Crime

So how are Australia’s restrictive gun laws helping stop criminals get guns?

So, Australia has vastly more restrictive gun laws. How’s that working out for them?

Not that well, by the looks of things. Criminals with guns. Drive-by shootouts.

It’s kind of hard to see how the gun laws are working. They haven’t stopped criminals getting or using firearms.

A bloody war between rival crime gangs is about to escalate following the execution of convicted killer and standover man Wally Ahmad at a Bankstown shopping centre yesterday.

Ahmad, 40, was shot dead outside the Crunch Fitness gym on the rooftop carpark of Bankstown Central in Sydney’s south when an unknown person opened fire just before midday.

Two others, including a 53-year-old man and a 32-year-old woman, sustained non-life-threatening gunshot wounds and are both in a stable condition at Liverpool Hospital tonight.   Read more »

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Catt Family Bank Robbers: Father Ronald Scott Catt And 2 Children Suspected Of Multiple Heists.

Catt Family Bank Robbers : Father Ronald Scott Catt And 2 Children Suspected Of Multiple Heists. Catt, 50, and his 20 year old son Hayden are alleged to have carried out the raids while 18 year old Abigail acted as the getaway driver.

I Would Only Rob Banks For My Family

The Catts of Katy, Texas seemed to be a normal, quiet, family before their secret lives as bank robbers were revealed.

Scott Catt, 50, and his 20-year-old son Hayden and 18-year-old daughter Abby stole $100,000 in two bank robberies before they were arrested at their apartment complex.

In a confessional prison interview, Scott Catt tells  how he recruited his two children to become his accomplices in crime.

‘All I can tell you is that I thought it would help us as a family,’ Catt said.

‘I did it for the family,’ he said. ‘I swear to you, I would only rob banks for my family.’

Just after sunrise on the morning of August 9, 2012, in the Houston suburb of Katy, Scott Catt, a fifty-year-old structural engineer, was awakened by the buzzing of his alarm clock in the master bedroom of the apartment he shared with his twenty-year-old son, Hayden, and his eighteen-year-old daughter, Abby. The apartment was in Nottingham Place, a pleasant, family-oriented complex that featured a resort-size swimming pool and a large fitness center.

Scott took a shower, dried off, and ran a brush through his closely cropped, graying hair. He put on a T-shirt, a pair of blue jeans, and some work boots and walked into the living room, where Abby and Hayden were waiting for him on the couch. Hayden was also wearing a T-shirt and jeans, along with some slip-on tennis shoes. His short dark hair was brushed forward, splayed over his forehead. Abby, whose highlighted blond hair fell to her shoulders, was wearing a blouse, black yoga pants, and flip-flops.

“Okay, kids,” Scott said. “You ready?”

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How do gang members get guns? They apply for a firearms licence and the Police approve them…really

So the Police – again – are responsible for firearms getting into the hands of scumbag criminals.

Spectacular failure of monumental proportions.

A gang member was able to legally buy 18 high-powered firearms before police cottoned on – and now the cache has vanished.

The man, understood to be a patched member of the Headhunters Motorcycle Club, bought the guns, including high-powered semi-automatic rifles, with a value of about $30,000, between 2012 and 2015, the Herald has learned.

It is understood that in January, police went to the Northland man to revoke his licence and guns, only to find he had already sold them.

Police would not comment on the case except to say it was “very rare for a patched gang member to be issued a firearms licence”.

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Sandeep Kaur, The Bombshell Bandit. "Tick Tock. I have a bomb"

Sandeep Kaur, The Bombshell Bandit. “Tick Tock. I have a bomb”

From Nurse to Bank Robber

The Bombshell Bandit

“Tick tock. I have a bomb.”

This was a note given by a bank robber to a the cashier at Bank of the West on 6 July 2014.

But this bank robber wasn’t a sturdy man wearing a ski mask or wielding a machine gun, she was a 25-year old Sikh nurse. Called the Bombshell Bandit, due to her glamorous disguises and bomb threats, she captured the attention of many who wondered what could be the reason behind a nurse becoming a bank robber.

Sandeep Kaur  moved to California from Punjab at the age of seven and by 19 was a licensed nurse, earning up to $6,000 a month. But things turned awry when Kaur discovered Las Vegas at 21 and became a gambling addict.

