How Scrooge McDuck Helped Connecticut Detectives Solve a Murder

Crime
A blog about murder, theft, and other wickedness.
Sept. 12 2013 3:17 PM

How Scrooge McDuck Helped Connecticut Detectives Solve a Murder

Illustration by Robert Neubecker.

Illustration by Robert Neubecker

Name: Lorenza Christian

Alleged crime: Conspiracy to commit murder.

Fatal mistake: Leaving a cartoonishly obvious trail for cops to find and follow.

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The circumstances: On July 13, a Hartford, Conn. man named Miguel Rodriguez was killed in a street-corner shooting that initially baffled police. Eventually, though, investigators came up with a lead: When he died, Rodriguez had been wearing a distinctive gold chain and medallion featuring the likeness of Scrooge McDuck, the Disney character known for his great wealth and avarice, and for his habit of bathing in a pool of gold coins. Though Scrooge McDuck-themed trinkets are a dime a dozen in Duckburg, they’re relatively rare in Hartford, and detectives theorized that finding the jewelry might help them find the killer.

Sure enough, the cops located the items at a local second-hand shop. And since Connecticut state law requires pawn and second-hand shops to record the names and addresses of the people with whom they do business, the cops were also able to locate the man who allegedly sold it: a habitual criminal named Lorenza Christian. From there, as David Owens at the Hartford Courant reports, it was only a matter of time before they linked the murder to Christian and an associate, Tyquan Turner, who was allegedly the one who pulled the trigger. Both men are currently being held on seven-figure bonds: a pittance for the world’s wealthiest duck, but a fortune for an uncautious schnook from Hartford.

How he could’ve been a lot smarter: Christian could have found a less obvious way of obtaining cash for gold, such as, I don’t know, going to one of the many, many shops in Connecticut that exist solely to offer cash for gold. Though Connecticut recently passed a bill requiring precious metals or stones dealers to keep a record of all people from whom they purchase goods, the law doesn’t go into effect until October 1. Christian could’ve sold the medallion without leaving a trace.

How he could’ve been a little smarter: Used some sort of false identity at the pawn shop. “Huey,” “Dewey,” or “Louie” would’ve done nicely.

How he could’ve been a little dumber: I guess Christian could’ve decided to just start wearing the medallion around in public. In one sense, this might have been smarter than selling it, since it wouldn’t have involved any paper trail. In another sense, though, is it ever really a smart decision when a grown man goes out in public wearing a big gold likeness of a children’s cartoon character?

How he could’ve been a lot dumber: He could have tried to blame the whole thing on those devious Beagle Boys.

Ultimate Dumbness Ranking (UDR): This wasn’t stupidity so much as carelessness. Christian should have listened to the sage advice contained in DuckTales’ very own theme song: “D-d-d-danger! Watch behind you! / There’s a stranger out to find you.” In his case, that stranger was a member of the Hartford Police Department. A smart criminal takes steps to make it harder for the cops to track him down. A dumb criminal makes it much, much easier. 5.5 out of 10 for Lorenza Christian.

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Justin Peters is a writer for Slate. He is working on a book about Aaron Swartz, copyright, and the rise of “free culture.” Email him at justintrevett@fastmail.fm.

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