Triathlon of Crime

What do you get when you steal a truck, a tractor, and a kayak all in the same day?

Aside from, I’m guessing, a possible meth intervention, you have possibly your first criminal triathlete.

Tina Duncan. I’m impressed with your willingness to do whatever it takes to do whatever the hell it was you thought you were doing.

According to the report (See Above) Ms. Duncan broke into three houses in Greenville, KY. While at the last house she found a truck she absolutely could not live without. She fired it up, crashed through a garage door and went “muddin” until burying the thing in a field on a nearby farm. She bailed on the truck and tried to steal a kayak to escape and evade capture via a small creek. Some how the kayak thwarted her attempted theft where the truck did not. Not to be deterred, she found a shiny green John Deere tractor. Despite not knowing how to drive a kayak, she successfully made off with the tractor. Until that is she dropped the bucket and ground through three driveways before crashing the big green tractor into a culvert.

Apparently, all that action wore Tina out, or she ran out of random vehicles to steal, and got pinched.

Not to mention the fact that Tina sounds like she could be an absolute blast to go on a bender with, can you imagine being the deputy who had to take that report? Complainants, victims, and witnesses coming out of the woodwork while you scribble furiously into your notebook,

“Okay she did what? And then what? And…really?” The deputy takes a moment to look in awe at Tina Duncan.

From her cramped seat in the back of his cruiser she bounces her shoulders, a wry grin plain on her face. Her voice is a sort of muted and she slurs a little bit as she tells him,

“I know, I’m just as surprised as you are. I don’t remember doing any of that shit,”

Reference:

https://www.iheart.com/content/2021-07-26-kentucky-woman-tries-to-steal-truck-trailer-kayak-while-on-crime-spree/

“Twenty Bucks Says…”

I’ve never done meth but the look on this guy’s face is exactly what I would expect once he realized what he had tweaked himself into.

According to the Smoking Gun referenced below, Mr. Kelly, Doug to his friends, called the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office, Florida (of course) because he thought his methamphetamine dealer, lets call him Kevin, sold him some bad shit. He called the cops after having a bad reaction to his score and wanted his stash tested to make sure it wasn’t something dangerous…that’s something more dangerous than methamphetamines… Kelly is forty-nine years old. At his age, a strong cup of coffee could make his heart explode…

I doubt this is in any way how the real story went down but if it were me; this is how I would want to tell it once we started sharing war stories at the bar.

Detectives Penhall and Hanson (Names changed to protect the innocent) were in the office cleaning up some reports when the phone rang. Penhall picked it up,

“Narcotics, Penhall?” the call was from dispatch. Penhall listened for almost thirty seconds before laughing, “Oh absolutely put him through,” He picked up a paper clip and threw it at Hanson.

Hanson looked up about to say, “What the fuck?” but Penhall had his index finger to his lips.

Penhall put the desk phone on speaker, “This is Detective Doug Penhall, how can I help you?”

The caller’s breath was clipped and heavy in the phone, “Uhh, yeah, uhh, can you guys help me? I’m not feelin too good, I think my guy screwed me,”

“What do you mean Sir?”

“I bought some crank from him last week, I think he gave me some bad shit, Flacca maybe. My freakin heart is beating like crazy,”

Penhall bounces his eyebrows toward Hanson who immediately threw crossed forearms over his chest. Penhall’s eyebrows scrunched as he put the guy on mute, “What?”

Hanson jabbed his finger at the phone, “Twenty bucks says you can’t talk that guy into bringing his shit to us,” he slid back in his chair to relish in the challenge.

“Fifty says I can,” Penhall shot back, grinning. He took the phone off mute, “That’s not good Sir, that Flacca is nothing to mess with. How much have you done?”

“Umm, only one quick hit. I knew it was off, now I can’t freaking keep my hands from shaking,”

“How much you got left?”

“Couple ounces,”

“It’s a good thing you called; we’ve been having trouble with some bad reactions lately. You should really get that stuff checked out. I got a test right here. I don’t mind doing it, better safe than sorry,”

The caller sighed, “That’d be real cool of you man,”

“Yeah, I’m right downtown, you know how to get here?”

“I do,” the caller sounded excited to answer the question correctly.

“Great, what’s your name so I can come down and meet you,”

The caller paused, “Uh, well, I don’t know if I should give you my name,”

“Why not?”

