My duties this month entailed locating a very dangerous car thief who had an entire community on edge. It didn’t matter the type of car, the age of the driver, or the streets driven, this fugitive was holding up innocent people at gunpoint and taking their cars. Each time we thought we had a lead on the suspect, he would show up in another part of town and rob another car. My superiors wanted us to take down this suspect yesterday, we got the point.
In all my years in law enforcement, the one thing that I know about car thieves is they are not taking the cars for their own personal use. Usually within minutes of the robbery they have someone they sell the car too and it is stripped for parts and unrecognizable the next day. Knowing he probably was using the cash to fuel a drug habit, we had one place to turn that seemed very unlikely at the time to my team.
I know that inmates love to brag about their crimes and the crimes of others, and although they would not talk to me or my team, I know they love using the phones in the jail. Securus Technologies was recently in that prison installing a new inmate call monitoring system, and this was going to be the resource we needed to connect the dots. My hopes were someone would know our suspect and help tip us off to a pattern, but we got better.
When you steal cars, you have to sell them to a fence who can move them and give the suspect cash quickly. One inmate mentioned this fence by name most likely by mistake, and we sent a team to the location to watch his activities. Two nights later our suspect pulled up in a stolen car and we took him down without incident.