5 Insane Crimes Committed by Cops in Charge of Solving Them
Every day, thousands of the bravest and best folks humanity has to offer go out and selflessly put their asses (and legs, and torsos, and every shootable part of their bodies) on the line for the rest of us. This article isn't about them. This is about the law enforcement officers who looked at the worst criminals in the world on a daily basis and said to themselves, "I can top that."
They may be horrible people, but you've got to admire the balls it takes to pull off stunts like ...
America's Top Sheriff Gets Busted for Meth, Goes to Jail Named After Him
In 2001, Arapahoe County Sheriff Patrick T. Sullivan was named National Sheriff's Deputy of the Year, and when he retired in 2002 (after 30 years in law enforcement), the county loved him so much that they renamed the local jail in his honor. That's how good this guy was at sheriffing.
Granted, the "Arapahoe Indian Decapitation Fortress" was due for a renaming anyway.
Sullivan went on to join a legislative task force for the state of Colorado and helped to form a lot of the policies and laws that local law enforcement agencies use to prosecute drug offenders in general, and meth users in particular. And just in case you still need proof that this guy was awesome, here's footage of Sullivan in the '80s running his truck through a fence to save some officers during a shootout.
"To any criminals watching this: Now I have a machine gun. Ho-ho-ho."
But at the Same Time ...
Retirement can be hard for some people: Some stay home every day and sulk, some take up fly fishing, and some try to deal meth and end up serving time in the jail named after them.
"I hate fishing, so ..."
Apparently, after decades of being up to his armpits in meth-crazy, Sullivan decided to see what life was like on the other side of the fence, so he dived in head first. The former sheriff became a connoisseur of meth and what some folks colloquially refer to as "rough trade." Sullivan became infamous among young male prostitutes in Aurora County for using his position to, umm, get into other positions. Sexy positions.
In 2012, local cops finally caught on and arranged for a sting operation, and Sullivan was videotaped trying to trade meth for sex with a cop informant. He was arrested, interviewed, and asked whether at any time he had engaged in sex with a minor. Sullivan told cops that he couldn't honestly answer that question, as he was way too fucking high most of the time. Hey, we've all been there, pal.
Sullivan was then hilariously booked into the Patrick T. Sullivan Correctional Facility ...
Suddenly, "serving time inside Sullivan" took on a whole different meaning.
... which has been since renamed.
In all seriousness, if he didn't at least try to declare himself King of the Jail the moment he was ushered into his cell block, then we have to question if all of this was even worth it.
A Badass Anti-Drug Agent Moonlights as a Badass Drug Lord
Drug Enforcement Agency officer Darnell Garcia's entire life was like something out of an '80s action flick. Several of them, in fact -- not only did Garcia train with both Chuck Norris and Bruce Lee, but he apparently knew enough about how to tear an opponent's head off to author a book on the fucking subject, which he also did. It's called The Fighting Art of Tang Soo Do. Here's a still of Garcia in Bruce Lee's Enter the Dragon:
This is also his profile picture on Twitter, because of course it's his fucking profile picture on Twitter.
After retiring from the karate championship circuit, Garcia came up through the ranks of the LAPD and joined the DEA in 1981. Along with fellow agents Wayne Countryman and John Jackson (shit, even his co-workers sound like action movie characters), Garcia spent the '80s living the plot of a Miami Vice episode every single day.
But at the Same Time ...
Except for the part where he was actually the villain. He was anti-drug agent by day and pro-drug kingpin by night. It was like Dexter, only somehow less plausible.
At some point Garcia and his pals realized that ripping off drug dealers was a lot more profitable (and fun) than simply stopping them. Their first few heists were relatively small, netting only $16,000 in cash and 2 pounds of heroin. Then they decided to stop fucking around in 1985 and stole 400 pounds of cocaine from a Pasadena stash house, effectively becoming millionaires overnight. Actually, forget Dexter, that's some Omar shit right there.