“Cause I’m talking about drugs with you…um,”

Hanson was grinning, flapping his hands together like he was making it rain.

Penhall shot him the finger.

“Oh that,” he said, “Don’t worry about that I don’t need your name, just ask for me when you get here,”

Another pause, “Uh-okay,”

“Ok, you good to drive?”

“My mom said she’d drive me,” Penhall had to gulp air to keep from losing it, “That’s a great lady right there, Sir,”

“She is,”

“Ok, you on your way,”

“Be there in a little while,”

When the line went dead Penhall stood and took a bow before holding out his waiting hand palm up.

“He’s not here yet,” warned Hanson.

“Money in the bank,” said Penhall.

“You really think some dipshit, even that one, or his mom is going to deliver us a couple of ounces of meth?”

Penhall interlocked his fingers behind his head and leaned back in his chair, “I do, he will,” he said confidently.

“Better be good for it,”

They had paperwork to finish but all the expectant, and or suspicious, cops did for the next twenty-five minutes was watch the cheap clock hanging over the door to the squad bay. When the phone rang Hanson leaped at it, but Penhall was faster, “Just not your day bro,” he quipped, “this is Penhall,” he listened, “Yeah Sarge, I’ll be right down,” Penhall hung up the phone then spun gracefully in his chair to face his partner, “You need to stop at the ATM on the way down?” he asked.

Hanson was smiling now too, “Let’s see what we got,”

In the lobby of the Sheriff’s Office Penhall and Hanson found a middle-aged man with salt and pepper hair and shifty feet looking around like a prairie dog popping out of his hole to check for hawks.

“He’s gonna bolt,” said Hanson.

“He still brought it,”

“Deals not done until it’s in your hands,”

“Deals done,” Penhall smiled broadly, “Sir, you the one that needed our help?” he asked.

“You Penhall,” the guy’s pupils were big as saucers and his eyes darted back and forth between the two detectives like he was watching the fastest ping pong game in history.

“I am, lets go back and see if we can’t figure out what you’ve got,”

Penhall started leading the man back to the office.

“Where’s mom?” asked Hanson drawing a low growl from his partner.

The guy looked at him suspiciously.

Too late for second thoughts now, numnuts, Hanson kept that comment to himself.

“Waiting in the car,” he finally said.

“Smart, I’m Tom,” Hanson stuck out his hand.

Eyes darted again, “Doug,”

The two shook hands and left the lobby for the Narcotics Unit office space. Once inside Penhall motioned for Doug to take a seat. Hanson went to his go-bag and pulled out a box of methamphetamine field kits. Doug watched them closely as he withdrew a crumpled-up wad of tin foil from his pants. He handed it to Penhall and Hanson realized he was fifty bucks poorer, but also extremely entertained. Penhall stared at his partner as he placed the foil on the desk in front of him,

“Detective Hanson will do the honors,” Penhall held an odd, Joker-esque, sneer as he spoke.

Hanson opened the foil to reveal a clear plastic bag with a little less than a cup of white powder. He took a tiny sample and dropped it in the plastic test pouch. One by one he broke three glass ampules releasing chemicals to mix with the dope. The contents of the pouch turned blue as the liquid reacted with the Amines present in the meth.

Penhall couldn’t resist, “It’s a boy,” he cheered.

“Its not Flacca?” asked Doug.

“No, it’s a felony,”

Doug blinked, “A what?” he asked, a tone of sobriety calming his features,”

Hanson pulled his cuffs from his back pocket, and held them out to Doug, “It’s a felony Doug, better call your mom, turns out you’re not going to need a ride home,”

“Fffuuu…” he stuttered.

“Yep,” answered Penhall, smiling as Hanson slid a fifty across his waiting palm.

Reference:

http://www.thesmokinggun.com/buster/dumbass/man-seeks-meth-test-563914

Work Smarter Not Harder, Right?

“Sly smuggler uses Border Patrol for free trips home,”

Time is money.

I’m not a businessman but I’ve seen Shark Tank enough to understand the phrase.

In law enforcement we have another phrase, “You don’t catch the smart ones,”

That’s usually because the would-be criminal mastermind failed to see a weakness in their particular scheme and it got him caught. Maybe a drug dealer didn’t quite know his customers as well as they should have and ended up ripped or selling to an undercover cop, something like that.

