From the Archives: A hobo’s reward

Dec. 23, 1969: Preston Tingle comes down rope ladder from his pad under 7th St. Bridge to accept his
Dec. 23, 1969: Preston Tingle comes down rope ladder from his pad under 7th Street Bridge to accept his $25 reward from freight terminal manager Jim Hammett.
(Bruce Cox / Los Angeles Times)

The reward was for reporting the location of stolen merchandise.

Staff writer Dial Torgerson reported on Tingle in the Dec. 24, 1969, Los Angeles Times:

Preston Tingle, 50, a hobo, climbed down the rope ladder from his winter home in the underpinnings of the 7th St. bridge Tuesday and the police were waiting for him.

They were waiting to congratulate him. So was Jim Hammett, manager of a freight terminal nearby, who had a reward for him.

When thieves stole $600 in women’s lingerie from a shipment being loaded by Hammett’s firm, Tingle was watching from his spacious quarters overlooking the Los Angeles River. He saw where they hid the boxes.

And, being an honest man, he told police about it. They recovered the goods and returned them to the Veltman Terminal Co., and Hollenbeck Division detectives and Raymond Veltman decided to reward Tingle.

Hammett gave Tingle $25 and Sgt. Joe Wambaugh invited him to a Christmas Eve dinner at the drugstore across the street from the police station.

Tingle, a short, wiry man in boots and an Army-surplus jacket, accepted both with modest enthusiasm, like the Man Who Has Everything acknowledging another gift he really does not need.

“Money?” he said. “A man don’t need much money. Why, there’s plenty of food around. Those catering companies can’t keep sandwiches after a few days, you know. And the terminals throw away cans of food that get all dented up. More food around than a man can use. ...

After this 1969 article, there is no further mention of Tingle in the Los Angeles Times archives.

This post was originally published on Dec. 23, 2015.

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