Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Recently, some cell phone carriers have introduced a “Lost Phone Feature” that could prove problematic for investigators.

U. S. Cellular and many of the major cell phone companies are starting to offer the lost phone tool. This feature allows persons who lose their cell phone to log onto the website and send a command out to erase all the information in the phone including phone book, recent calls, and text messages.

U. S. Cellular launched the service on May 7, 2007. Therefore, if police officers seize a phone for evidence, a person can send out an erase command and as soon as the phone is turned on, it will erase all of the data in the phone.

Detectives who seize a cell phone during a criminal investigation should be mindful of suspects utilizing this feature to negatively impact ongoing investigations.

As always, utilize the expertise of TARU whenever dealing with cell phones.

This is especially troublesome for all of the devices that are “handled” by “officials” prior to the Detectives getting their hand on the evidence.


Remember Crazy Eddie?

Well, a web site set up by a former Crazy Eddie principal, cousin of THE Crazy Eddie, Eddie Antar, seeks to explore white collar crime and provide some background, and help, regarding corporate fraud.

And he should certainly know what he’s talking about!

Sam E. Antar is a former CPA and former Chief Financial Officer of Crazy Eddie, Inc.

During the 1980s, he helped mastermind, along with his cousin Eddie Antar and their uncle, Sam M. Antar (co-founders of the company), one of the largest securities frauds of its time.

Crazy Eddie Antar was coined by US Attorney Michael Chertoff as, "the Darth Vader of Capitalism." This securities fraud cost investors hundreds of millions of dollars, cost many people their life savings, cost many people their jobs and careers, cost creditors hundreds of millions of dollars, and “many people's suffering that cannot be measured”.

As the government's key witness in both the criminal and civil prosecutions he also fully cooperated with all civil plaintiffs in the prosecution of their claims.

“I make no excuses for my criminal conduct. Nor should I receive any praise for my cooperation”, he writes. His web site will provide some good background reading for anyone seeking information on white collar crime and corporate fraud.

Perhaps you’ve just been wondering, “whatever happened to Crazy Eddie, and those zany television commercials”? Find out here:


Ante-mortem- preceding death
Anterior- the front of the human body, situated before or toward the front
Asphyxia- a lack of oxygen or excess of carbon dioxide in the body that is usually caused by interruption of breathing and that causes unconsciousness.
Avulsion- a forcible separation or detachment: as a : a tearing away of a body part accidentally or surgically
Burking- to suppress quietly or indirectly causing asphyxia
Cerebral- pertaining to the anterior or upper part of the brain, pertaining to the cerebrum
Cervical- of or relating to the neck
Contact wound- a star shaped wound that occurs when a firearm is pressed against the body and fired. The gasses expands under the skin and bursts away from the body
Contusion- injury to tissue usually without laceration, a bruise.
De-sanguinated- drained of all blood
DNA- (deoxyribo-nucleic-acid) the molecular basis of heredity, localized especially in cell nuclei, the body's genetic code that regulates the biological composition of that individual
Edema- an abnormal infiltration and excess accumulation of serous fluid in connective tissue as in lungs
Entomology- a branch of zoology that deals with insects, specific insects and their stage of being on dead body point to a specific time of death
Fratricide- one that murders or kills his or her own brother or sister
Hematoma- mass of usually clotted blood that forms in a tissue, organ, or body space as a result of a broken blood vessel
Hemorrhage- a copious discharge of blood from the blood vessels, heavy bleeding
Homicidomania- a manic desire to kill


Here’s a site that provides an obituary index for NY State.


I recently received an e-mail announcing the new candidates for the “Stella Awards”.

For those unfamiliar with these awards, they are named after 81-year-old Stella Liebeck, who spilled hot coffee on herself and successfully sued the McDonald's in New Mexico where she purchased the coffee. You remember, she took the lid off the coffee and put it between her knees while she was driving. Who would ever think one could get burned doing that, right?

My Note: I CANNOT attest to the validity of these nominations, however, I thought they were certainly worth passing on. More evidence that truth is often stranger than fiction!

7th Place: Kathleen Robertson of Austin, Texas was awarded $80,000 by a jury after breaking her ankle after tripping over a toddler who was running inside a furniture store. The store owners were understandably surprised by the verdict, considering the running toddler was her own son.

6th Place: Carl Truman, 19, of Los Angeles, California won $74,000 plus medical expenses when his neighbor ran over his hand with a Honda Accord. Truman apparently didn't notice there was someone at the wheel of the car when he was trying to steal his neighbor's hubcaps.

