In a small town, one act of arson can be devastating. Detective Chris gets the call early one morning to investigate the cause of a fire at a family-owned arcade. The case quickly evolves into a burglary investigation and then a manhunt when the men thought responsible hit another business. Their destructive path finally leads to a deadly showdown.
Guest: Detective Chris
Detective Chris has been in law enforcement for 28 years. He has been at his current department for 25 years where he’s been a detective for 12 years. He spent 15 years on his agency’s TAC team, 8 years as a K9 handler, and is a certified Control Tactics instructor at the state and federal level. Before joining law enforcement, Chris was a Military Police Officer in the Army National Guard. He’s married, with 3 kids.Read Transcript
Yeardley: [00:00:03] Hey, Small Town Fam, it’s Yeardley. How are you, guys? I’m so happy that you’re here. I want to set you up for today’s episode. So, some cases bust out of the gate like a herd of wild horses. Other cases, like this one, develop on the horizon, like a slow burn. In this episode, you’ll hear about a small-town crime that’s senseless and destructive, but relatively tame compared to the kinds of cases we usually cover on this podcast. However, the first offense that our guest, Detective Chris, tells us about turns out to be only the first in a string of crimes that grows ever more dangerous and even deadly, which proves a point our detectives have made many times, and that is every victim deserves your best work. Meaning, no matter the size of the crime, your job as an investigator is the same. Bring your A game, because justice deserves its day in court, and you never know where your investigation will take you. Please settle in for Slow Burn.
[00:01:14] Hi, there. I’m Yeardley.
Dan: [00:01:16] I’m Dan.
Dave: [00:01:17] I’m Dave.
Paul: [00:01:18] And I’m Paul.
Yeardley: [00:01:19] And this is Small Town Dicks.
Dan: [00:01:21] Dave and I are identical twins.
Dave: [00:01:23] And retired detectives from Small Town, USA.
Paul: [00:01:25] And I’m a veteran cold case investigator who helped catch the Golden State Killer using a revolutionary DNA tool.
Dan: [00:01:31] Between the three of us, we’ve investigated thousands of crimes, from petty theft to sexual assault, child abuse to murder.
Dave: [00:01:38] Each case we cover is told by the detective who investigated it, offering a rare personal account of how they solved the crime.
Paul: [00:01:45] Names, places, and certain details have been changed to protect the privacy of victims and their families.
Dan: [00:01:50] And although we’re aware that some of our listeners may be familiar with these cases, we ask you to please join us in continuing to protect the true identities of those involved-
Dave: [00:01:58] -out of respect for what they’ve been through.
[unison]: Thank you.
Yeardley: [00:02:06] Today on Small Town Dicks, we have, guess what? The usual suspects. We have Detective Dave.
Dave: [00:02:13] Hello, Yeardley.
Yeardley: [00:02:14] Hello, David. We have Detective Dan.
Dan: [00:02:17] Hello, team.
Yeardley: [00:02:18] Hello, you. And we have the one and only Paul Holes.
Paul: [00:02:22] Hello, everybody.
Yeardley: [00:02:23] [giggles] Hello. And Small Town Fam, we are so pleased to welcome a new guest to the podcast, Detective Chris.
Chris: [00:02:31] Good morning.
Yeardley: [00:02:32] Good morning, sir. Thank you so much for giving up one of your very precious days off to join us here today.
Chris: [00:02:37] It’s my pleasure.
Yeardley: [00:02:39] So, Chris, before we get into the story, we always like to know a little bit about your jurisdiction, sort of a little reader’s digest version of your career in law enforcement. Tell us who you are.
Chris: [00:02:52] So, I went to college, got my criminal justice degree, then came back. And at the time, there really wasn’t a lot of departments hiring. So, I joined the Army National Guard as a military police officer. I actually did one tour overseas, and came back, and got hired-on with the local sheriff’s department. I worked there for a few years and then I jumped ship, you could say, to the local city PD, and I’ve been there for two and a half decades now.
Yeardley: [00:03:19] Wow,-
Dave: [00:03:20] Well,-
Yeardley: [00:03:20] That’s impressive.
Dave: [00:03:21] -he’s seen a thing or two.
Yeardley: [00:03:23] I would say, this job that you all do in law enforcement, really any first responder, it’s just not normal. It’s just not normal to encounter people always on their worst day and you’re there to help put the train back on the tracks. When people say, “Oh, yeah, it’s been two and a half decades,” that’s a big deal.
Chris: [00:03:40] Yeah. No one ever calls 911 when they’re having a good day. I’ve never had anyone call in and say, “Hey, I got a promotion. Would you like to come over for coffee and cake?”[laughter]
Dave: [00:03:47] Yeah. “Everything’s going great, you guys. I’ve got a pizza party. You want to come over?”
Yeardley: [00:03:52] That’s a really good point. So, Chris, tell us how this case came to you.
Chris: [00:03:57] Well, it was early morning. I got called in. I was actually about ready to get up for work, and then they called me and asked if I could come in to work on this case. They said it was a robbery, arson. So, I didn’t think anything of it at the moment. I got ready, headed into work. Once I got there and figured out what was going on, it was something that was out of the ordinary, something that you don’t really see every day. One of our local family entertainment establishments had been broken into in the middle of the night. And the janitor that was working there, Joe was the one who took the brunt of everything. So, what happened is that Joe went in third shift janitor, lets himself in, and just works out during the night.
[00:04:42] He’s a retired gentleman. He’s been doing it for quite a few years. And about 03:15 in the morning, all the lights went off in the building as he’s cleaning up. And the next thing he knew was he saw flashlights coming from the back of the building and people were yelling, “Police, please get on the ground. Please get on the ground.” So, that shocked Joe. So, he got down on the ground, and once he got down, then they started telling him to keep his head down and don’t look up, which he did. He didn’t know what was going on. He was in shock at the moment, and then heard one of them say, “Turn the lights on.” And once the lights came on, Joe heard one of them, he called him the leader, tell him, “Hey, keep your head down. You’re doing a good job. Don’t look up.”
[00:05:27] So, as Joe was laying there, he could hear multiple people moving around. And then he could start hearing metal on metal, almost like someone’s hitting something with a hammer or crowbar or sledgehammer. It was metal getting beaten. Joe thought he even heard a grinder going, which he thought was odd. So, the leader, even at one point, took Joe’s wallet out and said, “I know who you are now. So, don’t do anything, don’t look up, don’t say anything.” Joe believed that there was three people there just because of the noise he could hear at different locations in the establishment.
[00:06:04] That went on for quite a while. I think we figured out it was maybe roughly an hour that they were in there. And then Joe said, “It just went quiet. Sound was gone. There was no more metal on metal.” The next thing he realizes is that he’s feeling intense heat coming from above him. Joe thought, what’s going on, why is it getting so hot in here? And he could start hearing the sound of fire, things crackling and burning. So, he lifted his head up and he could see the entire roof above him. Joe was out in the main entryway hallway on the floor. He could see the whole entire ceiling on fire. Everything was burning. Joe got up, went and grabbed his coat and his keys. He didn’t have his phone with him. He had left it at home.
