On the local level, the local police authorities frequently maintain individual photo or “mug” files, alias files, business indexes, modus operandi (MO) files, victimization records and crime patterns. In addition, court records, probation and parole files, and other municipal records such as utilities, may prove valuable. Records of businesses, such as the telephone, electric and water companies, may also be helpful.
Surveillance and stakeouts are important components of kidnap-for-ransom investigations. These activities may require various forms of electronic surveillance, including wiretapping, eavesdropping, automobile locator systems, videotaping and photography. Such efforts may require assistance from other agencies. The investigator should be familiar, not only with the use of such equipment, but also with the laws surrounding their application. The investigator must know when a court order is necessary for the use of electronic surveillance. In no case should an investigator use extralegal means to secure information.
BOMB THREAT AND EXPLOSION INVESTIGATION
The use of explosives, by certain criminals and criminal organizations, has increased since the mid – 1980’s. Statistics also show that homes, vehicles and businesses were the primary targets of bombings and, in eight out of ten incidents, the motive was vandalism and revenge. Bombs are often made out common household items regularly found in the kitchen, garage or under the sink. The pipe bomb, the easiest bomb to construct, is often packed with screws and nails which act as projectiles, similar to hand grenades. These are materials that the bomber relies on, in part, to help conceal their identity. Because they are usually home-made, they are limited in their design only by the imagination of the bomber.
When searching for a bomb, the investigator should simply look for anything that appears unusual. The bomb technician decides what is and is not a bomb. The bombing crime scene must be linked to the bomber and, if found intact, the bombs themselves can sometimes reveal the identity of the bomber. Bombs can be constructed to look like almost anything and can be placed or delivered in a variety of ways. The chance of locating a bomb that looks like the stereotypical bomb is almost non-existent.
INVESTIGATING THE BOMB THREAT
Bomb threats are delivered in a variety of ways. Most are telephoned in to the target. Occasionally, these calls are made through a third party. Sometimes, a threat is communicated through in writing or via a recording. There are two (2) general explanations as to why the bombers communicate a bomb threat: 1. The caller has definite knowledge or believes that an explosive or incendiary bomb has been or will be placed, and that he or she wants to minimize personal injury or property damage. The caller may be the person who placed the device or someone else who has become aware of such information. 2. The caller wants to create an atmosphere...