Thankfully "The Farmer in the Dell" is public domain, so they can both use it as theme music.
Garcia didn't stop there either. Garcia, Jackson, and Countryman set up Swiss bank accounts and distribution networks operating out of both New York and Los Angeles. Taking a page out of Breaking Bad before Breaking Bad was a thing, Garcia rounded up several fugitive drug dealers and instead of, you know, arresting them, he placed them in DEA safe houses to handle the sales end of the operation.
When Countryman and Jackson were finally arrested in 1988, Garcia probably came to his senses and turned himself in, right? Not a fucking chance -- he fled the country and led both the FBI and Interpol on an international manhunt. When they finally caught up to him in Luxembourg a year later (we can only pray there was a speedboat chase involved), his official defense was that he had come by those millions of dollars in his Swiss bank account totally legitimately ... by smuggling jewels for an Italian syndicate.
"Oh, well that's perfectly fine then. Not guilty."
Shit, he even perjures awesomely.
Mafia Task Force Detectives Carry Out Hits for the Mafia
NYPD Mafia Task Force detectives Stephen Caracappa and Lou Eppolito were almost complete opposites in every way. Eppolito was a seasoned street cop who looked kind of like a silverback gorilla, only with slightly more body hair and a raging case of edema. Caracappa, meanwhile, was smaller and bookish, favored dark silk suits, and had a cadaverous complexion. Together, they fought crime.
The short-lived Tom Selleck/Burt Reynolds series Mustache Squad was based on them.
But at the Same Time ...
Also, they did crime. Because they were also Mafia hit men. On more than one occasion, the two would whack a mark in a certain neighborhood and end up interviewing potential witnesses in the same area for their other job.
"So, a ninja-pirate came running in and murdered that guy?"
"No, I said it was a ..."
"Wow, a ninja-pirate. Unbelievable."
Caracappa and Eppolito carried out at least eight hits under direct orders from known gangster Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso. The hits themselves were masterpieces of simplicity -- they used NYPD cars and pulled over their intended victims, presumably under the guise of a traffic stop, and then *KaBlam*!
"Sometimes we'd throw a *BangBang* or a *BaBoom* in there. You gotta keep things fresh."
The hits alone are bad enough, but there's more. Caracappa worked for the Major Cases Unit, which gave him access to all sorts of classified information about, among other things, the Mafia. The same Mafia he happened to be working for. So let's say you're an underboss about to turn state's evidence against Casso: The last thing you'd want is to have the guy Casso subcontracts his wet work to getting your personal information. Caracappa also knew all of the safe houses in New York, so if an informant was moved, that info passed right through his office and from there to Casso. He was the wet dream of any mob boss.
And they may have gotten away with it, too ... if Eppolito hadn't written a book about his rise from Mafia family kid to totally honest non-Mafia cop, which he then promoted across national television.
At this point a few people finally stepped forward and said, "Hey, remember that murderer we saw? He's on Sally Jesse Raphael right now." Eppolito and his partner were arrested, although he probably still wishes his book gets adapted. We're thinking Jonah Hill and that guy from Napoleon Dynamite for the main roles.
The Head of a Kidnapping Squad Is Responsible for Kidnappings
"Big" Tom Brown was the chief of police in St. Paul, Minnesota, in the early 1930s, a time when the notorious bank robbers of the Depression era had started moving on from stealing rich people's money to just stealing rich people (and then demanding a ransom). During that time, Brown was put in charge of the kidnapping squad: It was his job to dispatch officers to protect the city's wealthiest citizens. Just having Big Tom around would make anyone feel safer.
The reason for his nickname is a mystery lost to the ages.
But at the Same Time ...
Big Tom was a member of another kidnapping squad -- as in, one that literally kidnapped people. While he was protecting the fat cats from being snatched away, he would also feed information about them to the Barker Gang, the criminals behind the most daring St. Paul kidnappings of the '30s, and getting a juicy cut of the ransom in exchange.