[00:06:48] Luckily enough, there’s a fire department right across the street. So, he ran to the fire department and rang the doorbell until they woke up and came and answered the door. He told them what was going on. And then they, of course, sounded the alarm and headed over there. It was quite a fire. They actually had to call in a couple of other agencies to help, because the building was such a large building and it was so fully engulfed. So, they worked on that for probably four hours till they could eventually get it completely down. One of the firefighters said, it was so hot, the metal steel support struts in the ceiling had twisted. So, I got all that information from the interview that I did when I first got into work.
Paul: [00:07:32] Chris, is it just a single business in this building or are there multiple businesses in the same building?
Chris: [00:07:37] It’s a single business establishment, one business in this large building. It’s pretty well known in town. Like I said, it was a pretty well-established family entertainment establishment.
Yeardley: [00:07:47] So, are we talking like an arcade with video games, pinball shuffleboards, stuff like that?
Chris: [00:07:55] Correct. Yes.
Dave: [00:07:56] So, you’re interviewing Joe that morning, and what’s his affect? Is he composed? Is he freaking out? It seems like he handled things fairly poised.
Chris: [00:08:05] Yeah, Joe was laid back. Just take life as it comes, “Hey, this happened. It was terrifying, but I’m going to go home and wake up the next day.”
Yeardley: [00:08:15] [laughs]
Chris: [00:08:16] It didn’t really affect him too much. And just by doing the interview with him and a quick background check, I eliminated Joe right from the beginning. He just didn’t seem like he would be the person that would do this. He’s been there for eight years. He loved his job. He was retired. It was just something that kept him busy and he liked doing it.
Paul: [00:08:34] As Joe, in addition to the flashlights that he saw and the sounds he’s hearing of tools, did he see these individuals carrying guns? Was he threatened with a gun?
Chris: [00:08:45] No, he did not look up at all. He said, “You know what? They’re going to do what they’re doing. I don’t want to put myself in any danger or risk by trying to look up and see who they are or identify them.” We were never able to establish, if they had any weapons, but Joe did say at one time, he heard a ratcheting sound. So, he didn’t know if it was a ratchet, a tool they were using, or if it was like the cylinder of a revolver.
Dan: [00:09:11] The light bulb went on pretty quickly for Joe, realizing, “Okay, I heard, police, police. Get down. Get down on the ground.” But I imagine, it took just a few moments where he’s like, “Okay, these are not cops.”
Chris: [00:09:22] Correct. Yeah, he realized, once they started moving around and talking, Joe said, “I didn’t think they were the police.” The leader, as he called him, kicked him in the leg one time, told him to keep his head down, but that was about the extent of any physical contact. It was just more verbal threats.
[00:09:41] So, I interviewed Joe, and got him a ride back home, and then went back out to the scene. The firefighters were still working. Our lab division had been called in. So, they were out there starting to take their photographs, collect any evidence. One thing the initial officers had done once they got there is start to canvass the area to look for anything they could find, any cameras, anything to help out in the investigation.
[00:10:12] They were able to find some of the coin boxes from the video game machines and the coin dispensers that they had broke into. They actually found the coin boxes in some front yards several blocks away.
Yeardley: [00:10:28] So, the bad guys had successfully taken those coin boxes out of the establishment, took all the money, and dumped the rest.
Chris: [00:10:36] Correct. That’s what Joe had said is, was the metal that heard was them breaking into all the machines. One thing Joe did tell me during the interview was that they kept asking him, “Where are the keys to the safe? Where’s the safe? Where’s the keys?” Of course, his response every time is, “I’m just the janitor. I don’t have access to that.” So, they ended up just going into the vending machines, taking the coin box.
[00:11:02] The patrol officers were able to find the coin boxes. They found a screwdriver in the yard. At this time, there was snow on the ground, so it was on top of the snow right in the middle of someone’s yard. They also found a work glove, just a single work glove in the middle of a road several blocks away.
[00:11:21] So, our lab collected all that evidence. The video cameras that they did locate, we did get those and we were able to find a car that had entered the parking lot right before Joe had said that they had broken in. Unfortunately, the distance and the lighting of the camera, we could barely get a description of the car shape, color. We could not get license plates or anything like that. When it pulled into the parking lot, it went around the building, of course, so we couldn’t see who got out or how many people got out. But we were able to see the direction that the car left, because we could see the vehicle from the same camera leave the lot shortly before Joe ran over to the fire department.
[00:12:01] In that general direction, we were able to pick the car up on a couple of other business cameras, but again, we couldn’t see the license plate, but we did get general description of the car and color. Problem was, the security camera system inside of the business had burned completely up. So, we had no internal video of the incident, that had all been destroyed. We really didn’t have any suspects immediately to go after. So, I had to go back to square one. And of course, you start with who worked there, did you have any disgruntled employees, had there been anybody fired recently, had been any problems? So, I had to start at square one and just start down that path, tracking people down, and interviewing them.
[00:12:47] No one was really jumping out. I couldn’t really find anything that would connect it to anybody that had worked there previously. And on top of that, with interviewing them, I also had to go and collect DNA from every person that worked there and every mechanic who worked in the business or anybody that could have possibly been involved internally.
Dave: [00:13:11] Did you get any pushback from employees when you asked for DNA?
Chris: [00:13:14] No. Most all of them were really accepting– [crosstalk]
Yeardley: [00:13:18] Roughly how many employees were at this business?
Chris: [00:13:21] There was probably 18 employees that I had to go interview and take DNA samples from just to compare to anything that we could find down the road.
Yeardley: [00:13:32] So, a robust small business, but the operative word being small business.
Chris: [00:13:37] Yeah, they had quite a few employees that a lot of them had been there for a long time, like Joe.
Dave: [00:13:43] And suddenly unemployed.
Yeardley: [00:13:45] That’s what I mean. It’s just shitty. And, Chris, who are you interviewing at this business to get this information of employees, possibly disgruntled employees? Are they the owners of the business or a manager?
Chris: [00:14:00] Yes. We, of course, contacted the owner right away that morning, and they came in and talked to us for a little bit. They were able to get us a list of employees or anybody that they thought might have been involved, because they had a couple of people that had been let go. But once we interviewed them, they didn’t really have a connection at all.
Dan: [00:14:17] When Joe sees these flashlights coming toward him and the lights go out, is there any indication that the suspects in this case had prior knowledge of how to shut the lights off in this place?
Chris: [00:14:28] I don’t think so. I think when they came in, they came in right near the mechanical area, right near the control panels. We had no indication that they had been encasing it or had even worked there or knew what was going on. I think it was just, “Let’s turn the lights off,” and here they are.
