Sunday, March 25, 2007

Gutter: A copycat!

Just when we thought it was over, our worst fears have been realized.

Three days after the capture of Jeffrey Angelo Ramous, aka The Parkway West Rock Thrower, a copycat has taken up Ramous’ cause: on Saturday night, someone threw a rock from an overpass near the Greentree exit.

You can take your pick of source info on this one: Channel 11, Channel 2, Channel 4, or the Post-Gazette. I assume that the Trib has it too, but their website was slow this morning and getting on my nerves, so never mind them.

As with the original story of the apprehension of The Parkway West Rock Thrower, I defer to Channel 2 on this latest incidence of rock-throwing. Paul Martino has all the info for us, and he’s a worthy substitute for Ralph Iannotti.

But this story isn’t about the reporters. It’s about The Copycat Rock Thrower.

It appears that late Saturday night, someone threw a rock; those circumstances are very similar to The Parkway West Rock Thrower. However, this new culprit seems to be a fair bit craftier, as this rock not only struck a taxi driven by Mary Pucci, of Carnegie, but then went on to hit a Toyota Camry driven by David Cosnek, of Coroapolis. It’s almost reminiscent of the “JFK-magic bullet” theory, except in this case it’s not a bullet, it's a rock, and instead of killing a president, it damaged a Camry.

Ramous was never able to accomplish a double-hit like this, and the magic rock has got local police, like Lt. Chad Rannigan of the Greentree squad, perplexed.

“This is, to my knowledge, the first time we’ve had multiple vehicles basically at the same incident,” Rannigan said. “Normally, it was just one vehicle.”

Nice try Lt. Rannigan, but this case may be a bit over your head. Hopefully the resources of super-cop Captain Sheldon Epstein will be available in catching The Copycat Rock Thrower. Epstein, as you may recall, is the state policeman who had a hand in nabbing The Parkway West Rock Thrower. Ramous was arrested on Thursday and Epstein was promoted from lieutenant to captain on Friday, leading some (me) to conclude that his work in the case of The Parkway West Rock Thrower was a career-maker for him.

Clearly, the Greentree police are going to need all the help they can get on this one.

“It’s very possible, maybe it’s a copycat,” said Rannigan, the small-town cop. “It might just be a coincidence, somebody else throwing rocks.”

It should be noted that one of The Parkway West Rock Thrower’s original victims, Jim Christy of Oakmont, feared that such a copycat would surface. In Ralph Iannotti’s original report on the arrest of The Parkway West Rock Thrower, Christy, whose car was hit by a rock last November, worried that someone else would “get the wrong idea.” Well, Jim, it looks like someone else did get the wrong idea: the wrong idea that it’s okay to throw rocks at cars on the Parkway.

Anyway, it looks like the Parkway is once again a crime scene. According to Channel 2’s Martino, police “conducted an active search on Saturday night,” but with no success. Let’s hope that The Copycat Rock Thrower is brought to justice soon and the Parkway is returned to its normal level of safety.

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