LA TIMES 2-23-28

"Kidnapping Laid to Liquor Gang"
Fisherman Taken Off Boat by Gun-Toting Band
Officers Fight Rum-runners and Capture Two
Another Flees After Battle at Topanga Beach

Kidnapped by rum-runners, police believe, because of his knowledge of their activities, John Kovalevosky, fisherman of 639 Upland Avenue, San Pedro, was spirited away from his boat yesterday and no trace of him has been found. The Russian's craft, Isami, was moored alongside the San Pedro wholesale fish market when a speedy motorboat came up with a crew of armed men, and he was forced to accompany them.

Cruising in the vicinity of Santa Cruz Island last Saturday night, the Isami was commandeered by rum-runners, police say, and used in landing a quantity of liquor. Kovalevosky rowed a dory to the island for the men, it is reported, and then was permitted to return to his boat. He reported the incident immediately on his arrival at San Pedro.

Two Captured

Police and deputy sheriffs working on the case believe the kidnappers to be part of a gang, two of whom were captured at Topanga Canyon Beach yesterday, while a third escaped in a hail of bullets, after a raid by Sheriff Traeger's prohibition enforcement detail.

The two men captured at the time of the surprise raid gave their names as A. B. Clift, 37 years of age, 123 Commercial Street, and Allen C. Smith, 122 Commercial Street.

The arrest of the two men followed a heated gun battle with officers under Capt. Benton, with Deputy Sheriffs Hastings and Dougherty playing a leading role. At the time the officers sprang from their hiding place in the rocks, the prisoners had just finished unloading the second dory-load of liquor transported to the beach from a speedboat lying offshore, according to Capt. Benton.

They Open Fire

When ordered to surrender, the men opened fire, but were unable to injure the officers who took cover behind near-by rocks.

Two of the men eventually surrendered but the third escaped un-injured amid a shower of bullets from the officers' guns.

The dory, cast adrift in the melee, was recovered and beached at Venice. Efforts to locate the speedboat which transported the liquor from the rum fleet to the dory were without success, as it disappeared in the early morning mists before officers could find a swift craft in which to pursue it.


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