Monday, March 27, 2006

"No serious investigator who has worked in law enforcement for any substantial amount of time can walk away from their investigative mind set, any more than birds can learn to enjoy walking".


The United States recently became the most incarcerating country in the world, with a greater share of its population � 724 per 100,000 residents � in prisons and jails. Over 2.1 million people incarcerated as of December 31, 2004.

At the same time, there were 4.8 million adults on parole or probation.

These figures represent nearly 131,000 more than there were in 2002. According to recent Bureau of Justice statistics, 650,000 people are incarcerated in jails and prisons every day.

Did you know that in 2000, nearly 15 million Americans spent more than $60 billion to buy illegal drugs? Americans use 50 percent of the world�s cocaine, but comprise only about 6 percent of the world�s population.

Between 1960 and 1998, the population of the US increased by 50 percent. During the same period, the number of crimes reported to the police increased by almost 145 percent.

Every 54 hours a police officer is killed in the line of duty.

Almost two-thirds of defendants charged with a felony in the 75 most populated counties of the country in May 1996 were released from jail pending disposition of their case. Thirty-one percent of those released were rearrested for a new offense, did not show up for a court date or violated some other condition of their pretrial release.

In 1976, 79 percent of homicides nationwide were cleared by arrest compared to 66 percent in 1997.

The failure of 30 percent of US businesses has for many years been linked to employee theft. In the retail industry in 2000, 44.5 percent of all lost revenue � inventory shrinkage � was due to employee theft; 32.7 percent was due to shoplifting.

Some other alarming prison statistics indicate that there are over 700,000 parolees in the US and over 3.6 million probationers. The average incarceration period in the US state prisons in 1998 for murder was 8.6 years; for rape it was 5.5 years; for drugs it was 1.8 years.


There are a multitude of associations and organizations for investigators in the private sector. Some organized by specialty, others by geographic area.
Here�s a listing of some of the more unusual.

There is a European Council of Detectives. You can check their web site at:

The Professional Investigators and Security Association
Based in Charlottesville, VA, they can be found at:

National Defender Investigator Association.

National Association of Legal Investigators.
This association represents private investigators who conduct work for the defense. They also have a national accreditation program.

The Council of International Investigators, headquartered in Singapore.

World Association of Detectives. This international group hosts an annual convention that brings detectives from� all over the world (where else?)! Claim to be the largest and oldest association of its kind in the world.


Here are some excerpts of actual conversations heard in and around Squad rooms. Some during interviews, some by� detectives?

�They were all conversating.
We conversated telephonically.
They were living domesticatarly.
They�re habitating.
Seeking the location of his whereabouts.
He was of Jamaican assessment.
Seeking to identify his identification.
Identified a pattern of unrelated crimes.
He was wearing a multi-colored white t-shirt.
He is known to congregate by himself.
The eyewitness is blind and didn�t see anything.
They went into a feet pursuit.
He has numerical arrests on his rap sheet.
The bus driver was working off duty at the time.
The information was received from an anonymous CI.
His sister states she was not related to her brother.
The suspicious package was examined and determined to be not suspicious.
The unarmed security guard fired 2 shots at the perp.
All the calls that day happened another day.

FREE 411

Free directory assistance and long distance dialing?

There is a new company that provides free directory assistance and long distance calling when connecting through their directory assistance.

The new service, at 1-800-FREE411, could make paying for directory assistance a thing of the past.

Too good to be true? Not as long as your willing to sit through a 10-second ad. The service is funded not by consumers paying to access it, as the conventional directory assistance is, but by companies that pay to have callers hear their ads while they wait for listings.

You can check out their web site at


Remember the old Dick Tracy cartoons? Remember Dick Tracy�s wristwatch that he used to call for assistance? Well, it�s here.

There is a digital voice recorder that also functions as an MP3 player � and a wrist watch!

The fully functional watch is also a media player with 256MB flash memory built in which will allow you to record up to 9 hours of voice recording, as well as download MP3 music files.

You can play back the recording with an easy USB plug and play, or play back via stereo headphones or window media player.

