Archive for the ‘True Crime’ Category

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Jimmy Lee Smith left, and Gregory Powell

March 9 1963 LAPD officers Ian Campbell and Karl Hettinger pulled over a suspicious car containing armed robbers Greogory Ulas Powell and Jimmy Lee Smith. Following an armed stand off, officer Hettinger was forced to relinquish his weapon, which resulted in both officers being kidnapped and driven to a lonely onion field outside Bakersfield, where officer Campbell was murdered.

Crimeziners who have read Joseph Wambaugh’s classic account of this crime will remember how slowly the gears of justice ground in a case that resulted in a public realization that the Dragnet generation of omnipotent policing had ended, ushering in a bold new era of lawless brutality.

This week a new sign that reads “Ian Campbell Square” has been installed at Gower Street and Carlos Avenue, the junction where the two cops were kidnapped. At the dedication Crimezine favorite, author James Ellroy, read the Scottish Pipers Incantation quoted in Wambaugh’s book. “The wild insistent pipes and the marching feet defiantly answer that there is no more death,” Ellroy said. “Ian, rest in peace.”

The words must have echoed around the California Medical facility in Vacaville, because as soon as they had they been uttered, Gregory Powell was dead from prostate cancer. Powell 79 who escaped the death penalty after killing Campbell was denied parole 11 times, most recently in 2010. Powell associate Smith was paroled but continued to have run-ins with the law. He died in 2007 while imprisoned for a parole violation.

Officer Campbell’s daughter, Valerie Campbell-Moniz, from El Dorado County witnessed the unveiling. Only 3 years old when she lost her father, she has spent her life following the fates of the killers.

LAPD’s bagpipe ensemble, played at the dedication. Campbell, who died at 31, had played the pipes since childhood. Bagpipes were played at his funeral, a tradition the LAPD has continued for every fallen officer.

The tale of Campbell and Hettinger is taught to every LAPD recruit. New strategies and procedures were implemented, as a result of this case including how officers approach vehicles, position themselves, communicate and keep control of their guns. It’s not uncommon for a veteran officer to drive a rookie to the intersection where Campbell and Hettinger were kidnapped.

Andrés Parra as Pablo Escobar,

Pablo Escobar may have looked like flossy haired favorite uncle with bad dress sense, but he was also the world’s most notorious drug lord, a legend to some—a monster to others. It is no surprise therefore, that Colombian network Caracol TV have turned his life into a telenovela: Escobar Boss of Evil staring Andrés Parra.

Crimezine understands the ratings for Escobar Boss of Evil have reached the level of that other hit Colombian show, Betty La Fea, which was anglicized into American hit show Ugly Betty.

Is Escobar a legitimate subject for such treatment though? The drug lord himself took a topple from a bullet raked Bogota rooftop in 1993 after US triangulation technology homed in on his cell phone signal, so he is in no position to argue. But the emergence of a soap opera documenting his life might be considered to be poor taste at best in a world that still suffers the runaway effects of drug war violence.

Rising from poverty to become one of the wealthiest men in the world, in 1989 Forbes magazine estimated Pablo Escobar had a personal net worth close to US$3 billion. Escobar is considered by many—particularly the Colombian poor, as a Robin Hood figure, responsible for the construction of hospitals, schools, churches, football fields, roads  housing, and other social projects, in impoverished western Colombia.

But Colombia’s favorite uncle had a dark side. At the height of Escobar’s powers his Medellín drug cartel was smuggling 15 tons of cocaine a day, worth more than half a billion dollars, into the United States. Escobar murdered anyone who got in his way, politicians, judges, the police, competitors, and hundreds of ordinary Colombians too. There were 25,100 violent deaths in Colombia in 1991 and 27,100 in 1992, many of them attributable to Escobar, and his brakes off campaign of drug war homicide. Famously Escobar offered million peso bounties to murder police officers, resulting in hundreds of deaths.

In November 1989 Escobar ordered the destruction of a Domestic Colombian passenger flight, Avianca Flight 203, in an attempt to murder Colombian Presidential candidate César Gaviria Trujillo. The flight exploded mid-air, killing all 107 passengers. Trujillo, the target of this atrocity missed the flight.

