Photo of the Day

Brian Wells heads out of the PNC Bank in the Summit Towne Centre after robbing it of $8,702. Wells is carrying the cash in a white canvas bag; in his left hand is a homemade cane-shaped shotgun. He is sucking on a lollipop he grabbed while in the bank. The collar bomb is protruding from under his white T-shirt. He had demanded $250,000 from the chief teller but left with whatever money she could give him. ERIE TIMES-NEWS, via FBI

The Twists and Turns of the Collar-Bombing Case

He sat on the road with his legs twisted under him and his hands cuffed behind his back. His oversized glasses drooped as he cried for help.

Brian Wells, a pizza deliveryman, was caught in a bizarre bank robbery. He had walked in with a bomb strapped to his neck, and now no one wanted to help him. No one knew what was going on or seemed to understand how a simpleton got involved in such a vicious plot.

Except for Wells. He knew he had been double-crossed.

Brian Wells delivered pizzas for a living. He was a quiet, unassuming man, one of the most trusted drivers for Mama Mia Pizzeria in Erie, Pa. But on Aug. 28, 2003, he walked into an Erie bank and handed the teller a holdup note.

This was no garden-variety stickup. When police caught Wells in a nearby parking lot, he began to beg for his life.

They grab him and they handcuff him and throw him onto the ground,

Mr Wells starts pleading with them, “He says, ‘Listen, there’s a bomb strapped to my neck. I was forced to wear it at gunpoint. It’s going to explode, I’m not lying to you.'”

Wells said a group of men accosted him and forced him to carry out the heist. After delivering the money, he would receive clues to help him disarm the bomb.

Wells wasn’t lying. A few seconds later, the bomb went off, killing him almost instantly.

It was one of the most diabolical bank robbery schemes in history, known by the FBI as COLLARBOMB, Major Case #203.

It did not go according to plan.

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Photo of the Day

The eight nurses killed by Richard Speck on July 14, 1966, in Chicago were, top from left, Gloria Davy, Suzanne Farris, Merlita Gargullo and Mary Ann Jordan. Bottom row from left are Patricia Matusek, Valentina Pasion, Nina Jo Schmale and Pamela Wilkening.

Eight Honour Nurses Slain in 1966

A couple of days after his basement flooded, John Schmale finally mustered the energy to head downstairs and investigated the damage.

In the basement’s dim overhead light, a big, brown cardboard box caught his eye, a box so soggy its bottom was ready to fall out. He lugged it upstairs. He opened it.

Inside sat four square, off-white boxes labelled “Kodak,” and on top of them lay a sheet of thin pink paper. He instantly recognised his mother’s cursive handwriting.

With a rush of excitement and a pang of dread, he read her pencilled note: “Nina South Chicago Hospital.”

Nina. His little sister. One of eight young nurses killed in a Chicago townhouse on July 14, 1966, by a man who became notorious: Richard Speck.

“I don’t believe this,” Schmale said to his wife on that day half a century later, gazing inside the box. “What do I have here?”

What he had, in this mysterious box he had inherited when his father died, were four carousels of slides, many of them corroded, warped, mouldy, ravaged by water and time. He unearthed his ancient 35 mm slide projector, marvelled that the bulb still worked and began projecting images on a wall.

There, next to his kitchen near the village of Mahomet, 140 miles south of Chicago, the lost women flickered back to life.

Clicking from slide to slide, Schmale stepped into his sister’s vanished world. It was a world of hair curlers, hair spray cans, ashtrays, manual typewriters, textbooks, sheath dresses, corsages, cluttered rooms, a place where young women laughed, hugged, studied, ate, teased each other’s hair.

He couldn’t identify everyone he saw, but at the photo of the familiar woman in the familiar yellow two-piece bathing suit, he felt his heart clench.

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Photo of the Day

“Don’t Take Candy from Strangers”

Isn’t Just a Phrase

“Don’t take candy from strangers” is a popular admonition that parents give to children. Many years ago, when the United States of America was not a superpower, the story of two brothers, Charlie Ross and Walter Ross, unfolded. Collectively, they were soon to be known as the reason why you must not accept candies from strangers. On July 1, 1874, two little boys were abducted in front of their family’s mansion. It was the first kidnapping for ransom in the history of the United States. And it would be the major event of its kind until the Lindbergh baby kidnapping.

Whether it is the fruity lozenge or chocolates, candies/lollies have always been a favourite treat of children. They are also a perfect item to lure children and remain the wicked minds’ guidebook to abduct them.

Sadly, Charlie and Walter were the first ones in the history of America who fell into the trap.

Charley Ross (age four) was lured from his Philadelphia home by the strangers offering candy; the boy was never found.  Candy has frequently been used to lure a child into a stranger’s car, so parents also admonish never to take rides with strangers.  In the 1910-1920s, children were admonished not to take candy from strangers for an additional reason—the candy was feared to be poisoned, often with morphine or cocaine to create an addiction.

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The solution is simple: issue a shotgun to every store owner

The ratbags know that Police are stretched, they also know that dud and criminal friendly judges will apply just a light hand of justice.

Northland police are defending their handling of a youth crime spree in Kaikohe at the weekend.

Officers have made one arrest, after a gang of youngsters raided a liquor store on Friday night and a larger mob attacked the doors of the town’s Mobil service station.

Residents said today that youth crime, including car theft and burglary, was out of control in mid-Northland and had been for some time.

Kaikohe Community Patrol coordinator Tony Taylor said people were frustrated, but felt powerless to act.

“There’s nothing we can do about it,” he said.   Read more »


I could solve this problem for less than $1600

Radio NZ reports:

A Christchurch dairy owner says he has spent about $26,000 trying to make his shop more secure following a spate of robberies.

The Woolston dairy has been targeted eight times in just seven months.

The store is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and was most recently robbed last Wednesday.

Police and WorkSafe have been looking at whether more can be done to make the store safer for staff.

Store owner David Lee said he was doing everything he could to stop the place from being a target.

“We’ve spent about $26,000 on putting in a safe room, a cigarette dispensing machine, upgrading the security cameras and seeing what else we can do, so… I think whatever we are going to do the [robbers] are just going to find a different way, if they want to come in.”    Read more »


How victimhood narratives can open doors

Being a victim is not something that any of us would choose but some people can use their victimhood status to do good things. An example of this would be someone who starts a campaign to change the law because it failed to protect them or someone who starts a support group or heads a public information campaign in the hope that it will help prevent what happened to them from happening to someone else.

Being a victim doesn’t always open doors though if the media paints the victim as deserving of what happened to them. When we were the victim of a criminal hack the media immediately painted us as somehow deserving of having our privacy violated and the loss of revenue and the emotional fallout was not considered important.

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Comment of the Day

In yesterday’s General Debate idbkiwi made this comment:

Universally derided, it seems, for his comments about Sweden’s alleged problems with mass immigration, Trump’s detractors (especially those from Sweden) had a field day besmirching him. Fair enough, I suppose, nobody likes their own country to be seen in a poor light; except New Zealand lefties, who revel in disparaging God’s own country.

But, after the sound of mutually-congratulatory backslaps for the wittiest put-downs of Trump died down there are two worthwhile questions to ask; How do the Swede’s feel about their personal security and crime?, and: Are any negative feelings (if any) justified or borne out in statistics? The answer is yes, to both questions, based on the latest available information.   Read more »


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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