says he is going to check the security cameras. He also states that someone will call me, but no one has called.
Several months ago, while investigating the location of the new Bike Hub building at Metro, which is located between the Dodger Bus pick up spot and the Mosaic Apartments, I asked the architects and designers, why didn’t you conduct a seismic analysis of the new 4000 square foot concrete base for the Bike Hub Building? The building is erected adjacent the Red Line Tunnels. The entire staff said to me, there’s no tunnels under here!
Well, yes, there are tunnels nearby under the new Bike Hub Building. I was the Red Line Tunnel alignment engineer and I remember where I left them. So if you are going to spend $6.2 million for track and tunnel intrusion technology that will be installed throughout the underground rail stations, make sure that your planning staff at least know where the subway tunnels are under Union Station.
Thank you for your time in this matter.
AKA Miss Alignment