Monday, April 26, 2004


A look at contrasting crime scene photos, one taken in the 1950's and the other a recent 2004 scene, will reveal some obvious - and not so obvious- changes.

The earlier scene is sure to find a group of well-dressed detectives, who can be easily recognized by their gray fedoras and gold shields affixed to their lapels, all meticulously examining the scene, some with notebooks - and mechanical pencils - in their hands. They are doing what they should be doing - detecting. The "hat" squad, as Tommy Joyce likes to refer to them as.

The recent scene finds several well - dressed detectives also examining a crime; they, however, do not wear the fedora of their predecessors. They all have another common item, though. Each one is standing their with a cell phone to his ear, undoubtedly providing some form of real-time update to a superior who has the belief that he/she "needs to know" all parts of the investigation as it develops.

Some of those viewed in the photo may not actually be detective investigators, but may be aides to those they are talking over the cell phone with. Real time information limited only by the latest in modern technology. Technology which is not, however, readily available to those performing the actual task of investigating. You probably don't see the notebooks in their hands, either. Have you ever tried talking on a cell phone while trying to write in a notebook?

Real time information. It may change a hundred-fold in the next hour, but it's as close to accurate as you can get right now.

While intelligence may be best served medium-well, we regularly are asked to serve ours rare. (A quote I give full credit to a well respected associate).


As reported in the last posting, the incident that has become known by the title of the 1977 book by Sonny Grosso that details it, MURDER AT THE HARLEM MOSQUE, describes the death of Ptl. Philip Cardillo of the 28 Precinct in 1972, and the blight on the city and the department in its aftermath.

In 1971, the 28 Precinct was leading the city in homicides for the third straight year. In one year cops in the 28 made more than eight thousand arrests, more than any other precinct except the 5th, which covered the Bowery, where vagrants were being arrested hundreds of times a year each. This was before the crack epidemic, when the 75 took over the lead, but back then the 28 had 121 homicides for the year.

At the height of the police assassination era, a group known as the Black Liberation Army - the BLA - was gunning down police officers in major American cities, including New York, while the public officials were denying their existence.

While the FBI was reporting the organized structure of the BLA throughout the country, New York's mayor, John Lindsay, and police commissioner, Patrick Murphy, were describing the BLA as consisting of only a handful of people and nothing for cops to be concerned about.

Lindsay, who was campaigning for the Democratic Presidential nomination, did not need his image tarnished.

Reporting on this incident in the April 18, 2004 edition (after being scooped on this site), the NY Daily News featured an article written by veteran Police Bureau Chief Michelle McPhee, that outlined this incident.

"It was a bogus cry for help that would spark the slaying of a patrol cop and mark a period of political strife pitting City Hall against rank-and-file cops for years." The call for help was received by police operators on the fourth floor of police headquarters, April 14, 1972. "I am Detective Thomas of the 28th Precinct", he said. "There is a patrolman in trouble on the second floor of the mosque," the caller said breathlessly before hanging up.

It was at 11:41 on that hazy morning that Patrolman Phil Cardillo was driving a patrol car along Manhattan Avenue near West 112th Street, with his partner, Patrolman Vito Navarra, in the recorders seat beside him. Within minutes they were heading to the scene of the 10-13 call.

As reported in the Daily News, they heard a commotion on the second floor and made their way up the stairs - only to be jumped by militant Muslims who beat and stomped the two uniformed officers.

Two other cops, Victor Padilla and Ivan Negron, responded. Once inside, they were outnumbered and attacked.

In the confusion, two of the cops' guns were snatched as attackers yelled, "Die, pig!"
Before the day was over, Cardillo was shot point-blank in the chest and would later die. Five other cops were gravely wounded.

The scene immediately erupted, as responding officers were forced out of the building, the crime scene compromised, and suspects that were being held were ordered released by police brass on the scene.

While most people present at the scene, and the aftermath, would clearly describe the outbreak as a riot, this was something that city leaders were not willing to do. With Lindsay campaigning for president, a riot was inconceivable.

At St. Luke�s Hospital, Det. Randy Jurgensen met Commissioner Murphy, who had gone there to visit the injured officer. �How is it there� the PC asked? When Jurgensen replied that there were 10-13�s being called, and people in the streets turning over patrol cars, the PC didn�t seem to like the answer. �We have been assured by Commissioner (he was wrong, it was Inspector) Knapp that everything is under control�, Murphy replied, as he walked away from the officers.

When Mayor John Lindsay met up with Deputy Commissioner Robert Daley at St. Luke�s Hospital, Daley told him �It certainly was delicate there. It came close to a riot. So close.� Daley had mentioned the magic word, that caused Lindsay to go off on him.

