law and order svu: predator strike force part 4

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3

“Got something,” Stabler said as he leaned in the SVU squad room doorway, beckoning his partners Benson and Strauss to join him.

Only a couple hours on the job and Strauss already felt at home here at Special Victims Unit. Even though his partners Benson and Stabler had worked together for more than a decade, Strauss seemed to be as much a part of the team as either of them. It was almost as if he’d also been their partners for more than a decade. Maybe even slightly longer than Stabler.

The three fast friends went down to the crime lab where O’Halloran was preparing his rundown. Benson sighed, “Please tell me you got a name from the parrot’s confession.”

“Even better,” said O’Halloran. “This parrot didn’t just squawk parts of what he heard. He’s like a living recording, capable of perfectly reproducing every sound that happened in that alley. Check it out.”

He pushed play on the police MP3. The sounds of a quiet night. Trash cans being tipped over. “Leave me alone,” cried a woman’s voice.

“Probably our victim,” said Stabler, interested.

Then the sound of a knife being pulled out of a coat pocket. “Your life ends here, bitch, but your face and hands are coming with me… because I’m chopping them off!” another voice seemed to say. Even Benson, a seasoned pro, had to turn away at the sound of that. Strauss put a comforting hand on her shoulder in a caring but professional way. If Stabler noticed, he didn’t say anything, so it must have been okay. Also he was too busy thinking about the crime and his divorce.

“But we knew what happened in the alley already, O’Halloran,” said Strauss. “This only proves we were right, but doesn’t give us any more leads.”

“That’s where you’re wrong,” said O’Halloran. Strauss bristled but didn’t let it show. That’s probably not how O’Halloran meant it. After all even good cops are wrong once in a while. Strauss took it on the chin and didn’t let it bother him at all, and kept listening to O’Halloran’s explanation. Maybe that would shed some light on things. “We didn’t need a name if we could get a face. Look.”

O’Halloran typed a million things into his keyboard. Sonic waves emanated from one part of the screen — a tiny representation of the parrot. As each wave bounced around, a little more of a three-dimensional image developed: the alley that night. Two figures. The trash cans that Stabler, Benson and Strauss could remember clear as day. Soon fine details emerged as the sound waves split apart and snaked down and around every part of the alley — and even a little bit beyond.

“Is that a truck parked at the mouth of the alley?” asked Stabler.

“Sure is,” said O’Halloran as the sound waves finally stopped. It was a perfect 3D image: a dark blue beat-up Ford F-150 with rust around the front left wheel well, license plate QXR587. “I already pulled the plates. The truck is registered to a Ricky Wayne Folgers.”

“An alias for an alias,” intoned Strauss grimly. “Sounds like Bolgers has been busy.”

“How can we be sure it’s your guy?” asked Stabler. “What if it’s a coincidence?”

“Because,” said Strauss. “Look at how tall the sonic image of the attacker is. 5 feet, 9.41556 inches. There’s only one man in the world with that height: Ricky Wayne Bolgers.”

“We have an address. Let’s see if we can pick him up,” said Benson. “Let’s get some justice for that young dead sex victim.”

Strauss took his hand off Benson’s shoulder, ready to roll.

TO BE COMPLETED

law and order svu: predator strike force part 3

Read Part 1 and Part 2.

“Talk, damn you, talk!” screamed Fin, a cop known for keeping his cool in the interrogation room. But the green parrot in its dingy cage – a conure — refused to say a word.

“Is our witness starting to ruffle your feathers, Fin?” said Munch. Despite the joke, this was no laughing matter and Munch knew it. This parrot might have been the only witness to a brutal sexual murder in a New York alleyway, and the tortured, miserable end to a young girl’s stolen life.

“Maybe Polly want a lawyer,” joked Fin. But no one laughed. Fin didn’t expect them to. He just had to say it like cops do sometimes.

From behind the one-way mirror, Captain Cragen and District Attorney Alexandra Cabot watched. “This is going nowhere,” said Cragen. Cabot agreed with her old friend’s assessment. She always had looked up to him, and it didn’t hurt that she also thought he looked like Commander Stargazer from SilverHawks.

“I’m not here to berate the department,” said Cabot. “It’s just that we need answers and we need them fast. You see… the mayor’s daughter has been missing for two days. She may be out there hurt and alone, and knowing this serial strangler-rapist is out there isn’t making the mayor feel any better about it.”

“We’ll have to play this manhunt close to the vest then,” said Cragen. “The last thing we need is a media circus and the mayor’s daughter connected to it. Some crazy might get the bright idea to take her hostage.” Cabot still agreed and she was pretty much just nodding her head at this point.