"'Notorious kidnapper Large Thomas continues to elude us,' Big Tom said."
On June 15, 1933, the Barkers snatched up William Hamm, scion of Hamm's Brewery, and held him for four days while demanding a ransom of $100,000. Hamm's mother ignored the gang's instructions to not get the cops involved and called the authorities ... who, of course, referred her to the guy in charge of that department, Chief Tom Brown. Brown acted as a go-between for Hamm's family and the kidnappers, dropping off the $100,000 payment, a quarter of which went to his own pocket for helping set up the whole operation.
Big Tom would also tip off gangsters when detectives were coming to raid their hideouts -- he was so beloved within the criminal community that members of the Dillinger gang contributed generous donations to his campaign to be elected county sheriff.
Brown lost, despite his campaign platform to legalize Tommy guns and homicides.
Brown and the Barker Gang tried the same thing about a year later: This time they picked Edward Bremer, whose father, Adolph Bremer, owned several banks and was a close personal friend of FDR. Yeah, that FDR. The members of the Barker Gang were eventually caught and/or killed by the feds ... but Brown got away with it. By this time the FBI had stepped in, knowing that Brown was dirty but unable to prove it. Or they could prove it, they just couldn't decide who would go up to Brown and try to arrest him, so they just let him go free.
A Robbery Detective Goes on a Massive Bank-Robbing Spree
Andre Stander was born to be a cop: His father was a general in the South African Department of Correctional Services, and he graduated at the top of his class at Pretoria Police College. Stander enjoyed a rapid ascent through the ranks and held the post of captain by the age of 31. The guy became such a legend that he was recently portrayed by Thomas Jane in a movie of his life, Stander.
One of his of his many roles involving blasting people with a large weapon.
But at the Same Time ...
Of course, most of the movie concerns his other job ... as a bank robber. Stander would sometimes rob banks on his lunch break and then go back in the afternoon to investigate.
"Hey everyone, I found a clue! Wait, no, it's my wallet."
It all started in 1977, when Stander hopped on an early morning flight to another city, rented a car, and, donning a wig, mask, and sunglasses, proceeded to rob the shit out of a bank. He caught another flight back that afternoon and finished his shift at the Kempton Park Station. And then he did it again, and again, and again. For years.
After the first robbery, Stander stopped renting cars and simply stole them, because why the hell not? Even when he started robbing banks in his own jurisdiction, he was so good at disguising himself that no one ever recognized him. In fact, after three years, the only reason anybody even caught on is because Stander actually approached another cop and basically said, "Hey, guess who has two thumbs and likes to pillage the shit out of Johannesburg? This guy!" Stander's hope was to persuade his longtime partner in the Robbery Task Division to join the Dark Side of the Force. Carl Van Deventer, Stander's would-be accomplice, set up a sting instead.
Stander was expelled and Deventer was suspended for being a lousy partner.
Stander was caught and sentenced to 75 years in a South African prison. He served three of those years before he decided he'd had enough. Taking a nurse hostage, Stander pulled off a jail break and then essentially said, "Alright, world, I was taking it easy on you. Now the motherfucking kid gloves are coming off."
For the next year, Stander went on an international crime spree. He spent a year robbing up to four banks a day, spanning the globe from Cape Town to Greece, then to Spain, then back to Africa so he could steal a goddamn yacht, and then hightailing it to the U.S. Stander was finally gunned down in Fort Lauderdale after a botched attempt at fencing a boat worth almost half a million dollars, which only proves that there's crazy, and then there's batshit crazy, and then there's Florida.
Related Reading: Feeling a little less than positive about the police? Crank up the NWA and read this article about the 100% legal ways John Law can screw you. If law enforcement mythbusting is more your speed, this article reveals the truth about pleading insanity and asking undercover officers "are you a cop?". And if all this has you running low on faith in Lady Justice, these real life vigilante crime-fighters should set your conscience to right.