Available for $189.95 at

Imagine the investigative potential of recording a conversation from a wristwatch?


The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) has created an online database consiting of motor vehicles or boats affected by Huricanes Katrina and Rita for the public to search in an effort to protect them from fraudulent sellers.

The online data is made available to law enforcement, state fraud bureaus, insurance companies and state departments of motor vehicles. The NICB is also making the data available to the general public to help protect buyers against fraud.

Effective immediately, anyone can log on to and query a suspected VIN free of charge, against the regularly updated database to find out if there is a match.

For more information on NICB and disaster fraud, visit their web site.

You can also call 1-800-TEL-NICB.


Greater consumer awareness regarding identity theft issues has resulted in a drop in the actual number of identity fraud victims nationwide, although the dollar amount per loss has increased.

Last year, about 4 percent of US adults, or 8.9 million people, had their personal data stolen and used in fraud.

The average dollar loss per victim increased from $5885 in 2004 to $6383 in 2005.
The Federal Trade Commission�s latest study confirmed that ID fraud complaints topped its list of consumer complaints in 2005. Of the 686,000 complaints, 255,000 were identity theft related.

Internet related complaints accounted for 46 percent of all fraud complaints.

The major metropolitan areas with the highest per capita rates of consumer fraud reported were Washington, DC; Tampa/St Petersburg/Clearwater FL; and Seattle WA.
Credit card fraud was the most common for of reported identity theft, followed by phone and utilities fraud, bank fraud, and employment fraud.

The major metropolitan areas with the highest per capita rates of reported identity theft were Phoenix/Mesa/Scottsdale, AZ; Las Vegas NV; and Riverside/San Bernardino CA.


Any regular reader of this blog, who is somewhat familiar with current news, will associate the lack of updates with an increase in work here in Brooklyn North.

Looking back, I realized I neglected to post anything new to this site during the month of February 2006. I think even my more critical readers will realize that is not a common occurrence - I usually have news waiting to be posted, yet this past month has been unusually busy in the North.

I�ll try not to let that happen again! My staff let me down, leaving all the writing to myself. (Oh, I forgot � I have no staff. Sorry.)

In the over 375 postings I have made to this blog since I started it almost five years ago, I have tried to remain true to a certain standard. I will not use this space as a �rant� � I will not take your time to listen to gripes and moans about any aspect of this job. You can find that in other places. I intended to use this space to share information with investigators � tips, unusual web sites, and entertainment. Sometimes I succeed, other times I may fail � but I continue to try my best. I enjoy hearing about the history of this department, and of detectives. Some may call me a buff � alright, I may even call myself that � but if you�ve been reading closely, you know that the term is now an affectionate one. So be it. In any event, you will not see me criticizing leadership or decisions of this department or of this job in general, not on this site, anyway. At such time that I can no longer stick to this standard, I will stop writing. I like being a detective (yes, I still consider myself a detective), and I am proud of my history as a Transit cop and an NYPD Detective Commander. I grew up with cops, and never tire of hearing of �old-time� war stories. After spending 25 years as the police, I realize now that my stories are considered by many to be �old-time�. Go figure that!

It is still very satisfying to me to spend a few hours with a group in a CIC class, or at the Homicide Course, taking the time to try and help educate � train � others for this calling we have taken up � Detective work.

A Detective � the Police � no finer calling is there.

Anyway, enough said. Thank you for listening. Sometimes, when discouragement strikes, you need to step back and evaluate. As I tell the new rookies who I instruct them about Crime Scenes and Investigations, �work should be fun�. Louie Croce told me that fifteen years ago. Yes, work should be fun. When you are doing exactly what you want to do, then you are successful. And happy.

Be safe� and remember, work should be fun!


Can easily be done by dropping an e-mail to:

I'm always looking for new material, interesting web sites, investigative tips, etc.