Soon she quit nursing to concentrate on gambling fulltime. “I stopped working. I could not focus and going to work for this little amount of money” Kaur said.

But by March 2012 she had lost her life savings and was in debt. She then borrowed money at a steep interest, attempting to recover what she had lost.

What happened next is best summed by Kaur’s statement:

“I ate at that table. I only took bathroom breaks… I was sitting at the table for 16 hours… hoping it’ll all change. Then it all just went down the drain.”

She had to flee Las Vegas and managed to evade the loan sharks until they caught up with her in May 2014.

Desperate, she resorted to their suggestion of a bank robbery and without a weapon or back-up plan, she managed to escape with $21,200 on her first attempt. But since that wasn’t enough, she had little choice but to rob more banks.

However, her run ended on 31 July 2014 when the manager of US Bank alerted the authorities and thus began the police pursuit that lasted 65 miles, crossed three states, two time zones, and reached speeds of 130mph resulting in her capture.

Kaur may be in prison now, but her exploits have cemented her name on the list of unusual bank robbers.

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LEGENDARY TOUGH NEW YORK COP DETECTIVE JOHNNY BRODERICK, wearing the cap.

LEGENDARY TOUGH NEW YORK COP DETECTIVE JOHNNY BRODERICK, wearing the cap.

“The Toughest Cop in the World”

Here’s how Johnny Broderick handled ordinary smart guys. There were three of them, standing outside a downtown restaurant, looking for trouble. Johnny smacked them around for a while, then he picked them up one by one and flung all three of them through the restaurant’s plate-glass window. Then he ran them in for malicious destruction of property, and the judge gave them 30 days and made them pay for the damage.

Here’s how Johnny Broderick handled racketeers like Vannie Higgins. Dapper Vannie would come around to Madison Square Garden for a sporting night out on the town, and Johnny would be waiting for him every time, and Johnny would just pick him up and send him crashing through a phone booth and make him leave. Vannie complained about this to the fixers on several occasions, but it never got him anywhere.

Here’s how Johnny Broderick handled Legs Diamond, who blustered one night that he’d had enough of this Broderick and he was going to take the lousy copper for a ride. Word of this came to Johnny, who went out looking for a showdown and soon found Legs and his boys at Broadway and 46th. The boys fled at once. Legs gulped. Johnny dumped a trash bin over his head. Then he made him crawl away on his hands and knees as the whole Stem watched.

Here’s how Johnny Broderick handled Two-Gun Crowley. Crowley was holed up at West End and 90th, fending off tear-gas bombs, challenging 300 cops outside to come and get him. Johnny stomped upstairs by himself, bashed down the door, ordered Crowley to come along and marched him out by the scruff of his neck.

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J.L. Hunter "Red" Rountree in prison, 2004. Photo DAN WINTERS.

J.L. Hunter “Red” Rountree in prison, 2004. Photo DAN WINTERS.

One of the Most Inept Bank Robberies in American History

At the age that most men are either dead or dozing in their La-Z-Boys, enjoying retirement, JL Hunter Rountree began his second career: Robbing Banks

Red Rountree, 92 “You want to know why I rob banks?” asked the oldest known bank robber in America in an interview..

“It’s fun. I feel good. Awful good.”

While some geriatrics spend the twilight of their lives fishing or golfing, sitting on the beach with a romance paperback or showing everyone who doesn’t care photos of their grandkids, J.L. Hunter “Red” Rountree went on a crime spree.

Born and raised in his family’s farmstead near Brownsville, TX, in what was the Golden Age of American bank-robbery, Rountree walked the straight-and-narrow life of an ordinary citizen until his 80s. Indeed, he was once a well-to-do businessman. According to a relative, Rountree made a fortune when he founded the Houston-based Rountree Machinery Co., which manufactured industrial tubing.

But then came the two things that every man should avoid: a younger woman and a bank loan. As business went south, Rountree’s payments on his refinancing loan were harder and harder to meet. A year after his first wife died, Rountree, at the age of 76, married a 31-year-old woman and then spent almost half a million dollars putting her through a drug rehabilitation program (the sum he spent on Viagra was never reported).

