The Great Irish Birdseed Caper

That’s right, a trio of geniuses in Limerick, Ireland knocked off an armored truck and all they had t show for it was a bag of birdseed.

This story brings to mind one immediate question: Who do you think got their ass kicked for this?

According to the article, there were a minimum of three dudes on this job. So, was it the guy who planned this shit show or the guy that mistook birdseed for a cash transport bag that got punched first?

When I walk through this one, I have to start with the stakeout. Let’s give them credit enough to stalk the armored car, learn its routes, maybe time its stops? Clearly, we can’t say that they paid a whole lot of attention to what the money bags looked like. Unless the brand of birdseed was so cool the bags resembled locking, security laden, reinforced cash transport bags (some how I doubt it though).

Anyway, lets put the three of our robbers in the car, a white Skoda sedan, since we’re in Ireland. Thad is the getaway driver, Kev is the bag man, Liam is the leader, and on overwatch. According to the article Kev used an ‘implement’ to subdue the armored car guy. What the hell do they mean by implement? Like a crowbar or something? If it was a crowbar why didn’t the journalist just say they used a crowbar to smack the security guard and make off with the loot? Another stray thought I had on this was how is it after all of Ireland’s ‘troubles’ in the seventies and eighties they don’t have more guns lying around?

Liam is driving Kev and Thad bonkers. He keeps calling out stops and times that he armored car is making along its route.

                “Nine oh five, bank on Smythe,”

                Then…

                “Nine ten, petrol station, Glenhadden,”

                And…

                “Nine fifteen, Western Union, Waller street,”

                Liam’s foot is tapping a staccato on the floorboards of the Skoda.

                Thad’s too afraid to say anything to Liam about the toe-tapping. This is his first gig with these guys, and he doesn’t want to mess up his big break. He concentrates instead on checking his mirrors for the cops. Thad jumps in his seat when Kev finally blurts out,

                “For fuck sake Liam. We know the fuckin route, the schedule, the whole things, shut it man!”

                At least Kev got the toe-tapping to stop.

                “You just watch your lip Kev,” Liam snaps back, “This is serious shit, every detail down to the hair on your arse’s gotta be perfect,”

                “Perfect this,” says Kev waving Liam the finger, “I know the job,”

                “You better,” states Liam flatly.

                “Clear off,”

                Thad straightens in his seat, “Boys, boy’s!”

                The armored truck is rounding the corner. The next stop on its route is a bank located in a strip mall. It sits between a discount store and a shoe store.

                “I told ya!” exclaims Liam, “Right on time,”

                Kev doesn’t say anything, he’s focused. He’s got plans for the money, and it’s so close now. The vision of himself rocking a new gold watch with a diamond encrusted face the size of his head. Rolling through Fitzpatrick’s Casino in Limerick like a whale.

                The armored truck rolls to a stop between the discount store and the bank. Thad, Liam, and Kev sitting thirty feet away in the front row of the parking lot.

                “Here we go,” says Liam.

                Liam and Kev exit the Skoda while one of the guards waddles his way from the passenger seat and down to the pavement. He’s older, with a brown mustache. The guard’s blue uniform is oversized, even for his pot belly. The guard straightens his uniform cap before shuffling around the back of the truck. Kev takes the rear while Liam rounds the front to keep an eye on the driver. Kev has a little further to go than Liam and when he makes his way to the rear fender the last person, he expects to find is the mustachioed guard walking right toward him, a canvas bag in his hand. The two almost run into each other.

“Ahhh!” screams Kev with the genuine inflection of a six-year-old girl.

                The excitation takes the old guard by surprise too. He screams the same way, “Ahhh!”

                Kev rips the crowbar from his jacket and bashes the wide-eyed guard over the head. As the guard stumbles back, Kev snatches the bag from his hand,

                “Let’s go!” he yells only a decibel under the scream he let fly a moment before.

                Liam follows and Thad pulls the Skoda out, its tires squealing. Thad pops the boot and Kev throws the bag in the dark compartment before jumping in the back seat.

