Saturday was a day related to vehicles. At around 11:30am Marklein Avenue in Mission Hills was evacuated after a random sighting turned up another vehicle that was likely owned by Matasareanu.
We know from an interview with Larry Phillips' widow, that he left his house on Drake Avenue in Anaheim Hills sometime in the afternoon of the 27th and was driving what she remembered to be either a blue or black car.
A dark blue 1995 Buick Century was recovered from the garage of the house on Ludlow. All pieces joining together then this would appear to have been Phillips mode of transport from Anaheim to the north end of the San Fernando Valley.
Yet what of Matasareanu? Had Larry picked him up and they travelled together? After all Matasareanu's house was on the route he would likely have travelled.
Parked on a quiet residential side street some three and a half miles away from the 'safe house' sat a 1984 Pontiac 6000STE.
A pedestrian had walked past and spotted a loaded high capacity drum magazine on the back seat. With the bank robbery a week previous still on everybody's lips this person decided to call it in. LAPD attended and upon opening the trunk discovered another container with a putty-like substance with wires emanating from it. The area was evacuated until it was determined that the compound was not an immediate threat.
It had only been two days earlier that another vehicle had been found during the second search of Matasareanu's home property with a similar substance stored in the trunk.
Was this Matasareanu's transport? We would be willing to bet good money that it was and that he had laid the car off here and Phillips had picked him up and together they travelled the last brief miles to their safe house.
Pretty sloppy to leave an ammunition drum in full view of anyone who cared to glance through the window, pretty sloppy indeed, yet that appears to have been Matasareanu all over.
Back at Matasareanu's Pepperdale address a burgundy (actually 'dark Toreador Red') 1992 Mercury Grand Marquis GS was also seized under Federal Asset Forfeiture.
In North Hollywood Dateline NBC had wasted no time at all in tracking down Sharon Santos, they proceeded to record an interview with her at the very location that the father of her children had ended his own life only a week earlier. A visibly distraught Santos can be seen to bend and touch the spot where Phillips had fallen. In all of the footage I have ever seen relating to this event it is this piece that disturbs me the most, truly ghoulish reporting.
A single entry for this day; the landlord for the as yet undiscovered Anaheim Hills address sent a second page to Federico's pager regarding the rent for March. It went unanswered.
Pause for a moment if you will, for we are usually so intent on moving the story forward to the next piece of information, and give a thought to what was occurring in that space. Larry Phillips had lived here, eaten here, slept here, played with his kids here and now his absence would have been overbearingly conspicuous.
Federico and the children moved through a house that was no longer home, did the children ask where Larry was? As a parent what could you possibly tell them? That whilst being a bad man he had killed himself on television the week before? Probably not eh? Everywhere reminders of Larry would have been evident, so what was Jeanette waiting for? The answer to that we shall soon see.
The LA FBI Bank Squad requested information from San Gabriel/Pomona Valley Regional Centre relating to Valerie Nicolescu-Matasareanu's business 'Valerie's Villa'. Bail for Nicolescu-Matasareanu was reduced from $250,000 down to just $50,000.
Today would be a day that would set in motion a chain of events that would eventually give insight into the enigma that had been Larry Phillips. Jeanette Federico broke her cover.
During an interview with an associate of ours who is making their own project related to this event Jeanette was asked why she had waited so long. Her reply was that her car, on the morning of the fateful robbery in North Hollywood, had blown its engine as she returned from picking her daughter up from school. She had waited on family members to travel from out of state to replace the engine. Two weeks later she had loaded her children, and a few possessions, and strangely a few trinkets that Larry had purchased into her tan coloured Bonneville and prepared to close the front door to Drake Ave for the last time.
Jeanette Federico, it would seem, had a plan, although it would take another thirty days until she would make herself known to law enforcement.
Pinning the house keys to the front door in an envelope which also contained a note saying that there had been a family emergency, that they had to leave and that the landlord could help themselves to anything in the house she closed the door to the house she had shared with Phillips for the final time and began a sixteen hour, thousand mile drive northeast to Colorado.
