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the CRIME book the CRIME book foreword by peter james DK LONDON TOUCAN BOOKS SENIOR EDITOR Helen Fewster EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Ellen Dupont MANAGING ART EDITOR Michael Duffy SENIOR DESIGNER Nick Avery MANAGING EDITOR Angeles Gavira Guerrero SENIOR EDITOR Nathan Joyce ART DIRECTOR Karen Self DESIGNER Thomas Keenes ASSOCIATE PUBLISHING DIRECTOR Liz Wheeler EDITORS Abigail Mitchell, Dorothy Stannard, Guy Croton, Debra Wolter PUBLISHING DIRECTOR Jonathan Metcalf SENIOR JACKET DESIGNER Mark Cavanagh JACKET EDITOR Claire Gell JACKET DESIGN DEVELOPMENT MANAGER Sophia MTT EDITORIAL ASSISTANTS Autumn Green, Joseph Persad ARTWORK COMMISSIONING Simon Webb ADDITIONAL GRAPHICS Dave Jones INDEXER Marie Lorimer First published in Great Britain in 2017 by Dorling Kindersley Limited, 80 Strand, London, WC2R 0RL Copyright © 2017 Dorling Kindersley Limited A Penguin Random House Company Foreword © 2016 Peter James/ Really Scary Books Ltd 2 4 6 8 10 9 7 5 3 1 001 - 305378 - Apr/2017 All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under the copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior written permission of the copyright owner. A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library. PRE-PRODUCTION PRODUCERS Andy Hilliard, Gillian Reid PICTURE RESEARCH Susannah Jayes SENIOR PRODUCER Anna Vallarino PROOFREADER Marion Dent Printed and bound in Hong Kong original styling by A WORLD OF IDEAS: SEE ALL THERE IS TO KNOW ILLUSTRATIONS James Graham DK DELHI JACKET DESIGNER Dhirendra Singh EDITORIAL COORDINATOR Priyanka Sharma SENIOR DTP DESIGNER Harish Aggarwal MANAGING JACKETS EDITOR Saloni Singh STUDIO 8 ISBN: 978-0-2412-9896-1 www.dk.com CONTRIBUTORS SHANNA HOGAN REBECCA MORRIS Shanna Hogan is an award-winning journalist and The New York Times best-selling author of three true; -crime books including Picture Perfect: The Jodi Arias Story. An Arizona State University journalism graduate, Shanna has written for numerous publications, received more than 20 awards for her feature writing and investigative reporting, and has appeared on numerous shows, including The View, Dateline, 20/20, CNN, Oxygen, and Investigation Discovery. Shanna lives in Phoenix, Arizona, with her husband and two dogs. Rebecca Morris is The New York Times best-selling author of A Killing in Amish Country, and If I Can’t Have You, with Gregg Olsen. An experienced journalist, she is also the author of the best-selling Ted and Ann: The Mystery of a Missing Child and Her Neighbor Ted Bundy. She lives in Seattle, Washington. MICHAEL KERRIGAN Michael Kerrigan was educated at University College, Oxford. His many books include A History of Punishment, The War on Drugs, The American Presidency: A Dark History, The Catholic Church: A Dark History, and A Handbook of Scotland’s History. He writes regular reviews for The Times Literary Supplement and lives with his family in Edinburgh. LEE MELLOR Lee Mellor, Ph.D. (abd) is a criminologist, lecturer, musician, and the author of six books on crime. He is currently finishing his doctorate at Montreal’s Concordia University specializing in abnormal homicide and sex crimes. As the chair of the American Investigative Society of Cold Cases’ academic committee, he has consulted with police on cold cases in Pennsylvania, Missouri, Ohio, and London, Ontario. He resides in Toronto, Canada. CATHY SCOTT Cathy Scott, a Los Angeles Times best-selling author, is an established crime writer and investigative journalist for The New York Times and Reuters. Best known for writing The Killing of Tupac Shakur and The Murder of Biggie Smalls, she has written extensively about street gangs and organized crime, including mob daughter Susan Berman in Murder of a Mafia Daughter, and drug kingpin “Freeway” Rick Ross. She is the author of several other true crime works, including The Rough Guide to True Crime, The Millionaire’s Wife, and Death in the Desert, which was adapted into a full-length movie starring Michael Madsen in 2016. 6 CONTENTS 10 INTRODUCTION 45 BANDITS, ROBBERS, AND ARSONISTS I stole from the wealthy so I could live their lifestyle John MacLean 46 Sing of my deeds, tell of my combats… forgive my failings Phoolan Devi 48 The fire becomes a mistress, a lover John Leonard Orr 54 It was the perfect crime The Antwerp Diamond Heist 56 He was an expert in alarm systems The Theft of the Cellini Salt Cellar 57 Weird and unbelievable, but it’s a very real criminal case The Russia–Estonia Vodka Pipeline 58 Old-school London criminal gents The Hatton Garden Heist 18 Father of all treasons Thomas Blood 19 A civil, obliging robber John Nevison 20 Damnation seize my soul if I give you quarters Edward “Blackbeard” Teach 22 Burke’s the butcher, Hare’s the thief, Knox the boy that buys the beef Burke and Hare 24 They were brave fellows. They were true men The James-Younger Gang 26 It’s for the love of a man that I’m gonna have to die Bonnie and Clyde CON ARTISTS 64 Under the influence of bad counsels… I fell a martyr The Affair of the Diamond Necklace 66 People took their hats off to such a sum The Crawford Inheritance 68 The smoothest con man that ever lived The Sale of the Eiffel Tower 70 Domela’s story rings with the high lunacy of great farce Harry Domela 74 If my work hangs in a museum long enough, it becomes real Elmyr de Hory 78 It’s not stealing because I’m only taking what they give me Doris Payne 80 They inflated the raft and left the island. After that nobody seems to know what happened Escape from Alcatraz 86 At the time, virtue was not one of my virtues Frank Abagnale 30 You’ll never believe it – they’ve stolen the train The Great Train Robbery 36 Addicted to the thrill Bill Mason 37 To me it is only so much scrap gold The Theft of the World Cup 88 I was on a train of lies. I couldn’t jump off Clifford Irving 38 Miss, you’d better look at that note D.B. Cooper 90 Originally I copied Hitler’s life out of books, but later I began to feel I was Hitler Konrad Kujau 44 Without weapons, nor hatred, nor violence The Société Générale Bank Heist 94 If this is not a ring-in I’m not here The Fine Cotton Scandal 7 WHITE COLLAR CRIMES 100 Money… has often been a cause of the delusion of multitudes The Mississippi Scheme 101 Nothing is lost save honour The Black Friday Gold Scandal 102 The old game of robbing Peter to pay Paul Charles Ponzi 108 You can’t convict a million dollars The Teapot Dome Scandal 110 Citizens were dying right, left, and centre The Bhopal Disaster 114 The world’s biggest mugging The City of London Bonds Theft 116 It’s all just one big lie Bernie Madoff 122 I know in my mind that I did nothing criminal The Enron Scandal 124 He put in peril the existence of the bank Jérôme Kerviel 126 Bribery was tolerated and… rewarded The Siemens Scandal 128 Not just nerdy kids up to mischief in their parents’ basement The Spyeye Malware Data Theft 130 The irregularities… go against everything Volkswagen stands for The Volkswagen Emissions Scandal ORGANIZED CRIME 136 The most hazardous of all trades, that of the smuggler The Hawkhurst Gang 138 In Sicily there is a sect of thieves The Sicilian Mafia 146 They dare do anything The Triads 150 No more villainous, ruffianly band was ever organized The Wild Bunch 152 Prohibition has made nothing but trouble The Beer Wars 154 If the boss says a passing crow is white, you must agree The Yakuza 160 When we do right, nobody remembers. When we do wrong, nobody forgets Hells Angels 164 They were the best years of our lives The Krays and the Richardsons 166 All empires are created of blood and fire The Medellín Cartel 168 It was always about business, never about gangs “Freeway” Rick Ross KIDNAPPING AND EXTORTION 176 He valued her less than old swords The Abduction of Pocahontas 177 Marvellous real-life romance The Tichborne Claimant 178 Anne, they’ve stolen our baby! The Lindbergh Baby Kidnapping 186 Since Monday I have fallen into the hands of kidnappers The Kidnapping of John Paul Getty III 188 I’m a coward. I didn’t want to die The Kidnapping of Patty Hearst 190 I still sleep with a night light. I can’t ride a subway The Chowchilla Kidnapping 196 I always felt like a poor chicken in a hen house The Kidnapping of Natascha Kampusch MURDER CASES 202 An unusually clear case, like a “smoking gun” The Neanderthal Murder 203 Perpetrated with the sword of justice Jean Calas 204 Not guilty by reason of insanity Daniel M’Naghten 206 Gave Katherine warning to leave The Dripping Killer 208 Lizzie Borden took an axe and gave her mother forty whacks Lizzie Borden 212 Fingerprinting alone has proved to be both infallible and feasible The Stratton Brothers 216 Thank God it’s over. The suspense has been too great Dr Crippen 217 I was driven by a will that had taken the place of my own Madame Caillaux 8 246 I’m afraid this man will kill me some day O.J. Simpson 252 Foul play while in the Spy Craft store Craig Jacobsen 254 People are afraid and don’t want to talk to us The Murders of Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls SERIAL KILLERS 218 She was very good looking with beautiful dark hair The Black Dahlia Murder 224 The artist was so well informed on chemicals… it was frightening Sadamichi Hirasawa 226 I have been a victim of many unusual and irrational thoughts The Texas Tower Massacre 230 Now is the time for Helter Skelter The Manson Family 238 A dingo’s got my baby! The Death of Azaria Chamberlain 240 I was Mr Nobody until I killed the biggest somebody on Earth The Murder of John Lennon 241 Who has sent you against me? Who has told you to do this thing? The Murder of Roberto Calvi 242 I was on death row, and I was innocent Kirk Bloodsworth 244 An act of unparalleled evil The Murder of James Bulger 262 Murdering people… for sheer sport Liu Pengli 263 The said Dame Alice had a certain demon Alice Kyteler 264 The blood of maidens will keep her young Elizabeth Báthory 266 I will send you another bit of innerds Jack the Ripper 274 They’d rather be dead than be with me Harvey Glatman 276 I just like to kill Ted Bundy 284 Calculated, cruel, cold-blooded murders Ian Brady and Myra Hindley 286 More terrible than words can express Fred and Rosemary West 288 This is the Zodiac speaking The Zodiac Killer 290 In his own eyes, he was some sort of medical god Harold Shipman 292 A mistake of nature Andrei Chikatilo 293 I was sick or evil, or both Jeffrey Dahmer 294 A danger to young women Colin Pitchfork 298 Read your ad. Let’s talk about the possibilities John Edward Robinson ASSASSINATIONS AND POLITICAL PLOTS 304 Insatiable and disgraceful lust for money The Assassination of Pertinax 305 Murdering someone by craft The Hashashin 306 Sic semper tyrannis! The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln 310 Dreyfus is innocent. I swear it! I stake my life on it – my honour! The Dreyfus Affair 312 If they shed my blood, their hands will remain soiled The Assassination of Rasputin 316 There has to be more to it The Assassination of John F. Kennedy 322 I kiss you for the last time The Abduction of Aldo Moro 324 Barbarity was all around us The Kidnapping of Ingrid Betancourt 326 Barbaric and ruthless The Poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko 332 DIRECTORY 344 INDEX 351 QUOTE ATTRIBUTIONS 352 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 9 FOREWORD I owe my career as a writer to crime – in more ways than one. In 1982 soon after my first novel, a spy thriller, had been published, our Brighton home was burgled. A young detective, Mike Harris, came to take fingerprints, saw the book and told me if I ever needed any research help from Sussex Police to give him a call. Mike was married to a detective, Renate, and over the next few years my former wife and I became firm friends with them. Almost all of their circle of friends were also in the police force, in all fields, like Response, Homicide, Traffic, Child Protection, Antiques and Fraud. The more I talked to all of them, the more I realised that no one sees more of human life in a 30-year career than a cop. They encounter every single facet of the human condition. All investigated crime involves an inseparable trinity of perpetrator, victim and police. Even offences that disgust us, such as rape, domestic abuse, theft from charities, preying on the elderly or child abuse, hold us as much in thrall as other seemingly more “glamorous” ones. And there are some crimes which captivate us with their sheer verve, where the personality of the villains transcends the ruin, despair or even death inflicted on their victims. I’ve long held a sneaking admiration for brilliant con-man Victor Lustig who sold the Eiffel Tower to scrap dealers, and the brazen, skilfully