                “Move!” Liam barks and the three thieves roar out of the parking lot.

                Twenty minutes later the Skoda pulls into a garage on the other side of Limerick.

                “Whew, that was flawless boys. I told ya! I told ya we couldn’t lose!”

                “Yeah, you said it alright,” comments Kev.

                Thad had heard them but was more interest in seeing the money. He curled around the boot and popped the latch with the key fob. His hands shaking as he lifts the lid.

                “Huh?” he utters. The boot is full of…dust? Thad had checked the whole car himself before they took off for the job. The compartment had been spotless. Thad reaches in and grabs some of the…birdseed?

                “What’s that?” Liam pushes passed him and reaches for the bag. He freezes as his hand reaches the bag. Instead of finding strapped bills filling the canvas bag he retracts his hand to reveal a fist full of birdseed.

                Thad, Liam, and Kev watch as a long sad stream of birdseed sifts from Liam’s hand like sand from an hourglass.

As I write this I kind of don’t want to say who his who first. Instead of a beat down, I like to think Kev and Liam just go at it in a rolling throwdown like when Peter fights the giant Chicken in Family Guy. When it’s all over I have to end it with the three of them standing together watching the Skoda go up in flames. These criminal masterminds have seen every episode of CSI (every flavor, even Miami) and know that they have to burn the getaway car to throw the cops off their trail. Kev has a split lip, and one of Liam’s eyes are swollen shut. Thad is holding an empty gas can wondering when he can get away from the other two without it being awkward. From the boot random bits of birdseed pop every now and then like popcorn.

The article notes that the guard had stopped at the discount store next to the bank to buy some birdseed in between stops. Kev apparently stumbled into him after the discount store but before the bank. I can’t say this enough. I love dumb criminals.

We’ll just leave it at that.

Three men arrested in probe into cash-in-transit robbery where bird seed was stolen instead of cash – Independent.ie

Oooh Cheetos!

FROM KTUL: News 8, Tulsa

“TULSA, Okla. (KTUL) — Tulsa police said a woman is in jail after Cheeto residue on her teeth linked her to an attempted home burglary.

Police said on Feb. 26 patrol officers were dispatched to reports of a person attempting to force their way through the window of a home near 51st and Sheridan.”

I took some liberties with this one.

The responding officer (RO) arrives on scene where a homeowner just reported a burglary. The two are standing in the center of her kitchen while she tells him what happened.

“We just sat down for movie night. We were watching Raya, that China, dragon movie. It just started when all of a sudden there’s this woman in my kitchen. She’s goin’ through my fridge!

I say, what the hell are you doin?

She doesn’t say nothin. Takes a bottle of water from my fridge and a bag of Cheetos, the puffy kind not the skinny kind, the puffy kind are way better. She grabs the Cheetos and walks to the back of the house.

I grabbed my boys T-ball bat and started callin you all. That creeped me the f*&k out.”

The homeowner gestures to the back of the house,

“She might be back there still, I don’t know,”

RO speaks in a clear, confident voice, “I checked the rest of the house ma’am, there’s no one back there,” he consults the notes he has so far.

He has ‘Burglary’ at the top of the page, date, time, address, homeowners name, then under items taken he has: ‘Water’ and ‘Cheetos’. Then a line through ‘water’ and ‘Cheetos’

“You sure nothing was taken, ma’am?” he asks.

“Not that I can see,” the homeowner answers.

The officer nods and notices the Cheetos and the half empty bottle of water sitting on the counter in front of him. He found them sitting under an open window in the back bathroom. He smiles, “Well, Brightside, at least she didn’t get all your Cheetos right?”

The homeowner cocks her head to the side and her eyes go wide, “That supposed to be funny?” she asks plainly.

The RO’s smile fades. He clears his voice, “Can you describe her for me one more time?”

Three minutes later the RO is back in his cruiser. He makes a mental note that his next complaint will not be a use of force beef, and that his jokes suck.

He advises dispatch that he’s 0-8 (available for call) and rolls the neighborhood. You never know, he thinks.

