By Ed Meckle, Retired LAPD
In the early 1960’s Los Angeles held the title “bank robbery capitol” of America. At the time, one in every 10 bank robberies in the USA occurred in the LA area.
The LAPD Robbery Division Bank Squad and the FBI Bank Squad were two elite units and they took down a good number of suspects.
Metro Division flooded banks with stakeouts, and also got their share. OK, so why the envy? Well with so many bank robbers running around sticking up so many banks. they were given nicknames to keep them straight.
The “Counter Jumpers,” “Takeover Bandits,” “The .45 Caliber Bandit,” “Yellow Scarf,” “Gold Tooth,” and on and on. They, by God, had nicknames! How cool is that (did I just say cool)? Ok, so it’s obvious why a detective (me) working routine everyday run-of-the-mill robbers would be envious. I mean, none of my criminals had any panache, any flair, even any style. We had “Blue Chip (see post March 29, 2017),” but we got him on his first job and the only thing outstanding was his stupidity. We did have one I can remember, “The Buntline Bandit,” so named for the very long barrel of his revolver, and we got him after job number 9.
Anyway, the real subject matter of this piece is the sexual predator they named “The Remorseful Rapist.” The name attached to the will-o-the-whisp had sexually assaulted in excess of 50 women over several years. He was small in stature, wispy thinning hair, horn-rimmed glasses, every bit the Casper milk-toast character. Inoffensive in appearance, virtually invisible, ghost of a man, barely noticed. His hunting grounds were within three large LAPD divisions: Hollywood, Wilshire, and West LA; and one sheriff’s area: West Hollywood area. He would accost the victim as she entered her home displaying a small handgun. His actions indicated that he spent much time on surveillance. He earned his nickname due to the fact that after the assault he would be overcome with guilt, apologize to the victim, beg her forgiveness and vow, “Never again.”
With multiple detectives involved, a task force was established. Metro supplied the manpower for the rolling stakeouts, but the problems presented were many. No discernible pattern emerged as to location, days, and times. He chose his victims very carefully, and even after getting 25-30 victims together for a brain storming session we came up with nothing. We never got close—he was everywhere, and he was nowhere.
Then we got lucky. A woman resisted him, hit him in the face and snatched his glasses. He screamed like a 12-year-old girl, yelled something like “mama,” and fled.
Working with the prescription from the glasses and some other information we had obtained, he was finally arrested.
Now the kicker…
One of our detectives had married earlier in the year and “Remorseful” was one of his groomsman. There he was, in the wedding album, looking at the camera in all his “wimpiness.” The detective made very rude remarks when it was suggested that he leave the wedding album at the station for use as a “mug book.”
Paroled many years later, “Remorseful” went right back to his old habits, but he was much easier to catch the second time around.
Afterthought: the weapon that he used in his original spree was a toy gun. Overcome with guilt afterwards, he would throw it away. Vowing never again, he lost count of how many toy guns he had to buy.
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