REAL LIFE L.A. NOIRE – LAPD Vice-Squad Sgt. Charles Stoker's Factual Expose, "THICKER'N THIEVES" now available to Public. Twenty-years Before SERPICO there was STOKER

 THICKER’N THIEVES: The 1950 Factual Expose of Police-Pay-Offs, Graft, Political Corruption and Prostitution in Los Angeles and Hollywood


LAPD Vice Sergeant Charles Stoker


       Twenty-years before SERPICO there was STOKER

(Between 1948-1950  Stoker appeared in more than 600 separate front page article)2011 print edition- $14.95  now available on-line


Greetings from Los Angeles!

It is my personal privilege and honor to be able, to after sixty-years,  announce the re-publication of former LAPD Vice-Sergeant Charles Stoker’s 1951 expose-


THICKER’N THIEVES: The 1950 Factual Expose of Police-Pay-Offs, Graft, Political Corruption and Prostitution in Los Angeles and Hollywood


As many of you who have read BDA know, much of what Sgt. Stoker wrote in his original 1950 expose was of vital assistance to me in uncovering many truths, long hidden in the mist of time.


Stoker’s revelations and testimony before the 1949 Grand Jury related to the L.A. Abortion Ring and how it operated along with the payoffs to police in 1940s Los Angeles was of immense value in helping me put together many of the scattered pieces of the puzzle.


Charles Stoker was a rank-and-file straight-talking, honest street-cop, who was known as a “square apple” LAPD’s 1940s speak for a man who could not be bought. “Square apples” were those cops who would not take graft nor countenance it being taken by any of their partners.


If you’ve read my book you know Sgt. Charles Stoker was and remains my personal hero.


That being the case, it gives me great pride to be able to offer his book as it was originally published. T’NT is unabridged and unedited. I have changed nothing. I have added: a brief Foreword, a content table, some photographs to identify many of the 1940s “players” and an index. But none of HIS WORDS have been altered. What you read in this 2011 edition is exactly what Stoker penned in 1950. 


The print version is now available to order on line and an order should arrive to you within 2-3 days. (Mine did.).  Stoker’s original book (published in 1951 by the Sidereal Company, Santa Monica) has been  long out of print and the seven (7) editions available on-line are currently priced between $350 and $500 making them virtually unavailable to John & Jane Q. Citizen.


My goal in publishing The Stoker Story has been to make his book available and get it into the hands of as many readers as possible. For that reason, I have set the retail price of the new print edition at $14.95.That’s a 97% discount off the current market asking price for a used original.)  I also anticipate offering an e-book version, for an even lower price, which hopefully will happen within the next month.


There will be some critics who immediately, (probably without even reading his book) will go into their attack-mode and attempt to discredit Stoker’s original grand jury testimony which focused on 1940s police and political corruption. His critics, most of whom were likely born long after his book was written will lay claim to being “leading experts and historical-researchers” or “have an old LAPD cop friend who knew and gave them the straight skinny on Stoker.”


To you, my friends and readers, I simple say- read his words and judge for yourself!


Sgt. Stoker documented conditions as they unfolded in REAL TIME. He gave us names, dates, and addresses and held nothing back, even listing his own faults and naiveties. He named the bad cops and the good ones. Stoker’s book has no “spin” or affectation. He was subpoenaed before the ’49 Grand Jury, sworn in to “tell the truth” and HE DID JUST THAT!  


This is a fascinating and very important part of the real history of Los Angeles at one its most politically corrupt and critical  time periods- 1948-1950


Read and enjoy!


Steve Hodel

Thoughprint Press

Los Angeles, California

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  1. Robert Sadler on April 2, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    Thanks for the heads-up re your re-publication of Stoker’s book! Stoker’s book sounds fascinating and a must read. I will be ordering it and giving you my feedback once read. “History” as revealed in Sgt. Stoker’s “Thicker’n Thieves” needs to be revisited in order for a new generation to learn its lessons. Congrats, Steve!