5th Place: Terrence Dickson, of Bristol, Pennsylvania was leaving a house he had just burglarized by way of the garage. Unfortunately for Dickson, the automatic garage door opener malfunctioned and he could not get the garage door to open. Worse, he couldn't re-enter the house because the door connecting the garage to the house locked when Dickson pulled it shut. Forced to subsist for days on a case of Pepsi and a large bag of dry dog food, he sued the homeowner's insurance company claiming undue mental anguish.Amazingly, the jury said the insurance company must pay Dickson $500,000 for his anguish.

4th Place: Jerry Williams, of Little Rock, Arkansas, garnered 4th place in the Stella's when he was awarded $14,500 plus medical expenses after being bitten on the butt by his next door neighbor's beagle - even though the beagle was on a chain in its owner's fenced yard. Williams did not get as much as he asked for because the jury believed the beagle might have been provoked at the time of the butt bite because Williams had climbed over the fence into the yard and repeatedly shot the dog with a pellet gun.

3rd Place: Amber Carson of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, because a jury ordered a Philadelphia restaurant to pay her $113,500 after she slipped on a spilled soft drink and broke her tailbone (coccyx). The reason the soft drink was on the floor: Ms. Carson had thrown it at her boyfriend 30 seconds earlier during an argument. What ever happened to people being responsible for their own actions?

2nd Place: Kara Walton, of Claymont, Delaware sued the owner of a night club in a nearby city because she fell from the bathroom window to the floor, knocking out her two front teeth. Ms. Walton was trying to sneak through the ladies room window to avoid paying the $3.50 cover charge at the time. The jury awarded her $12,000, plus dental expenses. Go figure.

1st Place: This year's runaway 1st place Stella Award winner was Mrs. Merv Grazinski, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma who purchased a new 32-foot Winnebago motor home. On her first trip home, from an OU football game, no less, having driven on to the freeway, she set the cruise control at 70 mph and calmly left the driver's seat to go to the back of the Winnebago to make herself a sandwich. Not surprisingly, the motor home left the freeway, crashed and overturned. Also not surprisingly, Mrs. Grazinski sued Winnebago for not putting in the owner's manual that she couldn't actually leave the driver's seat while the cruise control was set. The Oklahoma jury awarded her - you are sitting down, right? $1,750,000 PLUS a new motor home. Winnebago actually changed their manuals as a result of this suit, just incase Mrs. Grazinski has any relatives who might also buy a motor home.

Note: This is why I specified that I do NOT attest to the validity of these scenarios; I seem to remember hearing this Winnebago story a few years ago. While I do believe that this actually happened, I cannot say that it happened recent enough to be in “this year’s” stories. Regardless, they certainly are (a) funny, (b) believable in this litigious society of sue anyone you can, and (c) printed here for entertainment, and not as a Law Review subject matter.

Have a good laugh regardless!

“It is not how they died that makes them a hero, but how they lived their lives”.

September 21, 1952 Det Philip Lamonica, 42 Sq, Shot during arrest
September 21, 1984 PO Irma Lozada, TPD D-33, Shot-robbery arrest (RIP, Fran!)
September 22, 1946 Ptl William Brophy, 109 Pct, Auto accident on patrol
September 22, 1983 PO Joseph Hamperian, TPD-SCU, Struck by auto
September 22, 1987 PO Robert Venable, TPD-D33, Shot during arrest
September 23, 1896 Ptl Thomas McIntyre, MTD, Horse accident
September 23, 1937 Det John Wilson, 1 Pct, Shot-robbery
September 23, 1941 Ptl James Schowers, 28 Pct, LOD heart attack
September 23, 1970 Ptl Michael Paolilo, IdentUnit, Stabbed-off duty investigation
September 25, 1895 Ptl John Delehanty, 21 Pct, assaulted
September 25, 1953 Ptl Harry Widder, GCP-Hwy3, Auto accident
September 25, 1971 PO Arthur Pelo, HA-BkSI, Shot-robbery arrest
September 25, 1995 PO David Willis, 10 Pct, Auto accident, radio run
September 26, 1977 PO Vito Chiaramonte, HA-CCU, Shot
September 27, 1849 Ptl Thomas Lynch, NFI
September 27, 1945 Det Frank McGrath, 2 Sqd, Shot-investigation
September 27, 1992 PO William Gunn, 67 PDU, Shot-investigation
September 28, 1921 Ptl Joseph Reuschle, 42 Pct, Shot by prisoner
September 28, 1934 Ptl John Fraser, 4 Div, Shot-robbery in progress
September 29, 1854 Ptl James Cahill, 11 Ward, Shot-Burglary **
September 29, 1965 Ptl Donald Rainey, Auto Crime, Shot-Mistaken ID, off duty
September 29, 1983 PO Joseph McCormack, ESU, Shot-barricade situation
October 1, 1963 Ptl John Donovan, GCP-Hwy3, Motorcycle accident on patrol
October 2, 1960 Ptl Philip Curtin, 19 Pct, Info not available
October 2, 1969 Ptl Salvatore Spinola, ESU, Asphyxiation during rescue
October 3, 1913 Sgt Joseph McNierney, 29 Pct, Stabbed during arrest
October 3, 1929 Ptl William McCaffrey, Traffic Div, Auto accident on patrol
October 4, 1928 Ptl John Gibbons, Mcy1, Motorcycle accident on patrol
October 6, 1864 Ptl Charles Curren, 42 Pct Brooklyn, shot during arrest