The bank didn’t care about substance-abuse problems; it just wanted its money. At this point, Rountree decided he didn’t like banks very much.

In 1998, at the age of 86, the short, scrawny redhead held up a South Trust Bank in Biloxi, MS. A year later he knocked over a Nations Bank in Pensacola, FL. This time he wasn’t that lucky; he was apprehended and sentenced, leniently, to three years in a state prison. In 2002 he was released on probation.

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One of the X-Rays of Fish's pelvic region revealed 29 needles that had been inserted in his body and left there. (New York Daily News)

One of the X-Rays of Fish’s pelvic region revealed 29 needles that had been inserted in his body and left there. (New York Daily News)

Hannibal Lecter and Albert Fish

Warning, The story becomes a little more repugnant as we go along.

Fiction writers frequently plumb headlines for story or character ideas.  Many of crime fiction’s best known figures and plot devices are based upon real criminals and criminal events. Albert Fish, the cannibal and killer of children, has echoes in one of the best-known literary characters of recent history, Dr. Hannibal Lecter.

Murder holds the most fascination of any crime. Part of the allure of a “good” murder is the questions that arise from civilized people: “How could he do that?” “She did what?  Why?”

Another element is the anarchy of murder – most people operate within the bounds of society’s laws; a murderer, on the other hand, has no such constraints.  Murders are committed many times to erase an inconvenience from the killer’s life, such as a pregnant girlfriend.  Other times, murders are motivated by greed (as in the case of America’s first female serial killer Belle Gunness and with the Bender clan of Kansas).  Serial killers (or even casual killers) do not live within the strictures of what “normal” people might do under similar circumstances.

There is a class of murderer, however, that defies almost all attempts at explanation or understanding.  This is the realm of the truly psychopathic, the deranged, killers who work on an agenda not fixed in reality.

Thomas Harris brought the world the iconic character of Dr. Hannibal Lecter in a series of popular and very brilliantly conceived and well-written novels. Hannibal Lecter, as a psychopathic cannibalistic killer in the novels, is erudite, urbane, and anarchic.  His high intelligence and cunning make him one of the most effective murderers in literature, although he does get caught a time or two

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John Holmes; John Holmes by Mark Sullivan; John Holmes, Self Assignment, November 1, 1975; Los Angeles; California. (Photo by Mark Sullivan/Contour by Getty Images)

John Holmes; November 1, 1975; Los Angeles; California. (Photo by Mark Sullivan/Contour by Getty Images)

The Devil and John Holmes

John Holmes was a porn star. Eddie Nash was a drug lord. Their association ended in one of the most brutal mass murders in the history of Los Angeles.

Holmes’s biggest commodity had been trouble. He was freebasing one hit of coke every ten or fifteen minutes, swallowing forty to fifty Valium a day to cut the edge. The drugs affected his work, he couldn’t work in porn. Now he was a drug delivery boy for the Wonderland Gang. His mistress, Jeana, who’d been with him since she was fifteen, was turning tricks to support his habit. They were living out of the trunk of his estranged wife’s Chevy Malibu. Holmes was stealing luggage off conveyers at L.A. International, buying appliances with his wife’s credit cards, fencing them for cash.

Since the late Sixties, Holmes had traded on his natural endowment. In a career that would span twenty years, Holmes made about 3000 pornographic films, had sex with 14,000 women. At the height of his popularity, he earned $3000 a day on films and almost as much turning tricks, servicing wealthy men and women on both coasts and in Europe.

He got hooked on drugs, primarily cocaine, which eventually rendered him incapable of performing. He was always late to the set, and when he finally did show up he’d disappear into the bathroom for hours at a time. After which point, of course, he was scatterbrained and unable to perform. Then he stopped getting roles.

During the height of his drug addiction, Holmes went broke and turned to crime to support his habit. He stole luggage from the baggage claim at LAX, sold things he purchased with his wife’s charge cards, broke into cars. Somewhere around this time, John got involved with alleged drug dealer Eddie Nash, who had an unsavory reputation.

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Crime Scene. A surveillance camera captured Peggy Jo Tallus, wearing men's clothes and a fake beard, during a robbery in 1992.