He snapped at Daley, �Riot? What do you mean, riot. There can�t be any riot. There won�t be any riot. It never came close to a riot. How can you say such a thing?� Keep in mind that neither Murphy or Lindsay ever went to the scene. Lindsay�s major claim to the presidency was that there had been no riots and burnings in the biggest city in the nation during his administration, while such actions had taken place in Detroit, Washington, Chicago, Watts and Cleveland. The last thing he wanted to hear from anyone that there was a riot going on!

Nevertheless, Daley persisted. �I�ve been around riots before�, Daley maintained. �This was as close to one as I�ve ever seen�. When Lindsay pressed him on how many people were in the street, Daley answered �at least twelve hundred people in the street�.

Lindsay�s response, �What�s a thousand people? Twelve hundred people? You can�t have a riot with a thousand people or twelve hundred people�, ended any further discussion on the topic.

It is noted, quite explicitly in Grosso's book, that the police commissioner chose not to respond to the scene. His deputy commissioner of community affairs, Ben Ward, did respond and, after meeting with Minister Farrakhan and Congressman Rangel, ordered that the suspects being held b y the police be released. In a pact that Ward worked out with Farrakhan and Rangel, those that were being held would surrender to the stationhouse on their own the next day!

They are still waiting for that surrender to take place today!

Six days after he was shot, Phil Cardillo died. Commissioner Murphy was notified, and told his DCPI, Robert Daley, that he would not be going to the hospital. He said he didn't feel well.

The biggest area of contention was the department�s � and the city�s � failure to acknowledge that Ptl. Phil Cardillo died while doing what he was supposed to be doing. It was this failure to support the officers actions that resulted in the Chief Of Detectives, Albert Seedman, to retire two weeks later, and the precinct commander, Inspector Haugh, to do so as well. Inspector Haugh could not believe that the department was not openly backing Cardillo, and for that he kept his word to his officers � he resigned.

Thirty-two years later, the slaying of Cardillo is still unsolved.

The Daily News further noted that there is one retired NYPD Detective, Randy Jurgensen, who remains committed to bringing Cardillo's killer to justice. He was one of the dozens of cops who went to the mosque that dark day more than three decades ago.

"Cardillo went into the ground, and for the first time ever, the mayor [John Lindsay] and the [police] commissioner [Patrick Murphy] did not go to the funeral. It was a horrifying breach of tradition," Jurgensen said. "That's the day City Hall lost the rank and file."

The incident also widened the racial divide in the city. It came at a time when the Black Liberation Army was randomly shooting cops dead - killing four and wounding two by the time Cardillo was killed.

The incident also was a blot on the career of Benjamin Ward, who later became the NYPD's first black commissioner. As the deputy commissioner of community affairs, he ordered white cops to leave the mosque - without securing a crime scene and without Cardillo's body.

Ward was criticized for appeasing Farrakhan, who would go on to lead the Nation of Islam. Months later, Jurgensen became the lead investigator on the case. He spent two years on the run protecting a black militant Muslim who witnessed the cop beatings. That witness, Foster XX Thomas, would testify against mosque member Lewis 17X Dupree. Dupree was acquitted.

"There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Cardillo was shot by Louis 17X Dupree. The police could not present a case with evidence from a crime scene that never existed. The NYPD never allowed a crime scene to be set up," Jurgensen said.

"Two years after the shooting, I went into that mosque and dug three bullets out of a wall there," Jurgensen said. "That should have been removed the day of the shooting if there was a crime scene.

"For this case," he added, "justice died the day Phil Cardillo died."

Another fine report on this incident, and that era in New York City history, is the book written by Robert Daley, TARGET BLUE. Daley served as the Deputy Commissioner of Public Information at the time; he holds no punches in reporting things as they were. Suffice it to say that he probably does not exchange Christmas gifts with his former boss, the former police commissioner Patrick Murphy.

I highly recommend these two books to anyone interested in New York City policing.

Maybe one day we'll have Detective Randy Jurgensen's memoirs to add to this prestigious list. I'd be the first on line for that book!

INTERESTING WEB SITES Magazine: The Premiere Internet Publication for Skip Tracing and Private Investigations Professionals

The inaugural issue of Magazine is now available on line. This new digital "zine" may be useful; the best part is, it's FREE!

Free search of registered sex offenders:

Don't forget to check out this great site. It grows daily, and there are many resources here for investigators.


