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LA's weirdest gift shop made it into GTA 5

Skeletons in the closet.

By Christian Donlan. 8/08/2017

On my honeymoon a few years back, my wife and I went to the coroner's office. More specifically, we went to the LA County Coroner's Office, in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles. I had heard there was a gift shop, and my aunt and uncle, who live in LA and are always up for pretty much anything, said that it was a laugh riot, and so we drove out there from their place in Bunker Hill.

A few minutes of driving and we pulled up in front of a surprisingly fancy red-brick building set back from the road. We walked in, pushing through doors inlaid with that beautiful ribbed glass you see in detectives' offices in old Bogart movies, past people who you worry might be there to identify a corpse, and then you follow the signs to the gift shop.

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The LA County Coroner's Office in real life.

I have been here several times now, and there is never any other customers in the gift shop. Each time I have been, in fact, the lady behind the counter makes the same joke - "It's dead quiet today!" - and then I spend the same sort of 15 minutes browsing through the same goods.

The gift shop is not a particularly tasteful affair, which is why it's so brilliant, You can get beach towels with chalk outlines. You can get keyrings with chalk outlines. You can get hats and shirts and all that jazz. The best thing they sell is probably the lanyard, which simply has "LA COUNTY CORONER" written on it, and makes for some awkward moments when you're wearing it at E3. The best moment comes when you buy your stuff and they give you your change in a little brown evidence envelope. My wife's change came in an envelope that said, "Fingernail clippings, left hand." We asked if these were specially made for the store. The lady said she got them from 'upstairs' when they ran out of normal bags. That's just the kind of place this is.

The reason I'm telling you all this, beyond the fact that it's quite good to know if you're visiting LA and you've already been to the Apple Pan, is last night my wife discovered that the LA County Coroner's office is in GTA 5. Of course it is. What isn't in GTA 5 by this point?

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The coroner's office looks just the way it does in real life - still fancy, still red-brick, still set back from the road, bordered, in this case, by Innocence Boulevard and Strawberry. It features in a mission, apparently, in which you go in pretending to be dead and then break out. But as with all of Los Santos, it's also just there. We drove up, got out of the car, had a look around, and even saw a sign for the gift shop.

And just like the real place, it seemed dead quiet.