The little boy enthusiastically voiced his request from the back of the Anaheim PD patrol car.
“More crime. I want more crime.”
His sentiment was understandable.
After all, Abdul Abedi, 6, had just saved the day at Knott’s Berry Farm after bad guys had stolen Linus’ blanket.
Armed with Silly String, and helped by an Anaheim PD officer, Abdul successfully took down the hoodlums and reunited the “Peanuts” character with his beloved blanket.
Now he was ready for more action.
The police radio crackled to life.
APD dispatch reported that a half-dozen of the Toon Bandit’s henchmen had captured the mascot at John’s Incredible Pizza in Buena Park and had taken him hostage, and that the services of “Officer Abdul” were needed ASAP.
The two calls were among four in an action-packed day for Officer Abdul on Tuesday, Sept. 17, thanks to the APD and Make-A-Wish Orange County and the Inland Empire.
Officer Abdul, who has leukemia, wants to grow up and be a police officer.
He got a heavy taste of the job during “Abdul’s Wish,” an elaborate day that also included stops at Angel Stadium and the Honda Center.
His mission: to find and apprehend the “Toon Bandit” and his henchmen.
The four-hour adventure, organized by APD Sgt. Jacob Gallacher and a team of APD personnel and several community partners, ended with a hero’s welcome and celebration ceremony and pizza party held in the employee rear parking lot at the APD.
“Abdul has done more work in the last two hours than I have in the last 20 years,” quipped APD Inv. Lorenzo Taylor.
Make a Wish Orange County & the Inland Empire has granted wishes to more than 6,300 local children, said Chief Executive Officer Gloria Jetter Crockett.
“It’s amazing what we can do when a community comes together,” she said.
“Make-A-Wish is so grateful to the Anaheim Police Department for helping to grant Abdul’s wish to be a police officer,” said Kara Bautch, director of brand advancement for Make-A-Wish Orange County and the Inland Empire.
“We are overwhelmed by the support of the Anaheim Police Department and all of our community partners for making this a truly incredible day to remember,” Bautch added.
The day began with a slew of APD patrol cars rolling up to Abdul’s apartment in West Anaheim to pick him up.
“My name’s Officer Jake,” Gallacher told the boy. “I need some help.”
Abdul and his father, Mohammad, hopped into Gallacher’s patrol car and went to APD headquarters so Chief Jorge Cisneros could swear in the boy as an honorary officer.
Cisneros gave Abdul a uniform and a directive to find the Toon Bandit.
“Make sure you apprehend him,” Cisneros told Abdul.
Before he took down the bad guys at Wagon Camp, home of the Wild West stunt show at Knott’s, Abdul scored some shades with green frames at a souvenir stand.
He wanted to look cool – just like the numerous APD officers who were on hand to help him or witness his heroics.
For his arrests, Abdul got a hug from Snoopy and Linus.
Abdul then was dispatched to John’s Incredible Pizza to free the IncrediBear, who had been captured and bound by animal balloons on the Boogie Bump Attraction.
Aided by Sgt. Brennan Leininger, Abdul pretend-handcuffed all the bad guys. One of them feigned sobs.
“Are you a cry baby?” Abdul asked him.
It was time for a quick breather.
“Fighting crime is tiring, huh?” Leininger asked the boy.
Abdul then was dispatched to Angel Stadium. Angel, the APD air support helicopter, landed in the parking lot to assist Abdul in the search for the Toon Bandit.
But first, Abdul took a tour of the helicopter.
“You want to try to fly this someday?” Sgt. Bryan Santy asked him, adding:
“There are a lot of buttons. Try not to push them all at once.”
Angel spotted the Toon Bandit on home plate inside the stadium.
Abdul gave chase around the bases.
The Toon Bandit then stole a cart belonging to the stadium grounds crew. Abdul and an officer hopped into another cart and chased the bad guy out into the parking lot, where the Toon Bandit then commandeered a yellow Corvette and took off.
Several patrol cars, lead by Gallacher with Abdul in the back seat, followed the Corvette to the parking lot of the Honda Center.
The Toon Bandit got out of the Corvette and bolted. He was found, along with his henchmen, shortly thereafter, where they were attempting to kidnap Wild Wing, the Anaheim Ducks mascot, who was bound in the passenger seat of a Zamboni ice resurfacer.
Once again, however, Abdul’s special-powers Silly String worked, and he was able to take the bad guys into custody with the help of Ducks Power Players, who launched foam hockey pucks.
“He was just too fast for me,” the Toon Bandit said. “I would have gotten away with it if it weren’t for Officer Abdul.”
Cheerleaders from Anaheim High School helped greet Abdul when he returned to the APD for the hero’s welcome.
“What a day’s work, good job!” said Mike Villani, emcee of the event.
“Thank you so much, Abdul,” Cisneros said of the bad guys, who were brought to APD headquarters in a van for processing.
“Let’s book them!” Cisneros said to loud cheers and applause.
“Today, the people of Anaheim are safe thanks to our newest police officer, Abdul!” Mayor Harry Sidhu declared before handing Abdul with a certificate of appreciation. Abdul also was showered with gifts from Knott’s, John’s Incredible Pizza, Angels Baseball and the Anaheim Ducks.
Kevin and Caroline Rogers handled the stunt/bandit coordinating and the costumes for Abdul’s Wish.
Kevin Rogers met Gallacher when the two worked together in the Lion King Celebration parade at Disneyland in 1994, along with two of the other stunt performers, Ted Wangsanutr and Steve Gale (who also designed the Toon Bandit logo), as well as Jennifer Hoge, the stage manager for Abdul’s Wish.
“We gladly show up to help one another, especially for a good cause,” Kevin Rogers said.
Gallacher and the Rogers were involved six years ago in another Make-A-Wish event for a boy named Alex who wanted to be a superhero and save Anaheim. They took on similar roles for Alex’s Wish.
“There are many reasons why we all came together to be part of this magical day,” Kevin said. “They range from the bonds we all share in friendship, the love of performing, to even a connection with having battled disease personally or relationally.
“One thing we all have in common is none of us like to see children suffer. The opportunity to help any kid forget the weight of what he or she is battling even for a few hours is one we are all humbled to have been a part of.”
Abdul was diagnosed with B Cell Leukemia in November 2017.
“We had a very hard time diagnosing it and it took two months to find out he has cancer,” said Mohammed, who with his wife, Bibi, also has two twin sons, Aaron and Ryan, 6 months.
Mohammed is a full-time Uber driver.
“Abdul just loved it,” Mohammed said of the event.
“The best part was the helicopter that helped me find the bad guy,” Abdul said.
Added his father: “Thank you, Anaheim PD, for making all of this possible. My wife and I are very grateful.”