Yeardley: [00:14:46] Just dumb luck.
Chris: [00:14:48] Yeah.
Dave: [00:14:48] This business is the family’s primary source of income?
Chris: [00:14:52] Correct. Yes, all burnt up.
Paul: [00:14:54] Obviously, this is financially motivated. I’m assuming that this was an arson or did the fire start because of what they were doing in terms of using the grinder and sparkling. What was the origin?
Chris: [00:15:05] Well, the origin was back in the office area. So, it wasn’t where all the machines were at because the machines, and the games, and the vending machines were spread out throughout the business. So, the fire was specifically set in the office area.
Paul: [00:15:20] Do you know, was an accelerant used?
Chris: [00:15:22] They weren’t able to determine exactly what it was because the fire was so intense, such a big fire. In this business, there were a lot of things there that could have potentially been used as an accelerant.
Paul: [00:15:35] Okay. Because I’m just trying to assess, did they come with the necessary tools and ability to start this fire, because then that would show a certain mindset? Not only is this financial, but then they were also going to either use the fire to cover their tracks or to cause more harm to the business.
Yeardley: [00:15:56] And, Chris, did you look into the possibility that the robbery might have been done on behalf of the owners, so they could collect insurance money?
Chris: [00:16:04] Yeah, it didn’t seem like it was a financially motivated issue. Sometimes, that’s the first thing you think of, when it’s just a specific arson, is there insurance policy on it, things like that. But what threw me off on this was how they started the initial robbery, coming in and claiming to be police, breaking in the back door, and then going after vending machines. Well, wanting to know where the safe is and wanting keys to the safe, which tells me, yeah, they’re looking just for money, but then going to the vending machines to try and get something out of what they’re going to do. And it seemed to be more of a covering your tracks issue with the fire being set.
Yeardley: [00:16:46] Do you know about how much money they got away with, because it’s coins and coins are heavy?
Chris: [00:16:52] They did not get a whole lot. I think it was only several hundred dollars.
Dave: [00:16:56] Is it hard to move stacks of quarters in your state?
Yeardley: [00:16:59] [laughs]
Chris: [00:17:00] Yes.[laughter]
Chris: [00:17:15] So, I worked on this case for about a month, you know, just tracking people down, interviewing people, looking at all kinds of records, and anybody that was involved worked there. In our department, we are not specialized in one crime. All of our detectives are general, I guess, you could say detectives. We handle everything from homicides to thefts to identity theft, credit card fraud, sexual assault, major assaults. We cover it all.
[00:17:46] So, along with this, and you guys know where I’m coming from, that’s not the only case you’re working. So, you have a stack of them on your desk that you still have to keep trudging away on and working bit by bit while you’re working this one.
Dave: [00:17:59] I was thinking about that right when you brought it up. I was like, “I wonder how many cases Chris has on his caseload.”[chuckles]
Chris: [00:18:06] When I went back into the detective bureau, I was told that you’re never going to get caught up. [Yeardley laughs] So, unfortunately, the cases keep coming and I always tell people, “I wish I could work myself out of a job.’
Dave: [00:18:18] There is job security.
Chris: [00:18:20] Yes, there is.
Paul: [00:18:21] It takes minutes for the criminals to commit the crime, and investigations can take years.
Chris: [00:18:26] Yeah, exactly. So, I worked on that, like I said, for a month. And almost to the day, a month later, one of our patrol sergeants is driving around early in the morning and drives by one of our local eating establishments, sees smoke coming up through the roof. So, called 911, fire department gets there, buildings on fire, that place also went up and completely destroyed.
[00:18:54] Once they were able to get into that building, right away, they could see that some of the other machines had been tampered with and the safe had been moved. So, detective came in and started talking to the owners of that business. One of the things that we got lucky on this one, the second one, was that the fire was started again in the office area, but the DVR system, video recording system did not get destroyed. So, one of our detectives is a video specialist. He was able to pull the video out of the DVR, recover it, and we had the security camera. So, now we had some suspects clothing, how many people were in there, and you can see them setting the fire. Just, “Hey, there’s a pile of paper in the office. Let’s just light it on fire.” That’s when we realize that they’re doing this to cover their tracks.
Yeardley: [00:19:53] So, you’ve concluded that this is the same group that broke into and burned the arcade?
Chris: [00:19:59] Yes.
Yeardley: [00:19:59] Chris, can I ask you a question? I always think of arsonists working alone. It seems unusual that there’s more than one person setting these fires, no?
Chris: [00:20:08] Yes and no. Usually, like you said, a lot of times, arsonists will be by themselves. But in this case, this group of suspects, they were going for safes and money and a quick hit, quick fix, get some quick cash. The arson was secondary to cover their tracks, burn all the evidence. Unfortunately, they took down a couple of well-known establishments in town and destroyed a couple of people’s income, their lives. So, it’s more of a cover up.
Dave: [00:20:40] Chris, when you reviewed the video of the second business that was recovered, what do you guys see? Do they seem organized? Are they well planned?
Chris: [00:20:49] I would say that they’re not professionals.
Yeardley: [00:20:52] [laughs]
Chris: [00:20:53] So, there was a lot of running around kind of, “Well, this isn’t working. What are we going to do now? Let’s try this tool. Where’s this at? Hey, I forgot something in the vehicle. I got to run out and grab another tool, kind of thing.” So, no, it wasn’t a well-planned out, well-rehearsed Ocean’s Eleven type of heist.
Dan: [00:21:09] Right. [Yeardley laughs] How many suspects are inside the restaurant?
Chris: [00:21:12] Two.
Paul: [00:21:13] Was there a common way that they got into both businesses, in terms of how they broke in, through a door, through window?
Chris: [00:21:19] Through a door. One, they pried open, and the other one, they just broke. So, in the second one, they went around, try and worked on the ATM, try to work on the video machines, found the safe. And then again, on the video, we could see him starting the fires. So, it didn’t get really very good facial recognition, but we did have clothing that we could definitely identify.
Yeardley: [00:21:41] Could you see well enough, if it was two males, a male and a female?
Chris: [00:21:46] Yes, we were able to see there was two males. So, we had pretty good video and we’ve got two crimes with the exact same pattern facts. And so, now we’re looking at possibly two people at least. Unfortunately, still didn’t really have any suspects until we got anonymous call and they said, “Hey, you might want to look at Carl and Bill.” That was it. We’re like, “Okay, and now we have a name.” One of the detectives in our unit went to talk to an inmate at the local jail in regards to some separate burglaries. When they were talking to them, they mentioned Bill. You might want to look at Bill for these incidents.
[00:22:28] So, now we had a couple of names that we could start doing a little background check, finding out who they are, who’s their associates, what do they do, where have they been, and that gave us a direction to start looking. We did find out that Bill and Carl had been named in some county burglaries, so county had them on their radar also.