planned, but almost Ealing Comedy nature of the Hatton Garden Jewellery Heist. Much in the same way, the 1963 Great Train Robbery captured the nation’s attention – it was at the time the most audacious, and largest robbery ever committed in England. I had lunch with the gang’s getaway driver, Roy John James, after his release from prison some years later. He was looking for finance to resume his motor racing career. A charismatic man, he ruefully told me if they had not made the mistake of coshing the traindriver, causing him permanent injury, they would all still be considered heroes today. But that of course is the problem with true crime – someone does get hurt. The glamour and vitality of the Bonnie and Clyde story grinds to a brutal and sobering halt in a relentless torrent of bullets. But that doesn’t stop our endless fascination with monsters, whether real or fictional, from Jack The Ripper, through to fiercely intelligent and charming Ted Bundy, estimated to have raped and killed over 100 young female college students. Nor with crime in general. Why are we so fascinated by crime, from both the pages of fictional detective novels, crime dramas and movies, to the utterly addictive murders in our tabloids, broadsheets and on our television news? I don’t believe there is a one-size fits all answer, but many. Top of my list is that we are programmed by our genes to try to survive. We can learn a great deal about survival through studying the fates of victims and the make-up of their perpetrators. And there is one aspect of human nature that will never change. I was chatting with former serial bank robber, Steve Tulley. As a teenager, in prison for his first robbery, Tulley met Reggie Kray, and persuaded him to let him be his pupil and teach him everything he knew. At 58, broke, Tulley is living in a bedsit in Brighton. I asked him what was the largest sum he had ever got away with. He told me it was £50k in a bank job. So what did he do with the money? He replied, excitedly that he had rented a suite in Brighton’s Metropole Hotel and, in his words, “Larged it for six months until it was all gone.” I asked Steve if he had the chance to live his life over again would he have done it differently? “No,” he replied with a gleam in his eyes. “I’d do it all again. It’s the adrenaline, you see!” Peter James Best-selling author of the Roy Grace novels INTRODU CTION 12 INTRODUCTION C rimes – the illegal actions that can be prosecuted and are punishable by law – are all around us, from comparatively petty misdemeanours to truly heinous acts of unspeakable evil. The perpetrators of these varied transgressions have long fascinated academics and the wider public, who have sought answers to questions about whether some people are more likely to commit crimes than others, and whether there are certain characteristics unique to criminals. Indeed, the Ancient Greeks were fascinated by the “science” of physiognomy – the study of how certain facial features can reveal something about a person’s character or nature. While such a thought now sounds somewhat ridiculous, physiognomy was widely accepted by the Ancient Greeks and underwent periodic revivals over the centuries, the most notable spearheaded by Swiss writer Johann Kaspar Lavater in the 1770s. What unites the crimes covered in this book is their status as “notorious” in one way or another. Whether it is because of their breathtaking ingenuity, brazen opportunism, machiavellian scheming, or abominable malevolence, these crimes stand out over the centuries. While many of the perpetrators are viewed with distaste and disgust, some have been highly romanticized over the years for their rebelliousness and contempt for obeying the rules. This is often in spite of the extremely serious nature of their crimes, such as with Bonnie and Clyde, the Great Train Robbers, and Phoolan Devi. Some cases have broken new ground, and in some instances have led to the swift passage of new laws to protect the public and deter others from committing similar crimes. Public outrage during the investigation into the highly publicized Lindbergh Baby Laws are like cobwebs, which may catch small flies, but let wasps and hornets break through. Jonathan Swift kidnapping in 1932 prompted the US Congress to enact the Federal Kidnapping Act just one month later. Also known as the Lindbergh Law, the Act made kidnapping a federal crime punishable by death. Other cases have involved pioneering legal defence strategies, such as with the 1843 case of Daniel M’Naghten, the first of its kind in UK legal history. M’Naghten was acquitted of a high-profile murder based on a criminalinsanity defence, and remanded to a State Criminal Lunatic Asylum for the remainder of his life. Crime through the years Throughout history, pivotal moments have brought new crimes to the fore. In the late 19th century, for example, lawlessness increased with the growth of towns and cities, in part because of a lack of official police forces to rein in outlaws and bring them to justice. One of those was the Wild West’s Jesse James and his infamous James–Younger Gang, who became the first gang in the US to rob trains and banks during daylight hours. During the Prohibition period in the US, from 1920 to 1933, organized crime proliferated when outfits such as Chicago’s INTRODUCTION 13 Sheldon Gang vied to become the major illegal alcohol suppliers in the city’s southwest Irish belt. The number of offences in the US increased so much during that time span that the International Association of Chiefs of Police began to compile crime statistics. This culminated in the release of the Uniform Crime Reports – the first published in January 1930 – which were pulled together via a voluntary cooperative effort from local, county, and state law enforcement agencies. This became a vital tool to monitor the number and types of offences committed across the US. It caught on and inspired law enforcement agencies in other countries around the world to follow suit. found evidence that he or she had been bludgeoned to death and thrown down a cave shaft. There is an undeniable public fascination with serial killers – especially those where the culprit has never been caught. The cases of Jack the Ripper in London and the Zodiac killer in California are both enduring sources of contemporary analysis and speculation. Some crimes are so horrifying that the name of the perpetrator becomes indelibly linked with indescribable evil. Ted Bundy, who committed the gruesome murders of dozens of young women in the 1970s in the Pacific Northwest, is a case in point. The fact that Bundy seemed a charming, respectable man The ultimate transgression When it comes to murder, it is invariably savage and disturbing. Whether an organized hit-for-hire, a crime of passion, or a wanton act of violence against a stranger, the act is final and tragic. History’s first homicide is believed to have taken place some 430,000 years ago. However, it was only discovered in 2015, when archaeologists working in Atapuerca, Spain, pieced together the skull of a Neanderthal and He who commits injustice is ever made more wretched than he who suffers it. Plato heightened the shock factor: he did not conform to a stereotypical vision of a monstrous serial killer. Villains and technology The 1962 escape from Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary caused an international sensation. Investigators concluded that the fugitives died trying to make their way across San Francisco Bay – but evidence unearthed in 2015 calls this into question. If such an escape were to happen today, a massive manhunt would be streamed live across the internet, making it more difficult for the criminals to get away. The technological improvements in the detection and solving of crimes, such as DNA fingerprinting, is accompanied by an increasing sophistication in the techniques criminals use to commit them and to evade capture. In 2011, Russian hacker Aleksandr Panin accessed confidential information from over 50 million computers. In February 2016, hackers stole $81 million (£64 million) from the central Bank of Bangladesh without even setting foot in the country. While criminal methods may have evolved over time, though, our fascination with crime and its perpetrators remains as strong as it ever has been. ■ BANDITS, ROBBERS ARSONIS , AND TS 16 INTRODUCTION Irishman Thomas Blood attempts to steal the English Crown Jewels from the Tower of London. Pirate Edward “Blackbeard” Teach plunders ships in the Caribbean and along the East Coast of America. Jesse James leads the James–Younger Gang in train and bank robberies across the American Midwest. 1671 1716–18 1866–82 T 1676 1827–28 1930–34 In England, highwayman John Nevison rides 320 km (200 miles) in a single day in order to construct an alibi. Scottish graverobbers William Burke and William Hare turn to murder to make money selling corpses for dissection. Bonnie and Clyde go on a crime spree across several US states, kidnapping and murdering when cornered. he general public has long romanticized bandits, admiring their courage, audacity, and unwillingness to live by the rules of others. Many have been regarded as daredevils rather than simply common criminals. Such was the public’s perception of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, outlaws operating in 1930s America, who travelled in a Buick sedan and hid out in boarding houses and empty barns between robberies and murders. Bonnie and Clyde’s crimes were heinous, but they captured the public imagination and attracted throngs of supporters who relished reading reports of their latest exploits. It was no different for the Great Train Robbers, a 15-member gang who targeted the Glasgow to London mail train in 1963. Wearing helmets, ski masks, and gloves, they stole 120 mailbags containing more than £2.6 million (about £49 million today) in cash and seriously injured train driver Jack Mills. Yet sections of the British public glorified the Great Train Robbers, pleased that some of them evaded justice, and ignored their violent and illegal exploits. Like other famous robberies and criminal partnerships, the stories of the Great Train Robbery and Bonnie and Clyde have been made into movies that appealed to the public’s age-old love of villains. The notion of the lovable rogue is not entirely fanciful. John Nevison, a British highwayman of the 1670s was renowned for his gentlemanly manner. Holding up stagecoaches on horseback, he apologized to his victims before taking their money. Bizarrely, it almost became an honour to be robbed by Nevison. His legendary status was cemented through his impulsive 320-km (200-mile) journey from the county of Kent to York to establish an alibi for a robbery that he committed earlier in the day—a feat that earned him the nickname “Swift Nick”. Ingenious crimes Sometimes we cannot help but admire the breathtaking audacity of certain crimes. One of the boldest robberies in modern times occurred in midair over the northwestern US in November 1971. The hijacker of a Boeing 727, who became known as D.B. Cooper, fled from the scene by parachute, taking with him a ransom of $200,000 (£158,000) in $20 bills. BANDITS, ROBBERS, AND ARSONISTS 17 The Great Train Robbers steal more than £2.6 million (about £49 million today) from the Glasgow to London mail train. In Uttar Pradesh, India, Phoolan Devi, known as the Bandit Queen, carries out dozens of highway robberies. In Belgium, thieves break into the vault of the Antwerp Diamond Center, stealing diamonds worth £60 million. 