Ten minutes later RO’s on his way out of the area when he rounds a curb to find a pedestrian matching the description of his burglary suspect. Female, grey hoodie, and black pants. A woman matching that exact description just froze in mid-stride as he approached. In his headlights he see’s the woman’s eyes are wide as saucers.

Being the opposite of nonchalant, the woman continues on her path, her head buried in the neck of her hoodie. She refuses to look at the patrol car.

The responding officer stops twenty yards from her,

“Dispatch, I’m out with the possible suspect from the burglary I just cleared. We’re at Easterling and Filmore (Made up streets).

She continues walking slowly toward him, her hands buried in her front pocket. She’s trying not to look at him.

RO puts his flashlight on her, focused on her hands, “Evening,” he says, “Mind taking your hands out of your pockets miss?” he asks.

The woman complies, slowly raising her hands for him to see,

“What seems to be the problem officer,” the slur in her words do not go unnoticed.

RO closes the distance on her, coming in on her left flank, “We had a break in down the street. I’m asking around to see if any one saw anything,”

“I ain’t seen no one officer,” she says squinting in the light.

RO smiles, “I haven’t even told you what I’m looking for yet,” he tells her.

The woman smiles a little too, just the twitch of her lip, revealing bright white, well not quite white teeth.

RO can’t help but notice a bright orange smudge coatingthe top of her teeth. That observation leads to the recognition of similar orange flecks in the delicate hairs of her upper lip. A stroll of the flashlight down the front of her hoodie reveals three long, extended smears of consistent orange powder. She’s still grinning, which RO takes as a good thing, but her eyes plead for a lucky break.

RO leans back on his rear foot and studies her for a minute.

“Like I said, we had a burglary in the area,”

The grin on the woman’s face waivers but holds on. Her expression is hopeful, but her eyes question every millisecond.

It’s a struggle for the RO to keep his voice steady and his expression stoic, “Miss?” he asks,

“Sharon,” she answers with a nod and a glint of hope in her wide expressive eyes.

“Sharon,” RO says with a quiet but business-like inflection, “If I told you, it-ain’t-easy-bein-cheesy, what would you say?

A panicked giggle escapes he lip. RO covers his own excruciating need to laugh with a pseudo-cough. The two are in a standoff now, who’s going to crack first?

Finally Sharon asks, “I had it in my teeth?”

RO nods slowly as he pops his handcuffs from his belt, “You had it in your teeth,” he tells her.

“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.

 

Savannah’s Pissed

Savannah unamused by googly eyes placed on historic statue: ‘It’s a crime’

http://amp.thestate.com/news/local/crime/article219716780.html

Guess who gets this case? The new guy in the Detective Bureau, that’s right.

In Savannah, GA someone (read drunken SCAD nerds) put googly eye stickers on a monument to Nathaniel Greene. I had a civil war joke to make about this article but then I realized Nathaniel Greene was a hero of the Revolutionary war and it ruined everything.

They have a real whodunit in Savannah. I’m going to call my shot here and guess how this one is going to play out.

In reality I’m betting the two googly eyes were stripped off by a city maintenance worker and tossed in the trash when the incident was first discovered.

But just for a moment lets imagine he left them there. It is pretty funny, the maintenance guy can not help but snap a picture and immediately post to twitter, Instagram, facebook (I guess), and maybe Snap, if they haven’t declared bankruptcy yet. He hash-tagged it #Savannah #crazyeyes or something equally un-inventive and forgot about the whole thing. Seven minutes and forty-nine seconds later a Daughter of the American Revolution (that’s a real thing, look it up) hopped on her phone, set up for her by her granddaughter, and automatically following #savannah, saw the disgrace of this national monument and went apoplectic. She called the mayor, she called the chief, she called the rest of the DAR…Sacrilege!

The intern at the Mayors office found the post and showed it to the Deputy Assistant Executive Assistant to the Associate Mayor who seeing an opportunity to be an actual Associate Mayor some day took swift action for the public good. They re-posted the googly eyes with a demand that something be done!

