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Halloween in Hollywood: Looters, Broken Windows : Revelers Break Into Blvd. Stores

Times Staff Writer

Hollywood’s unofficial Halloween street parade turned into a melee late Monday night, as riotous revelers, some in holiday costumes, tossed bottles at police, smashed windows and looted stores along Hollywood Boulevard.

Before the three-hour disturbance was quelled by police on horseback, two officers had been slightly injured and 23 people had been arrested on charges ranging from burglary to carrying concealed weapons.

At least 12 businesses were extensively damaged, including the Brown Derby restaurant at Hollywood and Vine and a nearby heavy metal music accessory shop where hundreds of T-shirts, leather jackets and pieces of jewelry were stolen.

Crowd Got Bored, Unruly

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An estimated 100,000 parade-goers, many of them youngsters with their parents, were massed along Hollywood Boulevard between La Brea Avenue and Gower Street when fighting broke out shortly before 11 p.m.

“After standing around for several hours, a small number of people in the crowd got bored and unruly and after a while decided on more revelry--smashing windows and throwing stuff at the police,” said Los Angeles Police Capt. Rick Batson. “A large percentage of the crowd was made up of women and children so we had to be very careful not to stampede the crowd and panic it.”

2 Officers Injured

Batson had no figures this morning on the number of celebrants injured. But he said one officer suffered a strained knee and another’s eye was injured when he was hit in the face by an eggshell. Neither injury was serious, Batson said.

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Most of the property damage was confined to two blocks of Hollywood Boulevard between Vine Street and Cahuenga Boulevard, where shattered glass, upturned police barricades and broken flowerpots remained strewn on the sidewalk this morning.

Most heavily hit was the heavy metal music shop British Imports, where more than half of an estimated $130,000 worth of merchandise was stolen, according to owner Hassan Ebrahim.

Looters ripped apart a wrought-iron security gate, smashed the windows and emptied the showcases. Hundreds of T-shirts, leather jackets and a stereo system were missing, Ebrahim said.

Brown Derby Damaged

Next door, at the Brown Derby restaurant, looters smashed the front window, reaching in to steal bottles of wine.

Footwear valued at $3,000 was taken from a heavily damaged Regal Shoe store. And at a sundry shop at the southeast corner of Hollywood and Vine, looters stole Hollywood postcards and pennants, stuffed animals and baseball caps emblazoned “LAPD.”

At Chicken Charlie’s, more than 100 people ran inside the restaurant to escape the fighting.

“People were getting stomped and hit in the head,” said manager Robert Green. “There was really nothing that (the police) could do about it, because there were so many people.”

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Not Called a Riot

According to Batson, trouble occasionally occurs at the yearly Halloween celebration, although there had not been as much as there was Monday night for some time.

“I wouldn’t characterize it as a riot because that denotes a lot of violence and violence toward people,” Batson continued. “I’d just call this a disturbance on Hollywood Boulevard.”

To prepare for the annual Halloween crowd, officers had closed off Hollywood Boulevard between La Brea Avenue and Gower Street at 8 p.m. More than 150 uniformed police and civilian traffic control officers were stationed in the area.

Times Staff Writer George Ramos contributed to this article.


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