I was a young detective working for a large metropolitan police department assigned to the Repeat Offenders Unit. I was investigating a series of local gun store burglaries jointly with Detective Peters (names have been changed), who at the time was assigned to the Burglary Detail.
We had received intelligence information from a neighboring state’s youth authority that the suspect was possibly a prolific juvenile offender and burglar who escaped from a juvenile holding facility in that state. They believed he fled to our city, and was responsible for the crimes. Approximately two weeks after we received the tip, patrol officers and K‑9 responded to a burglary alarm call at which time they took the suspect into custody, hiding in the rafters of a gun store. The suspect was armed with a Glock 9mm.
The suspect was originally held in our juvenile detention facility; however he attempted an escape, so a judge gave us permission to house him at the local county detention center. After a few days, Detective Peters and myself, currently assigned to Homicide, decided to pay the suspect a visit to see if he would cooperate and take us to the dozens of firearms he had stolen during his crime spree.
After mirandizing him, he told us for a candy bar, hamburger, fries and a soda he would take us to all of the weapons. We kept our part of the deal and so did he; that’s when it not only became interesting, but a little too exciting. The suspect took us to several locations in the desert, where we unearthed plastic garbage bags full of stolen handguns. He also took us to an associate of his who was hiding $5000 dollars of stolen martial arts equipment, and just when I thought it was over he said to us “Hey! Do you want a full-auto Mack 10 that I stole?”
The suspect took us to a convalescent home in the western part of the city where he said that he hid the weapon underneath the couch of a mentally challenged man that was staying there. After contacting management, we proceeded to the room, where she had full access because it was an assisted living facility. As we approached the room, I thought I heard water running; however, after knocking several times there was no response. Using a key, we entered and looked under the couch; however, the weapon was not there. This brought great concern to the manager because she said the resident was severely mentally challenged and she feared that he might hurt himself or another resident.
That’s when it happened. I was armed with a Smith & Wesson Model 36 snub nose. I often carried this while I was working undercover, not only because of its concealability, but it was reliable and quite practical for close quarter combat, which is often a reality while working in a plainclothes capacity.
The suspect told us that he needed to use the restroom, so we had to partially remove his restraints. After doing so, we escorted him to the restroom, when all of a sudden a large man who was hiding in the shower jumped out and attempted to knock us on the floor and flee. Peters stayed focused on the primary who we both believed would escape if given the chance, and I engaged the man hand to hand. I finally was able to get in a position and draw my pistol and instructed the suspect to stop resisting or one of us, probably him, was going to get hurt. He complied.
Believing that the man (who we’ll call Mr. Brown) was a fugitive, we ran his name through The National Crime Information Center (NCIC); however, he was not wanted. We did discover he was convicted of armed robbery with firearms twice out of another state, but it did not explain why he was so desperate to avoid law enforcement contact.
In our state it is required that all convicted felons must register with the police department within 48 hours or it’s a misdemeanor punishable up to six months in jail. We decided that Mr. Brown was a candidate, so we placed him under arrest. Search incident to arrest revealed that he was in possession of some unusual items, three to be exact; a high dollar wedding ring, a set of keys and a Nevada State drivers license that belonged to an elderly woman who lived across the street from our location.
I contacted Robbery detectives to see if this woman had recently been victimized and much to my surprise, she had been robbed at knifepoint the night before by a man. After examining the crime report I discovered that a man with a large scar on his forehead had approached the victim from behind and placed what was described as a “Rambo knife” up to her throat and took her purse. At one point the suspect told the victim to remove her wedding ring or he would cut her finger off. The suspect then fled into the night.
During our investigation, I confronted Mr. Brown with the overwhelming evidence and he gave a full confession to the crime; however, he later recanted his statement. The trial lasted approximately two weeks and after the jury heard the tape-recorded voice of an unremorseful, violent predator describe in great detail his horrific crime, he was convicted and sentenced to 27 years in prison.
Not everything is always what it seems and always be ready for the unexpected.
— DF, NV