Friday, September 21, 2007

SEPTEMBER 21, 1984 - SHIELD 4721

“Shield 4721, come in to Operations… Operations to Shield 4721

I remember that radio transmission as if it was coming over the air this very minute.

I was working in the plainclothes Citywide Task Force, Transit Police Department. It was September 21, 1984. I was working with my steady partner, Jimmy, who came to the Task Force from District 33 the same time I did. We were two white-shield plainclothes cops working a “Train Patrol” post in the Bronx. We were looking to make arrests and write summonses. The Task Force was the department’s career path into the Detective Division. Anyone from Transit will recall the Task Force and “Dunlap’s Pie” – the measuring stick created by Capt. John Dunlap to evaluate the Police Officers, and ultimately rank them for entrance into the Detective Division – and the gold shield.

Jimmy and I had just stepped off a southbound #4 train at 161 Street. With Yankee Stadium as the backdrop, we were writing two summonses for people smoking on the train. The Task Force of the Transit Police was doing quality-of-life enforcement as a means to repressing crime long before it was chic to do so.

“Shield 4721, come in… Operations to Shield 4721”.

I recognized the identifier immediately; Shield 4721 was PO Irma “Fran” Lozada. I recognized the shield because I worked with Fran in District 33, where we went after we graduated the Police Academy in the spring of 1982. Fran was still working in District 33, in the Anti-Crime assignment that I left behind to take the Task Force spot I was in. If you wanted to be a detective, you had to go to Task Force. I was there, Fran stayed in District 33. She went for the interview, and was approved for the Task Force the same time I was. We would have gone to Task Force and partnered up, having worked together in District 33, but she was talked out of the move by a current boyfriend from District 1. The work in Task Force was ridiculed by him, and she listened. Fran stayed in District 33, I left for the Task Force.

When you understand the radio system of the Transit Police at that time, you understand how it was that I was monitoring this radio transmission. I was in the Bronx, Fran worked Brooklyn. Why was this coming over the air?

The Transit Police radio system was a simplistic one; there were only two radio frequencies. One frequency for the above-ground RMP’s, a second for all the other portable units on patrol. One frequency, with many different repeaters and antennas throughout the transit system. The dispatcher would activate the closest antenna for the unit he was broadcasting to. The dispatcher in Brooklyn would activate the Brooklyn antennas; in the Bronx, the Bronx antennas. All radio broadcasts over the same frequency, but only those radios closest to the underground antenna would receive the broadcast (in theory). Much has been written about the transit police radios; their operability was always an unknown, at best. Anyway, if you were above ground – as I was in the Bronx at the time – you could pick up all sorts of radio transmissions from the outdoor antennas. Hence, I was receiving the Brooklyn broadcast in the Bronx.

“Shield 4721, come in to Operations”.

They would never receive a reply to that call. Shield 4721 could not answer her radio because she lay dead in a vacant, weeded lot in Bushwick. She was shot with her own gun, after pleading for her life, by a low life whose only other claim may be that he shares a similar name to a Yankee great.

Fran Lozada was the first female police officer to be killed in the line of duty in New York City. She chased a chain snatcher from the train at the Wilson Avenue station of the “L” line, as we had done times before. She was alone at the time; in plainclothes, working in Anti-Crime, she was separated from her partner. Had they split up for their meal period, with plans to reunite at the end of meal? Had they been separated when they entered the train en-route back to the command for meal? Does it really matter? What remains undisputed is that Fran chased the culprit from the station onto Cooper Avenue, through a lot next to the train tracks, into a weeded area. She chased him because she was a cop. That’s what she did, alone or not. The Transit PD Communications Unit received no radio broadcast from Fran; maybe she was in a radio dead spot, maybe she never got to her radio. The fact remains that after a chase, then using a ruse that she was looking for a lost dog, she confronted the thief at gunpoint in an empty lot. When she tried to cuff him – alone – she was overpowered by the creep. Court records indicate that she pleaded with him. He shot her to death with her own gun and fled.

