Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Peak: State police look to amp up Parkway West surveillance

I guess since nobody threw any rocks last night or Sunday night, the mysterious case of The Parkway West Rock Thrower and The Copycat Rock Thrower isn’t much of a news story anymore. None of the TV stations’ websites have anything new or updated, save for a few recycled quotes repackaged as a fresh report. And the Post-Gazette didn’t see fit to devote any space in today’s paper to one of the most heinous travel-related serial crimes in recent Western Pennsylvania history.

The Trib provides the most extensive report. Most of it is repeat information (like the TV sites) but in the end the gist is this:

State police are increasing their surveillance of the crime scenes along the Parkway West.

Not surprisingly, the cops aren’t talking about what exactly the extra patrols will include, but they did give us some idea of the tactics that will be employed.

The plan could involve helicopter surveillance and positioning troopers in the woods near the area where someone late Saturday and early Sunday heaved softball-sized rocks at vehicles traveling between the Green Tree and Carnegie exits, police said.

State police said they don't want to give away details that could help the culprits. The latest attacks came just days after police arrested a suspect in similar incidents.

We already know that the investigation which led to the arrest of The Parkway West Rock Thrower was “aggressive” and included night vision cameras as well as troopers hiding in the woods. The result of those tactics resulted in Jeffrey Angelo Ramous, aka The Parkway West Rock Thrower, being arrested last Thursday. Now that The Copycat Rock Thrower has emerged, we can only assume that the state police, presumably under the direction of super-cop Captain Sheldon Epstein, will pursue equally aggressive surveillance methods.

Of course, this investigation could get a bit more complicated, as a driver who was struck by a rock on Saturday night has hypothesized that the projectile came from am moving vehicle rather than the Norfolk Southern Railroad trestle that overlooks 279-South between the Green Tree and Carnegie exits, which was the preferred launch pad of The Parkway West Rock Thrower. This may require Pennsylvania’s Finest to really ramp up the efforts, although they aren’t completely abandoning the “stationary rock thrower” theory.

Authorities used at least one police dog to search the woods near the parkway during the weekend but have no leads or suspects, Carnegie police Chief Jeff Harbin said.

While on-the-ground surveillance is a very steady approach to capturing The Copycat Rock Thrower, I fear that more attack may occur before this criminal is brought to justice. As such, the state police may need to employ more “unconventional” tactics. I’ve got an idea on what they might be able to try, but I’m still formulating it.

1 comment:

Bram Reichbaum said...

So we've just begun The Surge, and the rock-throwers are lying low. The question is whether they will wait out the surge and strike again, or whether we will achieve a strategic victory in the quiet interval.

One would hope, in this case, there is still a military solution.