Ok. I admit it. I listen to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s “gotcha” radio service. The sounds files come in windows media player format. It’s basically a real version of Dragnet. Part of the reason why I tune in is because the cases are so weird that, well, I just like weird stuff, that’s all.
Take the show’s first feature in 2007. This 34-year old Texas woman was going around ranches claiming to be a post-doc student at Texas A&M. As the interviewed agent explains, she told investors that “These cows would be purchased from these large ranches in Texas, brought to A&M, genetic research would be conducted upon them, and then the university would sell these cattle back to the ranches with this new and improved genetic substance in them.”
It was all part of some kind of “grant program.” She promised $300 or $400 returns on $600 per moo cow investments, of which she said she’d keep $50. People actually bought this line. Yes way. Apparently she collected millions of dollars.
“There were never any cattle,” the agent says. “There was never any grant program and she certainly kept more than $50.00.” Eventually she got nailed and was sent to the slammer for 70 months. Gotcha!
Then there’s the case of a bank robber in New Jersey who held up 18 banks before he was caught. What did he get for all this hard work? $81,000. Good grief. He should have gone to graduate school and sold cattle. Anyway, what’s fun about the file is that he always wore hats.
“In every one of his bank robberies he wore some sort of a head covering in the form of a hat,” the interviewed agent says. “I’d say in about 15 or so of the bank robberies it was a baseball hat and then he would, had kind of like a hunter’s hat and a regular kind of a knit hat in a couple of the bank robberies. But primarily it was a baseball hat.”
Thus agents called him the “Hat Bandit” or “Mad Hatter.” Also on the loose for a while were the “All-Star Bandit” (he whacked banks before or after All-Star games and wore baseball caps during the robbery) and the “Panama Jack Bandit,” whom FBI staff fondly recall because of the “very unique and distinctive Panama-style cap, or hat, that he wore during just about every one of the robberies.”
For some reason I find comfort in the fact these kind of guys are still around. They were all caught, of course, although in the case of the Hat Bandit it took the FBI and cops from six Jersey cities to nab him. Hey, at least he wasn’t selling anyone’s kidneys.
Lose your marbles
My favorite “gotcha” case is that of this Vermont scammer who went around getting suckers to invest in his “marble business.” “This special marble that he was going to make,” an interviewed agent says, “was going to be used, he told some people, in the space shuttle as tiles to protect the space shuttle when it re-entered into the atmosphere.”
Allegedly sentient, credit card possessing adults actually gave him money for this. He collected 11 million bucks and was still trying to rip investors off while awaiting sentencing in prison.
Who were these people? Maybe they still had some cash left over from the cattle lady.
Anyway, “Gotcha” is a fun radio service. You can get it via e-mail updates, but I wonder why they don’t podcast it. A little music might help, too. You know, “Dah, da DA da DAAAAH…”
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