April 23, 1977 PO Robert Mandel, 77 Pct, Shot-arrest
April 24, 1969 Det John Roth, DetDiv, Auto accident on patrol
April 24, 1980 PO Robert Sorrentino, 101 Pct, Shot-robbery
April 25, 1955 Sgt Donald Wiseman, 107 Pct, Auto accident on patrol
April 27, 1988 Sgt John McCormick, BxNarco, Shot-arrest
April 27, 1994 PO Jose Perez, BSTF, Auto accident on patrol
April 29, 1945 Ptl Jacob Szwedowski, 24 Pct, Shot-cross fire
April 30, 1979 PO Robert Betsch, 76 Pct, LOD heart attack
May 1, 1964 Ptl Edmond Schrempf, TPF, Assaulted
May 1, 1981 PO John Scarangella, 113 Pct, Shot-car stop
May 2, 1974 PO William O�Brien, 10 Pct, auto accident on patrol

Monday, April 19, 2004


What the criminal investigator commonly refers to as �Tracking the Fugitive�, is also known in common investigative circles as �Skiptracing�.

The end result is the same: Locating the person.

The criminal investigator seeks to locate the individual who may be a suspect, or perhaps a witness or even, at times, the victim who has relocated. Many of these same tactics in tracking an individual are performed by the non-law enforcement investigator who may be seeking an individual who may be �missing�, owing on a loan, or for some other non-criminal matter.

It is sometimes beneficial to explore other avenues not commonly examined when seeking to improve your investigative skills. To think that you, the ace detective, cannot learn some tricks of the trade from the �PI� is shortsighted. Especially when you realize that most of those performing the �PI� work are one-time detectives themselves; many of them very good ones at that.

Tools of the Trade: Cross Directory

When seeking to locate an individual, a term often encountered in the private sector is the use of a �cross directory�.

One would think that as criminal investigators in the largest police department in the world time that we would have untold sources of information at our fingertips. We, however, know better than that. For that reason, you have to make yourself fully knowledgeable of the sources you do have, and improvise on ways to enhance what is available.

A �cross-directory� consists of a database of names, addresses and phone numbers.

A coles directory (which we no longer have) is one example of this.

A very good cross directory, which we have available through HIDTA and through the Borough Intell Teams (you remember them, right) is known as �Auto-Track�. Another cross directory which recently has become available (by contacting the Cold Case Squad) is known as �Accurint�; this performs essentially the same search as Auto Track.

A good, prompt, reliable cross-directory for name and phone number searches is not readily available to us, and many of us have taken to using a private commercial database, such as LocatePlus (, at our own out-of-pocket expense, in order to improve effectiveness in these types of searches. (This search is then performed by accessing our own, out-of-pocket paid internet service provider, like a personal AOL account, in order to access). The relatively low cost per search that LocatePlus charges has been paid back in positive results.

Investigative tip for using a cross-directory:

The value of a cross directory is not necessarily in finding a number and/or address of the subject, but may be in finding a phone number for someone who knows your subject or someone who may lead you to your subject, such as a neighbor or relative.

The investigative skill of reviewing and analyzing cross-directories, and the ability to elicit the necessary information from those who may not realize what they are providing, or for what purpose, is the sign of a truly professional investigator.


Did you know that the annual loss relative to non-health insurance fraud is approximately $1.5 billion dollars? The National Insurance Crime Bureau ( reports that ten percent or more of property & casualty insurance claims are fraudulent.

Insurance is classified as either external fraud, or internal fraud.

External fraud includes fraudulent activity committed by applicants for insurance policies, third party claimants, or professionals who provide insurance services to claimants.

Internal fraud refers to fraud within the insurance industry itself. This includes bribery of company officials, misrepresentations of facts by insurance personnel, employees, agents, etc. for their personal enrichment.

Elements of Fraud

For insurance fraud to exist, four key elements need to be present:

1. Intent to defraud.
2. Knowledge � that what the person is doing is wrong, or a false statement.
3. Misrepresentation � creating or making a false impression that leads to payment
4. Reliance � The insurer would not have paid for the claim but for the misrepresentation.

Some good sources of information concerning insurance fraud can be found at these sites:

Barry Zalma is a west coast attorney who specializes in insurance fraud, and his web page contains numerous articles on various aspects of insurance fraud, as well as some good links.

The Insurance Information Institute carries current stories on various forms of fraud.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau is an excellent source of fraud information. Almost all insurers belong to this group and there is a lot of material available on their site.

If you�re looking for some checklists on insurance fraud, you c an check the web sites of these private insurance companies:


I don�t know about you, but I�ve had it up to here with so-called �reality TV shows�.