March 22, 1932 Ptl George Myers, Line of duty injury
March 23, 1986 PO James Holmes, PSA3, Shot-off duty robbery
March 26, 1949 Ptl Anthony Oetheimer, 114 Pct, Shot-robbery in progress
March 26, 1992 PO Joseph Alcamo, 100 Pct, Auto accident on patrol
March 27, 1921 Ptl Joseph Connelly, 10 Div, Shot-investigation
March 27, 1944 Ptl Arthur Eggers, Traffic C, Auto accident on patrol
March 28, 1922 Ptl James Baker, 83 Pct, Motorcycle accident
March 31, 1914 Ptl Thomas Wynn, 155 Pct, Arrest-robbery
March 31, 2002 Det Jamie Betancourt, BxNarco, Stabbed- o/d dispute
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

Monday, March 20, 2006

�The key to any leader is the team he or she has.�
James Dallas, CEO Georgia Pacific


Thanks to Ret. Sgt Mike Bosak, and Ret Det1 John Reilly, for some historical information of interest.

It seems that up to the present, the belief has always been that the first department issued medals were issued in 1871, and the Honor Legion�s date of inception was 1900.
Their research has indicated otherwise. The correct date of origin for both should be May 26, 1855.

On that date, the N.Y.C. Municipal Police Department had its first ever police parade and review, along with a medal day ceremony on the steps of City Hall.

Almost the entire department, somewhere between 900 to a 1,000 police officers, attended the ceremonies, where seven silver medals were awarded by Mayor Fernando Wood and NYC�s first 'Chief of Police' George W. Matsell.

Later that night there was a formal dinner to honor these seven medal winners and induct them into the newly minted NYC Police �Legion of Honor�.


In an earlier posting I asked some of our senior readers to try and answer a few questions regarding derivation of some common NYPD terms. I received the following regarding �hairbag� and �shoofly�.

Keeping in mind that a clear-cut definition and derivation is hard to establish, these certainly seem to make sense. For now, anyway.

It seems that for as long as most can remember "hairbag" was used to refer to an older cop who was a complainer.

"Hairbag" was probably derived from the fact that his older wool uniform was starting to pill or show loose threads from lack of care or replacement. The assumption was that he had no pride in his appearance to take care of it. To be considered a "hairbag" was not a good thing, although today some younger cops say that that's not true anymore. A "hairbag" is just a veteran cop. Likewise a "buff" used to be a civilian who was cop fan or collector of police memorabilia. Today, though, a cop's cop can be called a "buff" - and it is a compliment.

The origin of "shoo-fly" is a little more difficult to discern. It has been assumed by many that it was like the Pennsylvania Dutch Shoo-fly pie. Shoo-fly pies are very sticky and you'd have to constantly shoo away the flies from it while it was cooling down or they would stick to it. Shoo the flies away and they would scatter. Cooping cops would likewise scatter when the inspector came around hence "shoo-fly"?

Anyone have any better idea, please pass them along to:


The March 2006 issue of GQ had a rather interesting letter to �The Style Guy�, that I thought was worth repeating here.

The writer states that he �is a 33 year-old-white-male-detective at a major metropolitan police department� who �recently purchased a black fedora to wear with my suits at work.� Apparently he has been receiving the �typical amount of ridicule from coworkers� � if you can believe that!

The response from the GQ Style Guy follows: �Those attempting to ridicule you are probably alarmed that you are injecting style into their midst and therefore making them look even more noticeably lame. The best had advice I ever got was from my grandfather, a senatorial homburg wearer: �Always tip your hat when you meet a lady, when a funeral passes, and when you walk past a church. And never buy a car that you have to take your hat off to drive.�

It was noted as well that the hat worn by Popeye Doyle � the character played by Gene Hackman in French Connection � was a porkpie hat. That was a short-brimmed hat that is not a fedora and which connotes a lower class and a shorter fuse!


Don�t forget the ability of the Real Time Crime Center to seek �Reverse Phone Listings� during an investigation.

You may have to specifically ask them to do so, but they have the ability to research in two separate databases a telephone number you may be trying to identify.

When seeking subscriber information, be sure to ask them to check the phone number in both �ACCURINT� and in �INTERSEC� databases.