Soon after, Escobar’s killers exploded a truck bomb close to Colombia’s DAS Building (Administrative Department of Security) killing 52 people and injuring about 1,000. The 500kg bomb, leveled several city blocks destroying more than 300 commercial properties in an attempt to assassinate DAS Director Miguel Maza Marquez. No one was safe from Escobar, including Justice Minister Rodrigo Lara, who was murdered for his work prosecuting cocaine traffickers.

The new soap is being co-produced by relatives of two of Escobar’s high profile victims: Camilo Cano, son of Guillermo

Escobar Boss of Evil staring Andrés Parra

Cano, editor of El Espectador newspaper, who Escobar murdered in 1986, and Juana Uribe, niece of politician Luis Carlos Galan who was gunned down at a campaign appearance in 1989.

The open ended series was shot at over 400 Colombian locations, including a ranch resembling Hacienda Napoles, the infamous Escobar homestead, that had much in common with Michael Jackson’s Neverland ranch, including its own private zoo.

Roberto Escobar, Pablo’s 65 year old brother is reportedly suing the producers of Escobar Boss of Evil, for allegedly lifting large tranches of his books for inclusion in the series.

Roberto, who now scrapes a living entertaining narco-tourists with tales of the bad old days, was once Pablo’s accountant, spending $2500 a month on rubber bands to wrap stacks of ill gotten cash—and since the Medellín cartel had more illegal money than they could bank—they stored the bricks of cash in warehouses, annually writing off 10% as “spoilage”. When rats crept in and feasted on the mountains of illicit  cash. How times have changed. The Escobars are no longer billionaire drug lords, that title has been passed along to shadowier figures in Peru and Bolivia, where the much vaunted US policy of Coca eradication is ineffective. As for the cocaine industry it is, according to the UN worth an astonishing $85 billion annually, bigger than Microsoft, Pfizer, Unilever and Boeing—combined.

US Spanish language channel Telemundo will be broadcasting Escobar Boss of Evil consult your TV guide for details.

Crimezine-Jack and Coke


Original Bling-ringers

Kardashian Kountry will never be the same! Oscar winner and Indie flick darling Sophia Coppola begins filming her latest offering Bling Ring in the wealthy LA suburb of Calabasas this week. The locale is a famed  refuge for all manner of celebutantes and media-mag darlings blinging it up for all they are worth.

The movie, which is written and co-produced by Coppola, tells the story of a gang of media obsessed teen-outsiders, who burglarize their way into the lives of their favorite stars. The movie is based on the true tale of a gang known as the Bling Ring or the Hollywood Hills Burglar Bunch. A group of teenage friends who used the internet to stalk celebrities like Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton,(who they robbed several times) then rob their homes when they were out, attending swish events in Hollywood. The gang allegedly stole more than four million dollars worth of Jewelry and designer clothing, much of which was never recovered.

The Movie will star Emma Watson and Leslie Mann. Coppola, daughter of famed Director and wine grower Francis Ford Coppola is co producing the movie, alongside her brother Roman Coppola and Youree Henley who also produced Coppolas cult hit Somewhere.

Crimezine- the-classic Crime-zine-Blog


Stealing your Life

Be afraid, be very afraid they are coming to steal your life, Just who they are exactly, you will probably never know. But once this plague of anonymous criminals have assimilated your identity, they will do more than just empty your bank account, they will use your details to buy, cars, boats, houses and the kind of luxury lifestyles you can only dream of—and once they  have destroyed your credit worthiness, they will move on to their next victim.

So how do these criminals steal your life? Frank Catch Me If You Can Abagnale will tell you in full technicolor detail, but fist the background:

Frank is a former con artist of world class repute. Steven Spielberg made Frank’s criminal life into the movie, Catch Me If You Can starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks.

Between the ages of 16 and 21, Frank posed as an airline pilot, an attorney, a college professor and a pediatrician. He cashed $2.5 million in fraudulent checks in every state in America and 26 foreign countries. Apprehended by the French police when he was 21 years old, Frank served time in the French, Swedish and U. S. prison systems. After five years he was released on the condition that he would help the federal government, without remuneration, by teaching and assisting federal law enforcement agencies.

Today, Frank is one of the world’s most respected authorities on forgery, embezzlement and secure documents. For over 35 years he has worked with, advised and consulted with hundreds of financial institutions, corporations and government agencies around the world, including the FBI.

