If you’re looking to pick a pocket at a bar or nightclub in West Hollywood, you might want to avoid Flaming Saddles, which actually has a sign at the door calling you out.
The gay club at the northeast corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Larrabee Street was itself called out at Monday night’s Public Safety Commission by Chair Jeffrey Waack for posting the warning sign.
No one wants to have a sign by their door saying “pickpockets” Waack acknowledged. He then praised Flaming Saddles for “doing something proactively about this problem.” Waack said that the Abbey and other bars have resisted taking steps to warn their customers about the problem.
Waack made his comment during the presentation of the monthly crime report by the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station. The report for May noted there were 11 pickpocket thefts – usually of cellphones — at the Abbey that month, two at Mickey’s, Trunks and Mother Lode and none at Rage, Hi Tops, 1Oak, and Beaches. In the past five months, there were a total of 70 pickpocket thefts at the Abbey, 35 at Mickey’s, 10 at Trunks, eight at Rage, three at Mother Lode, two at Beaches and 1 Oak and none at Hi Tops. The report doesn’t adjust the data to account for the size of the crowds at those bars. Given that the Abbey is one of the most popular in West Hollywood, the number of pickpocket thefts per customer may be relatively small.
In an email exchange with WEHOville, Chris Barnes, who co-owns Flaming Saddles with Jacqui Squatriglia, said “the problem is real and up to us to solve. Pickpocketing is a tourist epidemic in France and the U.K and they are proactive about it. I actually customized their street signs of alert for Flaming Saddles.”
“We also hired undercover security who roam the entire club with look outs on the catwalk and steps with laser pointers when we see suspicious characters — usually a team of two to four. One takes the phone, passes it off to another or one starts a conversation with the other behind.”
“It makes us sick that people come out for a good time and predators ruin their night,” Barnes said. “Yet, people are extremely careless as well. We are constantly finding customers leaving their bags, phones, purses, unattended. There are some great products out there that minimize the threat. I highly suggest people use them…”
“We let suspicious people know we are watching, because…WE F-CKING ARE !!!”