Last week's bust in a downtown penthouse of a counterfeit-money operation has the makings of a great yarn, if only detectives can figure it out. Neighbors reported fumes coming from the penthouse. When the occupant wouldn't let the fire department in, cops busted down the door. They found "sophisticated counterfeiting equipment as well as a cache of weapons including an AK-47....stacks of counterfeit $100 bills totaling $15,000 and a camera tripod," says an L.A. Times story. A man got away by fleeing down the fire escape of the Reserve Lofts with duffel bags, and police also found multiple passports under different names and photos of suspect Brian Alexik in various disguises. The $3,400-a-month penthouse was leased for a year by a man who paid cash, and the kicker may be that the balcony looks out at the Federal Reserve branch in Los Angeles. "He's funding a criminal enterprise. He's dabbling in narcotics, he's manufacturing weapons parts. But what is it? Was there a bigger plan? What was his intent?" said LAPD Deputy Chief Mike Downing of the Counter-Terrorism Bureau. "We have a lot of questions for him when he is arrested."
The Downtown News' Ryan Vaillancourt has been all over the story from the start, with stories here and here. Alexik is wanted on three felony warrants for possession of an AK-47, possession of a “sawed off” shotgun, and being a convicted felon with a firearm. On Thursday, a possible associate was arrested elsewhere downtown and "a search of his home and a downtown warehouse found evidence of 'items consistent with manufacturing weapons.'"
Photo: Downtown News