Dave: [00:22:52] Had you ever had any contact with Carl or Bill?
Chris: [00:22:55] I had not personally, but I was familiar with their names.
Dave: [00:22:58] Right. That’s how it goes where you’re like, “I’ve never met him, but I know who he hangs out with.”
Chris: [00:23:04] Yes, it’s six degrees of separation. So, that second arson robbery was a month after the first one, the one I had gotten. And then about six days after the second robbery/arson, we’re sitting around in the office, early morning, sun shining, and over the radio, dispatch puts out a call that there had been a shooting at a bank and someone was dead. And so, we just all looked around at each other and like, “Did we hear what we just heard?” Sure enough, dispatch came back over and say, “Yep, there was a bank, there had been a shooting, and someone was dead.” It was all hands on deck, and everyone grabbed their gear, and just headed out towards the bank.
[00:23:54] A couple of detectives were able to get there first, and they did establish that someone had died, that was in the parking lot. What they had found out is that a car had pulled up to an armored car at the bank. As the armored car was doing its deposits and dropping off money, one of the subjects jumped out of the car with a couple of handguns, and second subject jumped out, he was running behind him, and then there was a getaway driver. As they approached the two armored guards, telling them, “Give your money,” the armored guards were a little bit quicker on the draw, and they started firing. The armored guards shot one of the suspects. There’s the one who died there in the parking lot, and hit the other one and ended up hitting the car as they were shooting at him. And lo and behold, the one that had died in the parking lot, who had the guns, was Bill.
Dave: [00:24:49] Hmm.
Chris: [00:24:50] So, that gave us an idea of, we know who we’re dealing with. So, those detectives were able to get vehicle description of the getaway car, and they pulled the security video from the bank, and we got a description of the car really quick and that there would have been two subjects in the car. That’s happening within minutes. They’re pulling up the video, getting the vehicle description out. Myself and another detective are driving the area and dispatch says, “Hey, there’s a suspicious vehicle about five or six blocks away that matches the description of the getaway car.” So, we drive to the area right away. Patrol had got there. At this time, county is there. Everyone’s coming in to help. I believe even state patrol started rolling that way.
[00:25:38] So, we get up there to the car and sure enough, it’s the getaway car. It’s got a few bullet holes in it. Looking in the car real quick, we could see that there were pieces of scalp and blood on the headliner of the car. So, we’re like, “Well, somebody got hit, so we know someone’s injured.”
Dan: [00:25:56] So, you’ve already seen Bill and you know what his wounds are. When you find the getaway car and you find scalp on the headliner, you know that there’s someone else injured, because Bill doesn’t have injuries to his scalp.
Chris: [00:26:09] Yes. At that time, everything’s coming in really quick. Dispatch got another call from one of the neighbors in that neighborhood who said that they had been watching this dark colored, strange car just parked out in the street, and they’d never seen this car before. Well, luckily, this caller was diligent enough. They actually got the county of the plate. Didn’t get the car, but they said the county on the plate stuck out, so they remembered which county the car was from.
Yeardley: [00:26:38] So, Chris, in your state, they actually have the county on the car license plate, because that’s not true in every state. Like, we don’t have that in California. But in this case, as you investigate, I should think that could make your job a little easier.
Chris: [00:26:56] Yeah. And they also said, “Hey, my neighbor has video.” So, we went in, and talked to that owner of that house, and they pulled up their video surveillance, and we were able to watch the dark colored, strange car that had been sitting there pull up and park. A little bit while here comes the getaway car, pulls in front of the dark car, two people get out. One of them was limping really bad and we found out later why. They both run to the dark colored car and the dark colored car takes off.
Yeardley: [00:27:27] Do they just leave the getaway car there?
Chris: [00:27:30] Yep.
Dan: [00:27:30] Is the abandoned car or is that a stolen car?
Chris: [00:27:33] Well, yes and no. [Yeardley laughs] So, as you may know and have probably dealt with this many times before, when a major crime or something happens and you have a vehicle description, within minutes, the owner is like, “Oh, my car was stolen and this happened.” Also, was the owner of the getaway car called in as this is going on and, “Oh, I just want to say my car got stolen.” “Okay.”
Dave: [00:27:59] I got a bridge to sell you as well. I love that. It’s always like, “Hey, how long before we get a stolen car? Call into dispatch.” “Oh, here it’s coming.”[laughter]
Chris: [00:28:08] Yeah, and it happens so many times. It’s almost like clockwork. You’re just waiting for it, like you said, when’s it going to happen. So, we got the video and we’re able to get a much clearer description of what type of vehicle the second getaway car was. We’re able to get a model and a year of what we thought it was, and then we also had the county. So, we had the dispatch center run all types of that vehicle from that county, which they did it. Again, at this time, since a bank armored car had been attempted to be robbed, now the FBI is there, and everyone’s coming in to give us resources and help that we need to investigate this. So, we had run the search through dispatch, retrieved the video surveillance of the two getaway cars and the two suspects running to the second getaway car.
Yeardley: [00:28:59] This is the video surveillance footage you got from the neighbor’s camera?
Chris: [00:29:03] Correct. So, we downloaded that, had the first getaway car towed to our lab, processing for search warrant, so we could then process it at a later time. At that time, we went back to the station real quick to regroup. As we got there, things just were continuing to come in and move at a pretty fast pace. We’ve got information that a subject was at a house, and he had been shot, and he was looking for medical attention.
Dave: [00:29:33] More clues are rolling in. [chuckles]
Chris: [00:29:35] Yes.
Dave: [00:29:35] It could be a coincidence.
Chris: [00:29:37] Yeah.
Paul: [00:29:37] [laughs]
Chris: [00:29:39] So, myself and another detective went out to this house to put up surveillance. We sat on the house and watched it for not very long until we saw two cars leaving that residence, and one of them looked like possible suspect that had been involved in the attempted armored car robbery. So, we followed them down the road, so we can get enough patrol officers there and we pulled the car over and went to the first car. As I got there, you could see the subject in the one car sitting there, telling him, “Get out. Keep your hands up. Get out of the car.” We opened the door for him and he says, “I can’t move very well. I’ve been shot.” So, again, a clue.
Yeardley: [00:30:21] Another clue.[laughter]
Chris: [00:30:22] Yes. I think we were on the right track. So, we got him out of the car, got him medical attention. As one of the detectives was talking to him, of course, he right away said, “I’m not going to talk to you.”
Yeardley: [00:30:35] Chris, is this guy, who, when you get him out of the car, he goes, “I can’t move very well because I’ve been shot,” is he the person that calls in and says, “I need medical attention,” or is that a different person at this house?
Chris: [00:30:46] No. So, this is Rob. He had called someone and told them that, “Hey, I’ve been shot. I need someone to help get medical attention.” And then– [crosstalk]
Yeardley: [00:30:55] That person called 911?