Valerie Nicolescu-Matasareanu was released from jail after posting the required $50,000 bond.
On this day two events are recorded.
The first is an interview given to FBI agents from a person who we cannot define. It was either Jeanette Federico's brother, Christopher or her ex, Paul Mata. Due to redactions it is impossible to tell who exactly the source was but what can be gleaned from it is that it was given from somebody who was relatively close to Jeanette and lost touch with her when she left Colorado for Los Angeles with Phillips in 1993. The interview speaks of Phillips being an abrasive and 'pushy' cocaine user who always had a stash of drugs close to hand. We cannot say for an absolute certainty that these accusations are unfounded but what we can say is we have never found another person who has corroborated them in the years spent digging into this guy's history.
The second event was that the LAPD Robbery/Homicide Division released Federico's information to the public listing her as a 'person of interest'. Yet despite public appeals and even a spot of 'Unsolved Mysteries which aired on April 11th' no solid leads were returned. A story exists that Jeanette had seen the episode and turned herself in several days later saying that she was unaware that the police were looking for her.
We are suspicious of this story given her first hand recount of her conversation with Cristina Matasareanu, she absolutely knew the police would have been actively looking for her. Her reason for delaying which she went to great lengths to reinforce when our associate interviewed her shall be divulged further down this page. The 'not aware' story simply does not hold up.
LAPD RHD request copies of the FBI's crime scene photos from North Hollywood.
The Freedom of Information Act is a wonderful thing, allowing you access to interesting and pertinent (although very often, heavily redacted) files. Let me be absolutely 100% clear with you, dear reader. We have had to fight tooth and nail with the FBI to obtain release of pertinent files. When they released a series of photographs to us that had been photocopied so badly, to the point of being little more than unintelligible black smudges, we obviously asked for better clarity. To which they point blank refused. We argued that the disclosure had already been authorised and did not breach the privacy of any individual as if it had then they would not have copied the photos for us in the first place, what we were talking about in furthering the request was a matter of image quality. Six weeks of silence ensued before they finally relented and passed us marginally better copies...and less images than they originally released.
Those images, less than thirty of them, were for the most part generic and had very little research value. An event of this magnitude and less than thirty pictures?! If we were released everything, and not for a second do I believe that we were and RHD got the same package then boy they must have been disappointed.
FBI field office in Denver sent the transcripts of three interviews to the Los Angeles office.
The Federico brother/ex interview, and interview of the hopper who was robbed at gunpoint in the Littleton armoured car job in 1993, and an interview with Phillips Sr.
Also on this day the Anaheim Hills landlord sent the first page regarding April's rent, this too like those sent in March, went unanswered.
Emil Matasareanu's autopsy results were made available for the first time.
Case number 298-cv-02445 landed in front of Rosalyn M. Chapman.
This would be a case that would divide the city, for it was the now infamous Matasareanu -Vs-Gates et al. A Civil Rights claim filed under 42 USC 1983 by the Matasareanu family, in the name of his two sons Emil Jr and Alexander that their father had been deprived his rights whilst in custody of the LAPD.
This case is not something that we really wish to bring to the site, it steers away from our focus, is overly difficult and expensive to source documents and more importantly places us in an environment where it becomes difficult to remain neutral. The case exists, the results of which can be found on the internet quite easily if you choose to know more.
Also on this day Larry Phillips birth certificate was recovered, one can only assume it took so long due to the 1986 name change from Warfel which RHD would not have been aware of.
The creation of this segment of this particular page has been long and arduous. We would like to pass on a debt of gratitude to both Jeanette Federico and Damian Sommerlad for their assistance in its creation.
'I had known Larry since we were kids' Jeanette stated in a 2021 interview. Her brother, Michael, had gone to school with the young Larry whilst Jeanette herself appears to have attended another school.
How close that relationship was or how often they had contact is so far unknown, he was for the moment just a friend of her brother.
