Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Game Warden Files--You Get What You Get

One of the many frustrations of police work, no matter what agency, is only getting half the story or getting an outright lie.  You know there's more, but you hit a dead end and take what you can prove.  I've done it with drug cases, I've done it with deer cases.  You get all you can get, sometimes it's not much, sometimes, it spirals into lots of things

One evening I got a call from Trooper Nancy Poulan.  She'd stopped a van for some lighting violations and found it full of deer--and not a tag on a one of them.  I got right over there and we started tearing things apart.  Seems like there were seven people and five deer.

Even though the Trooper had done everything exactly right, separating the people so they couldn't get their stories together, it was a classic case of "nobody knows nothing."  We took what we had, which was a bunch of untagged deer, wrote every one of them for that, got the deer to a suitable charitable entity, and went on our way.  Not really satisfied, but it was what it was.

Another caper with another Trooper worked out much better.  Trooper John Wagner called me about a complaint he'd had.  A carload of young people had been seen shooting at a sign from the back seat of a car. He had a plate number, not much else as the caller didn't want to give a statement.  When I caught up with John, he was going off his shift and wouldn't be back for a couple days.  He gave me what he had and I chased it down, finding the car in the driveway where the owner lived.

I got a rather fanciful story that denied anything about it from the young man and young woman involved, and it would have ended right there; but both agreed to put their stories on paper.  I took their depositions--well rehearsed and almost word for word--gladly and went on my way, dropping their written lies off at the State Police for John to follow up on when he came back to work.  He took the young woman's statement and went to interview her a second time...and she crumbled. He got a more accurate statement from her and I went to find the young man involved.  I brought him back to the State Police Barracks and he confessed. After writing him his tickets for the EnCon charges of discharging a firearm from a public highway and having a loaded gun in a motor vehicle, as well as the false written statement, we asked him about the gun.  He said it was home so I took him to get it.  When we got there, he started to do the stumble, fumble and fall routine about not being able to find it.  I gave him the look, and he came up with it.  The gun used in the EnCon violation had been a simple single shot .410 shotgun, absolutely unremarkable until they had panicked after giving me the statements.  Then they had cut the barrel and ground the serial number off the receiver; both felonies under state and federal law.  Back in the car he went, back to the State Police Barracks for more charges.

If they'd only admitted to the original EnCon charges in the beginning, the rest would not have happened.  I don't know what ever happened the to young lady in that event as I never heard her name again. The guy however, didn't learn from this event. His name made the local news every so often.  Most recently, he was arrested for allegedly murdering his mother. I suspect that will be his last arrest as he's in jail with no bail as I write this and will likely never get out.

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