1. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Any real life sting operations I could use as inspiration for this scenario?

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Ryan Elder, Oct 23, 2015.

    For my story, I want the police, or F.B.I. probably more accurately, to lure in a serial killer type villain by setting up a sting operation, to get him to go a specific place and do something to incriminate himself, linking him to the past crimes.

    However, I have been doing a lot of research and cannot find one time, that the F.B.I. caught a serial killer type, using a sting operation. My story is also tricky, because I do not want the police to know who the killer is, until after he shows up for the sting. So they will have to set up the sting in such a way, that they can get him there, without knowing who he is.

    In the book Red Dragon for example, the FBI tries this by using personal adds. However, I cannot find one real life case where they use a sting to catch one.

    Does anyone know of any, I could use as inspiration that may help, or anything like that to learn from?

    Thanks for the input! I really appreciate it.
     
  2. lisabeth
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    lisabeth Member

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    I would every case would be different but i would start by watching programmes like real detecives Miami and first 48 ect.
     
  3. NormdaPlume
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    NormdaPlume New Member

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    I wouldn't worry about it, it's not like a sting like that is implausible, knit your own says I.

    But to answer your question, the closest real life example I can think of is the Unabomber. He was caught because his brother recognised his writing style, although whether the Feds let him publish his manifesto with that in mind isnt 100 pc clear to me, I guess it's on record somewhere, a very well documented case. I appreciate this example is so far off beam from what you want as to be useless though!
     
  4. Aire
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    Aire Banned Sock-Puppet

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    1st the chance of you finding any information by any police force using a string operation to capture a serial killer on any site the public can access is pretty much slim to nil. Because the way a sting operation would work would mean they are putting either a cop or a civilian at blatant risk and that's not something they'd want to publicize. Sting operations for drugs & guns is a different story because 9 / 10 times the people at risk are the undercover cops - the conditions are to a degree controllable - and the general public views it as their role. Expose a civilian or even a cop to capture a serial killer [which is a whole different ball game because you have control over nothing] and the sh*t will hit the fan.

    2nd it came to light earlier this year or late last year how I believe the NYPD used a sting-type operation to capture a serial rapist. I'll see if I can find the article. They used a civilian, she knew every single risk she would be potentially exposed as a would-be victim and she accepted it because she wanted this freak off the streets. Despite this the police force still got painted as bad for putting her at risk despite how they put in controls to try and keep the worst from happening.

    3rd I'd suggest researching serial killers more. The way you have this "sting operation" set up sounds like he's the walk up in broad daylight and shoot the potential victim in the head right then and there. That'd be an assassin, not a serial killer, because typically serial killers have some finesse to their work. Real serial killers [even the nutty ones popping up in school shootings] don't just kill willynilly despite their dub of "serial" - they typically have a victim type and ignore everyone else.
     
  5. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Okay thanks. I was thinking of using something similar to what you described in the female risking herself scenario. However, readers might find this unsatisfactory, because the rapist/killer would only be guilty of an attempted crime, since the police catch him in the act and stop him. He will not go down for all the previous crimes prior, so perhaps that's not enough and readers would prefer if the villain can be linked to his past crimes.

    Plus how is it that when capturing a serial killer, you have less control? The cops can still use video and audio surveillance, the exact same way, they could in a sting operation with drug dealers, could they not?
     
  6. Aire
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    Aire Banned Sock-Puppet

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    Yes video & audio will go a long way in keeping the "victim" alive. By the time the cops realize that the sh*t is actually happening, the victim will likely be beaten to a pulp or dead.

    The serial killer/rapist has been turned into something of a comedian in books and movies - someone that has all the time in the world. In real life, unless they're either suffering some mental issues, confident as hell or on their own turf [kidnap & kill], serial killers and rapists are fast in what they do and they don't hang around waiting for the pizza delivery man.


    My father worked federal penitentiaries - maximum security - [serial killers, serial rapists, gang and drug dealers... you name it, he probably saw it] for 21 years as a classification officer. He has a PhD in psychology. In the most basic of summaries that means he was analyzing these people, ensuring they were put in the right "wings" of prison, making notes for their parole amongst other tasks. He went on many occasions with police to track down people - I can think of three off the top of my head; 1 escaped convict and 2 that never reported to their parole officers.


    I'd also suggest researching string operations. They are not and never will be wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am operations. They typically have months, even years, of investigation behind them before they are even sprung.

    I missed that part about them having no connection to prior crimes with the guy - no police force on this side of the earth would take that risk unless they are digging a hole straight through to China. It is nothing short of absolute career suicide particularly if they screw up or something bad happens. If you want to stretch the cop's neck out that far, you really have to make the situation high stakes [as in the guy has killed dozens of people].
     
  7. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Okay thanks. The situation is already high stakes though, as he has killed dozens before. But whatever sting operation takes place, it would have to be one that links him to the past crimes, right? Rather than an operation where the only charge that will come of it, will be the charge of attempting to harm the undercover who was participating in the sting.

    I have been researching some sting operations so far, and yes they do take months to years to work. However, since I have a story that takes place over the course of a few days or weeks, is the sting even plausible, or do I have to come up with another ending for this type of story to work?

    I also watched a documentary on the Unabomber, for research but the way he was caught would be anticlimatic for mine I think. I mean it was interesting how the FBI published his manifesto on the chance that someone would recognize it, but if I have a character step in and recognize the work of the villain, that character could be seen as a deux ex machina that is brought in to solve the plot's problems, perhaps?
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2015

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