The Real Story Behind Last Night’s Hostage Situation

Have scanner, will tweet

By now you’ve probably read the stories or seen the reports about the hostage situation that occurred last night at the Howard Hughes Center in Westchester. In case you haven’t: Armed dudes tried to rob the Nordstrom Rack. Someone called police. LAPD officers surrounded the shopping mall including a theater where patrons were watching the hyper-violent Gangster Squad. Two robbers maybe drove off in a white Ford Explorer. 13 or 14 people were either detained as hostages or locked themselves into a room. One woman was sexually assaulted by the robbers. In the wee hours of the morning, a SWAT team stormed the store. They found the hostages and discovered the robbers had escaped. The robbers are still at large. At least that’s what we think happened. The police are still piecing it together.

Aside from the pressing question of “Who bothers robbing Nordstrom Rack?!” here’s the real story: Before most (though not all) big-time news outlets (we’ll be kind by not mentioning names) had even geared up to report this, scanner junkies like Venice 311 and (our favorite) LA Scanner were already tweeting about the standoff and cracking OJ Simpson jokes (you know: white Explorer, fleeing on the freeway).

Both Venice 311 and LA Scanner don’t tweet details of police operations lest they put officers in harm’s way. But as sooon as it was over, Venice 311 had details. Last night and in the wee hours of this morning, if you wanted to learn immediate details of the fracas, you were better off forgetting the local news and checking Twitter. Aint technology grand?