Jeanette would have a relationship with a gentleman named Paul Mata which produced a daughter (for privacy's sake we shall refer to her from here as AM). That relationship was not slated to last and from this point there exists two vastly differing stories about what happened next in regards to custody of AM.
Jeanette during interview would say that she believed Paul was not a good father figure for her daughter. The story that Paul recounted to Steve Terrell in an article published in 1997 called 'Robbery & Reunion' painted him as a man that never stopped looking for his daughter, of a man who spent everything he owned trying to track her and her elusive mother down. It is not our job to decide who is telling the correct story in this instance; we suspect the truth lies halfway between the two stories.
At an undisclosed time in 1992 Jeanette had been socialising, playing pool when Larry Phillips came over to her and further introduced himself. There was an obvious rapport and the two began spending time together and ultimately dating. She would say that whilst they dated that it never felt romantic, but almost perfunctory.
Larry was at this point still involved with Sharon Santos and father to their two children. Jeanette maintains that she had no knowledge of Larry's other family until detectives informed her in 1997.
Jeanette had her own issues to contend with, the custody battle between herself and her ex, Paul.
From Jeanette's perspective Larry came across as a protector, and a quote from her rings quite loudly as to the choices she would make next.
'If he could offer me a way out I was going to take it'.
Jeanette speaks of Paul wishing for their child to spend a year with him, and then a year with her, to which she objected. In her opinion, her daughter did not have much of a connection with her father, and combined with the heated discussions about custody arrangements it was all driving Jeanette into making a decision which would prove very much to resemble 'from the frying pan into the fire'.
As Jeanette and Larry spent more time together this story of the custody wrangling came out. Larry tried to talk Jeanette into having Paul meet her at a certain time and place, only Jeanette would not be there, some of Larry's associates would take her place in an attempt to scare Paul off. She initiated the meeting and then at the last moment called Paul and backed him off, not wishing the father of her daughter to be threatened, beaten or possibly worse. When asked what Larry would have done if he had met Paul, Jeanette replied without hesitation or unnecessary theatre 'I think he would have killed him'.
Jeanette saw Larry as a solution, a protector to her and her daughter, and most importantly to her as a way for her to keep her daughter by her side. When Larry suggested they leave Denver and move to Los Angeles she signed up with little hesitation.
In 1993 Paul Mata went through the court system and soon a warrant for 'custodial interference' was issued. That warrant would eventually expire and a new one would replace it in November 1996.
Federico, was now in the same boat as Phillips. On the run from the law and heading for California, much like Phillips' father and Dorothy Clay some twenty four years earlier.
Jeanette speaks of Larry changing almost immediately, 'flipping the script' on her as she puts it. Gone was the gregarious, friendly young man, to be replaced by someone whose darker edge was now seen to be very much closer to the surface.
Apparently he was always attentive and never mean to AM, but toward her he had moments of 'cruelty'.
Phillips remained a means to an end.
Over the next few years in Los Angeles they would live under a variety of false identities at a variety of addresses, including at one point sharing a house with the Matasareanus and at another having Dorothy Clay living with them.
As several interviews progressed with Ms.Federico and she was asked about Larry's relationship with various people one thing started to stand out. That was that Larry had a particular way of speaking to people. 'Disrespectful' was the word that was used on multiple occasions.
When asked about the relationship with his mother, Jeanette spoke of being in shock at how the pair communicated with each other in such a toxic fashion, of how she would never dream of speaking to her own parents in the way in which Larry spoke to his.
When asked about Larry's interactions with Emil Matasareanu, he was portrayed as very much the alpha male of the pair. Whilst they had their moments joking around as friends there was apparently no ambiguity as to who was in charge.
The big question, for it is the biggest possible one to ask regarding Jeanette and Larry's union, and that is 'Just how much was she aware of Larry's dealings?'.