1963 1979–83 2003 1971 In Washington state, a man going by the name of D.B. Cooper hijacks a plane, extracts a £158,000 ransom, and escapes by parachute. In the French town of Nice a few years later, thieves committed what was then the biggest heist in history when they drilled their way into the Société Générale bank from the city’s sewer system. In 2003, a gang of thieves showed similar ambition when they broke into a seemingly impregnable underground vault two floors beneath the Antwerp Diamond Centre, to commit what they dubbed the “perfect crime”. The gang made off with a haul worth around £60 million. The ringleader made one fatal mistake, however, leaving traces of his DNA close to the crime scene. Art heists also tend to capture the public’s imagination, because they often demonstrate brazen opportunism with little thought for the consequences. Take, for 1984–91 2015 Professional fire investigator and secret arsonist John Leonard Orr sets a series of deadly fires in southern California. Veteran thieves loot the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Company in central London, in the largest burglary in UK history. example, the 2003 case of amateur art thief Robert Mang, who climbed up the scaffolding outside a museum and squeezed through a broken window to steal a multimillion dollar work by the Italian artist Benvenuto Cellini. However, there was no market for the miniature masterpiece and he was forced to bury it in the woods. Darker acts Not all bandits and robbers inspire a grudging respect for the remarkable nerve of the offender. The case of bodysnatchers William Burke and William Hare – who, in early 19th-century Edinburgh, turned to murder to supply cadavers for Dr Robert Knox’s anatomy classes at the city’s university – is a grisly tale. The spate of arson attacks committed by fire investigator John Leonard Orr in California were especially dark and disturbing. This case was fiendishly difficult to crack, because much of the evidence was destroyed by the fire. A partial fingerprint left on an unburned part of his incendiary device led to his arrest. Unlike Bonnie and Clyde and the Great Train Robbers, who became legendary figures courtesy of the media, Orr created his own legend, and earned a reputation for being the first investigator at the scene of the crimes he secretly committed. But Orr’s fearlessness and skill as a master manipulator are what he shares with the bandits and robbers featured in this chapter. They have all entered criminal history on account of their notoriety, which in some cases extends to mythic status. ■ 18 FATHER OF ALL TREASONS THOMAS BLOOD, 1671 IN CONTEXT LOCATION Tower of London, UK THEME Jewel theft BEFORE 1303 Richard of Pudlicott, an impoverished English wool merchant, steals much of Edward I’s priceless treasury of gems, gold, and coins at Westminster Abbey. AFTER 11 September 1792 Thieves break into the Royal Storehouse, the Hôtel du Garde-Meuble de la Couronne, in Paris, and steal most of the French Crown Jewels; many, but not all, are later recovered. 11 August 1994 Three men make off with jewellery and precious stones worth £48 million at an exhibition at the Carlton Hotel in Cannes, France. I rish-born Thomas Blood (1618–80) fought for the Parliamentarians against Charles I’s Royalists in the English Civil War (1642–51), and the victorious Oliver Cromwell rewarded him with estates in his home country. These lands were confiscated during the Restoration of the Monarchy under Charles II, which Blood deemed a wrong that needed to be put right. He hatched a plan to steal the Crown Jewels, not only for financial gain but also to symbolically decapitate the king, echoing the fate of King Charles I, in 1649. Early in 1671, disguised as the fictitious clergyman Reverend “Ayloffe”, and with a female accomplice posing as his wife, Blood paid the Master of the Jewel Office, the elderly Talbot Edwards, for a tour. “Mrs Ayloffe” feigned illness during the tour, and Edwards and his wife came to her aid. A grateful Reverend Ayloffe made further visits, gaining the Edwards’s trust. On 5 May, Ayloffe persuaded Edwards to bring out the jewels, and immediately let in his waiting friends. Overpowering and beating Edwards, the gang flattened the crown and sawed the sceptre in half to make it easier to carry. They attempted to escape on horseback but were quickly caught. The king confounded his subjects by offering Blood a royal pardon. Some suggested that the king had been amused by Blood’s boldness; others that the king had recruited him as spy. Either way, Blood subsequently became a favourite around the royal court. ■ It was a gallant attempt, however unsuccessful! It was for a crown! Thomas Blood See also: The Société Générale Bank Heist 44 ■ The Antwerp Diamond Heist 54–55 ■ The Affair of the Diamond Necklace 64–65 BANDITS, ROBBERS, AND ARSONISTS 19 A CIVIL, OBLIGING ROBBER JOHN NEVISON, 1676 IN CONTEXT LOCATION Gad’s Hill, near Rochester, Kent, UK THEME Highway robbery BEFORE 1491–1518 Humphrey Kynaston, a high-born English highwayman, robs travellers in Shropshire, allegedly giving his takings to the poor. AFTER 1710s Louis Dominique Garthausen, known as “Cartouche”, commits highway robberies in and around Paris. 1735–37 Highwayman Dick Turpin carries out a series of robberies in the Greater London area. He is captured in York in 1739 and is executed for horse theft. H ighwayman John Nevison (1639–94) was supposedly nicknamed “Swift Nick” by King Charles II after the truth was finally revealed about his most famous exploit. After robbing a traveller near Rochester, Kent, Nevison was in desperate need of an alibi, so he devised a cunning plan. He crossed the River Thames and galloped 320 km (200 miles) to York in a single day, then engaged the Lord Mayor of York in conversation and made a bet over a game of bowls. Nevison made sure that the Lord Mayor knew the time (8pm). The ruse paid off, and the Lord Mayor later acted as Nevison’s alibi during his trial. The jury could not conceive that a man was physically able to ride the distance Nevison covered in a single day, and so he was found not guilty. Nevison was a veteran of the 1658 Battle of Dunkirk and was skilful with horses and weapons. He was also courteous and elegant, which he believed put him above the rank of a common thief. The Newgate Calendar, a publication See also: The Great Train Robbery 30–35 Nevison’s flamboyant style and courtly manners are evident in this 1680 depiction of his alleged meeting with King Charles II. that details the exploits of fabled criminals, said he was “very favourable to the female sex” on account of his courtesy and style. This elevated his standing and had the bizarre effect of making it something of an honour to have been robbed by him. ■ 20 DAMNATION SEIZE MY SOUL IF I GIVE YOU QUARTERS EDWARD “BLACKBEARD” TEACH, 1716–18 IN CONTEXT LOCATION The Caribbean and East Coast of North America THEME Piracy BEFORE 1667–83 Welsh privateer and later Royal Navy Admiral Sir Henry Morgan becomes famous for attacks on Spanish settlements in the Caribbean. 1689–96 Captain William Kidd, a renowned Scottish privateer and pirate hunter, plunders ships and islands in the Caribbean. AFTER 1717–18 Barbadian pirate “Gentleman” Stede Bonnet, nicknamed for his past as a wealthy landowner, pillages vessels in the Caribbean. 1719–22 Bartholomew “Black Bart” Roberts, a Welsh pirate, raids hundreds of ships in the Americas and West Africa. A lthough far from the most successful pirate, Edward “Blackbeard” Teach is undoubtedly the most notorious. Originally an English privateer during Queen Anne’s War (1702– 13), he turned to piracy when the hostilities ceased. In 1716, Blackbeard travelled to the “pirate’s republic” of Nassau in the Bahamas. There, he met Captain Benjamin Hornigold who placed him in charge of a sloop. Together the pair plundered ships in the waters around Cuba and Bermuda, and along the East Coast of America. Hornigold and Teach soon encountered the Barbadian pirate “Gentleman” Stede Bonnet, who had been seriously wounded battling a Spanish man-of-war. Half of Bonnet’s crew had perished and the remaining 70 were losing faith in his leadership. The three men joined forces, with Bonnet temporarily ceding command of his sloop, the Revenge, to Blackbeard. Taking charge During a raid near Martinique in November 1717, Hornigold acquired the 200-ton frigate La Concord de Nantes. Hornigold placed Blackbeard’s fearsome appearance matched his reputation, but evidence suggests he only used force as a last resort. His swashbuckling was greatly romanticized after his death. Blackbeard in charge of this prized vessel. Blackbeard renamed it Queen Anne’s Revenge. In December, King George I passed the Indemnity Act, which pardoned any pirate who officially renounced his lifestyle. Hornigold – who had been replaced as captain by his and Blackbeard’s BANDITS, ROBBERS, AND ARSONISTS 21 See also: The Hawkhurst Gang 136–37 combined crews after he voted against a decision to attack any ship they wanted, including British ships – took the King’s pardon and parted ways with Blackbeard. Eventually, Bonnet’s men deserted him, choosing to serve under Blackbeard’s command. Blackbeard put a surrogate in charge of the Revenge and kept Bonnet as a “guest” on his ship. Soon after, Blackbeard sailed to North Carolina, where he blockaded the port of Charleston, capturing nine ships and ransoming a wealthy merchant and politician. Upon sailing away from Charleston, the Queen Anne’s Revenge ran aground. Anchoring their fleet at Topsail Inlet, Bonnet and Blackbeard travelled by land to Bath, North Carolina, in June 1718 where they were granted pardons by Governor Charles Eden. However, while Bonnet remained there, Blackbeard crept back to the fleet, plundered the Revenge and two other ships in the fleet and transferred the goods to his sloop, the Adventure. Let’s jump on board, and cut them to pieces. Edward “Blackbeard” Teach Having violated the conditions of his pardon, Blackbeard now had a sizable bounty on his head. On 22 November, 1718, two Royal Navy sloops commanded by Lieutenant Robert Maynard caught up with the Adventure at Ocracoke Harbor. Last stand Outmanoeuvring the Royal Navy’s ships, Blackbeard lured them onto a sandbar. Rather than escaping, he fired two broadside attacks at “Legal” piracy Privateer Sir Henry Morgan attacks and captures the town of Puerto del Principe in Cuba in this engraving from 1754. Sociologists have long recognized that crime and deviance are situational – that they change over time and from one location to the next. Piracy is a good example of this phenomenon. In the mid-13th century, Henry III of England started to issue licences, called “privateering commissions”, which allowed sailors to attack and plunder foreign vessels. After 1295, these licences were known as letters of marque. Privateers became much more numerous in the 16th to 18th Maynard’s ship. When the smoke cleared, only the lieutenant and a few crew members remained on deck. Blackbeard ordered his band of 23 pirates to board the vessel. As his men clambered onto the ship, 30 armed sailors emerged from below decks. A bloody battle ensued. Maynard and Blackbeard both aimed their flintlock pistols at each other and fired. Blackbeard’s shot missed but Maynard’s struck Blackbeard in the abdomen. Blackbeard recovered, however, and broke Maynard’s sword in two with a mighty blow of his cutlass. Before he could capitalize on his brief advantage, though, one of Maynard’s men drove a pike into Blackbeard’s shoulder. Outgunned and outnumbered, Blackbeard’s crew surrendered, but he continued to fight. He finally fell dead after taking five gunshot wounds and 20 sword wounds. Maynard ordered his men to hang Blackbeard’s head from the bowsprit. Later, it was mounted on a stake near the Hampton River as a warning to other pirates. ■ centuries, with some working without royal consent, including Francis Drake, who carried out raids on Spanish shipping. During Queen Anne’s War, British privateers regularly plundered French and Spanish ships. However, when hostilities between the nations ended, these same professional plunderers suddenly found themselves on the other side of the law. Clearly, what is considered criminal depends on shifting social structures, which are in turn dictated by larger political and economic realities. 