Crime

Photo of the Day

Wanted posters announced the $15,900 bounty on the brothers. Posters were distributed across the U.S. The three DeAutremont brothers destroyed a mail car and killed four men, including a Railway Post Office clerk, when they tried to rob a Southern Pacific train on October 11, 1923. After botching the robbery, the three fled the scene of the crime in a panic, leaving some items, including a pair of overalls, behind. The items left behind helped authorities learn the identities of the murderers.

The bottom portion of this wanted poster continues information on identifying each brother. Postal inspectors asked chemist Edward Heinrich to inspect the clues left behind by the robbers to see if he could tell them anything about the fugitives. Given a pair of overalls found at the crime scene, Heinrich developed a profile of a likely suspect.

Crime Does Not Always Pay

The D’Autremont Train Robbery

Most people think of train robberies as 19th century crimes, complete with Butch and Sundance blowing up a train car, or Jesse James and his gang taking on the evil railroad companies. However, one of the most violent and tragic train robbery attempts was in 1923. On October 11 of that year, three men, twins Roy and Ray DeAutremont and their younger brother Hugh ambushed Southern Pacific train #13 in southern Oregon, just as the train was emerging from a tunnel.

The young DeAutremont brothers and especially Ray felt they were born into a family that had been victimized by a corrupt society. It seemed only fair they follow a course of crime rather than work for a living. Twins Ray and Roy were just twenty three when they attempted one of the most daring robberies in America. Their brother Hugh, who accompanied them, was a mere nineteen. The crime they committed in 1923 would have been laughable in its ineptitude had they not happened to kill four men during the debacle.

But what of their earlier criminal career? This too proves without doubt that the DeAutremont brothers should have stuck to a more legitimate career – it seems that they just weren’t cut out to be criminal masterminds.

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Photo of the Day

Escaping from Custody, Kenneth Leishman – back right, and Joseph Dale – front right. Headingley Escapees. September 09, 1966. Photo: Winnipeg Tribune.

“The Flying Bandit”

Ken Leishman, a pilot turned thief from Winnipeg, captured the public’s imagination in the ’60s and ’70s with his daring aerial escapes and non-violent methods of thievery. In 1966, he was the mastermind behind what was then Canada’s largest gold robbery—about $400,000 worth of bullion. Armed with the knowledge of when flights carrying gold arrived at the Winnipeg airport, Leishman and four accomplices dressed up as freight handlers, walked onto the tarmac, stole a truck loaded with 12 crates of gold bars, and drove off.

A court imprisoned Leishman for the heist, but he later escaped and stole a plane in Steinbach, Manitoba, solidifying his reputation as the Flying Bandit.

Upon his release in the mid-’70s, moved to Red Lake, Ont., where he became a successful businessman.

He also robbed two banks, then escaped from jail and eventually had a shootout with police in Gary in Indiana.

Any one of those elements alone would have been a story, but Leishman was quite Dillingeresque because of the combination of events during his life.”

William Kenneth Leishman, the ‘Flying Bandit’ or ‘Gentleman Bandit’, has been referred to as “one of the most beloved of Canadian criminals.” During the 1950s and early 1960s he committed numerous crimes, including bank robberies, plane thefts, prison breaks and, his piéce de resistance, the March 1, 1966 heist of nearly $400,000 worth of gold bouillon from the Winnipeg International Airport – the largest gold theft in Canadian history.

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Photo of the Day

Bobby Greenlease and his father, Robert C. Greenlease Sr., 71.

The “No-Tell Motel” and the Bobby Greenlease Kidnapping

One of the more tragic and fascinating crimes of the mid 20th century was the kidnapping and murder of 6-year-old Bobby Greenlease in 1953, and the subsequent disappearance of half the $600,000 ransom his family futilely paid for his release.

Bobby was the son of Robert C. and Virginia Greenlease. His 71-year-old father was one of the largest Cadillac dealers in the nation. The Greenleases lived in Mission Hills, Kan., the most elite suburb in the Kansas City area.

The kidnappers – Carl Austin Hall and Bonnie Brown Heady – had both known privilege earlier in their lives. In fact, it was at military school that Hall met Paul Greenlease, the older, adopted brother of Bobby Greenlease. Hall later inherited a substantial amount of money from his father, but blew it failing at a number of business ventures. For robbing a number of cab drivers – his total take was $38 — Hall was sent to the Missouri State Penitentiary. In prison he dreamed of making “the big score” – a score that would allow him to once again live in luxury.

