By Eric Leonard
April 29, 2002
In a February interview with KFI, lawyer Cary Goldstein said
LAPD detectives had interviewed two men who had allegedly
been propositioned by Blake to carry out a 'hit' on Bakley.
My sources declined to comment at all, which in and of itself
suggested a tacit confirmation that the information was somewhat
accurate. No other information surfaced in the case until
received information mid-day Wednesday that an arrest was
imminent and detectives from the LAPD's Detective Support
Division had placed Robert Blake and Earle Caldwell under
surveillance. I confirmed the information with a source close
to the case who told me 'something' was going on. Later in
the day I was invited into the Hidden Hills community and
I observed undercover units watching Blake's home. I began
a surveillance of the surveillance. Many of the police units
were gone after dark and I left around 9 p.m., thinking the
information about an imminent arrest was bad.
Thursday I was assigned to cover Cardinal Mahony's statement
about changes in the way the Church would handle abuse allegations.
Shortly after arriving at the new cathedral downtown, another
source contacted me and told me an arrest would be made before
I had been working with another well-sourced reporter (from
a non-competing outlet) on elements of the Blake story, and
we immediately began discussing what to do. The non-competing
outlet sent a surveillance team of their own to Hidden Hills,
and I began receiving reports on activity at the Blake home:
Blake wasn't there.
After a brief discussion with KFI news director Chris Little
I dropped the Mahony story and drove back out to Hidden Hills.
I checked with Cary Goldstein who said he had heard from two
sources an arrest would be forthcoming. I spotted undercover
police at all Hidden Hills exits and was told Blake had just
returned home. It was around 2:30 p.m.
Channel 2's helicopter arrived and began high-altitude orbits
over Hidden Hills. Several thousand feet above Chopper 2,
an LAPD 'Special Flights' surveillance helicopter cruised
in wide circles. On the ground -- other media had gathered
at the Hidden Hills main gate.
By 3:00 it was a circus outside the main gate. Two plainclothes
LAPD detectives parked at the gate in a sports car tried to
be inconspicuous but they were hard to miss. A few minutes
earlier a source told me arrest warrants had been signed for
Blake and Caldwell. We went on the air at 3:06 p.m. and revealed
an arrest was imminent in the Blake case. I reported the LAPD
had the actor under surveillance, and it appeared the police
were preparing to make a move.
Blake's lawyer Harland Braun was contacted and he denied his
client was about to be arrested.
Around 4 p.m. I again gained access to the Hidden Hills complex
with the help of a cooperative resident. I spotted Blake sitting
on his front porch with Caldwell and another man, and watched
as his daughter Rose played with her babysitter in the backyard.
Blake was talking on a cordless phone occasionally and pointing
at the news helicopters. By this time, about half the local
television stations had their ships over the scene.
I phoned in a report about what was going on at the Blake
place around 4:30 -- not much. In my 5:00 news report, I suggested
that the activity at the Blake place could be 'a whole lot
of nothing.' My reporter friend and I speculated an arrest
would be made on a Friday, not Thursday. We were wrong.
Shortly after 5 DSD detectives began gathering in the dirt
parking lot of a greenery that's directly adjacent to the
Hidden Hills main gate. Soon a half-dozen undercover cars
with paper plates and blacked-out windows had maneuvered into
the back of the dirt lot and the undercover detectives, some
wearing uniform shirts from second-hand stores, began to put
on their black bulletproof vests. I couldn't believe what
I was seeing.
One of the surveillance cars pulled out on to the main road
leading to the Hidden Hills gate. Two other detectives in
the sports car badged the guard and zipped inside the complex.
Back in the dirt lot, the remaining detectives lined their
cars up, windows down, scoped AR-15 carbines at the ready.
Their LAPD badge patches were clearly visible on their body
It was about 5:30.
The surveillance team rolled towards the gate. A line of
marked and unmarked police units pulled around the corner
and fell into place. Detectives wore their blue LAPD raid
jackets. A crime scene van was part ofthe caravan.
I called KFI's master control and told them to put me on the
air, 'right now!' I gave a play-by-play as the cars waited at
the gate, then rushed inside to Blake's home. Other detectives
stayed out front and blocked the entrance to Hidden Hills. Moments
later the undercovers packed up and drove out. Blake was in
About the Author
Eric Leonard is a news reporter for KFI Radio in Los Angeles.
He was also the founder of ETS -- Entertainment Television Services.
Since the Bonny Lee Bakley murder May 4, 2001, Leonard and KFI
have broken several Blake related stories including the actor's
refurbishment of the 'Mata Hari Ranch' and his move to Hidden