Doing so may help to identify a subscriber to a phone number you are seeking.


Once again I ask that you open your hearts & your wallets for our extended family.
On March 23rd at 7:00 pm there is a 10-13 party for one of our own.

The location is Mulcahy's Pub and Music Hall located at 3232 Railroad Ave,Wantagh, NY. FOP Lodge #317 member Detective Michael Hopkins, of the Brooklyn South Homicide Squad & formerly of District 34, needs our help. He and his wife had triplets 2 years ago, but unfortunately one of them, his young son Joseph, has been diagnosed with a raredisease, Tuberous Sclerosis. Michael's medical bills have become astronomical and his friends are coming to his aid.

Donations of $40 perp person will allow your entry, which includes door prizes, raffles, hot and cold food as well as some great musical entertainment.

If you are unable to attend and would like to make a donation, you may do so by contacting Lt Bob Casazza, BSHS or any BSHS MOS. I will also be collecting and selling tickets from BNHS.

In addition, Sgt Mike Fanning of Hate Crimes, an FOP Board Member, has indicated that he would be happy to collect these funds & make sure they are delivered to Michael & Suzanne.

You can mail them to:

Hopkins 10-13
c/o FOP #317
PO Box 40
Bethpage, NY 11714


What should you do when a suspect who waived his Miranda rights says he might want a lawyer?

This is the question that the US Supreme Court recently ruled on.


A fairly common scenario, you obtain a valid Miranda waiver from a suspect in custody and begin interrogation. Part way through your questioning, the suspect begins to feel uneasy about going forward and says something about remaining silent or talking to a lawyer. What then? Must you stop interrogating? Do you need to clarify his wishes? Or can you keep talking?

The US Supreme Court gave the answers in Davis v. U.S.

The Supreme Court acknowledged its earlier ruling in Edwards v. Arizona that a statement obtained through police custodial interrogation will not be admitted to prove guilt at trial if it resulted from questioning that continued after the suspect�s request for an attorney. But where it is not necessarily clear that a suspect who has already waived his rights is asking for an attorney, the court declined to place burden of resolving the ambiguity on the police.

�If a suspect makes a reference to an attorney that is ambiguous or equivocal in that a reasonable officer in light of the circumstances would have understood only that the suspect might be invoking the right to counsel, our precedents do not require the cessation of questioning. Rather, the suspect must unambiguously request counsel. He must articulate his desire to have counsel present sufficiently clearly that a reasonable police officer in the circumstances would understand the statement to be a request for an attorney.� Finding that the statement, �Maybe I should talk to a lawyer,� was not an unequivocal, unambiguous invocation of the right to counsel, the court upheld the admission of Davis�s statements and unanimously affirmed his conviction and sentence.

The five-member majority held that it is not necessary for officers to stop an interrogation when the suspect makes an ambiguous reference to invoking his rights.

There are no magic words that a suspect has to use to constitute a clear and unambiguous invocation of Miranda.

Certainly a statement such as �No more questions�, or �I want a lawyer� are unambiguous.

Wishy-washy qualifications such as �I think�� or �Maybe I should�� would normally be ambiguous enough to come within the Davis rule that there is no need to clarify the suspect�s wishes and no need to stop questioning.

It is further noted that the Davis ruling only applies where the suspect initially gave a clear, unambiguous waiver when given initially given his Miranda rights. Once he has waived, the burden shifts to him to clearly, unambiguously assert his rights if he wants questioning to cease.

For example, if the suspect responds to the Miranda admonishment by saying something like, �I think maybe I should get a lawyer,� you should not proceed without clarifying whether or not you have an invocation of counsel. It�s only after a clean waiver has been obtained that the Davis rule kicks.

NOTE: NOT all states follow the US Supreme Court rulings on exclusionary issues. States are free to interpret their own constitutions as providing greater protection to criminals than the US Constitution provides. Where do you suppose New York State falls??


On August 17, 1979, PO Thomas Schimenti of the MTS Precinct was killed in the line of duty.