22 BURKE’S THE BUTCHER, HARE’S THE THIEF, KNOX THE BOY THAT BUYS THE BEEF BURKE AND HARE, 1827–28 IN CONTEXT LOCATION Edinburgh, Scotland, UK THEME Bodysnatching and multiple murder BEFORE November 1825 Thomas Tuite, a bodysnatcher, is captured by a sentry in Dublin, Ireland, in possession of five bodies and with his pockets full of sets of teeth. AFTER 7 November 1876 A gang of counterfeiters breaks into Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield, Illinois, to steal Abraham Lincoln’s body and hold it for ransom. The plot is foiled by a Secret Service agent posing as a member of the gang. A pair of Irish immigrants became unlikely grave robbers – and ultimately killers – in 19th-century Scotland when greed got the better of them. William Burke and William Hare worked as labourers in Edinburgh, where they met in 1827 after Burke and his companion, Helen McDougal, moved into a lodging house in Edinburgh run by Hare and his wife Margaret. When an elderly lodger died of natural causes and still owed rent, Burke and Hare sneaked into the cemetery, dug up his coffin, snatched his body, and carried it in a tea chest to Edinburgh University’s medical school. Dr Robert Knox, a popular anatomy lecturer who urgently needed corpses for dissection lessons, paid them £7 and 10 shillings (about £585 today) for the body. A unique business idea Inspired by their success, and delighted by such an easy stream of income, the pair repeated it again and again, robbing newly buried coffins and selling the cadavers to Knox. However, they soon tired of digging up graves in the middle of the night. So, in November 1827 when a lodger became ill, Burke expedited the man’s demise by covering his mouth and nose while restraining him – a smothering technique that became known as “burking”. That first murder was the start of the duo’s killing spree, targeting strays and prostitutes on the streets of Edinburgh. Their modus operandi involved plying a victim with drink until they fell asleep. Then, Burke smothered them using Hare (left) and Burke (right) financially exploited a shortage in the legal supply of cadavers at a time when Edinburgh was the leading European centre of anatomical research. BANDITS, ROBBERS, AND ARSONISTS 23 See also: Jack the Ripper 266–73 Robert Knox was a pre-eminent Scottish anatomist whose career was overshadowed by his involvement in the Burke and Hare case. his unique technique. They loaded the body into a tea chest and transported it at night to Dr Knox’s surgery. They received £7–10 (£550–800 today) for each body. Burke and Hare got away with murder for 11 months until the body of Irishwoman Margaret Docherty was discovered by two guests at Hare’s boarding house, Ann and James Gray. The Grays notified the police, and an inquiry led them to Dr Knox. Docherty’s body had since been moved to the university lecture hall, which had become Knox’s dissecting theatre. After a newspaper report pointed the finger at Burke and Hare, there was a public outcry for their prosecution. William Burke, William Hare, Helen McDougal, and Margaret Hare were all arrested by police shortly afterwards and charged with murder. Dr Knox was questioned by police, but was not arrested as he had not technically broken the law. Every man for himself Requiring more evidence for a conviction, the court’s Lord Advocate attempted to extract a confession from one of the four, and he chose Hare. He was offered immunity from prosecution and testified that Burke had committed the murders. Burke was subsequently convicted of three Diagnosing psychopathy The Hare Psychopathy Checklist (named after Canadian psychologist Robert Hare) is a diagnostic tool used to identify a person’s psychopathic tendencies. Originally designed to assess people accused of crimes, it is a 20-item inventory of personality traits assessed primarily via an interview. The subject receives a score for each trait depending on how well each one applies to them. The traits include lack of remorse; lack of empathy; inability to accept responsibility for actions; impulsivity; and pathological lying. When psychopaths commit crimes, it is likely that their acts are purposeful. The motives of psychopathic killers often involve power or sadistic gratification. Not all violent offenders are psychopaths, but FBI investigations found that psychopathic offenders have more serious criminal histories and tend to be more chronically violent. I am sure … that in the whole history of the country – nothing has ever been exhibited that is in any respect parallel to this case. Lord Meadowbank murders and, on 28 January, 1829, hanged in front of a cheering crowd numbering up to 25,000. People were said to have paid up to £1 (about £80 today) for a good view overlooking the scaffold. Burke’s body was publicly dissected by Dr Knox’s rival, Dr Monro, at the anatomy theatre of Edinburgh University’s Old College, attracting so many spectators that a minor riot occurred. His skeleton was later donated to Edinburgh Medical School. Hare, although he confessed to being an accomplice, was freed, and fled to England. With his reputation in tatters, Knox moved to London to try to revive his medical career. In all, Burke and Hare killed 16 victims in what became known as the West Port Murders. The murders led to the passing of the Anatomy Act 1832, which increased the supply of legal cadavers by authorizing the dissection of unclaimed bodies from workhouses after 48 hours. This proved effective in reducing cases of body snatching. ■ 24 THEY WERE BRAVE FELLOWS. THEY WERE TRUE MEN THE JAMES-YOUNGER GANG, 1866–82 IN CONTEXT LOCATION Missouri, Kansas, Kentucky, Arkansas, Iowa, Texas, and West Virginia, US THEME Armed robbery BEFORE 1790–1802 Samuel “Wolfman” Mason and his band of followers prey on riverboat travellers on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, US. 1863–64 William “Bloody Bill” Anderson, a pro-Confederate guerrilla leader during the American Civil War, leads a band of outlaws against Federal soldiers in Missouri and Kansas, US. AFTER 1897 Al Jennings, a prosecuting attorney-turnedoutlaw, forms the Jennings Gang, and robs trains in Oklahoma, US. F rom February 1866 to September 1876, the JamesYounger Gang robbed 12 banks, five trains, five stagecoaches, and an exposition ticket booth. Their crime spree began in the wake of the American Civil War (1861–65) when the James brothers – Jesse and Frank – joined forces with the Younger brothers – Cole, Jim, John, and Bob. They all fought as Confederate bushwhackers attacking civilian Unionists during the Civil War. After the hostilities ended, Jesse James turned the group into a bank-robbing posse. Some historians credit the gang with the first daylight armed robbery in the US when they targeted the Clay County Savings Association in Liberty, Missouri, in 1866. In all their train robberies, the gang only robbed passengers twice, when their takings were especially low. They committed robberies every couple of months, hiding out in between jobs to avoid the law. They were aided by sympathizers who offered their homes as hideouts. The gang used maps and compasses, and avoided well-travelled roads, making it difficult to pursue them. Jesse James (left) posing with two of the Younger brothers. Despite Jesse’s romanticized image and comparisons to Robin Hood, there is no evidence that he gave their loot to the poor. The gang grew, and they drifted between Midwest states, pulling off robberies of banks, trains, and stagecoaches, in Missouri, Kansas, Kentucky, Arkansas, Iowa, Texas, and West Virginia. On 3 June 1871, they robbed a bank in Corydon, Iowa, but were identified as suspects. From then on, they became known as the JamesYounger Gang. BANDITS, ROBBERS, AND ARSONISTS 25 See also: Bonnie and Clyde 26–29 ■ The Wild Bunch 150–51 The posse rides into town and divides into three groups Two wait outside the bank as guards Three go into the bank Two remain on the road as lookouts The three grab the loot The group reunite, shoot their way out, and gallop out of town Tracking them down In 1874, following a train robbery in Missouri, the Adams Express Company, which suffered the biggest loss during the robbery, enlisted the services of the Pinkerton National Detective Agency to catch the gang. In March 1874, Allan Pinkerton, the agency’s founder, sent detective Joseph Whicher to pursue James, but Whicher was found dead the day after he arrived. An outraged Pinkerton sent a group of detectives to track the gang down in January 1875, but they succeeded only in killing Jesse’s eight-year-old half brother and wounding Jesse’s mother with an incendiary device during a botched raid. Condemned for this act, Pinkerton withdrew and the gang continued unabated. The James-Younger Gang dissolved in 1876 when the Younger brothers were arrested during an ambush while attempting to rob the Northfield First National Bank in Minnesota. The James brothers were both wounded in the legs, but escaped on horseback and kept low profiles until three years later, when Jesse formed another gang. The James Gang’s reign ended in 1882 when fellow gang member Robert Ford betrayed and shot Jesse in the back inside James’s home in St Joseph, Missouri, in order to collect the $10,000 bounty (about £189,000 today) on his head. ■ The romanticization of outlaws The exploits of Old West outlaws have been exaggerated and romanticized, despite the fact that many were killers. The captivating allure of criminals seems to be based on conflicted feelings of both attraction and repulsion, of love and hatred. Outlaws embody freedom in their refusal to obey laws, representing the boundarycrossing children that we used to be. They are also eulogized for unexpected benevolence: the courteous highwayman and figures, including Robin Hood, were popularized for their supposed altruistic motives and for “serving” the people. The public reaction to Robert Ford’s murder of Jesse James in 1882 is a case in point, as it caused a national sensation. Newspaper articles were published across the US, including in The New York Times. Such was James’s allure that people travelled from far and wide to see the body of the legendary robber. 26 IT’S FOR THE LOVE OF A MAN THAT I’M GONNA HAVE TO DIE BONNIE AND CLYDE, 1930–34 IN CONTEXT LOCATION Central US THEME Gangsters BEFORE 14 July 1881 The outlaw known as “Billy the Kid” is shot dead by Sheriff Pat Garrett in Fort Sumner, New Mexico. 3 February 1889 Myra Maybelle Starr, better known as Belle Starr, is gunned down near King Creek, Oklahoma. AFTER 22 July 1934 Depression-era gangster and notorious bank robber John Dillinger is killed by federal agents while fleeing from arrest. 27 November 1934 FBI agents kill George “Baby Face” Nelson, a bank robber and gangster then labelled “Public Enemy Number One”. I n the late night hours of 13 April 1933, two police cars pulled up to an apartment on Oak Ridge Drive in the windswept city of Joplin, Missouri. Living inside the rented apartment were five infamous outlaws known as the Barrow Gang, including Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow. The gang had spent the past 12 days in hiding, after carrying out a series of armed robberies and kidnappings in Missouri and neighbouring states. As police yelled for the occupants to get out, Barrow grabbed his favourite weapon – a M1918 Browning Automatic Rifle – and opened fire through a broken BANDITS, ROBBERS, AND ARSONISTS 27 See also: The James-Younger Gang 24–25 ■ The Wild Bunch 150–51 No man but the undertaker will ever get me … I’ll take my own life. Clyde Barrow cigar between her teeth and holds a pistol in her hand. Soon the story of the outlaw lovers dominated the front pages of newspapers across the country. Criminal superstars window. His paramour Parker laid down cover fire with her own gun, the bullets splintering the surrounding trees. Amid the hail of gunfire, the gang killed two Missouri police officers, Detective Harry McGinnis and Constable J.W. Harryman. Bonnie and Clyde escaped, leaving behind possessions including an arsenal of weapons, Parker’s handwritten poems, and rolls of undeveloped film, which Wearing her iconic high heels, Bonnie playfully points a shotgun at Clyde in 1932. Parker later sustained serious burns to her leg in a car crash, leaving her barely able to walk. would turn the young lovers into folk legends and eventually lead to their downfall. In the photos, the pair playfully posed with automatic weapons, standing in front of a stolen vehicle. In one picture, Parker is clenching a Their four-year crime spree, during which they robbed banks and killed police, titillated the American public. Far from their glamorized image, however, the Barrow Gang’s crimes were punctuated by narrow escapes, bungled robberies, and fatal injuries. With the FBI still a fledgling agency without the power to combat interstate bank robberies and kidnappings, the period between 1931 and 1935 become known as the “Public Enemy Era” – a period when a number of high-profile criminals wrought significant damage across the US against the background of the Great Depression. From their first meeting in 1930, Parker and Barrow shared an instant connection and she became his loyal companion. Shortly after their romance sparked, Barrow was arrested for burglary and sent to the Eastham prison facility in ❯❯ 28 BONNIE AND CLYDE Texas. There he committed his first murder, using a lead pipe to beat an inmate who had assaulted him. After Parker smuggled a gun inside the prison, Barrow escaped, but was later recaptured. The spree begins In February 1932, Barrow was paroled, emerging from jail a hardened and bitter criminal seeking revenge against the prison system for the abuses he suffered behind bars. Reuniting with Parker, Barrow assembled a rotating core of associates, robbing rural petrol stations and kidnapping and killing when cornered. Between 1932 and 1934, the gang is believed to have killed several civilians and at least nine police officers. Barrow was officially accused of murder for the first time in April 1932, when he shot and killed a storeowner after a robbery. A few months later, Barrow and another gang member killed a