  2. Steve Hodel on April 2, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    Hi and thanks Robert. It really has been a “labor of love” getting it together and being able to print it exactly AS IT WAS. No changes or editing from his original text. While one can and I’m sure many will be critical of Stoker’s “writing style” compared to say a Michael Connelly or Josesph Wambaugh, his book is not about writing a good story. It’s a living real time narration of what was going down in LA between 1948 -1950. For those that want to know and hear the historical truth of it all–I think it is absolutely RIVITING.
    Best to you and yours,

  3. Brian H. on April 4, 2011 at 8:25 am

    Well done Steve in bring this important book back to life!
    I remember trying to track down a copy, but it was impossible to locate one.
    I’ll be ordering mine right away.

  4. Steve Hodel on April 4, 2011 at 8:38 am

    Thanks Brian:
    Going through the process of getting it “out there” was very illuminating. Gave me additional insight into the special kind of pleasure I expect most publishers experience in being able to present something they believe in before the public. This real LA history, buried for sixty-years is way too important to not have it exhumed.

  5. Brian H. on April 4, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    “Thoughtprint Press” – nice touch!

  6. Kathy on April 6, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    Amazon says my copy is on the way!

  7. John S. on April 8, 2011 at 3:48 am

    First, apprehending Rodney Alcala. Then solving the Black Dahlia murder. Now, making this gem in Los Angeles’ sordid history available to us. You, Steve, are *my* hero!

  8. Mary on April 19, 2011 at 9:05 pm

    Thank you so much for your re-publication of Stoker’s book! This book is a must read. I have read 3 chapters. I couldn’t put it down. It is very good. Thanks Steve!

  9. Steve Hodel on April 19, 2011 at 9:53 pm

    Glad your enjoying the read. It’s a very important book.

  10. Matt Stoker on July 26, 2014 at 11:27 pm


    Thank you for publishing my grandfather’s book. He is a hero of mine as well.


    Matt Stoker

    • Steve Hodel on July 27, 2014 at 12:28 am

      Hi Matt: Yes, your granddaddy was one of LA’s big-time heroes. An honest cop trying to do the right thing in a “City of Angles.” Sgt. Stoker made you proud. Lucky you got some of those super genes to pass on. World needs more men like him. All my best. Steve

  11. Jeff on February 24, 2016 at 6:28 pm

    This book was described by one of my LAPD academy instructors as a reference for those officers who wanted to know how things were then compared to 1964 when our Chief of Police was the revered, William Parker. Parker had established Internal Affairs Division and you could rest assured that you would find no sympathy or help from them if you fucked up..and it did not take much to reach that standard. Taking so little as a pencil that belonged to someone else or sex outside marriage were among the dead bang firing offenses. We loved the Chief, he made us feel good about ourselves..above the unwashed masses and we knew we were the “palace guards”.
    Lots of things have changed since those days but the idea of uncontrolled or unpunished organized police crime are still things of the past. We owe Chief Parker a debt..God rest him.

  12. Richard Bonneau on April 15, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    Hi Steve:
    I am about 1/3 of the way through the book. It is a fascinating read. Having worked Vice myself I feel as though I am present for the investigations described by Sgt. Stoker. As you point out this is a very candid and important part of LAPD/Los Angeles history.

    My father and his friends, circa early 1950’s, talked extensively about this book and the contemporary events giving rise to the story. Then years later when I became an LAPD Police Officer several of my supervisors recommended reading it as an examination of police corruption and how to avoid it. Later I met and became friends with Don Clinton. Clifford Clinton’s son. Don told me many things that whetted my appetite for learning more about Los Angeles corruption. Don was a child and was in the family home in Los Felix when their home was bombed by members of LAPD.

    This is a truly amazing story and a must read for anyone interested in the history of Los Angeles and the LAPD.

    With recent changes in the L.A. City Charter one wonders if the stage has been set for a return to the corruption of the 1940’s…Human nature doesn’t change!

    • Steve Hodel on April 15, 2017 at 12:33 pm

      Hi Richard: Thanks for the comments re. Stoker’s book, “Thicker’N Thieves”. Yes, Sgt. Stoker puts us right into the thick of it back then. Real names and real locations real corruption. Really enjoyed being able to represent his book AS IS. As you say, so important to document the actual history as it got buried big time back then, so nice to uncover the dirt. (pun intended)

      Thanks for your many years of service to LAPD and the citizens of Los Angeles. Looks like you joined the Department just a few years after I retired in 1986. Your name seems so familiar to me, maybe your father who I expect was on the job during my years. Did he work Hollywood in the 60s-80s? If you would like a gratis personalized copy of BDA happy to mail one to you as a “thank you” for your service to LA. Best email for me is: Regards, Steve.