It is a tough question to answer, Larry kept a large majority of what he was doing insulated from his home life, yet Jeanette speaks of turning on the television on the morning of the North Hollywood event and 'KNOWING' that was Larry. Forty three pounds of body armour significantly affects a person's stance and gait. It would appear that she knew he was up to no good, but was probably not integral to the finite planning of the robberies, a theory backed up by one of the lead investigators, Tom Gattegno.
In Thornton Colorado Jeanette was staying with friends, between those friends and members of her family telling her that she would have to speak to the police eventually she decided that this was the appropriate day to surrender herself.
She speaks of the delay in surrendering as being more about having the time to implement care for her children rather than an attempt to avoid the police. She knew she was facing jail time for taking off with AM some four years earlier, but now she also had her son (referred to from this point as AP) to look out for too. Eventually everything was in place, as much as it could be, and it was time to face the detectives.
Jeanette had shown up at Thornton Police Station that day with an armful of keepsakes that Larry had bought. Several model cars, a model samurai, and some decorative plates. Those went into evidence bags too but they were hardly the missing $1.6m that RHD and the FBI were hunting.
Exact details of what was said during the three hour interview has never been divulged by either party, Jeanette kind of waves off those questions when asked.
What is for sure is she gave up the very thing that RHD were looking for, the LA address.
Finally, six weeks after the shooting, they now had the inner sanctum of this infamous bank robber.
Back in Los Angeles the doors of 7117 East Drake Avenue, Anaheim Hills were breached.
Inside, the house was silent and abandoned. The remnants of another life remained, furniture, weight training equipment, a kids playhouse in the rear yard. Nothing but dust motes in sunbeams and law enforcement intent on finding a missing stash of money moved in that space.
Below are modern day photographs, taken from when the house was last up for sale. As is to be expected the house has undergone substantial modernization over the years, we have also included period photographs for comparison.
Inside the house Detectives and Federal Agents soon started turning up tools of Phillips' trade.
Before long a scoped Heckler & Koch Model 91A3 came to light, followed by what can only be termed as a Frankenstein'd AR15 (this weapon has been of some interest to me over the years as I have never been able to truly identify all the parts used), this rifle was also found to have been illegally modified to select fire. Then came two pistols, a SIG and another Beretta 92 if accounts are correct; and a third undisclosed pistol.
Multiple upper and lower receivers for the AR15 platform were also found. We believe that this speaks to the theory that these men were converting the firearms themselves, backed further by the discovery of a manual and VHS media that explained how to do this in the Ludlow Street safe house, and were not as some people have postulated buying them from biker gangs, the Mexican Mafia, drug cartels south of the border, or from any other number of spurious sources people have dreamt up.
In the garage was found another piece of the puzzle, a Ryobi bench pillar drill, the EXACT type of tool that would have been required for drilling the hole for the autosear pin in both the AR and AK platforms.
Numerous items of body armour were also recovered. Including, and we have always found this a little strange, what was then current issue Canadian military body armour. Remember Phillips connection to Calgary in Alberta? The storage locker rented there for no discernable reason back in 1992? Were these things just pure happenstance or was there a connection? So far we have been unable to connect those two particular dots but certain people have gotten very nervous when we raise the question.
Another odd find in Drake came up as well. Police badges, a police belt, leather pouches for ROVR radios, handcuffs, almost a full set of fancy dress to impersonate a police officer. A thought worth pondering, just what had this pair been planning?
In the corner of one room sat a Gardall floor safe, and once opened inside the searchers found what it was they had been looking for.
The strange thing is there is no official dollar number that we can find that was released for the recovered funds. Various sources state numbers between $270,000 and $400,000. What can be sure is that $1.6m it was not.
The money had been stripped of the bank's paper bands, and rebundled into what looks like $10,000 straps, two 'straps' subsequently bundled together.
Jeanette has always maintained that she thought this safe contained real estate papers, and that she was not aware of the combination.
Featured at the end of the page is a copy of everything that was removed from Drake under Federal Asset Forfeiture rules. Including the vehicles and the items recovered from the house the total would come to a mere $65,770 when sold at auction. No further mention is made of the recovered money from Drake, it can only be assumed that it was returned to Bank of America.