More often than not, criminals commit crime because of greed. People sell dope, commit fraud, rob banks, or in this case guide people across the U.S.-Mexico border for profit, as a way of bypassing the career ladder on the way to wealth. When some meth dealer with no job, living in the back room of grandma’s trailer is suddenly driving an eighty-thousand-dollar pick-up truck, police tend to notice. When the dude gets wrapped up because he didn’t have the patience to keep driving a shitty 1995 Honda Civic while setting up a fake auto detail business or some other way to hide his money we say,

“Well, you don’t catch the smart ones,”

While I can’t speak for every cop, and my frame of reference is dated, I always bet that there was some guy or girl out there, probably an army of them, who had the simple discipline to stay off the radar, live humbly, run their schemes, be patient, and cash out down the road. Like Andy in The Shawshank Redemption. In fact, I always wanted to meet one of them, and by meet, I mean arrest. Mostly because I wanted to be able to point to her (It would be a her because chicks are way smarter and patient than dudes) and say,

“Look! We got a smart one!”

I even wrote a disciplined drug kingpin into one of my books, Where Angels Sing. The guy’s name was Harold Washington. He owned a laundry mat, drove a crappy old truck, and just so happened to be the invisible force controlling all the illicit drug trade on the west side of Charleston, SC. I’m not going to say anymore on the off chance you haven’t scratched Where Angels Sing off your summer reading list yet, no spoilers, but worth the read.

Anyway, when I look at this story, it’s one of those where, if I was the Border Patrol guy making the arrest, I’d be hard pressed not to give Mr. Javier Ernesto Ayala-Osuna a little fist bump. If for nothing else then to say,

“Glad we caught you, but, good scam amigo,”

Not to get political, but our border is a shit show. Mr. Ayala brought illegals over the line then turned himself in to the Border Patrol for a free ride home. That’s not only brilliant, it’s a hilarious bit of ingenuity. It makes you wonder how he came to take the chance on a free ride home in the first place.

Maybe one hot, arid, desert day, he was out of water, or running late for a date back in Mexico, who knows. Either way Ayala finds himself hiding out in the bushes ducking patrols when he says to himself,  

“Fuck it, what’s the worst that could happen?”

He turns himself in, a little apprehensive about the gamble. But then he gets some water, hot food, and a free trip home to not only in time to make his date, but also get a head start on his next adventure leading illegal aliens through the United States backdoor. Like I said, brilliant, maximizing efficiency of operation while at the same time tricking your adversaries into taking some of the burden off your shoulders.

According to the story he did it six times. That’s six trips, $8,000 per head, four to six people at a time for a total of around $288,000 give or take. Can’t hold it against the guy for giving that career path a hard look. Don’t get me wrong coyotes should go to jail, along with the people who pay to be smuggled over the border. But if we as a nation are going to have such senseless policies as catch and release and leave the barn door wide open, you can’t hold it against a good capitalist for trying to get his.

The story notes that Mr. Ayala was only caught because his charges (so to speak) turned him in when they got stopped as a group by the border patrol. That brings me back to my initial rant. “We don’t catch the smart ones,” we do catch the coyotes who decide to let themselves get caught with the people they are smuggling. I guess it never occurred to Ayala that they would turn him in once they realized their journey to the land o’ plenty would hook a hard detour into a DHS detention center. Oh, and that they were out a few thousand dollars for their troubles. In the end it reads like Mr. Ayala got a little too complacent in his scheme. That being said, he did get away with it six times before getting caught so maybe we do catch the smart ones. We just have to wait and catch’em when their guards down.

Reference:

Sly smuggler uses Border Patrol for free trips home – Washington Times

“It Wasn’t My Idea,”

https://www.nola.com/crime/2018/10/man-convicted-in-fatal-attempted-robbery-of-loomis-guard-said-crime-was-co-defendants-idea.html

loom

New Orleans, LA

If you do ever happen to find yourself charged with a crime there are a variety of ways to try and get out of it. A good lawyer is probably the best, maybe a close second to keeping your freaking mouth shut. Blaming somebody else is also a good choice depending on circumstance. I have even had a guy explain to me that the crack-cocaine in his pocket was not his because the pants he happened to be wearing were also not his. In that particular instance, however, when asked if the five hundred dollars, also found in said pants was also not his, the story about the mysterious missing pant owners  seemed to fall apart. He went to jail.