Meanwhile, in the squad room, Stabler, Benson and Strauss stood around the wall of screens that’s in every police department. “Strauss, you said you’ve been chasing down this strangler for the last two years. You have anything on him?” asked Benson. Even though now both of the uppermost buttons on her blouse had accidentally come undone, no one could say anything because it would mean they had looked.

Stabler had noticed it but decided to let Benson figure it out on her own. Maybe the next time she went to the bathroom she’d see it in the mirror and re-button them. Hmm, but am I being a good friend? he asked himself. Then she’ll just wonder how long they’ve been unbuttoned, and then she’ll think about why I didn’t say anything and how I let her walk around like that.

“The closest we have to a name is an old alias: Ricky Wayne Bolgers,” said Strauss pulling the slide back on one of his three chrome-plated .50-cal handguns. “When I was with ECHO, we just thought Bolgers was your garden-variety face-chopping strangle freak. Then forensics came back with evidence of sexual assault, and well… everything we knew flew right out the window.”

“So you got reassigned to sex crimes,” said Benson.

“I requested the reassignment,” said Strauss, returning the .50-cal to its holster. “Anything that’d let me stay on Bolgers’ trail. Even if it meant working Predator Strike Force.” Both Benson and Stabler nodded grimly. Even with everything they’ve seen, they knew PSF detectives had it a million times worse.

“While you guys were strolling down memory lame,” said Munch, “Dr. Doolittle here got something out of the parrot.”

“How’d you do it, Fin?” asked Benson.

“Easy, I remembered Bird 101: I put a blanket over its cage and made it think it was nighttime — which happened to be the time of the murder,” said Fin. “Soon as I did, it started squawking a minute-by-minute playback of the sounds from the alleyway that night. We sent it to the lab and hopefully we’ll have all the leads we need this afternoon.

“Also, Liv, you have like two buttons on your shirt undone and we can all see your business.”

“Fin, you never were one for subtlety,” laughed Stabler, who was just glad that that was over with.

TO BE CONTINUED

law and order svu: predator strike force part 2

Part 2 of a series. Read Part 1.

Detectives Stabler, Benson and Strauss pulled up to the crime scene in Stabler’s department vehicle. It was a step down from Strauss’s standard-issue Camaro, but he didn’t mind anything if it led to a collared perp. That’s short for ‘perpetrator.’

“Looks like you beat us here,” Stabler called out to Munch and Fin, already walking the police line. Munch nibbled on a footlong, like he did. Helped him concentrate on the scene. Good old Munch — either something was going into his mouth, or something funny and crazy was coming out of it.

Strauss hollered at him: “Hey, what are you munching, Munch?” Detective Munch just smiled and shook his head laughing. No one had thought of that before and he was glad someone finally noticed. This guy’s gonna fit right in, thought Munch as he chuckled.

But the appearance of Medical Examiner Warner changed those chuckles into stern looks of taut-lipped disgust. “Found the victim in pieces in this alleyway. Her hands were chopped off along with her face. No way to ID the body yet.”

Benson sneered. “Sounds like someone didn’t want us to know who they chopped the hands and face off of.” Stabler looked like he wanted to punch something, but more than usual. Fin just stared icily at Munch’s half-chomped dog. The hot dog was now cold, but not as cold as the blood in Fin’s pissed-off veins.

“Sounds like the guy I’ve been looking for for the past two years,” said Strauss, making his way through the small assembly of cops and techs. “Hello Melinda,” he said to Warner.

“Christopher,” said Warner. “It’s been a while. You still look great.” She and Strauss had had a fling when he worked for Elite Crime Halt Operations (ECHO), before he moved on to specialize in extreme sexual criminals in Predator Strike Force. The sex was great, but neither of them could take their minds off their jobs long enough to make a commitment, even though the sex was great.

“Melinda, please. Not here in front of the victim who deserves our respect,” said Strauss.

“Right,” said Warner, rapidly switching back to Medical Examiner Mode. “I determined the time of death by carbon-dating soil samples I found on the victim’s boots. She died at 4:33 AM last night of asphyxiation caused by strangling. But the amputations were made after the assault and her death.”

“At least she didn’t have to suffer through that indignity too,” said Fin, who looked like a bulldog about to break off his chain and take a bite out of crime.

“First responders round up any witnesses for us?” asked Benson, who was so focused on surveying the crime scene that she forgot her collar button was undone, so Strauss was in perfect position to look down her top, but he didn’t even notice because he was too much of a professional.

“Only one, and it’s a doozy,” smirked Warner. “A parrot in a neighbor’s window by the name of Milky.”

Damn, thought Strauss. I can’t look into the parrot’s past by shaking its hand… parrots don’t have hands.

TO BE CONTINUED