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Category Archives: Stupid Criminals

Pillow Talk: Post-Sex Confessions Can Sink Your Perfect Murder

Pillow talk can undo your perfect murder. Seems that folks like to confess, or at least tell secrets, after sex. Researchers blame it on Oxytocin—the “love hormone.” Funny, I don’t remember it being called that in med school. Regardless, it just might lower inhibitions and make folks gabby.

 

Pegye Bechler

Pegye Bechler

 

An example can be found in the famous 1997 Pegye Bechler murder here in Orange County, CA. Husband Eric apparently decided to kill his wife and make it look like a boating fatality. His story: he was on a bodyboard, Pegye towing him behind their boat, when a rogue wave knocked him off the board. When he surfaced, the boat was going in circles with no Pegye in sight. The wave had knocked her off the boat and she had drowned. Two problems: Pegye was an excellent swimmer and the water was dead calm that day.

 

Eric Bechler

Eric Bechler

 

Still, even though the police doubted Eric’s story, they had no witnesses, no body, and no real evidence. Eric walked. For a while anyway. He then got a new girlfriend, model and Baywatch actress, Tina New. Seems that one evening after a round of sex and a dose of Ecstasy, Eric confessed to Tina, saying he had killed Pegye with a dumbbell and dumped her body in Newport Bay. At first she dismissed his story but later decided to go to the police. A sting was arranged and she managed to record his confession. Eric was ultimately convicted and given a life sentence.

 

Stupid Criminals: Don’t Swallow Your Booty

Joseph Ramos appears to be a three-time loser. Reckless driving, in a stolen car, and, oh yeah, having a stomach full of stolen merchandise. As part of his booking process at the Pinellas, FL jail, he had to pass through a newly-installed, contraband-detection device—-a RAD PRO SecurPass Whole Body X-ray. Deputies noticed “a dark mass near the suspect’s stomach area.” Busted.

 

The necklaces can be seen resting in the stomach. The clear areas above them are gas in the stomach from his swallowing air along with the necklaces.

The necklaces can be seen resting in the stomach. The clear areas above them are gas in the stomach from his swallowing air along with the necklaces.

 

Stupid Criminals: Butt Dialing Murder

butt-dial

 

 

Scott Simon needs to control his cell phone. It simply won’t behave. I mean all he did was slip it in his pocket. That’s it. Well, and apparently discuss a premeditated murder in progress with his buddy. The problem? His phone did the old 911 butt dial thing. Oops.

 

 

 

Character Dichotomies Are Everywhere

We are often told that our characters must be multi-dimensional. And that’s true. A character that is all good or all bad is flat and unrealistic. Good guys should have darker edges and bad guys should have a glimmer of silver lining. Even Hannibal Lecter had his good points.

Hannibal_Lecter

 

Evan Dorsey seems to fit this mold. A petty thief with an apparent heart of gold. Sure he was going to do a few B&E’s and grab a little coke to smooth out his day, but he also wanted to do a good deed. Since he stole diabetic medical supplies maybe he was going to help an elderly diabetic manage her blood sugars. But somehow I doubt it.

 

Taking a Bite Out of Crime

 

David Stoddard

 

David Stoddard and his buddies apparently thought that home invasion robberies were a slick and low risk way of making a living. After all, who would say no to three armed men?

Turns out the family’s pit bull did.

 

Pit Bull

 

As the thieves fled, the dog attacked and bit Stoddard on his leg and arm. Tragically, the dog was shot and killed. But the investigators realized that the dog had bitten one of the intruders and swabbed the deceased dog’s mouth for DNA.

Very clever.

The profile matched stellar citizen Stoddard who had been arrested for another crime–the shooting of two women, one a pregnant teenager who died. Didn’t I say he was a stellar citizen?

Of course Stoddard has pled not guilty and his defense, as voiced by his attorney John Sinn, seems to be: “My client indicates that he doesn’t have a recollection of those events.”

Really? I guess we would all forget shooting a 16-year-old mother to be and getting bitten by a pit bull. I mean, really, it could happen, don’t you think?

 

DNA: Chewed Up and Spit Out

Some stories just make you smile.

Raub

It seems that Gary Raub murdered a 70-year-old woman in 1976 and by now I’m sure thought he had gotten away with it. But the police never took him off the suspect list. To nab him they needed his DNA to compare against blood left at the crime scene by the perpetrator. The police came up with a very clever ploy.

teaberry

A fake chewing gum survey.

It seems that old Gary was tricked into taking part in the survey and from the gum his DNA was obtained and the match made.

Lady Justice might be slow but she is relentless.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on December 17, 2012 in DNA, Police Procedure, Stupid Criminals

 

Drug Smuggling Gets Creative

Criminals are for the most part not all that bright but sometimes their creativity is amazing. Drug traffickers notoriously go to great lengths to slip their product past inspectors and detection devices at airports and border crossings. Last year I posted about diamond and drug smugglers swallowing their booty in an often misguided attempt to avoid detection. Condoms filled with cocaine are one trick that can result in death if one of the condoms breaks.

