this day in crime history: january 28, 1982

On this date in 1982, US Army Brigadier General James Dozier was rescued by Italian police. Dozier, who had been kidnapped by Italian Red Brigades terrorists 42 days earlier, was being held in an apartment in the northern Italian city of Padua. After determining the General’s location, the Italian police sent in the NOCS, a special operations unit trained in hostage rescue. A bulldozer was started near the building to cover the noise of the rescuers as they moved into position. A 12-man NOCS team stormed the apartment and overpowered the terrorists without firing a shot, rescuing the General, and taking five of his captors into custody.

Further reading:

Wikipedia – James L. Dozier

Wikipedia – Red Brigades

NY Times – General Dozier Freed in Major Red Brigades Defeat

SpecWarNet – NOCS

this day in crime history: january 24, 1989

TedBundy

On this date in 1989, serial killer Ted Bundy was executed in the electric chair at Florida State Prison. His last words: “I’d like you to give my love to my family and friends.”

Further reading:

Crime Museum: Ted Bundy

FBI: Ted Bundy

Famous Last Words–Ted Bundy

Wikipedia: Ted Bundy

this day in crime history: january 22, 1957

On this day in 1957, George Metesky was arrested at his home in Waterbury, CT. Metesky was suspected of being the “Mad Bomber” that had terrorized New York during the 1940s and 50s. In all, he had planted thirty-three bombs. Twenty-two of the bombs exploded, injuring fifteen people. His motive: denial of a worker’s compensation claim against Consolidated Edison in 1931. Metesky’s arrest was the result of an early use of profiling techniques by police. He was found legally insane and committed to a mental institution in 1957. He was released in 1973, and died in 1994 at the age of 90.

Further reading:

NPR: A 16-Year Hunt For New York’s ‘Mad Bomber’

Wikipedia: George Metesky

Time: An article from 1957 titled “George Did It”

this day in crime history: january 21, 1959


On this date in 1959, Carl Switzer, best known for playing Alfalfa in the Our Gang series, was shot and killed by a friend. Switzer, who was drunk at the time, got into an argument with the man over $50 that Switzer thought he was owed. The man shot Switzer after being assaulted and threatened with a knife. He was arrested and charged with murder, but the jury acquitted him.

Further reading:

The Death of Carl Alfalfa Switzer

Wikipedia – Carl Switzer

Here’s a video of Alfalfa demonstrating his considerable musical talent:

this day in crime history: january 17, 1950

On this date in 1950, the Brinks Armored Car depot in Boston, MA was robbed of over $2.5 million in cash, checks and money orders. It took years for cops to solve the crime, but all eleven of the robbers were eventually arrested and convicted. The robbery inspired a 1978 movie starring Peter Falk.

FBI History: The Brinks Robbery

Wikipedia: Great Brinks Robbery

The Brinks Job (1978)

Friday Movie Quote – July 8, 2011

this day in crime history: january 16, 1935

On this date in 1935, Kate “Ma” Barker, matriarch of the infamous family of criminals, died along with her son Fred in a hail of gunfire near Ocala, FL. Far from the Tommy-gun toting outlaw she’s been portrayed as in popular culture, Ma Barker’s role in the Barker-Karpis gang was probably limited to providing logistical and moral (or is it immoral?) support.

On January 8, 1935, her son Arthur “Doc” Barker was arrested in Chicago. When he was searched, he was found to have a map of the area where his brother Fred Barker was hiding out with Ma. On the 16th, federal agents surrounded the house and ordered the Barkers to surrender. A gunfight followed. Both Ma and Fred were killed in the battle. When they entered the house, agents found a Tommy gun still in Ma’s hands. Or so they claimed.

Further reading:

Wikipedia – Ma Barker

Find a Grave – “Ma” Barker

FBI – Barker-Karpis Gang

Poughkeepsie Eagle-News, January 17, 1935 – “Fred Barker and Mother Slain in Florida Hideout”