He later said that kidnapping was the only crime where he could strike once and retire for life.

Once out of prison, Hall, stocky and with thinning hair, was living in St. Joseph, Mo., and started going with Heady – a plump but not entirely unattractive woman, who was known to sleep around and prostitute herself. Heady owned her own home. They got drunk routinely, and sometimes Hall knocked her around. In fact, when she was arrested for the kidnapping she bore the marks of a Hall beating.

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Easy fixed: Punch an Ambo go to jail

St John have released appalling statistics of the assaults and abuse their staff have to face every day on the job trying to help people who have injured themselves or been injured by others.

Once you take out helping old nanas and bewildered old men, the next tranche of victims would mostly be as the result of drinking, drugs or some other stupidity or accidents.

Ambulance crews fear they are losing the community’s respect after staff were physically assaulted more than 98 times in the past nine months.

St John staff were also verbally abused 219 times when they went out on jobs, making the Central North Island one of the worst places in the country for ambulance crews.

Only Auckland, with 791 incidents, and Canterbury with 383, were worse. Wellington and Wairarapa are serviced by Wellington Free Ambulance.

St John Manawatu operations manager Steve Yanko said they had seen an increase in violence towards officers.

“Once upon a time there was more respect for St John and what it stood for.

“Now there is a core of society who give that no consideration.”   Read more »

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Photo of the Day

Machine Gun Kelly being led by United States Marshals to prison following his conviction.

Machine Gun Kelly being led by United States Marshalls to prison following his conviction.

Kathryn and “Machine Gun” Kelly

Kathryn Kelly made a career out of crime. With a lust for danger, she masterminded crimes that took Kathryn, her husband and others, who included her own mother and stepfather, on a spree across Minnesota, Tennessee, Oklahoma and Texas. Starting off with small crimes including bootlegging and smuggling liquor onto an Oklahoma Indian reservation and other petty crimes, she got her husband, George Barnes aka George Kelly, to move up to more serious criminal activity, eventually escalating into bank robberies, kidnapping and extortion.

Kathryn was given the same birth name as Cleo Epps, queen of the Tulsa bootleggers, she who was pitched into the dank darkness of a west-side cistern after asking why she had to die. Cleo Mae Brooks didn’t like that name and became Kathryn in eighth grade to seem more elegant.

And eventually, it worked.

But she started small in 1904 near Saltillo, Mississippi, eight years before Elvis Presley’s mother was born there. After becoming Kathryn, she married at fifteen, divorced after her daughter Pauline was born and moved with her parents, James and Ora (Coleman) Brooks, from Mississippi to Oklahoma, where she was briefly married again.

Kathryn’s mother Ora divorced Brooks, married Robert G. “Boss” Shannon, and moved with Kathryn and Pauline to his place near Palestine, Texas, north of Fort Worth. He was in the hospitality business, catering to gangsters; his rate was fifty dollars a night.

Kathryn’s ticket out of that stark, weather-beaten farmhouse was her third marriage; this time the groom was Texas bootlegger Charlie Thorne.

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NZ Herald columnist, Megan Nicol Reed, admits to stealing

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Megan Nicol Reed is a columnist at the NZ Herald.

In her latest column, she admits to stealing…and admits that her husband is a thief as well.

Because I am an anally retentive sort of a person, and because I fancy it makes the checkout operator’s job that little bit easier, I like to group my groceries on the conveyor belt. Bananas with the broccoli and beetroot. Toilet paper with the toothpaste and tampons. You get the idea. Anyway, last Sunday I had a new category. Gummy eyeballs with the spider webs and pumpkin. Stocking up, eh, commented the woman serving me. Halloween’s huge around this area, isn’t it, she said. And then, sotto voce, you know, I hear they come all the way from South Auckland for the trick or treating. Whole carloads of them, she sniffed. So? I said it quite boldly, and it was not what she was expecting. She had wanted my indignation, that we might quiver together in shared outrage. Instead we finished our transaction in an awkward silence. Afterwards, loading my purchases into my car, I thought about her oddly-misplaced snobbery, about her thinly-veiled racism, about what else I could have said. As I was lifting out my last bag, I saw, languishing in the back of the trolley, a round of brie. A round of brie I hadn’t paid for, that sub-consciously I knew I had deliberately left in the trolley. You see, I make a habit of checking my supermarket receipt, and more often than not find I have been overcharged, two boxes of teabags rung up when I only bought one, that kind of thing. And because sometimes I don’t have time to return to the store to have the error rectified, and because I know how dishonorably supermarkets can behave towards small suppliers, and because it irks me to pay more than I owe, occasionally I take matters into my own hands. Accidentally omitting to pay for some small thing of similar value the next time I do my shopping. Slipping my stolen cheese in with the yogurt, milk and butter, it occurred to me that, had the checkout operator witnessed my small act of thievery, she would quite probably, and perhaps rightly, judged me as harshly as I had her.

