Criminal is a podcast about crime. Not so much the "if it bleeds, it leads," kind of crime. Something a little more complex. Stories of people who've done wrong, been wronged, and/or gotten caught somewhere in the middle. We're a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX, a curated network of extraordinary, story-driven shows. Learn more at radiotopia.fm.
Sgt. David Mascarenas was the Dive Supervisor for the Los Angeles Police Department. He’s been diving his whole life, and prides himself on never refusing a dive, no matter how treacherous. At least until the summer of 2013, when a murder investigation led him into the unusually murky waters of the La Brea tar pits. We first spoke with Sgt. Mascarenas in 2015. This week, we’re adding to the story, with information about the crime he couldn't tell us before.
Just before midnight on October 15, 1990, police arrived at 527 Lime Street in Jacksonville, Florida to find the small wood-frame house on fire. There was a man standing in the front yard. He said there were people inside the house. What happened next was so unusual that it changed the way we think about arson.
"The police had surrounded the house. They had been there for quite a while. They didn't want to try to rush the house because they thought he might kill one of the innocent people. But after waiting for a long time, I asked the police: 'Let me see if I can talk to the guy.'"
In the summer of 1922, in a town in southern Illinois, 23 people were murdered over two days. Men, women, and children came out of their houses to watch, and in some cases, to take part in the violence.
Crime Blotter: “The Learning Center on Hanson Street reports a man across the way stands at his window for hours watching the center, making parents nervous. Police ID the subject as a cardboard cutout of Arnold Schwarzenegger.” Today, we're looking at mistakes.