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People and Events

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<i> From staff and wire reports </i>

She was, contends Priscilla Cabrera, only trying to get help when she and her husband crossed the street outside the Greyhound bus station in the Skid Row area of downtown Los Angeles.

Cabrera says they went to the station late Monday evening to put their 15-year-old son on a bus for San Diego, but became frightened when five young men began following and harassing them while they waited.

“I never realized how dangerous that place was,” she says. “As soon as my son boarded his bus, my husband and I hurriedly left. Those men started following us. One guy got very close.”

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Seeing that two Los Angeles policemen were writing tickets in the parking lot on the far side of 6th Street, she persuaded her husband to ignore the crosswalk and take a shortcut to the officers.

Who promptly ticketed them for jaywalking.

Cabrera says, “I told the officer in a very polite way, ‘Don’t you think it would be better to watch those people like the ones harassing us?’ He told me that was not his job and just kept writing the ticket.”

Central Division Sgt. Bryce Houchin, to whom she complained on Tuesday, says, “I told her to take it to the judge. She had trouble convincing me she was going to get robbed. We’ve got a lot of crooks, but they aren’t stupid enough to do anything with a police unit right there.”

As for the interior of the station, Greyhound sales manager Carole Marra says that once patrons have bought tickets, they may wait inside a guarded passenger lounge where people without tickets are not allowed.

It’s out now. The friends of former Los Angeles resident Ethel Rose Owens have learned that she is the last surviving granddaughter of the famed bank patron, Jesse James.

After a Kansas City newspaper story revealing her relationship was published locally over the weekend, Owens expected the phone in her Huntington Harbour mobile home to start ringing. By late Tuesday morning, she still hadn’t heard from anybody.

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Nevertheless, Owens said she was “very happy” to have it all out.

When she and her parents and three sisters moved to Los Angeles from Kearney, Kan., in 1926, she recalled, “We decided we wouldn’t tell anyone about the connection.” But some figured it out. Her father, a lawyer, was named Jesse James Jr.”

The newspaper article concerned Owens’ donation of a pair of boots, a rifle, a shotgun and pistol--all once belonging to her notorious grandfather--to the Jesse James Farm and Visitor Center near Kearney.

“I was awful glad to get rid of them,” said Owens, 80, a widow for 14 years. The boots, she said, were the ones her granddaddy wore when he was shot to death from behind by fellow gang member Bob Ford.

It’s not that Owens was ever ashamed of her heritage. In fact: “I was proud of it when I was younger. Most of the people in Kearney were relatives. People would make over daddy. I thought my granddaddy must have been wonderful.”

But after a certain age, she admitted, she kind of quit talking about it.

The Ace Pawn Shop in Santa Monica canceled its big auction Tuesday--primarily, according to owner Ron Manes, because the writers strike is over and a lot of people who hocked items some months back want to redeem them.

Manes said more than half of those with overdue loans want to redeem their possessions as soon as they get the money. So, the pawnbroker said with a shrug, he has extended the time five weeks. “I’m a nice guy,” he observed.

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Among the items he had planned to auction were three Academy Award statuettes he had been commissioned to unload. But the owner of one changed her mind. As for the other two, an attorney for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences sent Manes a letter pointing out that recipients sign agreements to give the academy first crack at buying back any unwanted Oscar for $1.

Bruce Davis, executive director of the academy, said the organization simply wanted to let Manes know about those agreements and about a legal concept known as “interference with a contract.”

Davis did not know what three Oscars were involved.

That’s because Manes wasn’t telling anybody.

Wilshire Division police were still trying Tuesday to get rid of several dozen wallets found at the bottom of a ventilation shaft of the May Co. store at Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue.

About half of the more than 150 men’s and women’s wallets discovered June 24 already have been identified and returned to their owners, but the rest contain few clues beyond an occasional scrap of paper or a photograph.

As the remaining wallets went on display, Detective Charlie Wright said, “You’d be surprised at the sentimental value of some of these. A lot of ladies say they don’t care what’s in them. They still want them back.”

What won’t surprise you is that whoever pitched them down the shaft removed all the money first.

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