Some day, historians will mark the fall of our civilization with the proliferation of these forms of entertainment. In the mean time, how about some real-life reality shows, like some of these.

Larry Eggers has been pitching a reality show that follows the theme, Where Cops Eat.
I have to give him a lot of credit for this one; it actually sounds feasible. If you�re like me, you�re tired of hearing of the latest �firehouse recipe� by some firefighter, who has nothing else to do all day but prepare meals for his co-�workers�. Well, we could top that by showing them where the real cops go to eat.

Try to imagine following the crew as they order roast pork and mozzarella heros at Mama�s of Corona, on Thursdays, behind hald the staff of DBQ, DBB, and BNDO. This idead has a lot of promise; we�ll see who�s laughing when Larry�s collecting the royalty checks from the Food Channel for this one.

Along those same lines, we could follow a weekend in the life of Larry Eggers; follow him out to the Hampton�s, where he meets with Bobby (DeNiro) and Alec (Baldwin), as he crams in the final chapters to his yet-to-be-released movie, Sub Men. You can only imagine the possibilities.

Or perhaps we can base a show on man�s second greatest interest, the car.

Let�s follow Nicky Dimonda as he accompanies Joe Falcone to an auto auction. Heck, you could get paid-TV to witness that experience. Maybe Nicky and Larry can take part in a �Queer-Eye� makeover; perhaps they can get Larry to kick his already stunning wardrobe up a notch. Here�s a new idea : Trade-a-wardrobe. John Muller and Larry Eggers trade their wardrobe for a day; Who wouldn�t pay to see that?

For the sports minded, we could follow a weekend excursion where Jay Genna visits Fenway Park, to see his Sox lose another one to the terrible-Yanks, then follow it up with a Shea visit to see the Met�s blow yet another 8 run lead, while the camera�s are also following the Harrington clan rooting on the Cubs from a rooftop seat. That�s sports!

Chucky Johnson could host a combination cooking show - art auction. He could get Mark Pouria to mix up a batch of salsa for the finale.

How about some safe-driving tips by Al Meller? Travel tips by Joe Guerra. Packing for your airline flight by Kevin McCann. The ideas are endless.

Reality TV. Just wait.

Friday, April 09, 2004


Do you know why you say "K" on the radio when finishing a sentence?

What I have learned, is that Morse Code Operators punch out a "K" at the end of a transmission, which indicates "I'm finished. You go ahead".

When technology advanced from morse-code telegraph systems to a radio system, these same people became Radio Dispatchers and took this habit with them. This was intended to prevent overlapping conversations on the radio.

Remember also that in the early uses of radio communications, it was a two-way system; if the dispatcher was still talking and you keyed the microphone to speak the dispatcher would not hear any of your conversation. This use of �K� prevented this from happening.


Many investigators in California, Texas and the rest of the Southwest are already familiar with identification cards called Matricula Consular. The cards look somewhat like a driver's license and have been issued en masse over the last year or two by Mexican consulates throughout the United Stated to Mexican nationals living here. The intended purpose of the cards is to serve as legal identification for Mexican citizens who have been unable to obtain state-issued driver's licenses because of illegal immigration status.

The problem for investigators is, as a form of identification, the cards are virtually worthless. All that is required to receive one is a trip to a nearby Mexican consulate, a fee of $29 and proof of Mexican citizenship which could be anything as flimsy as an
uncertified Mexican birth certificate. To further make these documents worthless, there is no central database where the registrations are stored and thus no way to validate a Matricula Consular card.

Already lines are being drawn as to what private and public institutions will accept Matricula Consular cards as legal identification. Against the cards are the FBI which has all but called them worthless. In California, the Secretary of State has notified notaries that they are not to be accepted as legal identification. However, on the other side, hundreds of banks, financial institutions and insurance companies are already accepting
them. The Transportation Security Administration accepts them as I.D. for boarding an aircraft. Further, a number of municipalities including Denver, Colorado and Berkeley, California have established official policies making the cards legal identification within their jurisdictions.

The bottom line: In cases where the identity of a suspect, claimant, or witness is in question and the sole proof of identity is a Matricula Consular card, great caution should be exercised by an investigator.

To see a Matricula Consular card, check out the following site:


Ptl. Phillip Cardillo, #26620 of the 28 Precinct, was shot and killed in the line of duty on April 14, 1972, and what has become known as the �Murder at the Harlem Mosque� incident.

This incident, which is one of the most controversial department incidents of recent times, started out with a radio call of an anonymous and unverified �10-13�.