Crime Scene. A surveillance camera captured Peggy Jo Tallas, wearing men’s clothes and a fake beard, during a robbery in 1992.

Cowboy Bob’s Last Ride

 The Unlikely Bank Robber was Called ‘Grandmotherly’ and ‘A Kind Lady’… 

He wore a Western hat, never spoke a word, and robbed bank after bank. When the feds finally arrested him, they discovered that their suspect was actually a soft-spoken woman. They thought they’d never hear from her again— but she had other plans.

The story of Peggy Jo Tallas, by most accounts a kind-hearted woman who took care of her ailing mother and also had a successful and wild ride as a bank robber.

But Peggy Jo didn’t just rob a bank, According to the FBI, she was one of the most unusual bank robbers of her generation, a modern-day Bonnie without a Clyde who always worked alone…. She was also a master of disguise, her cross-dressing outfits so carefully designed that law enforcement officials, studying bank surveillance tapes, had no idea they were chasing a woman.

She was wild in her younger days, always looking to escape the humdrum for adventure. But as she matured, she had seemed to settle down. Never married, she lived with and cared daily for her ailing mother. No one would have suspected she would be the one to disguise herself as a man, rob lots of banks, and go to jail. Nor would they suspect she’d continue to rob them in her old age.

Outlaws and desperadoes have been giving lawmen headaches as long as there’re been banks to stick-up. There was “Butch and Sundance,” “Bonnie and Clyde,” and “Pretty Boy” Floyd to name just a few.

But it was Cowboy Bob who bedeviled a onetime Texas FBI agent. Bank robbers aren’t keen on having their pictures taken and Cowboy Bob wasn’t showing the bank security cameras much more than a 10 gallon hat, oversized shades, a mustache, and a Santa-length beard.

In the early ‘90s he started knocking off one suburban Dallas bank after another. FBI man Steve Powell and his bank robbery unit saddled-up after the cool-as-can be bandit they dubbed Cowboy Bob.

Cowboy Bob’s M.O. rarely changed. Stroll in, slip the teller a note signaling this was a hold-up—no alarms, no tricks. Then without a word spoken, he’d calmly walk out with the stolen cash.

One time, Cowboy Bob even showed a little flair that might have tickled Butch Cassidy himself. Every time, Cowboy Bob made a clean escape in a burnt orange Pontiac Grand Prix.  The license plate— always stolen— changed on every hold-up.

From May of ‘91 to May of ‘92 the 10-gallon bandit, described as a white male, about 5’10”, mid-40’s robbed four banks in the greater Dallas area.  He seemed to be grabbing money at will.

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Reinier A. Ravesteijn.

Reinier A. Ravesteijn.

Kidnapping Grandma Braun

LITTLE PRAIRIE, Wis,2003, When Grandma Braun went missing, folks figured she wandered off. Then came the ransom note. It was cold the night Grandma Braun was taken, that bitter dead-of-winter cold when the countryside is sheathed in ice and the stillness is broken only by great gusts of snow that swirl across the fields and back roads, erasing footprints and car tracks and all traces of life.

Eighty-eight-year-old Hedwig Braun was in bed reading when the lights went out but she didn’t pay much heed. In her tiny farmhouse on Bluff Road, miles from the nearest town, power outages are not uncommon. Pulling on her dressing gown and slippers, she lit a candle and padded into the kitchen. She poured a glass of milk, settled at the table and continued her book about angels.

The clock was stopped at 12:50 a.m.

A sudden blast of wind. A shadowy figure in the doorway.

“Eddie!” she screamed as the intruder lurched toward her, throwing something over her head. “Eddie come quick.”

But her 88-year-old husband, asleep in the other room, didn’t stir.

At 5-foot-2, weighing 80 pounds, Braun is a slip of a woman whose toughness is all inside. She had no strength to fight off her abductor. She didn’t even try. She just prayed as she was flung into the trunk of her 1992 white Cadillac, kept praying as they tore down the country road, screeching to a halt beside a ditch, prayed even harder as she was tossed into the trunk of another car and they sped away again.

In the darkness, wedged against the spare tire, she wondered, “Why me? I’m just a nobody. What does he want with me?”

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