On the same day an address was also taken in Denver, an address that Federico insists she had no knowledge of. Quite how the police/FBI got on to this address is a mystery.
During the search of 4637 Sherman Street, the following was recovered.
Two firearms receipts too, a pity the purchaser's name has been redacted. What we found curious though is that the SSN card is listed in the name of Larry Warfel, had these purchases been made under one of Larry's assumed identities then the name would surely be listed as it does not breach the privacy of any living being. As the name is redacted one can only assume that these were straw purchases by another individual.
One's mind also cannot help but return to the November 1996 conversation that Phillips had with his father, of him talking about moving back to Denver in April 1997. Was this the house he had set up for that very move? It would appear so.
Quite what was on the multitude of home movie tapes has never been disclosed.
If Jeanette is to be believed about having no knowledge of this address, and we see no reason to question her integrity on that fact, then Larry was once again pulling strings behind the scenes in typical Larry fashion. Yet according to Jeanette Larry had changed once again in the final year of his life. In her words 'It seemed like he was going crazy, slowly'.
'He had become a lot darker, talking about how he didnt believe in God, about how he believed in Satan'.
'He became a germaphobe, and he didn't like to be touched'.
Jeanette recounts a tale of a blister popping and the liquid getting on to Larry's skin and Larry having a bit of a meltdown because of it.
'It was a gradual change that happened over that year we were at that house and he just got more strange in his demeanour and actions, his talk and the way he acted, he was off'.
A very rare glimpse into a part of Phillips life that only she was privy to.
What was causing the gradual breakdown?
Was it the pressure of the life he had chosen for himself?
Was it possibly guilt surrounding the Herman Cook incident? (Which there is more evidence indicating it was more than likely not the work of Larry and Emil)
Or were there other forces at work?
Unfortunately it is a question that will remain forever unanswered, the truth of what exactly was going on in his head died along with him.
Jeanette would be remanded into custody on the custodial interference warrant of November 1996. AM would be returned to her father, a meeting that was also documented in 'Robbery & Reunion'.
The true story of who exactly Larry Eugene Phillips Jr was, of his motivations, his fears and desires, and most importantly of why exactly he followed such a destructive path to his doom will never be known, not in its entirety. He had lived his life on the fringe of society and most of those who knew him have since passed on leaving little record of the man himself.
We have chased his movements for close to a decade and a half now, do we know who he was? Not really, do we understand his trajectory through his short life? Yes I would say we do, but the unflinching question that was there when we started this remains now: 'Why could he not see how this would end if he continued?'. Ignorance of youth? Uncaring? Willing to sacrifice himself in the pursuit of money or fame?
Who knows? For a brief moment in time he wrote his name into the history books, for all the wrong reasons.
Yet what of the other players?
Jeanette would not return to Los Angeles, she has quietly raised her children and remains cautious when speaking about her past.
Cristina Matasareanu moved out of state and also quietly raised her sons. She has rebuffed all forms of contact in an attempt to allow her to tell her side of the story.
Emil's father, Viorel, passed away in 2004, burial location unknown.
Emil's mother, Valerie, passed away in 2020, burial location unknown.
Larry's mother, Dorothy, passed away in 1994 and is buried in the Los Angeles area.
Larry's father, Larry Sr, passed away in 2003 and is buried next to his son in Denver.
In a cruel twist of fate, Reginald Phillips, would bury first his grandson, and then his son before finally being laid to rest in the same plot.
The five sons of these two men have built their own lives but still they must carry the burden of who their fathers were. We can only wish them all the best for their futures and hope that our work has helped dispel some of the rampant lies that have permeated the internet.
There are quite a few more entries here that could be made regarding what happened after the Drake Ave address was found. We have decided against including them as our focus has only ever been to understand Larry & Emil and not to air the dirty laundry of those closest to them. So we shall draw to a close this chapter as law enforcement quietly closed the door to Drake Avenue, behind us remains the memories of what came before.