Daily Archives: December 19, 2010

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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