deputy and wounded a sheriff who approached them at a country dance in Oklahoma. It was the first time a Barrow Gang member had killed an officer of the law. In April 1933, Clyde’s brother Buck was released from prison. He and his new bride, Blanche, joined the gang at the apartment in Joplin, Missouri, eventually attracting the attention of the police after 12 days of loud, alcoholfuelled parties. The gang’s newfound notoriety after the shootout made it increasingly difficult to evade capture, hunted by the police, pursued by the press, and followed by an eager public. For the next three months, the gang moved from Texas to Minnesota and Indiana, sleeping at campgrounds. They robbed banks, kidnapped people, and stole cars, committing the crimes near the The Dallas Morning News issue announcing the death of Bonnie and Clyde sold 500,000 copies. A group of Dallas newsboys later sent the largest floral tribute to Parker’s funeral. borders of states to exploit the preFBI “state line rule” that prevented officers from crossing state lines while in pursuit of a fugitive. Public opinion changes Eventually the killings became so cold-blooded that the public’s fascination with the duo soured. The Texas Department of Corrections commissioned former Texas Ranger Captain Frank A. Hamer with the specific task of taking down the Barrow Gang. Hamer formed a posse, comprising a unique collaboration of Texas and Louisiana police officers. It was one of the most highly publicized and intense manhunts in US history. By the summer of 1933, the gang began to fall apart. Then on 10 June, while driving near Wellington, Texas, Barrow accidentally flipped their car into a ravine, and Parker sustained thirddegree burns to her right leg. Her injuries were so severe that she could hardly walk and was often carried by Barrow. A month later, during a 19 July shootout with police in Missouri, a bullet struck Buck in the head. Blanche was also wounded and blinded in one eye. Despite his terrible injuries, Buck remained conscious and he and the rest of the gang escaped. The trail ends Days later, on 24 July, Buck was shot in the back during another shootout, and he and Blanche were captured. Buck was taken to a It is much better that they were both killed, rather than to have been taken alive. Blanche Barrow BANDITS, ROBBERS, AND ARSONISTS 29 hospital where he died on 29 July, from pneumonia after surgery, but not before doctors injected him with stimulants so that he could answer police questions. Barrow and Parker’s trail ended on a road that cut through Louisiana’s Piney Forest on State Highway 154, south of Sailes. Led by Hamer, the posse of police officers had tracked and studied the pair’s movements and discovered that the gang camped on the edges of state borders. Using a tip that the couple would be in the area, Hamer predicted their pattern and set up an ambush point along the rural Louisiana highway. At around 9:15am on 23 May 1934, six officers concealed in the bushes saw Barrow’s stolen Ford V8 approaching at high speed and sprayed the car with a total of 130 rounds. Barrow and Parker were shot dozens of times, each sustaining multiple fatal wounds. When the bullet-ridden Ford was towed to town, with the bodies still inside, a crowd of curious onlookers surrounded the car. Spectators collected souvenirs, including pieces of Parker’s bloody clothes and hair. One man even tried to cut off Barrow’s trigger finger. Items belonging to the pair, including stolen guns and a saxophone, were also kept by members of the posse and sold as souvenirs. The ambush remains highly controversial, given that there were no attempts to take the pair alive. Prentiss Oakley, the Louisiana officer who fired the first shot, later expressed regret that the outlaws had not been offered a chance to surrender to them. The bloody end of Bonnie and Clyde was the end of the “Public Enemy Era” of the 1930s. By the summer of 1934, the federal government enacted statutes that made kidnapping and bank robbery federal offences – a legal breakthrough that finally allowed FBI agents to apprehend bandits across state lines. ■ Celebrity criminals magazines, newspapers, and radio programmes covering their daily exploits. Bonnie and Clyde’s legend intensified with the 1967, Academy Award-winning film Bonnie and Clyde, which exposed the couple’s exploits to a new generation. It was considered groundbreaking for its relaxed presentation of sex and violence. However, such a glamorized portrayal elicited troubling questions, as several couples have attempted similar sprees, claiming to have been inspired by the famous outlaws. The death car became the subject of so much interest that fakes began to appear. The local sheriff tried to keep the car but was sued by the owner. It is now on display at a casino in Nevada. The 1967 adaptation of the pair’s crime spree starred Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway and presented them as attractive and even chic. Bonnie and Clyde emerged as the first celebrity criminals of the Depression era, partly due to the intense newspaper and radio coverage of their crimes. Outlaws like George “Baby Face” Nelson and “Pretty Boy” Floyd also became legends, with their deadly stories appearing on front pages of newspapers across the country. During this time, a disillusioned, angry public, faced with unemployment and extreme poverty, held the gangsters in high esteem, with YOU’LL NEVER BELIEVE IT THEY’VE STOLEN THE TRAIN THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY, 8 AUGUST 1963 32 THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY IN CONTEXT LOCATION Ledburn, Buckinghamshire, UK THEME Train robbery BEFORE 15 May 1855 Approximately 91 kg (200 lb) of gold is stolen from safes on board a South Eastern Railway train running between London Bridge and Folkestone, UK. 12 June 1924 The Newton Gang carry out a postal train robbery near Rondout, Illinois, and steal around $3 milllion (£33 million today), making it the biggest train robbery in history at that time. AFTER 31 March 1976 A train travelling from Cork to Dublin, Ireland, is robbed near the village of Sallins by members of the Irish Republican Socialist Party. Ronnie Biggs A t the beginning of the 1960s, life for many Londoners was povertystricken and drab. The austerity of postwar rationing was a recent memory, ending only six years before. Having acquired the taste for easy money by taking advantage of his work in a sausage factory to sell black-market meat, Ronald Christopher “Buster” Edwards, was graduating to robberies with his friend Gordon Goody. Their brushes with the law brought them into contact with Brian Field, a lawyer’s clerk. His services did not stop at preparing their defences. For a cut of the proceeds Field would pass the duo details of his firm’s clients as potential targets. Early in 1963, Field introduced them to a stranger known only as “the Ulsterman”. Believed to be Belfast-born Patrick McKenna, this corrupt Manchester postal worker brought intriguing news: large cash sums were being carried on the overnight mail trains from Glasgow to London. A tempting target – if above Goody’s and Edwards’ paygrade. They took the information to an experienced South London He objected to being dismissed as the gang’s “teaboy”, but Ronnie Biggs’s role could hardly be considered crucial in the Great Train Robbery. Born in Stockwell, south London, in 1929, he was a somewhat hapless burglar and armed robber when he met Bruce Reynolds in Wandsworth Prison. The Great Train Robbery was to be his first and only major heist. His main responsibility was the recruitment of “Stan Agate”, the gang’s replacement driver, who was not actually able to move the train because he was not familiar with the type of locomotive used. Am I one of a minority in feeling admiration for the skill and courage behind the Great Train Robbery? Graham Greene criminal called Bruce Richard Reynolds. In the months that followed, Reynolds started to put together an adhoc gang. Best-laid plans The plan was elegantly simple. The gang would stop the train in open countryside in Buckinghamshire at Sears Crossing, close to the village of Ledburn, where a signal could be interfered with. While this was the perfect place to stop the train, high embankments made it unsuitable for unloading the loot. For that, the train would be moved to nearby Biggs’s fingerprints were found on a ketchup bottle at the gang’s hideout and he was arrested three weeks later. He escaped Wandsworth Prison using a rope ladder on 8 July 1965. He travelled to Brussels, then on to Australia before settling in Brazil in 1970, which did not then have an extradition treaty with the UK. Eventually, Biggs returned to the UK on a jet paid for by The Sun newspaper in exchange for exclusive rights to his story. Biggs was arrested minutes after landing at RAF Northolt on 7 May 2001. BANDITS, ROBBERS, AND ARSONISTS 33 See also: The James–Younger Gang 24–25 ■ The Wild Bunch 150–51 The train was halted just before Bridego Bridge where the gang formed a human chain down the embankment. They loaded the loot onto a lorry where the black car is in the image. Bridego Bridge. The mail train was typically long, its cars manned by up to 80 postal workers who spent the journey sorting letters and packages. The gang discovered that High-Value Packages (HVPs) were stored in the second coach from the front, so the gang planned to uncouple just the first two coaches. Once they reached Bridego Bridge, they could unload sacks of registered mail using a human chain from the high embankment to a drop-side lorry waiting on the road below. Reynolds refused to leave anything to chance, so in case the hijacked driver refused to carry out their demands, one of the gang would spend months studying locomotive manuals. Posing as a schoolteacher, he persuaded a driver on a suburban line to take him along for a ride: watching closely, he picked up certain basics. Reynolds also recruited a fully experienced driver to make sure. Field, meanwhile, negotiated the purchase of the abandoned Leatherslade Farm, roughly 50 km (30 miles) from Sears Crossing, which would be their hideout after the robbery. Signal victory Just before 7pm on Wednesday, 7 August, the train left Glasgow, with veteran driver Jack Mills at the controls and his co-driver David Whitby beside him. The HVP coach was carrying over £2.6 million (about £49 million today) in cash rather than the £300,000 or so the gang had been expecting because of the public holiday on the previous Monday, during which the banks had been closed. By the time the train reached Sears Crossing, gang members had tampered with the signal lights; they slipped a glove over the green light to blot it out and wired the red “stop” sign to a separate It is the British press that made the “legend” that you see before you, so perhaps I should ask you who I am. Ronnie Biggs battery. A surprised Mills brought the train to a halt and Whitby went to investigate. When he tried to report in from the trackside telephone, he found that the wires had been cut. As Whitby made his way back towards the train, he was hurled down the steep embankment by men in motorcycle helmets and ski masks. Meanwhile, gang members wearing masks and gloves climbed into Mills’s cab and knocked him unconscious with an iron bar; others uncoupled the coaches from the rear of the HVP coach, and overpowered and handcuffed the postal workers. It soon became clear that the replacement driver – a retiree known as “Stan Agate” to the gang – was unable to operate the stateof-the-art Class 40 diesel-electric locomotive. So, having knocked out Mills, the robbers had to revive him so he could take them up the line to Bridego Bridge. Passing the ❯❯ 34 THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY First two carriages moved to Bridego Bridge Train halted by modified signal light 8 B44 ring to T n ndo o To L Grand Union Canal n to To Leigh rd a z z Bu The plan started with a tampered signal at Sears Crossing. The train stopped and two carriages were driven on to Bridego Bridge. mailbags along a human chain down the embankment, the gang quickly loaded the lorry. Warning the handcuffed postal workers in the HVP coach not to call the police for 30 minutes, the gang made their triumphant way back to the hideout at Leatherslade Farm. Bridego Bridge Farm track Sears Crossing Cargo taken back to Leatherslade Farm Mailbags loaded into truck by human chain evenly, so as not to cause division, which would have added a potential source of danger. However, the high number of people involved in the operation carried risks, such as a gang member being indiscreet with his loot or talking about the robbery. An