One excuse I have never heard work, and will never work when trying to get out of a charge is to play the, “It wasn’t my idea,” card.

On May 31, 2017 at around 4:30pm two ‘gentleman’ (not going to give their names because they should thrown in a hole and forgotten, not celebratized) drew down on a Loomis armored car after it pulled up to re-supply an ATM machine. During the robbery one of the guards, Jimmy McBride, was shot and killed. The subjects got away with about $5,000 dollars cash and did what most criminals do, they got caught. Turns out that not everybody in the U.S. has figured out that there are cameras everywhere. The robbery, or enough of it was caught on camera to identify the two subjects.

Like always happens one subject turned on the other to gain leniency. On October 24th in federal court got the opportunity to testify against his cohort. What was his guilt mitigating rationale for why an upstanding citizen is dead? It wasn’t my idea. He didn’t deny taking part (cameras make that difficult), didn’t plead that he was forced, under duress into committing the crime. Nope, it just wasn’t his idea.

Saying you were kidnapped and forced into the robbery by a group of armored truck marauding space aliens would get you better traction in court than saying, “It was his idea, but, uh, I was already there…so…”

The article says both men face life in prison, which is probably best for everybody.

Oh, and one other thing. The article says they pulled off the robbery at 4:30pm on a Wednesday in a major city. What kind of getaway do you plan to make in rush hour traffic in the middle of the week? My God, criminal masterminds all over the world are shaking their heads in disbelief. De Niro and Kilmer circa “Heat” they are not. I mean…Damn.

Don’t forget to check out my work on Amazon or any other bookstore. My newest novel Where Angels Sing is on sale now.

Texas man arrested for plan to murder, cannibalize girl

https://www.ktre.com/2018/10/22/affidavit-texas-man-arrested-plan-murder-cannibalize-girl/

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Since it’s Halloween I thought I do my best to make sure you can’t sleep tonight.

In Shelby County, Texas Alexander Barter sits in jail after being charged with Conspiracy to Sexually Assault and Murder a Minor.

If you haven’t heard of the dark web I would suggest not trying to find it. In simple terms it is a collection of networks that run on the internet but require specific software like the Tor browser to access. It’s the kind of place where you find people looking for someone willing to sell their daughter so that they can rape, murder, commit necrophilia, and eat her.

According to the affidavit Barter posted on the dark web that he was looking for anyone interested in allowing him to commit necrophilia and cannibalism. An agent with Texas DPS found the post and responded offering his ‘daughter’ for sale. Barter’s reply, “Nice, I’m in East Texas. How old is your daughter? Can we kill her?”

Over several days the DPS Agent established rapport with Barter and even received instructions from Barter that included the use of ‘burner’ phones, clothing changes after the murder, and an alibi when he returned home without the ‘daughter.’ The affidavit also includes the statement, “I’m not going to change my mind about this. I really want to do this,”

Texas DPS identified Barter through investigative channels I will not detail here and on the day Barter was supposed to meet the undercover ‘dad’ he instead stepped out of his house and found himself surrounded by cops. It should be noted that when he was taken down Barter had in his possession plastic trash bags and a knife, items specifically mention by Barter as tools of the crime in email communications. The official charges brought against Barter were:

Criminal solicitation, a first-degree felony

Criminal Attempt: Capital Murder, a second-degree felony.

Conspiracy to Commit Capital Murder, a first-degree felony

Criminal Attempt: Sexual Performance of a Child, a second-degree felony

That’s one guy that Texas DPS happened to find cruising the internet in the hopes of raping, murdering, and eating his victim. Granted that, judging by his photo, Hannibal Lecter he is not. But even a chuckle head like that could do real damage if given the opportunity. Now ask yourself, is he the only one? Is that jerk off unique? As someone who has conducted online investigations let me tell you with no degree of uncertainty: not even close. Barter is a drop in the bucket of sick and twisted that infests the very same cities and towns you and I live in. Try to sleep tonight with that thought rattling around in your head.

In law enforcement you always hope for those days you can say you truly took real evil off the street. Congratulations to that unnamed Texas DPS agent and his team. On October 19th 2018, they did just that.

Happy Halloween

Don’t forget to check out my work on Amazon or any other bookstore. My newest novel Where Angels Sing is on sale now.