Chris: [00:30:57] Yes.
Yeardley: [00:30:58] But Rob wouldn’t call 911 and say, “I need medical attention,” because why would you do that.
Dan: [00:31:02] Sometimes, they show up at the hospital. They’ll just roll in and say, “I was cleaning my gun and I shot myself,” or whatever. So, that happens. Typically, what we will do is, if we’ve got somebody who’s outstanding from a crime scene that we know probably got hit or injured seriously, we just start calling the hospitals and say, “Hey, just keep your eyes open. If somebody comes in with this type of wound, make sure you call us.’
Chris: [00:31:26] Yeah. And that’s happened before, but we have had times where someone will get shot and they think that they can self-medicate. It gets to a point a few days later where the gangrene sets in and things are going downhill pretty quickly, they end up showing at the hospital.
Dave: [00:31:42] Right. Rob’s trying to gut it out, but, “Ooh, that’s a big ask.”
Yeardley: [00:31:46] [laughs]
Chris: [00:31:47] Yeah, it doesn’t usually go very well. I think in this case, he probably wouldn’t have seek the medical attention voluntarily. I think he was looking for someone, maybe who could help him, and it didn’t work out.
Dave: [00:31:59] Yeah, he headed to the local veterinarian’s office-[laughter]
Dave: [00:32:03] -for some offline medical care.
Chris: [00:32:05] Yeah. Can I google that?[laughter]
Chris: [00:32:08] So, there was another car that had been with him when he left, and there’s two gentlemen in there. We talked to them real quick.
Yeardley: [00:32:14] That had been with Rob when he left?
Chris: [00:32:16] With Rob, when he left the house. Yeah, we followed both vehicles. When we stopped both vehicles, when we got them all out. Rob was in the vehicle by himself, and then the other two gentlemen were in a separate vehicle. So, we talked to them real quick. They didn’t have anything to do with the attempted armored robbery. They had no connection with it whatsoever. Rob just showed up at their place.
Paul: [00:32:40] Chris, at this point in time with Rob, he’s been shot, do you know, is he shot as being one of the perpetrators who had gotten out of the car, or was he shot as the getaway driver, and when that car is receiving bullets, one of those bullets over penetrated and caught him?
Chris: [00:32:58] We were able to figure out that Rob was one that had gotten out of the car and got hit, because when we watched the video of the two people getting out of the first getaway car, getting into the second getaway car, one was limping. Well, where Rob had been hit would have been perfect for someone that would probably end up limping afterwards.
Paul: [00:33:18] Yeah.
Dave: [00:33:18] [laughs] I have to point out. You have these armored car employees that are ambushed, caught by surprise, but they win the gunfight decidedly.
Paul: [00:33:28] Yes.
Dave: [00:33:28] I love that.
Paul: [00:33:29] Mm-hmm.
Chris: [00:33:30] Yeah, they did a really good job.
Dan: [00:33:32] Armored cars. So, I was on patrol earlier in my career, and I come off this freeway off ramp, and there’s an armored car parked on the shoulder of the road.
Yeardley: [00:33:40] Like, broken down?
Dan: [00:33:41] I’m thinking broken down or you just don’t see that. It was an odd place for this armored car to be. So, I stop behind it, activate my lights, and get out. I am promptly greeted by one of the guards who says, “Don’t take another step closer.”
Yeardley: [00:33:58] Oh, by one of the armored car guards?
Dan: [00:34:00] Yeah. They don’t mess around. Those guys, they are alert and they do not like to be walked up on. So, I’m having this dialogue with this armored car guard from 15ft, 20ft away and I said, “Hey, look, man, I’m a real police officer. You can call my dispatch right now. I’m just checking on you.” They’re just basically wired that everybody is a threat. So, maybe, but I was going to knock off the armored car and I’m not a real cop. I’ve got a cop car and I’ve got the monkey suit on that we call it, but, yeah, they do not mess around. It sounds like these armored car guards were– [crosstalk]
Yeardley: [00:34:37] No different.
Dan: [00:34:38] They were prepared.
Chris: [00:34:52] So, while we were talking to the two gentlemen that had been with Rob, one of these gentlemen said, “Rob told him that Tammy had dropped him off,” which goes back to the vehicle that we had run the search on, the second getaway car that picks the two up and drives away.
Yeardley: [00:35:10] This is, again, the car swap that happens on that residential street after the armored car robbery?
Chris: [00:35:17] Correct. Well, after we had dealt with Rob, dispatch came back with the registered owners of that vehicle and it came back to Tammy.
Yeardley: [00:35:26] So, the dark car is registered to Tammy.
Chris: [00:35:28] Yes, with the other county license plate. So, we contact a relative of Tammy who’s also on the registration and they say, “Well, Tammy should be at home, which is down, actually, in our state capitol. I hadn’t seen her in a while, but it’s her car, she drives it, so she should be home.” So, we reach out to Tammy, and I talked to her on the phone, and she said, “I wasn’t truthful with my mom. I actually did come up there yesterday to visit a friend.” I’m like, “Interesting. Who are you up here visiting?” She says, “Well, my friend, Carl.” I’m like, “Oh, okay, great.” Well, now we have a connection.
[00:36:10] So, we reached out to the law enforcement down there, and actually, some of the FBI agents were nice enough to go over to Tammy’s house. She said, she was at home. So, they went over and made contact with Tammy and sat with her while myself and other detective hopped in the car. It was several hours away to get there. So, we just hauled down there at the speed limit.[laughter]
Dave: [00:36:33] That’s very responsible.
Chris: [00:36:35] Yes. So, we got to Tammy’s house. This is late at night. We got down there to Tammy’s house and interviewed Tammy. We told her, “She’s not under arrest, but we need to find out what’s going on. Can we just sit down and talk with you for a while?” And she did and proceeded to lie. The more we talked to her, told her how important this was, what had happened, someone had died, she started to come forward with a little bit more facts. She admitted, “Yes, I had gone up there the day before to visit Carl. He’s a family friend.” But she didn’t know anything about the tempted armored car robbery. Once we told her we had video, “Would your car be on the video?” “Well, maybe it could be.” I’m like, “Okay.”
[00:37:26] We asked about Carl, “Did something happened to Carl?” And she said, “Well, yeah, he did bleed in my car. He had a bloody nose.” And we’re like, “Oh, okay. Well, now you’re establishing that he did bleed in her car,” which was great, and then she decided she didn’t want to talk anymore. Okay. So, we ended up seizing Tammy’s cell phone and seized Tammy’s car, which matched perfect description of the video we’d seen earlier.
Dave: [00:37:51] That’s tough to refute in a courtroom. You telling me, “Tammy, that’s not your car?”