inevitable slip-up It was indeed a “great train robbery”, and if it all sounds like something from a film, that is because in recent decades, such elaborately organized heists have been much more popular with movie makers than with criminals. Not only are crimes like this risky, but they are enormously labour-intensive. Up to 17 men appear to have been involved in the robbery, although to this day, a few participants remain unidentified. The gang members split the loot Obviously you are a thief because you like money, but the second thing is the excitement of it. “Buster” Edwards To Mentmore In the end, an acquaintance of the ringleaders – in prison himself and hopeful of a deal – passed on some gossip that he had heard through the grapevine, providing a vital lead for the investigators to pursue. The plan unravels Meanwhile, in the robbers’ farmhouse, confidence had given way to tension. The plan had been to lie low for a week, but it was soon apparent that the police – systematically sweeping the surrounding countryside – were closing in. Detectives had noted the robbers’ 30-minute warning to the staff of the HVP coach, which suggested a hideout within half-an-hour’s drive. Police searched Leatherslade Farm after a neighbour reported unusual activity at the farm. The robbers had gone, but fingerprints were BANDITS, ROBBERS, AND ARSONISTS 35 Leatherslade Farm, later dubbed “Robber’s Roost” by the press, was searched by police after farmworker John Maris tipped them off, convinced that the robbers were hiding there. found on a Monopoly game they had played – using real cash – as well as on a ketchup bottle. The conspiracy’s collapse was as abrupt and chaotic as its planning had been patient. Eleven of the robbers were quickly caught together in south London. The majority of the 11 were jailed for 30 years, a severe sentence for a crime in which nobody had been killed. However, it helped generate sympathy for the robbers. Two of them escaped prison – in August 1964, friends of gang member Charlie Wilson broke into Birmingham’s Winson Green Prison to snatch him; the next July, Ronnie Biggs climbed over the wall at Wandsworth Prison, London. Mythical status The robbery’s audacity could not be denied, but the long-term trauma inflicted upon the train crew was easier to ignore. Mills suffered from post-traumatic headaches for the rest of his life and never fully recovered from his injuries. Whitby died a few years later, at the age of 34, from a heart attack. However, these tragedies were overshadowed by an increasing romanticization of the crime, intensified by the fact that only a fraction of the £2.6 million haul was recovered. The robbery occurred at a time when brazen irreverence towards old-fashioned authority was in vogue – and at a time in which artist Andy Warhol claimed that everyone would be famous for 15 minutes. Biggs recorded music with the Sex Pistols and Edwards became the subject of the film Buster (1988) – his part played by rock star Phil Collins. Just three years after the crime, The Great St Trinian’s Train Robbery was released, playing on the idea that serious crime could be comic entertainment. ■ Compassionate release On 6 August 2009, after falling gravely ill with pneumonia, 80-year-old Ronnie Biggs was released on “compassionate” grounds – a rarity in the UK. Under the Prison Service Order 6000, a prisoner can only apply in the event of “tragic family circumstances” or if he or she is suffering from a terminal illness with death likely to result within a few months. Biggs survived until December 2013, but this caused little controversy. By contrast, two weeks after Biggs was released, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, convicted of the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, was freed on compassionate grounds by the Scottish Justice Secretary, a decision condemned by the British and US press. Megrahi had been diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer, but his release from hospital caused an outcry, as did the arrival of Colonel Gaddafi’s personal aircraft to repatriate him, and the hero’s welcome he received back home in Libya. Three men arrested in connection with the robbery are led away by police, holding blankets over their heads. The intense media interest is evident at the top left of the image. 36 ADDICTED TO THE THRILL BILL MASON, 1960s–1980s IN CONTEXT LOCATION Dr Armand Hammer’s apartment, southern Florida, US THEME Jewel theft BEFORE 1950–1998 Peter Scott, a Northern Irish cat burglar, commits some 150 burglaries before he is caught in 1952; in 1960, he steals a $260,000 (£206,000) necklace belonging to actress Sophia Loren. AFTER 2004–06 Accomplished Spanish thief Ignacio del Rio confesses to more than 1,000 burglaries committed in Los Angeles over just a two-year period, taking $2 million (£1.5 million today) in jewellery and a painting by Degas worth $10 million (£7.4 million). B ill Mason was an unexceptional property manager by day, but by night he was a notorious cat burglar. While unsuspecting owners slept he scaled walls, tiptoed across parapets, clambered onto balconies, and shimmied through barely open windows. On a wet and windy night, Mason executed a plan weeks in the making. Straining every sinew, he climbed a full 15 floors up the outside of the apartment building of oil tycoon Dr Armand Hammer, where he found the balcony door unlocked. He tossed the contents of Mrs Hammer’s jewellery box, worth several million dollars, into one of her pillowcases. Ironically, on his way out, Mason found the front door secured by an easily pickable single lock. He made his escape through an open window on the third floor and used a grappling hook to help lower himself to the ground. Mason diligently concealed his tracks at every turn; the police did not identify a single suspect. See also: John MacLean 45 ■ Doris Payne 78–79 ■ To the astonished occupants, it would seem as if the jewels had simply evaporated. Bill Mason Over a 20-year period of targeting the rich and famous – including swimmer and actor Johnny “Tarzan” Weissmuller, who lost an Olympic gold medal – Mason stole approximately £120 million in jewellery. The adrenaline surge he felt during the robbery and the glamour of these furtive brushes with the stars were addictive. Mason was eventually caught in a sting operation, and later wrote the memoir Confessions of a Master Jewel Thief, published in 2003. ■ The Antwerp Diamond Heist 54–55 BANDITS, ROBBERS, AND ARSONISTS 37 TO ME IT IS ONLY SO MUCH SCRAP GOLD THE THEFT OF THE WORLD CUP, MARCH 1966 IN CONTEXT LOCATION Central Hall, Westminster, London, UK THEME Priceless trophy theft BEFORE 9 October 1964 Jack Roland Murphy, a surfing champion, breaks into the Gems and Minerals Hall at the American Museum of Natural History and steals the J.P. Morgan jewel collection. AFTER 19 December 1983 The Jules Rimet Trophy is stolen again, this time from the Brazilian Football Confederation in Rio de Janeiro. It has never been recovered. 4 December 2014 Sixty Formula 1 trophies are stolen by a group of seven men who drive a van through the doors of the Red Bull Racing headquarters in England. F or England’s football fans, 1966 lives in the memory as the only year in which their team ever won the World Cup. The theft of the famous Jules Rimet Trophy four months before the tournament started, however, meant that England captain Bobby Moore nearly had to hold an imitation trophy in celebration. On display in Westminster’s Central Hall, London, the cup was guarded, but thieves sneaked in between patrols and forced open its glass case. Despite a full-scale investigation, the Metropolitan Police were no nearer a solution when a note arrived demanding £15,000 (£196,000 today) for the trophy’s safe return. An attempt to entrap the sender did catch a petty criminal named Edward Betchley but failed to produce the trophy. Not until Pickles, a collie dog being taken for a walk by his owner David Corbett, unearthed a parcel beneath the hedge outside his owner’s home in Upper Norwood, south London, did the missing cup come to light. See also: Thomas Blood 18 ■ The story is still striking in terms of calculating “value” when it comes to crime – and whether some items are too well-known to be worth stealing. The original trophy, melted down – the only way a gang could have disposed of it – would have been worth little in monetary terms. Its symbolic significance, however, was priceless. A replica was produced in the original’s place and fetched £254,000 at auction in 1997. ■ Pickles the dog netted his owner a £5,000 reward, which he used to buy a house in Surrey. Pickles was later awarded a silver medal by the National Canine Defence League. The Theft of the Cellini Salt Cellar 56 MISS, YOU’D BETTER LOOK AT THAT NOTE D.B. COOPER, 24 NOVEMBER 1971 40 D.B. COOPER IN CONTEXT LOCATION Between Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington, US THEME Aircraft hijacking BEFORE 31 October 1969 Raffaele Minichiello, a decorated US marine, hijacks a TWA flight in Los Angeles and is apprehended in Rome, Italy. AFTER 10 November 1972 Southern Airways Flight 49 is hijacked by three men who demand $10 million (£8 million). They are eventually apprehended in Havana, Cuba. 3 June 1972 Willie Roger Holder hijacks Western Airlines Flight 701 from Los Angeles to Seattle, demanding a $500,000 (£396,000) ransom and the freedom of imprisoned black activist Angela Davis. O n the afternoon of 24 November 24 1971, an unidentified man in his mid 40s, wearing a dark suit and black clip-on tie and carrying a black a briefcase, jumped into criminal folklore. The man, who later would be dubbed D.B. Cooper by the press, boarded Northwest Orient’s Flight 305 from Portland, Oregon, to Seattle, Washington. During the flight, he passed flight attendant Florence Schaffner a note telling her he had a bomb in his case. After showing her the device, he stated his demands: he wanted The Northwest Orient Boeing 727 that D.B. Cooper hijacked is shown here at Portland airport, Oregon, in 1968. Its rear stairway is situated directly underneath the tail. four parachutes, a fuel truck waiting for the plane when it landed at Seattle-Tacoma Airport, and $200,000 (£158,000) in $20 banknotes, or he would blow up the plane. What happened later that evening, though, is one of the most perplexing mysteries in US criminal history. rear stairs and jumped out of the Boeing 727 and into the dark, rainy night. He left behind two of the parachutes and his tie. The FBI launched a massive manhunt and the military was called in. Helicopters and a thousand troops on foot searched the area where they guessed Cooper might have landed, conducting door-to-door searches. A military spy plane even Parachute escape When the plane landed in Seattle, Cooper allowed the passengers and two of the three flight attendants to leave. Officials handed over the money and the parachutes. Cooper ordered the pilots to fly towards Mexico City at a maximum altitude of 3,000 metres (10,000 ft) and at the minimum airspeed possible without stalling. About 45 minutes into the flight south, he sent the flight attendant to the cockpit and put on his parachute. Somewhere north of Portland he lowered the Back in the early ’70s, late ’60s, hijackings weren’t uncommon. The philosophy of the day was ‘Cooperate, comply with his demands, and we’ll deal with it when the plane lands.’ Larry Carr BANDITS, ROBBERS, AND ARSONISTS 41 photographed the Boeing 727’s entire flight path. None of them found anything. All the authorities had to go on was that the unidentified man had apparently bought a ticket in the name of either Dan or Dale Cooper. When police interviewed the man who sold the plane tickets that day, they asked if any of the passengers looked suspicious. Without hesitating, he replied, “Yes, Dale Cooper.” The police subsequently told a reporter the suspect’s name was “D. Cooper”. However, the reporter, who didn’t quite catch the name, asked “D or a B?” The police officer responded, “Yes.” And thus the legend of D.B. Cooper was born. Profiling Cooper Schaffner gave police a physical description of the hijacker – in his mid 40s, between 1.7 metres (5 ft 10 inches) and and 2 metres (6 ft) tall, 77–81 kg (12–13 stone), and with close-set brown eyes. She told police that the hijacker was wellspoken, polite, and calm. He was a bourbon drinker, and paid his drinks tab, even attempting to give her the change. Schaffner also disclosed that the hijacker asked if the flight crew wanted any food during the stop at Seattle. He had said that McChord Air Force Base was a 20-minute drive away from Seattle-Tacoma Airport – a detail that most civilians would not have known. His choice of plane – a 727-100 – was also ideal for a bailout escape. These factors indicated that he may well have been an Air Force veteran. However, his lack of safety equipment, thermal clothing, or helmet, which would have afforded him little protection from the -57°C (-70°F) wind chill, seems to throw doubt on the claim he was a military man. FBI investigators at the time of the incident argued from the outset that he simply would not have survived the jump. Money discovered More than eight years later, in February 1980, eight-year-old Brian Ingram and his family were picnicking by the Columbia River close to the city of Vancouver, Washington. As the family cleared a spot for a campfire, Brian unearthed a packet of money in the sand near the river. His remarkable find, totalling $5,800 (£4,590) in $20 Criminal profiling The FBI produced a composite drawing of D.B. Cooper in 1972 based on recollections of the crew and his fellow passengers. Criminal profiling is the process of identifying the most likely type of person to have committed a particular crime. Investigators look at behaviour, personality traits, and demographic variables, including age, race, and location to build up a psychological picture of a suspect. In the case of D.B. Cooper, his knowledge of the aviation industry and of the Boeing 727 suggest that he may have spent time in the Air Force, but his lack of skydiving skills suggest that he I’m not so convinced that the investigation is dead or this story is over by any stretch. Geoff Gray bills – of which he was allowed to keep $2,850 (£2,460) – matched the serial numbers of the ransom money handed over to Cooper on the tarmac in Seattle. The FBI searched the beach and dredged the river but found nothing else. Nevertheless, the search reignited the public’s interest in the legend of D.B. Cooper, and in the missing $144,200 (£114,000). The D.B. Cooper hijacking had all the ingredients of a legend – he got away with it, no one was hurt, and his fate remains a mystery. Public interest was periodically reinvigorated by news that the FBI was still looking for D.B. Cooper. ❯❯ worked as an ancillary aviation worker, such as a cargo loader. It is possible that he lost his job during the economic downturn in the aviation industry in 1970–71 and this provided the financial motivation to commit the crime. The fact that the FBI could not find anyone local who disappeared from the area shortly after the crime opens up the tantalizing possibility that D.B. Cooper may have been a local man who simply returned home and did his normal job as usual on the Monday morning. 42 D.B. COOPER 14:50 Shortly after takeoff, Cooper orders a bourbon and soda. 14:15 D.B. Cooper boards a Boeing 727 in Portland, bound for Seattle. 15:05 Cooper orders the pilots to tell air traffic control that he wants $200,000 in $20 notes and four parachutes. 15:00 Cooper passes a note to flight attendant Florence Schaffner, which states, “I have a bomb in my briefcase.” At one point they decided to treat the case as if it were a bank robbery and appealed to the public in a bid to extract any relevant information. They released previously unknown facts about the case, including that he was wearing a clip-on tie, and the D.B. Cooper frenzy started up again. Comic theory 17:24 Cooper is informed that his demands have been met and the plane lands at Seattle-Tacoma airport. When Seattle Special Agent Larry Carr took over the FBI’s investigation in 2008, he disclosed that most of the messages he received were from people asking him not to solve the case. It seemed that D.B. Cooper had become a folk hero to some. Nevertheless, Carr went diligently about his business. He thought it was possible the hijacker took his name from a FrenchCanadian comic book. In the fictional series, never translated into English, Royal Canadian Air 19:00 Cooper is given four parachutes and a bag containing $200,000. Force test pilot Dan Cooper takes part in adventures in outer space and historical events of that era. One episode, published around the date of the hijacking, features an illustration of Dan Cooper parachuting on the cover. This led Carr to suspect that the hijacker had been a member of the Air Force, but also that he had spent time overseas where he could have read the comic book. With the development of DNA profiling, FBI agents took another look at the clip-on tie Cooper left behind on the plane. They found a partial DNA sample on the tie but it did not match up with any suspects they had looked at over the years. Promising leads One intriguing suspect was Vietnam veteran L.D. (Lynn) Cooper. His niece, Marla Cooper, contacted the FBI in 2011, claiming she had been keeping a 40-year-old family secret – that her uncle Lynn Doyle Cooper was D.B. Cooper. She said she was eight years old when her uncle came home badly injured, a day or two after Thanksgiving in 1971. He claimed that he had been hurt in a car crash. She said she heard him tell the family “our money troubles are over.” Cooper, who had died by the time his niece went to the FBI, worked as an engineering surveyor, which may have given him some of the training he needed to make the successful jump and knowledge of the safest places to land in the area. Marla Cooper loaned the FBI a guitar strap she thought would contain his DNA but no DNA was found on it. She put investigators in touch with her uncle’s daughter, but the woman’s DNA did not match the sample on the clip-on tie – which may or may not have D.B. Cooper’s DNA. Still, the FBI BANDITS, ROBBERS, AND ARSONISTS 43 22:15 The plane lands safely at Reno Airport and is searched by police and military officials. 20:00 A warning light alerts the pilots that the plane’s rear stairway has been opened. 19:40 The plane is refuelled and takes off again. Cooper explains his flight plan to the pilots and orders them to remain in the cockpit until they land. called it “a promising lead,” but investigators were never able to definitely connect L.D. Cooper to the hijacking. At the end of the investigation, the FBI was still attempting to match a fingerprint to prints the hijacker left on the Boeing 727. Lasting legacy The D.B Cooper case prompted a spate of copycat crimes, particularly in the two years immediately after the hijacking. In 1972 alone, 15 similar skyjackings were attempted, but all of the perpetrators were captured. In total, approximately 160 planes were hijacked in American airspace between 1961 and 1973, after Dan Cooper was the name that the unidentifed man gave to the airport cashier. Along with the clip-on tie and the money recovered in 1980, this ticket is the only proof of his existence. 20:13 The plane experiences a sudden upward movement; the pilots bring the plane back to level flight. which security was improved markedly and both passengers and their luggage began to be screened. Whether D.B. Cooper survived the jump or not, his legacy lives on through an aircraft component that was named after him. In 1972, the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) ordered all Boeing 727s to add what was later named a “Cooper vane”, a mechanical aerodynamic wedge that prevents the rear stairway from being lowered in flight. The sequence of events on 24 November 1971 is clear enough through the testimony of witnesses, but the fate of D.B. Cooper after he exited the plane remains a mystery. The enigmatic D.B. Cooper case is the world’s only unsolved skyjacking. After investigating thousands of leads over 45 years, the FBI announced in July 2016 that it was ending active investigation of the case, but insisted that the file remains open. Meanwhile, the legend of D.B. Cooper lives on in music, films, documentaries, scores of books, and in the lives of thousands of armchair sleuths. ■ 44 WITHOUT WEAPONS, NOR HATRED, NOR VIOLENCE THE SOCIÉTÉ GÉNÉRALE BANK HEIST, 16–20 JULY 1976 IN CONTEXT LOCATION Nice, France THEME Bank vault heist BEFORE January 1976 The British Bank of the Middle East in Beirut, Lebanon, is robbed by guerrillas, who make off with safe deposit boxes containing £22 million (about £140 million today). AFTER 19–20 December 2004 An armed gang steals £26.5 million in cash from the vaults of the Donegall Square branch of the Northern Bank in Belfast, Northern Ireland. 6 August 2005 Thieves tunnel into the vault of a branch of Brazil’s central bank in the city of Fortaleza and steal more than $65 million (£52 million) in cash. D uring the 1976 Bastille Day weekend in Nice, France, a team of 20 men, led by French photographer and former paratrooper Albert Spaggiari, broke into the Société Générale bank. They had spent two months drilling a 7.5-metre (25-ft) tunnel from the city’s sewers into the vault. Once they made it to the vault, the gang spent four days prying open over 400 safe deposit boxes, while cooking meals, drinking wine, All the pleasures that come with the life of a crook do not make up for the heavy sacrifices. “Amigo”, a member of Spaggiari’s team and using antique silver tureens as toilets. The “sewer gang” escaped with $8–10 million (about £15–18.5 million today) in gold, cash, jewellery, and gems. Before fleeing, Spaggiari scrawled on the vault’s wall in French, “sans armes, ni haine, ni violence” (“without weapons, nor hatred, nor violence”), identifying himself as a higher class of criminal. Dubbed the “heist of the century” by the press, it was then the largest bank theft in history. However, by the end of October 1976, Spaggiari had been arrested and confessed to the crime. During a trial hearing, he made a daring escape by distracting the judge, jumping through a window and onto a parked car, before driving off on a waiting motorcycle. He was later convicted in absentia and sentenced to life in prison but remained hidden until his death in 1989. Six other men were arrested; three were acquitted and the others sentenced to between five and seven years in prison. The loot from the heist has never been recovered. ■ See also: The Antwerp Diamond Heist 54–55 ■ The Hatton Garden Heist 58–59 BANDITS, ROBBERS, AND ARSONISTS 45 I STOLE FROM THE WEALTHY SO I COULD LIVE THEIR LIFESTYLE JOHN MACLEAN, 1970s IN CONTEXT LOCATION Florida, US THEME Cat burglary BEFORE 1850s–1878 English burglar Charles Peace carries out multiple burglaries in Manchester, Hull, Doncaster, and around Blackheath, southeast London. AFTER 2006–09 A gang of thieves dubbed the Hillside Burglary Gang burgle 150 houses of wealthy residents in the area overlooking Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles. 1983–2011 Accomplished Indian thief Madhukar Mohandas Prabhakar commits at least 50 burglaries in wealthy areas of Mumbai, India, amassing a fortune. D ubbed the “Superthief”, John (Jack) MacLean was estimated to have committed some 2,000 burglaries during the 1970s. He targeted wealthy victims and made off with more than $100 million (£80 million) in loot. His most renowned raid was a $1 million (£80,000) jewellery theft at the mansion of a Johnson & Johnson company heiress in 1979. Although he stole only from the rich, he was far from a Robin Hood figure. He used his millions to fund a lifestyle like that of his victims, buying a helicopter, a speed boat, a sea plane, and a summer home. MacLean was finally caught in 1979 after a crystal-studded walkietalkie linked him to the Fort Lauderdale robbery. He used the time in prison to write a memoir entitled Secrets of a Superthief, which was published in 1983. While MacLean was incarcerated, investigators noticed that a series of rapes and sexual battery cases, which detectives had attributed to a man with a talent for slipping past locks and See also: Bill Mason 36 ■ The mugshot of John MacLean in 1979 after he was arrested for the Fort Lauderdale robbery. He later boasted about this crime in his memoir. alarms, had completely stopped. In 1981, MacLean was charged with two offences, but the cases were subsequently dismissed. However, after scientific advancements in DNA testing, MacLean was arrested in October 2012 for two of hundreds of rapes he is believed to have committed decades ago. ■ Doris Payne 78–79 46 SING OF MY DEEDS, TELL OF MY COMBATS… FORGIVE MY FAILINGS PHOOLAN DEVI, 1979–FEBRUARY 1983 IN CONTEXT LOCATION Uttar Pradesh, India THEME Banditry BEFORE 1890s The Big Swords Society, a peasant self-defence group, is formed in northern China to protect against bandits. 1868 Vigilantes break into a jail in New Albany, Indiana, killing three members of the train-robbing Reno Gang. AFTER 1980s The Sombra Negra (Black Shadow) group forms in El Salvador, murdering criminals and gang members. 