The young bandit had just bolted from an East 41st Street bank and turned north towards Grand Central Station when a passerby yelled to PO Schimenti, �Hey! That man just robbed the bank.� PO Schimenti, who was on foot patrol, drew his service revolver and gave chase, shouting into his walkie-talkie as he ran. While PO Schimenti pursued, two detectives passing in an unmarked car joined the chase. They corned their man at the 42nd street store entrance in the Terminal building where the gunman turned and opened fire point blank. PO Schimenti took a fatal bullet in his chest, and Detective Gregory P. Demetriou, NYDAO, was wounded. The suspect sprinted away but was caught, slightly wounded, under a car nearby. PO Schimenti is survived by his wife Diane and daughters.

In the 1981 book, STREET COPS, author Jill Freedman, who spent time working with the MOS from MTS and the 9 Pct, had this to say about PO Schimenti:

�Male sure you tell about Tommy,� he said.

�How it was true what they said at his funeral, he was a good man and everyone loved him. How the people on his post cried when they heard. He was good, Tommy. Put that in your book.�

Tommy Schimenti had a steady foot post. He loved being out there on the street, knowing everybody, everybody knowing him. This was his last one and it was a gorgeous day. As soon as he finished, his wife and kids were picking him up in the camper, packed and ready to go. Two whole weeks in the mountains. One of the guys offered to work for him so he could take off early, but he said no thanks, he wanted to say goodbye to some people. Then there was a bank robber running down the street and when they cornered the guy he shot Tommy in the chest. It was the first time he ever fired a gun. Tommy died. Now his plaque is up in the station house next to the other ones. He�s smiling, like he always used to.�


I saw recently that KENNETH MCCABE, a retired Detective and investigator with the US Attorney�s Office, passed away this past month, after a year-long battle with cancer.

Kenny McCabe was the premier figure in law enforcement�s fight against organized crime in New York City.

I first met Ken several years ago, just prior to John Barba�s retirement from the 77 Squad, while we were looking into an old homicide from the 77 that had mob connections. I have never met a more knowledgeable, professional investigator with such a memory for names, facts, and locations. A very unassuming character, as big as he was, who would take the time to help out another detective whenever asked.

For more than three decades McCabe handled government cooperators, making cases against the mob while following their every move with a camera. His work provided the backbone for dozens of successful prosecutions, including those of the late John Gotti and his brother Peter Gotti, that have left the city�s Mafia families weakened to the point of near extinction.

According to a story in the Daily News, McCabe�s intense preparation and his shun-the-spotlight manner won the 6-foot, 6-inch former college basketball player the respect of colleagues, and of the mobsters he arrested. They would regularly counsel their attorneys not to ask McCabe a question when he took the witness stand, said former Manhattan US Attorney David Kelley.

�The mob is all about playing by the rules,� said Kelley. �He didn�t lie. He dealt with them fairly. They got arrested fair and square.�

A story that went around has McCabe conducting surveillance from his car when a wiseguy ambled up to him and said �You know, Kenney, I�m thinking of retiring. I�m getting too old for this.� To which, McCabe repled, �Make sure it�s someplace warm because I�m tired of freezing out here.�

Mob informant Michael (Mikey Scars) DiLeonardo, testifying at the recent Junior Gotti kidnapping trial, was asked to identify a surveillance photo and noted �it was probably taken by McCabe, he was relentless.�

It was these surveillance photos that helped allow prosecutors to piece together mob associations and link them together at key moments in a conspiracy. In some of these shots, smiling mobsters wave hello to McCabe. McCabe was also known to scour the death notices for the names of mobsters so he could be sure and pay his respects; he would even turn up at their weddings, where they�d greet him with a slice of cake and coffee that he always refused.

Kenneth McCabe was only 59 years old when he died. The law enforcement community lost a legend. We salute you, Ken.


Please go to the site listed to sign the �Online Petition Against the Parole of the killers of PO Harry Ryman�.