Chris: [00:37:56] Right. And she admitted it was. When we were leaving Tammy’s house, I said, “Listen, Tammy, I know you said you didn’t want to talk anymore, but this is more out of a lifesaving humanity question. We know Carl could be injured. I just want to make sure he’s not dead and lying somewhere.” And she said, “Well, yeah, he’s got an injury.” And I said, “Well, is he alive?” And she said, “Yeah, he’s alive.”
Dave: [00:38:20] Are you surmising that the blood on the headboard of the car interior is likely from Carl?
Chris: [00:38:26] Yes.
Yeardley: [00:38:27] And it’s also Carl’s brain matter that’s on the headliner of the car.
Chris: [00:38:31] Scalp and some hair. Yeah, we’re putting that picture together now. So, we went back late that night, the detective and I, and got a few hours of sleep, and then we got back to the office. The next morning, when we got in the office, the other detective, who I’d gone down to interview Tammy with, reached out to Carl on social media, and he responded. So, the detective and Carl are having a conversation over social media, saying, “Hey, we need to talk to you. It’s important.” Carl was saying, “Yeah, I’ll come in a day or two. I’m out of state doing something else.”
Dan: [00:39:08] Trying to get his nose to stop bleeding.
Chris: [00:39:11] Yeah. [Yeardley laughs] So, at the same time, we’re using some technology that we have available to us to find out exactly where Carl is.
Dave: [00:39:20] Did a joint investigation with the FBI, did that give you guys some more resources as far as technology?
Chris: [00:39:26] It did. Later on, it helped out a lot. We were running with what we had now, but they were definitely there helping us and giving us anything we needed or any help that we needed. So, we were able to figure out where Carl is. Again, we headed back down to where we believed Carl was at, met up with the local police department, and went out and set up surveillance. I stayed back at the local police department just in case we needed to write search warrants in case we had to get into a house or a car or anything.
[00:40:02] So, local and our detectives set up surveillance. While they’re in the area, they notice a car that had the name of the county we’re from. So, we’re like, “Well, again, that’s a clue.” So, we had dispatch run the license plate and it came back to the father of Carl. So, we knew were in the right area. Luckily enough, shortly after that, Carl and a couple of family members actually came out of the house, got in the car, and we’re trying to leave, so then the local PD did a traffic stop on them, and we were able to find Carl in the car. So, Carl was read his Miranda rights right there on the scene. The detective who was out there said, he noticed that he had a large wound on his head that looks like they had tried to self-medicate.
Yeardley: [00:40:52] Carl had this large wound?
Chris: [00:40:54] Yes. So, he didn’t mention anything at the time, just made note of that. Carl was brought back to the police department where I was at, and they talked to his parents at the scene. They were cooperative, so they got all the information they need. So, we did not need to write any search warrants to get in at any houses or anything. The other investigator who had originally been the first on the scene at the armored car robbery went in to interview Carl and clarified, “Yes, you’ve read Miranda. Do you understand that?” “Yes.” He said, “I’d like to talk to you about the armored car robbery. What happened the other morning back in town.” Carl’s like, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
[00:41:35] Now, this was a great interrogation technique. He looked at him and said, “We have bits of your scalp and hair in the ceiling liner of the car, Carl.” That was what broke the dam. He’s like, “Okay, all right.” And Carl proceeded to tell all his involvement in the armored car robbery.
Dave: [00:41:54] I love that the detective is like, “So, the part of your body that’s missing right now, we actually have back at our police department.” [chuckles]
Chris: [00:42:03] Yes. And that was basically– and I had to chuckle when I was watching in on the interview from the other room. Sometimes, you just have to hit him with the facts to get him to talk. So, Carl talked about that, gave a general overview of what had happened that morning. And then the detective asked him about the first arson, the one that I had originally been called in on. So, I came in and interviewed Carl in regards to the first arson. And lo and behold, who does he blame? Bill. And Bill’s dead. Blame the dead guy for what happened.
[00:42:38] So, Carl didn’t really give anything up in regards to the first arson robbery. He kept blaming it on Bill and a third person, and I’m like, “Well, I know that’s probably not true.” Carl was transported back to our city a few days later. So, I went over to interview him about the first arson robbery. Finally, he did say, “Okay, yes, I just drove the car. I didn’t actually have anything to do with it. Bill and another guy went in, and they did it. I fell asleep in the car, but I drove it.” And I’m like, “Okay, Carl, that’s fine.” So, I went back. At that time, we now had Carl’s phone. We had some information regarding the second arson robbery, and we were able to pinpoint them at a gas station right before the second arson robbery. So, now we had the clothing description, what they were wearing inside the second arson, and we knew who they were.
[00:43:41] So, search warrants were done. We’re able to recover the clothing they were actually wearing in the second arson robbery. So, then we went back again to talk to Carl, laid this information out to him, and he ended up, “Yes, okay, I was involved. That was me inside the second arson, described what happened.” Kept saying that there was this third person involved. And again, I interviewed Carl about my arson robbery, the first one that kicked this all off. And he again said, “I’ve only drove the car. They went inside, they did it all.” “So, you knew what they were going to do when you went there?” And he said, “Yes, I did.” So, that makes Carl accountable for the full crime. Also, knowing that he’s over there, knowing what they’re going to do and driving them there.
Dave: [00:44:34] It’s just not believable that you would be the lookout for a robbery-
Yeardley: [00:44:38] And fall asleep in the car?
Dave: [00:44:39] -and fall asleep.
Yeardley: [00:44:40] That’s just absurd.
Dave: [00:44:43] Yeah.
Chris: [00:44:43] Yeah, and that’s one of the things when you interview people and you hear stories like this, you just lock it away in the back of your head and you’re like, “My BS meter is pegging out right now, but I’m going to go with it and I’ll let you keep talking.”
Dave: [00:44:56] Yeah. In jury’s track, they’re like, “Really?”
Chris: [00:44:59] Exactly. So, Carl put himself there, involved in the first arson robbery, admitted that he was involved in the second arson robbery, and we had his DNA proving that he was involved in the armored car attempted robbery. One of the interesting things to note, DNA does not come back like people think. You send it off and a week later, you get results. [Yeardley laughs] Sometimes, it takes quite a while. When I mentioned that work glove that was found in the middle of a road from the first arson robbery, guess whose DNA came back in that work glove?
Yeardley: [00:45:34] Could it be Carl?
Chris: [00:45:35] It was Carl’s. Yes. It’s Carl’s DNA in the glove from the first arson robbery.
Dave: [00:45:41] Carl’s a sloppy criminal.
Chris: [00:45:43] Yeah. Usually, narcotics are involved. So, sometimes the clearest decisions aren’t made, and I think in this case that happened.
Yeardley: [00:45:51] How old is this crew, Carl, Rob, Bill, Tammy? Like, roughly, what age group are we talking about?
Chris: [00:45:58] Mid to upper 20s.
Yeardley: [00:46:00] Okay. So young.