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Barry Soper on his time as a gang member

Who knew Barry Soper was born to be wild?

There are some things you do in your career that you’d rather not have done. Mine was infiltrating a southern motorcycle gang more than 40 years ago and riding to the Alexandra Blossom Festival which you’d think would be a most unlikely place for gangs to assemble, but that they did from all over the country.

The gangs had complained they’d the previous year been roughed up by the police who weren’t wearing their identification numbers, which of course they’re required to do by law.

Riding through the countryside with around a hundred thundering bikes certainly gave you a feeling of power, but that feeling turned to disgust at what they got up to when several hundred of them set up camp at an area on the outskirts of the Central Otago town called The Pines.

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Key moves to mitigate Winston’s inroads into law and order

Law and Order issues are normally the purview of National. But last week Winston Peters made a big play towards addressing those issues in his speech to the Police Association.

Winston Peters promised tougher sentencing for violent offences and 1800 more Police.

John Key has seen the risk and has moved quickly to attempt to mitigate.

Prime Minister John Key says he understands concerns about law and order – saying as a parent he worries about his daughter getting hassled or even raped.

This morning, he told Newstalk ZB’s Mike Hosking that there was “no question” that more frontline officers helped, but that was only one factor and the overall structure of policing needed to be considered.

“You really need is to take a bit more of a sophisticated approach and say, ok, let’s just accept there are more resources…let’s talk about how do we deliver what New Zealanders really want, which is not just a number…that a politician barks out at you.  Read more »

This is why we have a crime problem, judges practice catch and release on our criminals

Fairfax ran a story on the weekend about the effects of drugs on society with the main thrust being the hurt that drug addiction causes.

But in the middle of all the tears and angst were these little nuggets of information.

The summary of facts for the offending outlined how unstuck Joshua Morton’s life became.

On January 1, the defendant was at Waitara’s Marine Park when he saw the victim in a parked car. He walked up to the victim and punched him in the head through the half open window.

As the victim tried to get out of the car, the defendant kicked at the door repeatedly  and then launched more punches, causing the window to smash. Joshua Morton then presented a set of nunchuks (two small metal bars joined by a chain) and used them to smash the windscreen and punch the victim’s head. The victim was left with a split nose and a facial cut, a sore jaw and abrasions to his back.

Later the same month, Joshua Morton smashed his way into his parents’ Waitara home, stole his father’s ute and left.  After the matter was reported to the police, the defendant was spotted on Cracroft St.

After activating the red and blue lights, police did get Joshua Morton to stop and get out of the car.  However, he got back into the ute and drove off at speed. He was arrested a short time later.   Read more »

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We got it all wrong. Having no money makes you a criminal

biggestRadio NZ are pushing so many poverty tropes at the moment it is hard to keep up with them all.

The latest one is that poverty makes you a criminal…as well as a dead beat parent.

Some womble do-gooder from University and a left-wing activist with the Child Poverty Action Group thinks Judith Collins is wrong too:

There’s help there for all those who need it, she argues. Well, those who work with struggling families know how much more difficult it is to get the help needed under this government.

Ms Collins’ position is strange, to say the least, because the evidence doesn’t support her and she’s part of a government which says it is committed to evidence and to effective use of knowledge and research to support policies and actions.

Interesting how selective the use of evidence can be.

Studies from around the world tell us several important things about poverty and crime. Poverty is linked with crime. Those who experience poverty are much more likely to be the victims of crime than those in more affluent communities. As a British review of the research noted: “Most children raised in poverty do not become involved in crime, but there are higher victim and fear of crime rates in disadvantaged areas”.

That said, there is good evidence that, compared with their more affluent peers, children brought up in poverty are more likely to be reported as having behavioural problems, more likely to be reported for aggressive and/or risk-taking behaviour, more likely to be excluded from school, more likely to be the victims of criminal behaviour, more likely to grow up in communities with limited social and recreational opportunities and facilities.

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