The Year in Crime and Spy History


17 Jan – Eleven thieves stole more than $2,700,000 from the offices of the Brink’s armored car company in Boston in the Great Brink’s Robbery (1950).

21 Jan – The US Coast Guard intercepted a ship with over 9500 lbs of cocaine on board, one of the largest drug busts in history (1999).

24 Feb – Tyrone Mitchell attacked the 49th Street Elementary School in Los Angeles, CA, killing two children and injuring twelve more before turning the shotgun on himself (1984).

7 Mar – 17 year old heiress Ellen Turner was abducted by 30 year old Edward Gibbon Wakefield and then forced to marry him in the Shrigley Abduction, which ended in the annulment of the marriage and prison for Wakefield (1826).

6 Apr – During the deadliest day in the history of law enforcement in California, known as the Newhall massacre, two heavily armed men killed four California Highway Patrolmen (1970).

1 May – Francis Gary Powers, piloting a U-2 spy plane, was shot down over the eastern Soviet Union while photographing military bases, setting off an international incident (1960).

4 May – Chicago mobster Al Capone began serving an 11 year sentence for tax evasion (1932)

23 May – Captain William Kidd, a British privateer, was hanged as a pirate in London (1701).

23 May – American criminals Bonnie and Clyde were ambushed and killed by police in Bienville Parish, Louisiana (1934).

12 Jun – The Son of Sam serial killer, David Berkowitz, was given six life sentences for six killings (1978).

23 Jul – Archibald Brown was killed when his son Eric Brown, an Army veteran, put a British Hawkins anti-tank grenade under the cushion of his bath chair in retaliation for what he perceived as abusive behavior towards him and his mother (1943). This sensational case was known as the Rayleigh bath chair murder.

15 Aug – Julian Carlton, a disgruntled employee of architect Frank Lloyd Wright murdered his mistress, Mamah Borthwick, and seven others, and set fire to the living quarters near Wright’s Taliesin studio (1914).

5 Sep – Japanese American Iva Toguri D’Aquino was arrested in Yokohama by US military authorities under the suspicion of being the radio propagandist Tokyo Rose during World War II. She was later acquitted (1945).

18 Sep – First mailing of envelopes containing anthrax spores to various locations in the US as part of the anthrax attacks that killed five (2001).

9 Oct – Second mailing of envelopes containing anthrax spores to various locations in the US as part of the anthrax attacks that killed five (2001).

21 Nov – American disc jockey Alan Freed, the man who coined the term “rock and roll”, was fired from the radio station WABC for taking bribes to play songs on the radio, called payola (1959).

8 Dec – Former Beatles singer John Lennon was shot and killed by Mark David Chapman outside the Dakota apartment complex in New York City (1980).

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