Chris: [00:46:02] Yeah. And again, I think it was a lot of things, quick money, quick cash.
Yeardley: [00:46:08] Are they drug addicted?
Chris: [00:46:10] I think there was narcotics involved.
Dave: [00:46:12] It sounds like all three of the main players have some familiarity with the criminal justice system?
Chris: [00:46:18] Yes, they do, especially Carl and Bill, mentioned earlier that county had several burglaries that they had been working. They were able to go back and clear up multiple burglaries that were involved with these guys also. So, it helped wrap a lot of stuff up.
Paul: [00:46:36] Here on the attempted robbery of the armored car, you have a dead guy, Bill. Was any murder charges brought or manslaughter charges brought against Carl and Rob, or was that just dismissed?
Yeardley: [00:46:50] Hang on, I have a question. Bill was killed by one of the armed guards. So, why would Rob or Carl be on the hook for Bill’s murder or manslaughter?
Dan: [00:47:03] This is kind of a textbook felony murder rule case. The felony murder rule is basically, you’ve got multiple people who are in commission of a violent felony. Right here, we’re talking armed robbery. Somebody dies during that crime, then the co-conspirators are on the hook for murder charges. Now, there are some states that are doing away with this or they’re tweaking this felony murder rule, because if you’ve got one guy who commits the crime, but you’ve got two other people who don’t have the culpable mind state– [crosstalk]
Yeardley: [00:47:38] What is that?
Dan: [00:47:39] Think about it. They didn’t have any intent to kill anybody, but one guy did. So, how do you hold those people to the same standard? So, I think it’s complicated and nuanced. I think the overarching goal of the felony murder rule is to deter people from committing crimes in concert with other people, because there’s a risk there. Somebody’s got bad trigger discipline, something goes haywire. I always say, robbery is like a sneeze away from a murder.
Chris: [00:48:06] Yeah. So, yeah, they were brought up and they were compiled. There was such a list of charges and so much evidence that Carl ended up pleading. I think he got 50 years. And Rob ended up, I think, with 15 years.
Yeardley: [00:48:23] And what about Tammy?
Chris: [00:48:25] Tammy ended up with five years. She ended up working out, “Hey, you’re caught in the middle of this. You knew what was going on. You’re going to be a getaway driver for an attempted armed car robbery. It’s probably best to cooperate.”
Yeardley: [00:48:39] So, even though Tammy didn’t brandish a weapon during the commission of these crimes, she was there because she picked up the crew in the second getaway car, the one they drove to after the armored truck robbery.
Chris: [00:48:54] Correct.
Dave: [00:48:55] You put it in terms of Carl getting decades versus Tammy, who gets five years. That five-year is a long time, regardless.
Chris: [00:49:04] It is. Tammy really didn’t have much of a criminal history at all. So, it was jumping in with both feet.
Dave: [00:49:12] Yeah, that’s a pretty significant hit on your first conviction.
Chris: [00:49:15] Yeah.
Dave: [00:49:29] How many detectives do you guys have in your unit?
Chris: [00:49:33] We have eight full time detectives.
Dave: [00:49:36] So, when you say everyone grabs their gear and it’s game on, it’s truly all hands on deck?
Chris: [00:49:42] Yes, it is. You’re going to take into account, if there’s someone on vacation or not there, you’re down one or two people. But everyone pitches in. Even our sergeants and the investigation lieutenant will help, if it’s something big, if we have a homicide.
Yeardley: [00:49:59] Chris, I want to ask you– Actually, I could ask the whole table, all you detectives. So, in the course of telling this story, you say you talk to Tammy, she lies to you. You talk to Carl, he lies to you. What is it like to be in a job where the expectation that every time pretty much, you sit down with somebody, they’re going to lie to you? First of all, how does that change your worldview? But also, what are you thinking as this is going on? Chris, you answer first because this is your episode.
Chris: [00:50:28] It’s disheartening sometimes, because even when you’re speaking with someone that just doesn’t even have a horse in the race or not even seriously involved, they omit. They don’t tell you the whole truth. They fabricate a little bit. Unfortunately, it does kind of jade you a little bit, because you just assume everyone you’re talking to, whether it’s the 90-year-old lady in a traffic accident or down to kids, they’re going to tell you half-truths and fabrications and lies. That’s just why it’s good to be able to talk to people, especially in investigations when you do interviews and interrogations, you just have the patience just to sit down and talk with people and build that rapport and get that baseline, because then when you get into the meat and potatoes of it, you know when the BS meter is going off.
Yeardley: [00:51:23] So, you have to establish in the face of this first pretty significant roadblock, them lying to you, you still have to find a way to establish enough trust where they’re going to take the wall down. That’s the goal?
Chris: [00:51:36] Yes, that is the goal. And that comes with, like I said, rapport building from the beginning. Most of the time, if you just sit down and talk to someone, not like investigator or suspect, you just talk to them as a person and find out what their interests are and maybe connect on those interests and start a conversation, they become more comfortable talking to you. And then when the hard things come around, they’re a little bit more receptive to the questions and they’re a little bit more willing to give you the answers.
Yeardley: [00:52:07] It’s such a strange occupational hazard of all y’all’s. What about you, Dan?
Dan: [00:52:13] I would echo what Chris said. I think you also have to build enough trust with the person you’re talking to that they actually start to believe that it’s in their best interest to be honest and truthful and forthcoming with facts. So, pretty much every interview that I would sit down in, I was prepared for the lies, because it typically starts with the lies. As you go and you confront people with facts, the story begins to change and they start getting on board and they realize, “I’m painted into a corner. Really my only option now is to be honest.”
Yeardley: [00:52:49] Meaning, the suspect just feel like, “I’m painted into a corner”?
Dan: [00:52:53] Exactly.
Yeardley: [00:52:53] Dav?
Dave: [00:52:54] I always go back to prosecutors love provable lies.
Yeardley: [00:52:59] And just explain one more time what those are.
Dave: [00:53:01] Approvable lie is, if somebody asked me today, “Were you in Los Angeles over the weekend?” And I said, “No, I was home.” That’s an easily provable lie. I always say, I’m like, “If you will lie about the little things, like, what’s your address?” “I don’t really have one.” “Dude, I just arrested you at your house. What’s your address?” [Yeardley laughs] If you’re going to lie about real tiny inconsequential stuff, why would I ever believe that you’re going to give me the goods on a crime that could deprive you of your freedom for a decade? There’s a lot on the line. When a suspect sits down across from a detective, and suspects do a lot of, “I wonder what he knows.” They’re probing. They want to know, how can I make it appear like I’m cooperative, how can I make myself appear credible and honest? It’s just a game. I never took that game personally, because I realize, “That person’s got a lot at stake.”
Yeardley: [00:53:58] That’s probably keen for you, the detective, not to take it personally.