She lay in the garbage strewn lot behind a cemetery building for several hours.

I was seated in the District 11 Office inside the 161 Street Station, with my partner, completing our paperwork, when we learned that a female cop in Brooklyn was found dead. The report said she had been missing, and after several hours of searching, she was found in an empty lot, the victim of gunshot wounds. We learned it was Fran, and hitched a ride with two PBA Board Members who were heading to District 33. Their plans to make a PBA election speech before the roll call had quickly changed. We drove there in a Board Member’s VW bug; a somber and silent ride.

I was at the lot, and saw Teddy, the District 33 cop I shared an RMP with times before. Teddy was the low keyed, experienced cop that let nothing bother him. Teddy was a practical joker who opened himself up to the rookies. He was assigned to an RMP that night, his regular post, and when I saw him I instantly knew he was the cop who found Fran in the lot. Years later, when I ran into him at a Home Depot, we chatted for a good fifteen minutes. Neither of us could bring up that night.

A Lieutenant who later became Chief of the Transit Bureau grabbed me by the arm, and walked me away from the scene. “You don’t want to go in there, John”. When he was a Sergeant in District 33, it was he who teamed Fran and myself up in plainclothes, when the District Captain was worried about two people still on probation (we were the first class with an 18-month probation period) working in plainclothes. We showed him he made the right choice by coming back having written a book of summonses the first night, and with two collars the next night. He walked me away from the scene.

I was standing in the street when I learned the scant details of what happened. She was working with her regular partner, who now had become the target of blame by some of his peers. I can’t even think about that.

I spoke with the Desk Officer when I called from the Bronx. The Desk Lieutenant was a solid professional; a great cop, and the one who talked me into making the move to Task Force. He convinced me the chance of a gold shield was there at Task Force; he couldn’t convince Fran of the same. He was still there on the Desk when I got to District 33. A lot of finger pointing was to be done soon: why was there a delay in commencing an all-out search, who notified whom, things to that effect. After that night it’s safe to say that he would never be the same again.

I was there when the Sergeant cleaned out Fran’s locker. Your personal belongings placed in a plastic garbage bag. No one ever wants that task.

I was there when her partner walked back into the District from that horrific night. I watched him walk into the command, around the desk, and commence filling out his overtime slip. He filled out his overtime slip. I wished I had the nerve to do what another cop did on the street with him.

Fran’s killer was caught quickly. Some great detective work went into a canvass that produced a witness; some greater detective work went into convincing the witness to tell what she saw. These same detectives picked up the creep, and conducted a great interview that included an admission that would help send him to jail for the rest of his life. A senseless killing. What a waste.

“Shield 4721, come in… Operations to Shield 4721”….


What today would be called a precinct, in 1855 was called a ‘Police District’ .

Each district had the same geographical boundaries as the ward it took its number from.

The alderman from that ward recommended to the mayor who should be appointed to that ward’s corps.

Patrolmen from that police district or ward were required to be residents of that ward and were appointed for a term of good behavior. Consequently that ward’s corps resembled the ethnic makeup of that ward.

Even though they worked out of a certain ‘Police District’ they would say they were assigned to that (the number) ‘Corps’ rather than say they worked out of a certain precinct. There were twenty two wards in the city, each had its own ‘police districts’ or ‘corps’.

Chief Matsell established the “Reserve Corps” in 1853 as an elite unit of approximately 100 of the best and most competent patrolmen and sergeants.

By 1855 it numbered approximately 150 men. They were assigned to the chief’s office and other high profile assignments such as detective duty, the courts and various other details, etc. On occasion, the reserve corps would fly to various areas of the city and were used for duties similar to those performed by today’s Borough Task Forces.


Regular viewers of this blogspace will note the lack of recent activity here.

Normal business demands, as well as the demands of summer (all good!) and others have kept me from my regular posting here. If anyone's noticed, I'm sorry.

Anyway, as we enter a new season, I continue to look out for material that I think would be interesting to post. This requires me to do a lot of reading and research, which I have not done over the past summer months. Of course, if anyone has any material they would like to contribute, please send them along. I'm always looking for help.

Hope everyone's summer has been great! Let's get back to work!