      P.S. The Clinton family as you say was a very important force for good in LA. Lot of respect for what Clifford Clinton did to advance conditions in LA back in the Thirties/Forties. Please give my personal thanks to his son for carrying on his father’s tradition for Angelenos. skh

      • Dick Bonneau on April 16, 2017 at 9:33 pm

        Hey Steve:
        Good to get your reply and to hear from you. I joined LAPD in 1971 and retired in 2007. You came to a community meeting at Central Division to talk about “Black Dahlia Avenger.”

        • Steve Hodel on April 16, 2017 at 10:00 pm

          Dick B: Sorry about that. My memory ain’t what it used to be, and unfortunately, never was. So, you were still active LAPD when we met at the talk. Do I remember your friend Don Clinton was there too? So much more has been discovered since those early talks. Again, my best.

  13. Luigi Warren on May 24, 2019 at 10:00 pm

    Steve: Just ran across an article, “Farewell to Johnny, Sage of Bunker Hill,” LAT (3/6/62). It’s a eulogy for an old-time newspaperman by the name of Johnny Arrington and says he served as Stoker’s ghostwriter on “Thicker’N Thieves.” The piece says Arrington was a police reporter on the L.A. Record in the twenties, and it mentions his being a fan of French Symbolist poet Remy de Gourmont (one of GHH’s favorites and a pretty rarified taste). Any chance GHH knew Arrington from his time on the Record and stayed in touch? -LW

  14. Steve Hodel on May 25, 2019 at 12:11 am

    LW: Very interesting. First time I’ve seen/heard his name come up anywhere. Wonder if their paths crossed back then. GHH was only with the LA Record for short time I think it was 1924-25. But, could well have been known each other during or after that. Yes, their taste in poets would likely have connected them “outside the newspaper” in other circles. Have to see what else I can find on him? Don’t recall Stoker ever recognizing him in TnT, unless I missed it. Thanks for the info. skh

  15. Luigi Warren on May 25, 2019 at 11:10 am

    Steve: Can’t find much on John Spalding Arrington (1898 – 1962) beyond Matt Weinstock’s tribute. Looks like Spalding, Weinstock and Ted Le Berthon were all at the Daily News in the forties. See “Farewell, My Lovely,” Independent Press-Telegram (6/1/69). BTW, am I correct that Le Berthon’s editor at the Evening Herald when he wrote the “Merry-Go-Round” hit piece on GHH was none other than James Richardson? See “Finding Aid for the James Hugh Richardson Papers,” Online Archive of California. Given it now seems that the Zodiac Killer sent taunting letters to the Hearst family referencing “yellow journalism” after Patty Hearst’s kidnapping, it might be significant that the Herald was part of the Hearst empire in 1925. See “The Los Angeles Daily Herald” in the California Digital Newspaper Collection. -LW

  16. Luigi Warren on June 4, 2019 at 9:54 am

    Steve: Arrington comes up several times in Wagner’s “Red Ink White Lies.” There are no exact dates for his tenure at the Record, but he was a cub reporter on the police beat by 1925, so there’s a good chance GHH knew him. Tight with the cops and the mobsters of the era, he “wore a gun on his hip and had a police badge in his pocket.” Also noteworthy is Wagner’s discussion of Record editor Burton Knisely’s “Pomegranates and Pemmican Club” for the budding literati among his reporters. It is mentioned that “Upton Sinclair was a popular topic.” Based on both style and content, would not be surprised if the author of the 1974 Palo Alto letter to the Hearst family had read Sinclair’s “The Brass Check” back in the day. -LW

    • Steve Hodel on June 4, 2019 at 10:41 am

      LW: Good work. I have Wagner’s book, which, as you know, is a great reference to all those early LA papers and reporters. Have a letter of reference on GHH from LA RECORD editor Burton Knisely somewhere, have to dig it out and maybe blog it. Pretty sure it is from 1925. Yes, I’d say the odds are almost certain that the two young budding reporters had to have known each other back then. Thanks.

      • Luigi Warren on June 5, 2019 at 12:34 am

        Steve: Be curious to see that letter. Probably this is where the idea of showing a police badge came from. The period at the Record seems like the key to so many things. -LW

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