The Decoy

Lights, camera, & some unexpected action!

By Dave Grossi  |   Sep 22, 2017
This is not our detective.

[Publisher’s Note: Humor in Blue is a new column by Calibre Press alum Dave Grossi. Similar in style to his hilarious eight-part Lawyers I’ve Known series, these eight stories have been gleaned from the warped mind of Dave himself. The names of the players have been changed, the locations masked (somewhat), a few embellishments added here and there, and some of the characters, while real people, combined and/or merged for brevity’s sake. Also, the Statute of Limitations on crude, lewd, lascivious and sometimes downright improper, albeit side-splitting, behavior has expired. Enjoy.]

Sergeants Ronny Wright and Lloyd Loggins were the “inside” men. Detective Mark McMasters was the “decoy.” All were part of the PD’s Tactical Unit Decoy Squad. Tasked with solving a rash of muggings of the city’s homeless population, a series of decoy ops were set up in the hopes the responsible vermin could be nailed.

With the help of some professional make-up folks from the local college theater department, the decoys could be made to look like 80-year old men or women. Wardrobes consisted of whatever they could borrow from the local shelter. With Mark placed face down in an alley, complete with a hidden wire, a half consumed bottle of Wild Irish Rose, urine-stained trousers, and a one-inch gash on his forehead, the stage was set.

Ronny and Lloyd were in a van, manning the wire and the video camera. They had been set up since about 11:00 p.m. Around 12:30 a.m., two tall, strikingly sexy “hookers” began to approach the stake-out location. Both were fairly good-looking, as far as they go, and appropriately dressed for the occasion, one in a pink micro-mini skirt and the other in black leather hot pants.

Pink mini was endowed with a bosom so ample it would have made the 1980s exotic dancer Morganna the Kissing Bandit proud. Both moved with the standard hooker walk. In fact there was so much butt movement a football ref would have thrown a penalty flag for backfield in motion.

Lloyd immediately started the camera and swung it toward the dynamic duo. Ronny then let out a wolf whistle followed by, “Will you look at the headlights on that chick!” Lloyd zoomed the camera in on both trollops, but shut it off and went back to watching Mark when the two wiggled out of camera range.

About five minutes later, two men started up the street, but turned down the alley when they spotted the “sleeping” Mark McMasters. Lloyd hit the record button again: “Got two ‘likelies’ approaching you now, Mark. They’re not quite sure, but they’re watching you carefully.”

Within a minute, both would-be muggers took the bait, walked over to Mark and gave him a little kick. When Mark didn’t stir, they reached into his urine-stained pants and took out his urine-stained wallet. Suddenly, four Tact Unit troops converged on the alley and took the duo into custody. The tape was then tagged, bagged, and preserved as evidence should the case go to trial.

Months later, the case appeared on the docket and in anticipation of a trial, the defense attorney for the two muggers made a motion to review the video of the decoy detail and arrest. Accompanied by the ADA, the lawyer showed up at the Detective Bureau where Ronny Wright waited with the sealed evidence bag. The tape was inserted into the VCR and sure enough, at the designated time, a clear wolf whistle followed by, “Would you look at the headlights on that chick!” came over loud and very clear.

Needless to say, red faces abound. After a second viewing, the attorney left, but not before looking at the ADA and announcing, “We’d like a copy of that, please.” This was followed by the proverbial “see you in court,” delivered with a sly smirk.

Now most defense attorneys after viewing the muggings on tape eagerly start plea bargain negotiations, but this attorney’s motive was to no doubt embarrass the cops, with hopes the ADA during pre-trial motions would offer up probation to avoid the video being shown at trial. But no such offer was made; and two weeks later, trial was set before the Honorable Edward Bennett Murphy.

Had Edward Bennett Murphy not gone on to law school and become a judge, he may have been the first American Pope. Sure enough, the second day of trial, it was time for Ronny to introduce the tape. After the ADA suggested the tape be started at the time the muggers made their approach up to decoy Mark McMasters, the defense attorney argued that the tape needed to be started at the very beginning. Pope Edward Bennett Murphy agreed. About five minutes into the video came the wolf whistle followed by the “headlights” comment.

“What was that, Detective?” asked The Pope, angrily.

“That was my partner, Sergeant Lloyd Loggins commenting on the physical attributes of one of the women, Your Honor.”

“I know what he was commenting on, Detective. What exactly did he say?” asked The Pope, now quite annoyed.

“He said ‘would you look at the headlights on that chick,’ Your Honor.”

By this time, the jury was almost in tears. But the trial continued with the video moving forward to the actual mugging and the eventual take down, which was carried out in textbook style. The trial concluded two days later with the jury of twelve (all men) finding the muggers guilty of second-degree robbery.

The trial also ended the film making careers of Executive Producer Lloyd Loggins and Director Ronny Wright.

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Dave Grossi
Dave Grossi is a retired police lieutenant from upstate NY now residing in southwest FL. He was the Lead Instructor for the Calibre Press, Inc. Street Survival Seminars from 1988 through 2000.