Ten minutes later the Chief of the Savannah PD puts the phone back in the cradle with a sigh, rubs his eyes and calls for his secretary to call the Commander of the Detective Bureau.

Six minutes after that the Commander storms out of his office and finds the Lieutenant, the Lieutenant finds the Sergeant, the Sergeant looks around the bull pen. He studies all the gruff and time worn faces and finds the one in the bunch who won’t give him shit. He strides to the desk of the newest detective in Savannah and drops a note on his desk. He says, “A lot of eyes on this one kid, don’t fuck this up,” he bites his tongue and retreats to his office.

“Shiiiiit,” New guys says once the Sarge is out of ear shot.

From the next desk over an overweight fifty-something detective playing solitaire grins, “Better move on this one F-N-G, those stickers won’t stick for ever, it’s hot outside.”

New guy doesn’t have a take home car so he has to sign a beater that smells like old feet out of the fleet. He rolls to the Nathaniel Greene statue to see a crowd of old women in period dress barking at a swarm of teenagers who have climbed up on the statue to take selfies with the googly eyes. New Guy realizes right there that he made a mistake giving up patrol for this but he has a job to do. He puts on his cop voice,

“Police! Get off the statue!” When you do cop voice right everyone freezes. I still use it on my kids. If you’ve never done it, I can’t explain it to you.

The crowd freezes, and the last teen drops to the ground once his phone goes, Click. They all look at him expectantly.

New Guy has an epiphany. He charges into the crowd, “This is a crime scene, I’m going to have to ask everyone to back up,” for effect he is slipping a pair of latex gloves on as he passes.

One of the teens starts to mouth off and New Guy turns on a dime to stop only an inch from the boys nose, “Do you want to go to jail for obstruction?”

“Ob-wha?”

“Xactly, move,” the kid and his friends make a run for it.

New Guy stops to study the crime scene. He peels off his sunglasses slowly, and steps up on the platform to get a closer look. He lingers for a while, just for effect before leaping down from the statue and returning to his car. In a moment he returns carrying what looks like a tool box. When he opens it everyone leans in to get a look. With a beat up old fiberglass brush in one hand and a jar of black powder in the other he climbs back up the statue and paints Nathaniel Greene’s brass mug in black fingerprint powder. He can see friction ridges on the surface of the googly eyes. He spreads transparent lift tape over each of the eyes and peels the tape back revealing fingerprints. He affixes his lifts to two fingerprint cards. He peels the stickers off the statue with the care that a Revolutionary War hero deserves and packages each one in a paper bag complete with bright red evidence tape. When he looks up all eyes are on him, watching every move. He puts his sunglasses back on,

“I’m going to need every one of you to form a line here to my left. I’m going to take  fingerprints and a statement from each of you,”

Some of the onlooker’s go blank, a couple of the teenagers straight up bail, and the rest form a line to the right not the left. But instead of offering their biometric data they promise they had nothing to do with it.

New guy smiles at them, nods, and leaves them standing there without another word.

Just because the Sergeant decided to screw him over with the bullshit case he takes his lifts to the crime scene unit and has the tech run the prints through the national database. There’s a hit, two of them. Sure enough, SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design) nerds.

New Guy leaves the crime scene office, and heads straight for the judge he knows is a re-enactor. The judge doesn’t even ask a question, just signs the pair of arrest warrants.

The nerds aren’t hard to find. New Guy beats on the door of their dingy apartment until one of the half baked fools, he has a man-bun, opens the door. Three minutes later, one is still wearing his vintage Star Wars pajama pants as he perp-walks them both to his car.

A well placed text to a friend of his ensures there is a reporter from the Savannah Morning News waiting at the county jail intake when he arrives.

“I can’t comment on anything ma’am,” he tells the reporter, “this is still an evolving situation,”

When New Guy walks back into the office two hours later there is silence. He walks to his desk casually, bracing himself to return to the backlog of real cases that have been waiting for him all morning. Two minutes later the Lieutenant is standing at his desk,

“You’re shitting me right?”

“No Sir, case closed, got any more?”

That’s all bullshit but I found it entertaining. I mean…really…googly eyes?

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