Cat burglar's lives run out.In 1997, David Washington was convicted for a series of aggravated ag·gra·vate
tr.v. ag·gra·vat·ed, ag·gra·vat·ing, ag·gra·vates
1. To make worse or more troublesome.
2. To rouse to exasperation or anger; provoke. See Synonyms at annoy. burglaries in Memphis, Tennessee For the ancient Egyptian capital, see .
Memphis is a city in the southwest corner of Tennessee, and the county seat of Shelby County. Memphis rises above the Mississippi River on the 4th Chickasaw Bluff just below the mouth of the Wolf River. , and sentenced to 20 years in state prison. Washington was, however, released last February. He soon returned to his life of crime.
On March 11th of this year, Memphis experienced the first of what would become a three-month spree of residential break-ins. The elusive cat burglar would usually enter through a window and then take money, credit cards, purses, and even cars while his victims were sleeping. If confronted by a homeowner, he would flee through the same window through which he had entered. The July 13th Memphis Commercial Appeal reported that while he apparently did not carry a gun, and never attacked his victims, "he scared the daylights out of several."
Police suspected from the start that Washington was the culprit, but it was not until mid-April that one of his victims was able to identify him from a photo spread. The first of what would become a litany litany (lĭt`ənē) [Gr.,=prayer], solemn prayer characterized by varying petitions with set responses. The term is mainly used for Christian forms. Litanies were developed in Christendom for use in processions. of warrants for his arrest was issued a few days later.
"By early June," the Commercial Appeal recalled, "Washington's picture was everywhere: on television, on fliers, in the newspapers. Detectives were combing South Memphis, where Washington had lived briefly with his mother after getting out of prison, and watching his haunts." The area was saturated with police dogs, undercover officers, and aviation surveillance, but to no avail. Even as police searched for him, "Washington kept slipping into homes, sometimes four or five a night. Nothing seemed to faze him."
The Commercial Appeal recounted the experiences of some of the victims. Jerome Morrison recalled: "He came creeping down the hall, and I saw a head stick around the bedroom door. I yelled that I was calling 911.... He scared the hell out of me."
In April, the cat burglar crawled through a window, walked in on a couple having dinner, hastily retreated, and dove out the same window.
A number of victims told police of waking up to find a man hovering over them. On June 3rd, for instance, a sleeping woman heard a noise and woke to find an intruder An attacker that gains, or tries to gain, unauthorized access to a system. See attacker, intrusion and IDS. standing over her. Her boyfriend chased the interloper from the bedroom, down the stairs Adv. 1. down the stairs - on a floor below; "the tenants live downstairs"
downstairs, on a lower floor, below , and into the kitchen, where the man jumped through a window.
One night in May, the cagey ca·gey also ca·gy
adj. ca·gi·er, ca·gi·est
1. Wary; careful: a cagey avoidance of a definite answer.
2. Crafty; shrewd: a cagey lawyer. thief was chased from two houses by homeowners armed with guns, only to commit three more break-ins later that night. Detective Daniel Barham of the Memphis Police Department's Burglary Bureau told the Commercial Appeal, "He was unique, the best I've ever seen. To him, it was a job, except it was 9 [p.m.] to 5 a.m. for him." Police eventually tied Washington to at least eight burglaries, attributed another 80 or so to him, and considered him a suspect in as many as 300.
Then, in the wee hours of one June morning, on Friday the 13th Friday the 13th
regarded as unlucky day. [Western Folklore: Misc.]
See : Luck, Bad no less, Washington's luck ran out. His fatal mistake was breaking into the home of Memphis residents Christopher and Sharon Howard. Mr. Howard, a Memphis Fire Department investigator, grabbed a handgun and confronted the intruder. The two began struggling; and, as they grappled, Mr. Howard shot Washington, who was pronounced dead at the scene. Washington had sundry sun·dry
Various; miscellaneous: a purse containing keys, wallet, and sundry items.
[Middle English sundri, from Old English syndrig, separate. items stolen hours earlier in other burglaries. The Howards were not injured in·jure
tr.v. in·jured, in·jur·ing, in·jures
1. To cause physical harm to; hurt.
2. To cause damage to; impair.
Burglary Bureau Major Billy Garret told the next day's Commercial Appeal, "I hate for someone to lose their life, but for all those innocent victims out there ... they don't have to worry about this particular guy." Detective Barham added, "He was a cat, and he utilized all his lives."
Authorities ruled the shooting a justifiable homicide justifiable homicide n. a killing without evil or criminal intent, for which there can be no blame, such as self-defense to protect oneself or to protect another, or the shooting by a law enforcement officer in fulfilling his/her duties. .