LEAD POLICE ON TWO-HOUR LOW-SPEED CHASE!
SAYS ONE COP: “THIS MADE O.J.’S GETAWAY LOOK LIKE THE INDY 500!”
Milt Brillstein and his wife, Zelda, thought it would be a good time to take their vintage 1971 Cutlass convertible out for a drive on a sunny California day. “We’ve been sheltering at home for weeks,” says Zelda. “So we just had to get out of the house. We put on our masks and gloves, took the car out of mothballs, put the top down and just decided to drive.”
The two didn’t know it, but they were about to enter Los Angeles law enforcement history. As they were tooling down Sunset Strip, a brazen bank-robber escaped from a Chase bank. He dove into the back of their convertible.
“All of a sudden,” recalls Milt, “this fella with a bandana on his face dove into the back of our car. We’re into all the virus moves being suggested, so I complimented him on his bandana. He raised his hand. With a gun in it. Then he started screaming ‘Drive! Drive!’
“We told him to calm down because we were already driving,” adds Zelda. “We asked him where he wanted to go. He kept on yelling ‘Drive! Drive!’”
“I turned up our cassette player,” says Milt. “It was the ‘Best of The Mamas and Papas.’ ‘California Dreaming’ kicked in and we just mellowed out…except for our guest who was jumping up and down in the back seat like a monkey on a skillet.”
Police later surmised that the couple was going about 5 – 10 mph, causing a gridlock on Sunset Blvd. “We always try to drive carefully,” says Milt. “Which is why we never take any Freeways. I mean, there are people going 25 and 30 miles per hour and worse! At our age? We just want to enjoy the scenery.”
“I’ve seen smaller Rose Bowl Parades,” says Detective Addison Peeler.
Police were alerted to the robbery and sent two squad cars out. “We couldn’t even make it to the bank,” recalls Sergeant Pete “Pez” Ramirez. “Traffic was backed up for miles. We didn’t know what the heck was going on. This made O.J. getaway look like the Indy 500!”
Detective Addison Peeler adds, “I’ve seen smaller Rose Bowl Parades. All we needed to slow us down more were marching bands.”
Adding to the traffic disaster were a half-dozen TV news choppers who began to broadcast “the chase” live
“The jovial couple and the gun-waving robber kept TV audiences riveted,” says Sgt. Ramirez. “People ran out of their houses on the side streets and gathered on Sunset Blvd., cheering and waving at the car. They didn’t pay any attention to the gunman.
“Honestly, with all the people wearing masks and bandanas, it was a sure thing that half of the crowd were gang-bangers. They were probably packing a lot more heat than the bank robber. Forget social distancing. These folks were finally out of their houses. They were ecstatic!”
“It was pretty cool,” smiles driver Milt. “I had no idea what was going on. There were a lot of people waving at us and making ‘peace signs’ with their hands. I cranked up ‘The Mamas and the Papas’ and they applauded. It was groovy.”
After two hours and a traffic jam three miles long, police made a decisive move. They decided to walk up to the car. What they found amazed them.
THE SLOW MOTION AFTERMATH
The bank-robber and car-jacker, Horton Feetz, clambered out of the car and embraced them. “He was all whiny-like in the back seat, in fetus position, making ‘num-num’ noises. He saw us. Handed us his gun. Gave us all the money he’d stolen from the bank and emptied his wallet, paying us for saving him. He was fried. He was hugging us around our ankles,” states Detective Peeler.
The carjacker was arrested. The police told the Brillsteins to continue with their outing and advised the Brillsteins to put the pedal to the metal.
“They told us to go at least fifteen miles an hour,” says Milt. “We’ve been daredevils for decades, so we thought, ‘why not?’ We decided to head for Malibu. The scenery is nice up there. It’s, maybe, twenty-five miles away. Factoring in rest stops, we should get there in ten hours!”