A brother officer's life might have been in, danger. So that was all Ptl Phillip Cardillo and his partner, Ptl. Vito Navarra, of the 28 Pct., were concerned about as they sped to the location transmitted by Sixth Division Radio as "102 West 116 Street, on the second floor," on April 14, 1972.

Arriving first at the scene, the officers raced into the building, which was a Black Muslim Mosque. They heard scuffling on the above floor. As they made it up the staircase they were intercepted by 15 to 20 men who forced the officers to retreat down the stairs and back into the hallway.

Meanwhile, Ptl. Victor Padilla and Ivan Negron, 25 Pct., along with additional units, arrived and entered the premises. The officers, who were out numbered, were then attacked and overwhelmed. All of them except Ptl. Cardillo, Padilla and Negron were forced out of the building. A steel door was closed behind them.

Ptl. Padilla was then beaten and blackjacked into semi-consciousness while his partner fought off several men who were trying to grab his
revolver. With his back to the door, Ptl. Negron suddenly heard shots. He turned and saw a man with a gun in his hand who seemed to be getting up from the floor where Ptl. Cardillo now lay shot. Negron, managing to free himself from his attackers, drew his revolver and fired three shots.

It is not known if the man with the gun was hit; he escaped. There were 20 to 25 men in the hallway when Ptl. Navarra and Ptl. Rudy Andre, 28 Pct., who had been beaten out of the Mosque moments earlier, broke a glass on the metal door and saw the patrolmen inside on their backs.

They fired several shots through the broken glass into the hallway. This scattered the men who had been assaulting the officers and enabled Ptl. Negron to unbolt the double metal door. During the melee, Ptl. Cardillo and Padilla, seriously injured, had their service revolvers taken from them.

Immediately upon getting out into the street these officers were rushed to St. Luke�s Hospital. Despite intensive efforts on the part of surgeons, hospital personnel and numerous blood donors, a week later Ptl. Cardillo died. His chest wound was inflicted by a bullet fired at such a close distance that powder burns were on his jacket.

Ptl Padilla never fully recovered from the brutal beating he received.

An investigation of the incident disclosed that the original ''assist patrolman" phone call, made by a man who identified himself as a
detective, was unfounded. Thus far, two men have been arrested on assault charges. The person responsible for Ptl. Cardillo�s murder has never been identified.

An Inspector's Funeral was given to Officer Cardillo. The five-year-veteran of the force left behind a wife and three children.

This controversial incident, and the department�s response in the aftermath, was documented in an excellent book by Sonny Grosso, who was one of the officers on the scene that day. If you ever have the opportunity, I urge you to read this book. Although it�s out of print, you may be able to find a copy in your public library, or on line through one of the used-book-selling sites.


This is an article from cyber-crime alerts. Cyber-crime alerts is a super newsletter. If your interested in it subscribe to it at:


PI DAILY! A Daily Online Newspaper For Investigators!

Virtual Gumshoe: This site contains some good links. Check it out while the web site lasts. It's for sale so check out some of the links and make your bookmarks to them before it disappears.


National Insurance Crime Bureau

Clearinghouse for information and industry assistance to combat vehicle theft and insurance fraud.


April 2, 1914 Det Joseph Guarneri, DetDiv, Shot-arrest
April 2, 1930 Ptl Thomas Harnett, 13 Pct, Auto accident on patrol
April 2, 1978 PO Christie Massone and PO Norman Cerullo, 79 Pct, Shot-car stop
April 3, 1953 Ptl John Pendegrass, 32 Pct, Shot-robbery
April 3, 1972 Ptl Phillip Cardillo, 28 Pct, Shot-investigation
April 4, 1947 Ptl Jack Chason, 79 Pct, Shot-robbery
April 5, 1926 Ptl Charles Reilly, 13 Pct, Shot-Robbery arrest
April 5, 1952 Insp Thomas Boylan, Airplane struck auto
April 6, 1937 Ptl Daniel Sullivan, Mcy Unit, motorcycle accident
April 6, 1953 Ptl Sam Katz, 32 Pct, Shot-investigation
April 6, 1955 Ptl John Conlon, 28 Pct, Injuries sustained on patrol
April 10, 1937 Det Michael Foley, 9 Sq, Shot-robbery arrest
April 10, 1950 Ptl Louis Balzano, line of duty incident
April 10, 1960 Ptl Vito Valenzano, 20 Pct, LOD heart attack

The Minister of Investigation would like to wish everyone a happy holiday during this special week. Spring seems to be breaking from under the ice, and it is certainly welcome! Certainly a great time for lacrosse...