 

X-ray of swallowed cocaine-filled balloons

X-ray of swallowed cocaine-filled balloons

 

Now two other clever methods have popped up:

A Panamanian woman was recently arrested in Barcelona, Spain as she attempted to smuggle 3 pounds of cocaine secreted inside her breast implants. I wonder if she got the idea from watching re-runs of NIP/TUCK, where this was one of the story lines in the quirky series.

 

BReast Implants

Breast Implants

 

The other is a very unique pneumatic-powered canon that fires barrels packed with marijuana over the border near Yuma, AZ. It didn’t work, at least this time, but you have to give them an A for creativity.

 

Barrels of marijuana scattered like unexploded mortar shells

Barrels of marijuana scattered like unexploded mortar shells

 

Stupid Criminals: The Fake Doctor’s Note

It seems that Michelle Elaine Astumian enjoyed writing fake prescriptions to obtain various drugs. Her scam was discovered, she pleaded no contest to kiting the fake scripts, and found herself facing up to five years in prison. When she arrived at the San Luis Obispo County, California courtroom for sentencing, Michelle handed the judge a doctor’s note designed to delay the hearing. You guessed it. The doctor’s note was apparently also forged. She is nothing if not consistent.

When the judge immediately revoked her bail and remanded her to custody, she collapsed to the floor. Medics were called and she was taken to a nearby hospital. Every ER doctor will tell you that such antics by arrestees are not uncommon. Hospitals are better places to hang out than are jails. In what could only be described as an understatement, Deputy District Attorney Dave Pomeroy said that he approached “her reaction with understandable skepticism.”

 
3 Comments

Posted by on December 8, 2011 in Stupid Criminals

 

Stupid Criminals: Tattoo You

We’ve all heard of cases where a suspect or a corpse was identified by his distinctive tattoo. And other criminals have been done in by maps and “To Do” lists recovered by the police. You know, the dude had a hand-drawn map to the victim’s home, maybe even a sketch of the interior, and a list that reminded him of everything he had to do to do the deed. Things like: gloves, mask, duct tape, gun, and, oh yeah, top off the gas tank in case a chase ensues.

One Anthony Garcia can top all of that. He supposedly belongs to the Rivera-13 gang in Pico Rivera, CA. He allegedly shot and killed 23-year-old John Juarez in a liquor store 4 years ago. He got away with it. Almost.

LA County Sheriff’s Department homicide investigator Kevin Lloyd was flipping through a collect of gang member tattoos when he stumbled on Garcia’s image. Imagine his shock when he saw that Garcia had a detailed tattoo of the crime scene splashed across his chest under the banner “Rivera Kills.”

It’ll be interesting to see how they use this is court but one thing I know for sure—if you put this in a book, no one would believe it.

 

Stupid Criminals: Pacemaker Tracks Down Embezzler

So you have this perfect scheme figured out. Snatch $10 million from your company and disappear. Change your name, settle in another state on the other side of the country, enjoy your ill gotten money, and no one will ever know. Sounds like a plan.

But what happens when your pacemaker tells on you?

It seems that Roger and Peggy Gamblin did just that. Two years ago. They apparently embezzled $10 million from their company Flagler Title Insurance and disappeared to Colorado. Unfortunately for Roger he had a pacemaker and ended up visiting the hospital because of some cardiac issue. He of course used his newly fabricated Colorado name. When the physician caring for him checked his pacemaker, he discovered that it was not registered to the gentleman who had checked into the hospital but rather to one Roger Gamblin. He reported this to authorities and the Gamblins were promptly arrested.

You see pacemakers and other body appliances, such as artificial hips and the like, have serial numbers etched into them. These numbers are easily traced to the manufacturer, the doctor who implanted the device, the hospital where it was done, and of course the name of the person who received it. Such serial numbers are often used to determine the identity of an unknown corpse. A body that is found with no identifying paperwork but which has a pacemaker, an artificial hip, or some other medical appliance, can then be identified through the serial number on these devices.

In Roger Gamblin’s defense, he was probably unaware that his pacemaker could be tracked in this way. But even if he did, what was he to do? Take it out himself? Not go to the hospital when he was having some cardiac problem? Likely he was either unaware or simply hoped it would slide through the system without being picked up. Fortunately he was identified.

Don’t you hate it when something you trust tells on you? I remember as a kid, around age 5, me and a buddy decided we would climb this whistle tower at a mill a block from where I grew up. The goal was to grab an egg from one of the many pigeon nests tucked into the nooks and crannies just beneath the top platform. At 5 proving your manhood is a big deal. The tower was maybe 50 feet high, and of course local lore said that if the horn/whistle sounded while you were on the tower, you would be electrocuted and die. Now that is a challenge. What kid wouldn’t do that? So off we went.

Unfortunately for us, my dog decided this was not a wise idea and immediately ran home to get my mother. He pulled a Lassie on me. He barked at the door until mom answered and then led her–you know, barking, running, turning around to see if she was following–to where we were. Near the top of the tower.

That was the only dog I ever owned. Traitor. Now I have cats. Cats can be trusted. Cats are very circumspect. Or is it that they don’t really care what you do as long as you use your thumbs to open cans for them? At least that’s how it works with The Bean.

The Bean

 
 
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