2013 Self-styled “Diana, Huntress of Bus Drivers” kills two in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, as vengeance for alleged murders and rapes perpetrated by the city’s bus drivers. A s the villagers of Behmai in Uttar Pradesh, India, prepared for a wedding on Valentine’s Day 1981, 18-year-old Phoolan Devi plotted her revenge. Seven months earlier, the lowcaste teenage gang member had been kidnapped by a rival, largely high-caste gang in Behmai. For three weeks, Devi was locked up and repeatedly raped. She escaped with the help of two members of her gang and a low-caste villager, before rallying the rest of her gang and returning to the village. Phoolan Devi’s weapon of choice was a rifle, which gang leader and partner Vikram Mallah taught her to use. She eventually laid down the rifle in front of cheering supporters. Her gang rounded up 22 of Behmai’s male villagers, including two of her rapists, and on Devi’s orders, shot dead each one. Known as the Behmai massacre, it was then India’s largest mass execution and prompted a huge manhunt. The legend of the “Bandit Queen” was born. BANDITS, ROBBERS, AND ARSONISTS 47 See also: The James–Younger Gang 24–25 I alone knew what I had suffered. I alone knew what it felt like to be alive but dead. Phoolan Devi Robin Hood figure Devi became a heroine to India’s lower caste, her crimes glorified as retribution for the oppression of women in rural India. Born on 10 August 1963, to a low-caste family in rural Uttar Pradesh, Devi grew up very poor. At 11, her parents forced her to marry a man three times her age in exchange for a cow. In 1979, after fleeing her abusive husband, she was shunned by her parents, who considered her a disgrace. Crime and candidacy ■ The Wild Bunch 150–51 At 16, with limited options for survival, she became the sole female dacoit (armed bandit) in a local gang. Devi soon rose to lead the gang, carrying out dozens of raids and highway robberies, attacking and looting upper-caste villages, and kidnapping rich people for ransom. In one of her most famous crimes, her gang captured and looted a town, then distributed the goods to the poor, further cementing her status as a Robin Hood figure. Catch and release Bandit Queen, a film about Devi’s life, was released in 1994. It was initially banned by the Indian censor for being subversive and for its frank depiction of the brutality of rape. Devi spent two years evading capture, concealed by the villagers she spent her life protecting. But in February 1983, she negotiated both her own surrender and the surrender of her gang members for considerably reduced sentences. Devi was arrested in front of thousands of cheering onlookers and later charged with 48 crimes, including 30 charges of robbery and kidnapping. She spent the next 11 years in prison awaiting trial, but remained a beacon of hope for the poor and downtrodden. Devi was released on parole in 1994, and all charges were dropped. She took up politics and was elected as a Member of Parliament (MP). However, on the afternoon of 25 July 2001, three masked men ambushed and fatally shot her. One of her killers claimed that Phoolan Devi’s assassination was carried out as revenge for the upper-caste men murdered during the Behmai massacre. ■ In some countries, criminals guilty of committing certain crimes are not permitted to run for public office. The rationale is that serious criminal conduct is inconsistent with the obligations of citizenship, and if someone is incapable of being a citizen, they should not be entitled to hold office. However, there is also evidence to suggest that voters perceive citizens who break the law for their own ends much less favourably than people who break the law for what they believe to be the public good. Nothing prevented Phoolan Devi, charged with multiple serious crimes including kidnapping and banditry, from running for office. A champion of the lower castes and a heroine to oppressed women, she had a sizable following. However, she was far from universally adored, particularly among higher castes, many of whom were outraged that she was allowed to stand as a candidate. She was elected as an MP in the 1996 Indian General Election, winning with a majority of 37,000 votes. Devi lost her seat the following year but regained it in 2001. THE FIRE BECOMES A MISTRESS, A LOVER JOHN LEONARD ORR, 1984–91 50 JOHN LEONARD ORR IN CONTEXT LOCATION Southern California, US THEME Serial arson BEFORE 1979–80 Bruce Lee (born Peter Dinsdale) committed 11 acts of arson in and around his hometown of Hull, Yorkshire, UK. AFTER 1985–2005 Thomas Sweatt, a prolific American arsonist, set close to 400 fires, the majority of which were in the Washington, D.C. area. 1992–93 Paul Kenneth Keller, a serial arsonist from Washington state, set 76 fires in and around Seattle during a six-month spree. Pyrophilia While the vast majority of arsonists are insurance fraudsters or attention seekers, the pyromaniac is a unique breed, fascinated by fire to the point of compulsively setting them. Even rarer than the pyromaniac is the pyrophile – Greek for “fire-lover” – a person who is sexually aroused by the flames, the smell of smoke, the intense heat, and (sometimes) the whirr of sirens racing to combat the inferno. Numerous entries in Orr’s mostly W ith its arid climate and expanses of wilderness, California is a magnet for firestarters. But none of them have come close to the level of fiery devastation wrought upon people and property by John Leonard Orr. In the early 1980s, a series of blazes began in the Los Angeles area, sometimes as many as three a day. In one incident, 65 homes were reduced to smouldering ash. But it was not until 10 October 1984, that human lives were extinguished by the flames. At 7pm, the public address system at Ole’s Home Center in South Pasadena blared an emergency warning. Noticing smoke pouring out of the hardware department, cashier Jim Obdan rushed to help customers flee the store, and was badly burned in the process. Fortunately, though, he lived to tell the tale. Co-workers Jimmy Cetina and Carolyn Kraus were not so lucky. Nor were customers Ada Deal and Matthew Troidl, a loving grandmother and her two-year-old grandson. The following morning, arson investigators searched the blackened ruins for the point of autobiographical Points of Origin indicate that the lead character, Aaron Stiles (i.e. Orr himself), possessed this dangerous paraphilic disorder. Joseph Wambaugh, who worked as a detective sergeant in the Los Angeles Police Department for 20 years before he became a bestselling author, chronicled Orr’s life in his book Fire Lover. Wambaugh reported that the linking of fire and sex in Orr’s manuscript is continuous, and a key facet of Orr’s motivation, a theory shared by investigator Marvin Casey. John Orr wanted to be a Los Angeles police officer for a long time. He applied in 1981. He passed all of the tests except one. It was the psychological test. Joseph Wambaugh origin – where a fire first begins – to determine its cause. Unable to locate it, they concluded that it was an electrical accident. But one seasoned arson investigator – Captain Marvin Casey of the Bakersfield Fire Department – was certain the fire had been intentionally set in a stack of flammable cushions. In January 1987, a number of suspicious fires broke out north of Pasadena in the city of Bakersfield. At a craft shop, Marvin Casey discovered an incendiary device in a bin of dried flowers. It was crude but effective – three matches bound to the middle of a cigarette by a rubber band and concealed within a sleeve of yellow lined paper. After lighting the cigarette, the offender would have ample time to leave the scene before the cigarette burned down far enough to ignite the matches and start the fire. Later that same day, a second conflagration erupted in a bin containing pillows and foam rubber at Hancock Fabric store in Bakersfield. The trail of arson continued in rapid succession with BANDITS, ROBBERS, AND ARSONISTS 51 one fire in Tulare followed by another two in Fresno. With the exception of the Bakersfield craft store, Casey determined that every fire had begun in a pile of pillows. An audacious theory This modus operandi (MO) did not escape Casey, who noted that the arson attacks had progressed sequentially from Los Angeles north along Highway 99 to Fresno. Nor did the troubling realization that the fires had occurred immediately before and after an annual arson investigator’s conference in Fresno. Casey began to develop a controversial theory: the fires were set by one of the 300 arson investigators who had attended the Fresno symposium. He obtained a list of the attendees, reducing the list of suspects to the 55 who had travelled alone through Bakersfield on Highway 99. Unsurprisingly, when Casey shared his suspicions with his fellow arson investigators he was either ignored or ostracized. Yet he persevered, convincing the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) to conduct scientific testing on the yellow paper recovered from the craft store. The ATF lab applied ninhydrin (a chemical used to detect ammonia) to the paper on the off chance that it would react to amino acids from fingerprint The “Pillow Pyro” started a fire that swiftly became a firestorm in Glendale, California, in June 1990. A total of 67 properties were damaged or destroyed in the blaze, including this house. residue. To the technician’s and Casey’s surprise, a partial fingerprint appeared. Using a special photographic filter to deepen the contrast and reveal the ridge detail, the technician was able to render a usable print. It was entered into the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) where it was compared to the fingerprints of criminals across the country. When the AFIS failed to produce a match, Casey asked the ATF to compare the print ❯❯ 52 JOHN LEONARD ORR After lighting the cigarette, Orr had time to flee before the device burst into flames A sleeve of lined yellow paper hid the device Orr’s incendiary device comprised three matches tied to the centre of a cigarette. In all but one of his arson attacks, Orr left the device in a pile of highly flammable pillows. to the fingerprints of the 55 conference attendees on his list. His request was denied. For two years, the case sat in limbo. Then, in March 1989, a series of fires flared up again, this time along Highway 101, the road that led directly to Pacific Grove, the venue for the annual arson investigators’ symposium. Reinvigorated, Casey compared the list of Pacific Grove conference attendees to the previous one, narrowing the number of his suspects down to 10. Certain that the arsonist was among them, he convinced Fresno ATF agents to steathily obtain the fingerprints of his 10 suspects and compare them to the partial print. To Casey’s shock and disappointment, the results came back negative. Catching a break Beginning in late 1990, a series of fires in Los Angeles prompted the development of the “Pillow Pyro A rubber band was tied around the matches and the cigarette Task Force”, deriving its name from the offender’s MO. Like the earlier blazes, the fires had been set in retail outlets during business hours. In March 1991, the head of the task force, Tom Campuzano, distributed a leaflet containing information about this MO to the Fire Investigators Reaction Strike Team (FIRST), an association of fire departments without an arson investigator as a permanent staff It’s my opinion that he set in excess of 2,000 fires over a period of about 30 years. Michael J. Cabral The matches ignited once the cigarette had burned down far enough member. After reading the pamphlet, Scott Baker of the California State Fire Marshal’s Office told Campuzano about Marvin Casey and his muchmaligned theory. At long last, Casey had found an influential arson investigator who was sympathetic to his cause. Campuzano and Casey met to discuss the case, and Casey handed over a copy of the partial fingerprint to the taskforce. They ran the print through a database of every person who had ever applied for a job with the LAPD, and this time they struck gold. The partial print matched the left ring fingerprint of John Leonard Orr: one of the 10 names on Marvin Casey’s list. Whether by sheer luck or professional incompetence, Orr had avoided being matched in 1989. Orr was a 41-year-old fire captain with many years of experience investigating arson. He was well liked, charming, and had BANDITS, ROBBERS, AND ARSONISTS 53 Orr’s day of reckoning arrived at the conclusion of his murder trial in June 1998. His defence lawyers argued that faulty wiring was to blame for the Ole fire, but the jury found Orr guilty. developed a legendary reputation for always being the first to arrive on the scene. As a result of Casey’s findings, howev