Online Petition - "Petition against parole for New York cop killers"

On August 14, 1980 PO Harry R Ryman of the 60 Pct was off duty and sleeping in his residence, located within the confines of the 63rd precinct in Brooklyn.After being awakened as the result of suspicious noises on the street, PO Ryman equipped himself with his shield and off-duty revolver and went to investigate. He observed 3 males attempting to steal a car.Officer Ryman identifed himself as a police officer and was fired upon; he immediately returned fire. Although fatally wounded, officer Ryman was able to wound one of his assailants before falling unconscious.The suspects fled in an auto but the wounded felon was arrested when he sought aid. The two remaining perpetrators were subsequently arrested.

Please take the few minutes to sign this online petition!


In 1856, a female walked into the offices of the Pinkerton Detective Agency and asked to see Allen Pinkerton for a job. Her name was Kate Warne.
Mrs. Warne was a widow simply looking for work. She had come to apply for a job as a secretary.
However, on the day she walked into Pinkerton's the secretary job had already been filled. Allen Pinkerton interviewed her and become impressed by her. No one knows for sure if Mrs. Warne had asked for a job as a detective but the following day, Allen Pinkerton appointed her as one over the strong objections of his brother who was his partner.
To learn more about her exploits, check out the following web site:


From the personal collection of Ralph Thomas, this link brings you to the PI VINTAGE, a collection of old � and current � spy and PI gear. It also has some great links to other investigative sites, and will probably find itself bookmarked on your computer once you start browsing!

Computer Forensic Investigators:

Are you involved in the investigation of computer crimes?

Computer forensic investigators may want to take note of a new product released by Hot Pepper Technology, Inc.

The new software, Email Detective 3.0.5, provides investigators with a rapid method for retrieving Americaq Online e-mail messages and photos stored on a user�s computer disk. It features built-in key phrase search, automatic hash value tagging, and quick scan capability.

You can check out the company�s web site for more information, at:


March 11, 1930 Ptl Joseph Scott, 32 Pct, auto accident on patrol
March 11, 1947 Ptl Winthrop Paris, 30 Pct, Shot-Investigation, off duty
March 11, 1959 Ptl Robert Forrest, 24 Pct, Off duty LOD heart attack
March 11, 1987 Det Louis Miller, FTU10, Shot-Burglary in progress
March 12, 1909 Lt Joseph Petrosino, Det Div; Shot � Investigation in Italy **
March 12, 1931 Ptl James Flanagan, 25 Pct, Shot- off duty investigation
March 14, 1872 Det Phillip Lambreck, 19 Pct, Assaulted
March 14, 1967 Det John Pollins, Narc, Arrest- narcotics buy/bust
March 14, 1996 PO Kevin Gillespie, SCU, Shot � investigation
March 15, 1922 Ptl James McMail, 85 Pct, Assaulted during arrest
March 15, 1930 Ptl Walter DeCastillo, 84 Pct, Shot- robbery in progress
March 15, 1934 Ptl Philip Clarius, 78 Pct, Shot � robbery in progress
March 15, 1936 Ptl Dioniso Pasquarella, 75 Pct, Shot � off duty altercation
March 16, 1940 Ptl Francis Dolan, 10 Pct, Fell from auto
March 17, 1956 Ptl George Lessler, 10 Pct, LOD heart attack
March 18, 1926 Ptl William Higgins, 13 Div, LOD injury
March 18, 1948 Ptl John Casey, 20 Pct, LOD injury
March 18, 1972 Ptl Elijah Stroud, 80 Pct, Shot � robbery
March 19, 1943 Ptl James Donovan, 75 Pct, Shot � investigation, off duty
March 20, 1804 Ptl Hugh Enright, 24 Pct, Shot- burglary arrest
March 20, 1963 Ptl John Tuohy, TD2, Heart attack chasing felon

** Noted that Lt Joseph Petrosino is the only MOS who has been killed in the line of duty on foreign land. I have written about him previously on this site.

Editors Note: It�s hard to believe it�s been 10 years since Kevin Gillespie was gunned down in the Bronx. Our heartfelt thoughts go out to the Gillespie family.