Crime sprees are some of the most mythologized stories of modern America, from Bonnie and Clyde to John Dillinger.
The 21st century has had its own incredible crime sprees, by bank robbers, psycho killers, and white collar and virtual criminals. Although none of them are seen as heroes, many could be the subject of movies in decades to come.
Start: 1998 and earlier
End: March 9, 2002
Crime: Arson, hacking, piracy, and conspiracy to commit terrorism
Under the moniker of Dr. Chaos, computers expert Joseph Konopka recruited a group of adolescent disciples. He called them 'The Realm of Chaos' and used them to terrorize the Wisconsin. Konopka coordinated acts of arson, TV and radio disruption, disruption of air traffic control systems, piracy, hacking, and power-outages across the state.
In the midst of his next evil plan, Dr. Chaos was caught trespassing in unused tunnels of the Chicago subway system, where he was storing powdered cyanide, according to the Milwaukie Journal Sentinel. He is serving 13 years for various crimes, according to The New York Times.
Start: September 5, 2002
End: October 24, 2002
Crime: 10 counts of murder
For a month in the mid-Atlantic, a white van was cause for terror. Nothing was known about the sniper who shot at random people from a distance, except a rumour that the killer drove a white van.
The kill spree ended when police found the two snipers asleep at a rest stop -- in a blue sedan. John A. Muhammed, 45, and Lee Boyd Malvo, 21, were arrested on federal weapons charges and ultimately charged for the murders, according to The New York Times.
Muhamed was executed in November. Malvo remains in prison.
Photo: Convicted sniper John Allen Muhammad, standing, acting as his own attorney, cross examines fellow convicted sniper Lee Boyd Malvo, left, as prosecutor Katherine Winfree, centre, listens during a hearing, Tuesday May, 23, 2006, at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Rockville, Md. (AP Photo/Dana Verkouteren)
End: August, 2003
Crime: Bank robbery
Americans Craig Pritchert and Nova Guthrie skillfully took down a slew of banks at the end of the nineties, claiming more than $500,000 cash. They passed the next few years in a glamorous flight from the law, first to the beaches of Belize, then to the mountains of British Columbia -- where, according to The New York Times, Pritchert passed his time trading stocks on the internet -- and finally to Capetown. The FBI coordinated with South African police to nab and extradite the couple in 2003.
Start: January 15, 1974
End: February 25, 2005
Crime: 10 counts of murder
Church president, Boy Scout leader, and serial killer. Dennis Rader brutally murdered 10 people in Kansas between 1974 and 1991, while avoiding any suspicion. During this time, he wrote taunting letters to police and newspapers, in which he referred to himself as BTK -- for 'bind, torture, kill.'
Although he did not kill anyone after 1991, Rader resumed sending menacing letters in 2004. This time police where able to track and arrest him, according to The New York Times.
End: August, 2005
Crime: Online scamming
Japanese police arrested a Chinese exchange student on suspicion of a devious, futuristic crime spree. Using software bots to gain an unfair advantage, the student was beating up and robbing human-controlled characters in the online game, Lineage II, and then selling the items on an auction site for real cash. The moral of this story, according to New Scientist, is that video games must employ countermeasures to detect malicious bots.
End: June, 2006
Crime: At least 48 counts of murder
It's hard to imagine a more stereotypically Russian serial killer than Alexander Pichushkin, especially if you consider the Crime and Punishment similarities. Pichuskin systematically committed 48 murders and was on his way to 64 -- 'in a tribute to the squares of a chess board -- when he got caught in 2006. On trial in Moscow, the unrepentant killer explained his method of luring homeless men from a park with promises of vodka, asking if they would drink with him to mourn the death of his dog, and then beating them to death with a hammer. He was sentenced to death in October, 2007, according to The Independent.
Start: October 30, 2006
End: December 10, 2006
Crime: Five counts of murder
When a 19-year-old prostitute went missing in England, police started an investigation. When, after two weeks, more prostitutes went missing and were later found strangled to death, the country was in an uproar over the modern-day Jack The Ripper. The Ipswich Strangler, Steve Wright, was caught through DNA from a previous crime. He was jailed for life, according to the Guardian.
End: November, 2007
Crime: Tax fraud, mail fraud, corruption, etc.
From hiring an illegal immigrant as a nanny, to a host of corruptions at the NYPD, former police commissioner Bernard Kerik committed an 'extensive crime spree' during his time in office. Those were the words of federal prosecutors, who indicted the commissioner in late 2007. Kerik was initially indicted in 2006 for related charges, according to The New York Times. And he is still under investigation for ties to the mob.
Start: 1991 or earlier
End: December 10, 2008
A ponzi scheme can be seen as the ultimate crime spree. Like a run of bank robberies, a Ponzi scheme creates unstoppable momentum. However, where the bank robbers -- or at least Bonnie & Clyde, John Dillinger, and Baby Face Nelson -- end their spree in a violent shootout, Ponzi schemers can go on decades, building huge fortunes and becoming well-liked and respected members of society.
But even the ultimate crime spree has to end. Bernie Madoff's scheme ran out of money at the end of 2008, finally prompting his arrest. The Ponz was sentenced to 150 years in prison and massive fines, according to The New York Times.
Start: December 19, 2008
End: September, 2009
An L.A. gang of mostly 19-year-old girls burglarized a series of young celebrity homes. The so-called Bling Ring broke into the homes of celebrities including Orlando Bloom, Megan Fox, Lindsay Lohan, and Rachel Bilson, stealing cash, narcotics, jewelry, and memorabilia items like photos. Members of the gang were arrested under suspicion and confessed in November, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Start: January, 2009
Abdel-Karin Serhani does a great impression of a Saudi prince. This is his standard con, which the 26-year-old Frenchman has used to run up -- and not pay -- extraordinary bills at luxury hotels around the world.
Since striking his first luxury hotel in January (a French hotel that comped him a Ferrari and much Dom Perignon during his six-day stay), Serhani has tortured police from Belgium to Australia. Briefly arrested, he paid bail, skipped town in a stolen boat, and promptly released a video taunting police to 'catch me if you can,' according to the Daily Mail.
Photo: Luxury Insider
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