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Capone heads to Alcatraz via L.A.

Aug. 21, 1934: The “Al Capone special,” a heavily guarded prison train, passed through Los Angeles on its way to delivering its most infamous passenger to Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay.

Additional security officers were aboard the train as it moved slowly across the city about 6:15 p.m. to the Southern Pacific yards opposite San Fernando Road.

Despite efforts to keep the train’s movements secret, several hundred people showed up at the rail yards to await its arrival, The Times reported. “ ‘Where’s Al Capone?’ shouted several spectators whose attempt to approach the train was halted by guards, armed with rifles, revolvers and shotguns.”

“A heavyset man in shirt sleeves seated in the center of the first prison car waved his arm. Other prisoners pointed toward this man when asked ‘Where is Al Capone seated?’ ” the newspaper said.

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“Seven years ago, Capone, then at the height of his career as a gangland czar, came to Los Angeles. Accompanied by a coterie of bodyguards, he arrived in a special Pullman. When ordered 24 hours later to leave the city, he boasted, ‘I’m coming back. I know how to do it.’ Apparently he did.”


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