Dave: [00:54:02] It really is. When I see videos of detectives who are crawling into people’s faces within minutes of entering the interview room, I’m like, “Let me guess. Your confession rate is about 1%.” You have to be able to relate to people. So when Chris says, “You have to talk to people.” The minute I give off any err of I’m judging you or I think you’re a horrible person, that person feels that energy in the room. It’s poker face time. I shouldn’t be able to tell what I’m feeling, if I look in the mirror based on what I’m hearing from the suspect. You really have to be measured. It’s not about you. This person didn’t hurt you. Don’t take it personally. You are there to gather facts and get to the truth. That’s your responsibility. There’s no personal stake involved unless you try to hurt me.
Yeardley: [00:54:51] Sure.
Dan: [00:54:53] What I see with inexperienced officers is they’re not patient enough. You have to be patient in the room or out on the street. When you’re on patrol and you’re doing an interview out on the street, you have to be patient. I think a lot of people, they want to rush through the process. It’s different for everyone. The barrier to the truth is different for every suspect.
Dave: [00:55:14] That’s a great point. Is it my freedom? Is it my family? Is it my health? Is it financially? If I’m gone, does my family survive? There’s so many barriers that suspects have to jump over before they become truthful that you just have to identify that. You can’t do it in two minutes. It’s a dance. We’ve talked about it many times.
Yeardley: [00:55:37] Yeah.
Dave: [00:55:37] It’s a dance.
Paul: [00:55:37] Yeah.
Yeardley: [00:55:38] How about you, Paul?
Paul: [00:55:39] I come from this from a very different set of experiences than Chris, Dan, or Dave, because in the cold case world, I’m not sitting down frequently and interviewing suspects. Most of my interviews, I’m dealing with victims, victim’s families, witnesses. The interview, that’s a very different skill set, but I’m constantly evaluating suspect statements. That’s where it’s really understanding what their motive is, the jeopardy they are in to see, are they being honest when they are being interviewed by, let’s say, an original investigator? Is there statements that they’re making that are factually correct with how I know the case or am I seeing they are lying? Why are they lying? Does this elevate to them and my investigation as somebody that I need to be looking at a little bit further? And today’s point, it related to prosecutors love provable lies.
[00:56:40] I’ve had DAs say, they’d rather not have a confession. They’d rather have all these statements that they can just throw one after another in front of the jury. “The defendant is lying about this, he’s lying about this. Do you think he’s telling the truth, that he’s innocent in this case?” Confessions are often thrown out. They never get put into court in the first place. And so, they want statements. Too many detectives are so confession driven in their interview. They want that home run, and they fail to be patient and take the time to just gather information. Whether the information is truthful or not, that information could potentially be very useful down the road.
Yeardley: [00:57:22] I was thinking too, Chris, as you were saying, so you have the first robbery arson, then you have the second robbery arson, then there’s the shooting, which ends up being Bill. You guys in your detective bureau are looking at each other going, “What?” I would say when people ask us, “Why did you start this podcast?” First of all, we wanted to present cases from law enforcement’s point of view to give you guys a real opportunity to explain what you do and how you do it, from soup to nuts, because I think it’s a unique perspective and not one that we the public get very often.
[00:57:59] The reason the podcast is called Small Town Dicks is because big time crime is happening in small towns everywhere with the same level of depravity and reckless disregard for human life, but with somewhat less frequency. So, when you guys have this rash of crimes going on in your small district, it’s like, that’s not how it’s supposed to be, but it is how it is. And then you think of the collateral damage of these businesses, these people’s livelihoods being destroyed or so deeply compromised that maybe there’s no way back from that. The ripple effect is profound.
Chris: [00:58:35] It is big. Luckily, the first arson robbery, they were able to rebuild even bigger and better. But the second one, they just weren’t able to recoup anything and that’s gone forever. So, decades of people’s entertainment, and family fun, and going out is gone and.
Yeardley: [00:58:55] And a business, they’re probably really proud of having built.
Chris: [00:58:58] Oh, absolutely. If you mentioned the name of the businesses, everyone knew them. So, it was sad.
Dan: [00:59:05] I’ll say this. Chris was describing the day of the armored car attempted robbery. Days like that, when that happens, you get the call and everyone’s looking around at each other in the office. All the detectives are looking around at each other and you’re saying, “It’s game time.” That day is the thing that I miss the most about police work, the pace of it. It’s such a fast pace and you’re hunting down leads and you’re doing surveillance and you’re trying to find these bad guys. That’s what I miss the most.
Chris: [00:59:35] Yeah. By the time we got done and went down to interviewed Tammy and got back, we were going on almost 24 hours. So, you go sleep a few hours and then you’re right back in the office, and then, boom. We kick off and we’re on the road chasing down Carl’s location again. That takes all day long up until the late nights. That night, we were the last people in the restaurant to get some to eat and [Yeardley laughs] we were all just sitting there eating. No one said a word, because we were just wore down and exhausted, had been a long 48 hours. But it worked out well. When that bell rings or a call comes in, everyone works together and it’s just go. It’s a smooth transition. We got great detectives in our bureau and great supervisors. There’s no questioning. Everyone knows what they need to do or someone asks something to get done and it’s like, “Yep, I got it,” and everyone works together great. So, I’m really happy to work there.
Yeardley: [01:00:32] It’s great to hear.
Dave: [01:00:33] Yeah, that’s the way it’s supposed to be.
Yeardley: [01:00:34] It’s a job well done, Chris. Thank you so much for joining us here today. We’re really delighted to have you and welcome you to the Small Town Fam.
Dave: [01:00:44] Chris, great job. It’s job well done by you and your team.
Chris: [01:00:50] Thank you.
Dan: [01:00:50] It made me really miss police work.[laughter]
Dan: [01:00:54] But great job, Chris.
Paul: [01:00:55] Yeah. Awesome, Chris. Thanks a ton.
Chris: [01:00:57] Thanks.[music]
Yeardley: [01:01:04] Small Town Dicks is produced by Gary Scott and Yeardley Smith, and coproduced by Detectives Dan and Dave. This episode was edited by Soren Begin, Gary Scott, and me, Yeardley Smith. Our associate producers are Erin Gaynor and the Real Nick Smitty. Our music is composed by John Forest. Our editors extraordinaire are Logan Heftel and Soren Begin, and our books are cooked and cats wrangled by Ben Cornwell.
Dan: [01:01:32] If you like what you hear and want to stay up to date with the show, visit us on our website at smalltowndicks.com.
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Yeardley: [01:02:16] That’s right. Your subscription also makes it possible for us to keep going to small towns across the country-
Dan: [01:02:22] -in search of the finest-
Dave: [01:02:24] -rare-
Dan: [01:02:25] -true crime cases told as always, by the detectives who investigated them.
Dave: [01:02:30] So, thanks for listening, Small Town Fam.
Yeardley: [01:02:32] Nobody’s better than you.
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