Tuesday, October 13, 2009

False report

On September 13th, an armed robbery occurred at the Wells Fargo ATM located at N. 65th St. and Cotner Boulevard. We had good leads on that case from the outset, and it was cleared by two arrests later in the week. Before that occurred though, clear across town, another robbery connected to a Wells Fargo ATM was reported on September 16th. The victim said he had gone to the ATM at S. 70th St. and Pioneers Blvd., where he made a $260 withdrawal. As he turned into his neighborhood nearly a mile away, another vehicle bumped his car from behind. He got out to check the damage. The suspect brandished a pistol and relieved him of his rent money.

While the investigating officers certainly took it seriously, I thought this crime was fishy from the outset. It just sounded too much like an urban legend story to me: too convenient, too contrived. What’s this 35 year-old doing getting cash from an ATM to pay his rent in the middle of the month? He's living with his parents, and they won't accept a check? When, in my entire career, have I heard of a bump-and-rob in Lincoln? (Answer: never.) Of all the places to pull such a crime, why select a residential street with plenty of houses and streetlights? How many stranger robberies occur so early in the evening? My suspicion was that the victim had seen the news about the ATM robbery earlier in the week, and concocted a plausible story to explain his inability to pay the rent.

I told Det. Marty Fehringer the next morning that we should check the victim’s account activity at the bare minimum and see if he in fact made such a withdrawal. I imagine that in the back of his mind he was thinking, “Good idea, Capt. Obvious,” but Marty’s a gentleman, and allowed me my moment as amateur detective. The check of bank records revealed no such transaction occurred, and in a subsequent interview, the victim’s story collapsed. He had left the state for a while, so a few weeks passed before we were able to contact him over the weekend and cite him for false information.

One of the most annoying things about this case is the victim’s choice of his imaginary assailant: a black man armed with a pistol. I’m sick and tired of liars making up phantom suspects for non-existent crimes. There are plenty of genuine crimes to go around, and we have more than enough work to do without chasing after someone’s racist stereotypes.

11 comments:

Dave said...

Oddly, something didn't sound right about that robbery to me as well. It was even more unusual when I did spot a white Ford Taurus with a broken and dangling drivers mirror around town. I pulled alongside it while riding the Harley and looked over. The driver was a white male, not black male, so I never gave it another thought.

Charity said...

First off - as someone who lives in NE Lincoln, thanks to you and your officers on the quick work on the ATM Robbery. I know it relived a lot of minds for those who live in that area - especially at the Cotner Center.

As for the false report, not just a racist, but one that is not-too-bright. And it would be really nice if he had to pay back to the LPD the money it ended up costing to solve this non-existant crime.

Anonymous said...

Here's someone from Nebraska, at least in the sort-term, that committed his final crime down in Alabama. Based on the age of the homeowner, I think we could say this HIR probably wasn't a drug dealer ripoff. I looked the deceased Mr. McCall up in the Lancaster Cty Atty DB, but didn't see him listed. It's a good bet that he was originally from AL, but I wonder why he'd very recently been in jail up here.

Anonymous said...

This would be similar to the night when one of the Polfus boys accidentally shot his brother. Since the one who did the shooting was a convicted felon, and they were playing quick draw with a loaded gun, everyone in the house knew there was going to be big trouble. Their solution? Drag the body out onto the front porch and claim it was a drive-by shooting. Their description? Several black males in a large vehicle, similar to a Cadillac. The story could not have been more full of stereotypes if they tried. We spent a short amount of time looking for vehicles of that description before their lie quickly fell apart.

Anonymous said...

I never had an idea that so many bored people are in this world.

Trevor Brass said...

The proverbial black thug is a sad reflection on our image of crime. Not only is it ethically iffy, it also detracts from the real problem: creating a false sense of security while simultaneously rubbing salt in an already sore wound of race relations in law enforcement. Much like sex offender registries that cast a wide net on everyone convicted of all sex crimes. Parents think that everyone on the lists are dangerous child rapists, however this is simplistic: many are on for things such as consensual sex between teenagers or for "sexting" ... though unwise, these hardly deserving of a lifetime of persecution and restricted mobility.

Besides, with "friends" like these, who needs enemies?

Anonymous said...

I may be bored but this is always an interesting place to learn about life here in Lincoln. Thanks to all the police for their hard work and diligence.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Gun Nut read the story linked by 11:04 ??

Anonymous said...

Yes 7:17 I did read it. I'm not sure if I read it here first or on another Blog I visit that has a daily update on DGU around the nation. If any of you are interested the URL is http://www.keepandbeararms.com/

Gun Nut

Anonymous said...

Speaking of robbery (one that actually happened), does "Police still are looking for a fifth, a man who is known to them." mean that you just have a broadcast out for him, not a warrant?

Tom Casady said...

3:52-

Broadcast. He'll surface.