So—how does the big con start? Well it may be the dental receptionist, the mail man, a neighbor, or even a work colleague, it might even be a criminal from the other side of the world, fact is the personal details thieves need to steal our identities are widely available if you know where to look, and the consequences of these crooks stealing your identity are wide ranging and frightening.

But fear not Crimeziners, Frank has a comprehensive action plan to prevent such fraud. He suggests for example you read your credit reports from such companies as Experian, Equifax and TransUnion, every three months, as they provide an early warning sign of identity fraud. He suggests you keep your Social Security number close—very close. He also suggests keeping track of bills, a favorite starting point for identity thieves. He also suggests  a number of other useful measures, some obvious, like buying a good quality shredder, others less expected, like how and when to use cheques and credit cards.

This book is an invaluable and fascinating read. Abagnale even offers strategies for reigning in the damage, if your identity has already been compromised. Crimezine is certain that many criminals will treat this book as a how to bible, on the plus side, it will alert the unwary to a burgeoning new world of criminality.

True Detective-Crimezine

Crimezine love, love, loves the awesome True Detective Magazine

Crimezine detects a wry twinkle behind those Gang Unit Shades, could it be love at first sight?

Greetings Crimeziners! Never mess with the Germans. They will burn your country to the ground Jack. Those Krauts


Dorothee Burkhart: ‘Augmented’ Tantra Godess

might make nice beer and a delicious selection of gourmet Deli meats, but when it comes to war, they know only one kind: All Out. No surprise then, that pyromanical pain in the posterior Harry Burkhart, arrested recently for the Blitz on Hollywood, turns out to be of Krautish descent. Upset that his 53yr old Mom is being deported back to the Fatherland, on a raft of fraud charges, which she and Harry the Hun fled four years ago, young Harry decided that burning  down Los Angeles might be a good way of drawing attention to the inequity of his mothers incarceration.

It has therefore been a puntastic week for the Mulholland media, with every German gag in the Third Reich big book of Krautish Komedy being employed in the battle against the Burkharts. Just one problem, The Burkharts are Chechen. According to The LA Times they are ‘thought to be of very distant German anscestry.’ Crimezine was most disappointed by this revelation. President of Chechenya, Ramzan Kadyrov, is a man as famous for his jovial good humor, as he is for sending death squads after anyone who happens to disagree with either him, or the wise and beneficent policies of his central Asian paradise. So Crimezine offers both him, and the people of Chechnya a hearty Ассаламу Iалайкум!

Fortunately, just when you thought that the Hollywood arson debacle couldn’t get any weirder, it turns out that pyromaniacal pain in the posterior Harry Burkhart’s mom is a Tantra Godess. You heard it right Crimeziners!

It would seem that the cheeky Chechen who fled Germany after charges of ‘stealing’ her own augmented breasts and swindling a succession of flop house landlords, is a fully fledged Tantra expert, who offers services that include:“full body hot oil body to body sliding massage” and “sensual tantric loving erotic touch in combination with deep tissue, incl. g-spot and hotspots massage.”  Tempted? You may have to wait until the Burkharts get out of chokey. Until then you will have to salivate over their highly professional website, which can be found at the location below.

Crimezine Practical Lockpicking

Handbook for ‘Security Experts’

Just as you thought you were safe in your own home, here comes the gloriously named Mr Deviant with an exhaustive guide for criminals who are anxious to get inside it with a minimum of difficulty. The book explains in easy-to-follow lessons straightforward lock picking and quick-entry techniques such as shimming, bumping and bypassing.

This book is a guide that allows users to pick most locks with ease, it contains rich, detailed diagrams and offers easy follow lessons. A handy DVD contains lots of juicy lock picking info and the helpful appendix gives exhaustive details of all the tools you will need to become an expert house breaker—sorry security expert.

So if you are a crime writer looking for tips, a ‘security expert’ (who will probably know most of these tricks already) or an aspiring criminal, this is definitely the book for you. Helpfully Abe books dot .com also offer a variety of speed-picking gadgets on their site when you search for this book.

Sadly Mr Deviant offers no tips on how to bypass a bad tempered Rhodesian Ridgeback, or a fully loaded 1911 both of which await any ‘Security Experts’ who may wish to visit Crimezine HQ.