Long Island Killer Shows Savvy Understanding of Investigative Techniques

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Police search the beach where bodies were found. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The serial killer behind the deaths of four prostitutes, and possibly four other people, on Long Island, has "a sophisticated understanding of police investigative techniques," according to people briefed on the case. His understanding of investigative techniques is so sophisticated, some investigators suspect the killer might even be a cop himself.

Whoever he or she is, the killer seems to have made a series of taunting phone calls to the teenage sister of one of his victims, but he did it from crowded locations in New York City, including Madison Square Garden and Times Square. By making his calls from busy areas, the killer hindered investigators from locating him via cell-phone signal, as they would be unable to pick him out of the crowd using surveillance cameras.

“We can’t for certain make the leap that the person who called the sister was the killer, although I believe that to be the case,” said Steven M. Cohen, a lawyer for one of the victims's families. “If you accept it was the killer calling, he certainly had feelings of anger towards prostitutes.”

In another move seemingly intended to avoid arrest, the killer kept the calls to under three minutes. Moreover, he used disposable cell phones to contact the four identified victims, women in their twenties who advertised prostitution services on Craigslist.

Some of this sounds like the kind of moves you could learn from watching a lot of Law & Order. In fact, it might be: "The work was enough to suggest to investigators that the killer is well versed in criminal investigative techniques, gleaned either through personal experience or in some other way," the Times reports. Or, "He could even be in law enforcement himself."

Serial Killer in L.I. Case Is Seen as Versed in Police Techniques [NYT]