Inside the Snitch Tank. After his arrest for the worst mass shooting in Orange County, CA history, Scott Dekraai poured out his feelings to a jailhouse informant. But instead of nailing down a death-penalty conviction against a confessed killer who was arrested with murder weapons in his car, the bugging of Dekraai’s cell touched off a legal storm over prosecutorial misconduct and the misuse of jailhouse informants which has delayed justice and drawn national attention. The Orange County Register has set up an extensive website to accompany their ongoing investigation and report.
"He was a schemer who used the courts for profit and revenge. He was a paranoid, angry meth addict who had been arrested for battery and domestic violence seven times. He had been involuntarily committed, by his family’s count. And yet, in its report on Phoebe’s death, the Florida Department of Children and Families concluded, “There was nothing in the preceding several years that could have reasonably been interpreted as predictive of such an event.”
"No one knew who killed (13 year-old) Mackenzie Howard that cold February night last year — and people were terrified that the killer was still in their midst. But in the remote community of Kake, only accessible by air or boat, there was no law enforcement officer."
The Elvis Impersonator, the Karate Instructor, the Fridge full of Severed Heads, and the Plot to Kill the President. In March, Kevin Curtis of Tupelo, Mississippi, was arrested for mailing ricin-laced letters to a local judge, Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker, and the President - only to be released a week later when another man was arrested for the crime. In the latest issue of GQ, Wells Tower sets out to get to the bottom of the tale and finds himself falling down the rabbit hole into a whole other universe of lost American weirdness. (Know that Moo Cow the dog is okay.)
“I have to admit, I admired her style,” . . . “the most awesome robbery ever.” . . . “twisted, intellectually bright, dysfunctional individuals who outsmarted themselves” . . . "from threats to farce to violence" . . . "He smelled really good." . . . Slate and Longform.org team up to being you the tales of five remarkable bank heists.
An oldie but a goodie: Don Reese, then of the San Diego Chargers, talks about his own problems with cocaine and the widespread drug use in the NFL at the time. [more inside]
Law enforcement authorities are in awe of the new wave of narco "supersubs" that are being found in the jungles of Colombia. [more inside]
In February 2006, a group of criminals pulled off the biggest cash heist in the history of the UK, making off with £53 million pounds. To date, only £23 million of the money has been recovered. Police are understandably upset about the dead ends in the case.
William Langewiesche writes an enthralling account of the hijacking of a French cruise ship in the Gulf of Aden by Somali pirates.
For almost 20 years, Art Williams, Jr. was one of the country's eminent currency counterfeiters. His greatest achievement: counterfeiting the new (at the time) $100 bill (PDF link). [more inside]
In 1994, Leon Dash, while still at the Washington Post, wrote a Pulitzer winning series of articles about a woman named Rosa Lee Cunningham. [more inside]
A Crime of Shadows: Mark Bowden shows both sides of a police sting of Internet child predators. [more inside]
The Silver Thief: The Story of a Burglar Who Was Too Good for His Own Good: The story of Blane Nordahl, an eminent silver thief in New Jersey and the hunt for him.
Cheng Chui Ping came to the US like many others from the Fujian province in China. Through hard work and determination, she rose in the ranks of New York City's Chinatown business community. But, "Sister Ping" was not one to follow laws if it didn't suit her. Among the snakeheads who engaged in human trafficking, none were better than her. [more inside]