#2. Man Hunts Down Child Killer Using Security Footage
When Leiby Kletzky, an 8-year-old boy, was kidnapped and murdered in an Orthodox Jewish neighborhood in New York City in 2011, the police didn't have much to go on -- the kid had simply vanished. That didn't sit well with property manager Yaakov German. German is a father of 12, and to have that many kids, you must love children at least as much as you hate birth control.
So, he was simply going to do what most of us only experience via grossly unrealistic vigilante movies: find out what happened to the boy, and bring the bastard who did it to justice himself.
Yaakov German, in one of those rare moments in which he isn't fighting crime or conceiving new life.
While everyone else in the neighborhood was trying to figure out which way the kid went after school (he never showed up where his mother was waiting for him), German took a more David Caruso-like approach: He went to the school and asked to check the security camera footage to see what exact clothes Kletzky was wearing, how he was holding his knapsack, and so on.
With that information, German then knocked on the door of every store and home with a security camera in the area and simply asked to see the footage. He sat down and scrolled through hours of recordings, searching for the couple of seconds when the victim might have happened to have walked past. Little by little, clip by clip, German managed to trace the route the boy took that day. To show you that this was no piece of cake, check out how blurry the kid looked in some of the footage:
The end of the route led German to a car leasing company -- when he asked to check the security footage, he saw a video of a man taking the boy to his car. He now had the goddamned murderer right there in front of him.
The car's license plate wasn't visible, though, so they still had no idea who this creep was. But then they noticed that the footage also showed the guy going into a dentist's office across the street some minutes earlier. The cops, who figured that they might as well make themselves useful at some point, talked to the dentist and found out the identity of the kidnapper -- some guy from the neighborhood named Levi Aron.
New York Daily News
Nearly arrested several times before just on account of his face.
Thanks to German's legwork, the cops were able to track down the guy and arrest him, finding the victim's remains in the process. So while it was sadly too late to save Kletzky, we're going to go out on a limb and say that he wouldn't have been the last victim if not for German's amateur CSI skills.
#1. Teenage Hacker Gets Pedophile Judge Arrested
Brad Willman was a young programmer from Canada who was working on a program that allows you to remotely access files from your computer, like for example if you're on your deathbed and you want to delete all your porn before you go. One day, Willman was in a chat room when some horrifyingly awful bastard offered to sell him a 6-year-old girl. At this point, Willman thought of a better use for his little program: messing with Internet perverts.
"They're basically walking, talking, masturbating targets."
Willman went on child-porn newsgroups and posted a Trojan horse that looked like a photo file, presumably named "hot_naked_babes_literally.jpg." Once the scumbags on the other end downloaded the program and opened it, it would pop up a random image from the same directory to throw them off, at the same time giving Willman access to their computers. Willman would then remotely look through their files or photos and anonymously contact child porn watchdog groups with the information.
By his own estimate, Willman's work sent 70 people to jail, but it came to an end when he hooked a particularly big fish: a Superior Court judge in Orange County, California. Willman discovered that Judge Ronald Kline didn't just have a massive collection of child porn on both his home and courthouse PCs, but also kept a written diary of his plans to seduce young boys.
Along with a huge stash of My Little Pony fan fiction, we're guessing.
After he was done puking from what he'd just read, two weeks later Willman passed this info on to the watchdogs, as usual ... but this time, the cops came knocking on his door.
Although they appreciated his efforts -- the judge would be disbarred and sentenced to prison and a lifetime as a registered sex offender -- what Willman was doing was still illegal as hell, and the police told him to cut that shit out or face arrest. Willman agreed and retired from crime fighting at the ripe old age of 19, at least until we come up with a law that says it's legal to spy on your computer if you're gross.
When she's not busting criminals, Tracy has a Tumblr here.
For more awesome acts of crime fighting, check out 6 Real Acts of Self Defense Too Awesome for an Action Movie and 6 Real-Life Vigilantes Crazier Than Batman.
If you're pressed for time and just looking for a quick fix, then check out 6 Pathetic Attempts by Corporations to Create a Superhero.
And stop by LinkSTORM to discover the best way to get over a holiday hangover.
Do you have an idea in mind that would make a great article? Then sign up for our writers workshop! Do you possess expert skills in image creation and manipulation? Mediocre? Even rudimentary? Are you frightened by MS Paint and simply have a funny idea? You can create an infographic and you could be on the front page of Cracked.com tomorrow!