Has anyone ever ACTUALLY deliberately left clues for police?

I’m thinking of the TV / movie meme of a criminal who leaves puzzles and anagrams and such specifically trying to help the cops track them down. Secret codes that, once decoded, would basically just lead to them being captured?

Seems to happen in cop movies all the time, I just wonder how many Riddler Copycats are out there.

The Zodiac killer is one of the more famous examples. He sent ciphers to newspapers in the area, but rather than intended to help police track him down, they seemed more intended to taunt the police. I think in such cases, the letters sent by the killers can be used to track them down, but I don’t think they intend to be caught.

The BTK Killer.

I think that the BTK Killer, like the Zodiac killer, intended the letters to taunt the police rather than “specifically trying to help the cops track them down” as the OP suggests.

I suppose you are right, but then what is the Zodiac killer one of the more famous examples of?

A killer who sent puzzles to the police, just not one who sent them intending to be caught.

DC Snipers called the cops and told them to look into a killing they did in Alabama. That helped them solve the case.

Which is also not what the OP was asking for, right? You have me seriously confused. The OP says this ;

And Dewey responds respond with this :

What’s the difference?

The Zodiac killer was an example of a killer who “leaves puzzles and anagrams” (well, actually he sent them to the newspapers, not left them) but not “specifically trying to help the cops track them down” (but instead to taunt the cops). Does that make sense?

Well, I can’t think of many examples in the movies or TV where the killer is ‘specifically trying to help the cops track them down’ either, as opposed to taunting the cops or playing games with them.

Maybe I don’t watch the right kinds of movies.

Well Seven (err Se7en if you’re a purist), Batman Forever and, to a lesser extent, Along Came a Spider come to mind…

But only one of those would fall under the category of “the right kinds of movies” :wink:

This story is very topical - but the clues weren’t exactly in code.

IIRC, I think Zodiac claimed that one or more of the cryptograms he sent to newspapers, if solved, would reveal his identity. Don’t think those were ever solved.

The original case which I beleive created the “Master criminal taunting police” meme was the Jack the Ripper letters (which in fact coined the term “Jack the Ripper”). And that is widely considered to be a hoax (most likely perpetrated by tabloid journalists)

There have been several genuine cases over the years however. As well as the Zodiac Killer (mentioned above) BTK killer also left notes (Which I believe eventually incriminated him).

BTK killer was caught because he did not know Word documents can contain the name of the place that owns the software. He sent Word docs and a letter, so the cops looked at the file and found the name of the place he worked.

That’s why I prefer to use ASCII when I write taunting letters to the cops.

The killer of Mikki Jo West left several notes in local shopping malls pretending to be somebody who knew the killer, and named a suspect.

Now, the world will never know exactly why Marvin Lee Irvin decided to name himself as the killer, seeing as nobody was looking for him at the time, but maybe he was trying some double bluff. This didn’t exactly fool the authorities, though.

The first batch of letters Zodiac sent were solved. A later ciphered letter has not been solved. I would actually wonder if Zodiac, having established that his first set of letters were genuine, and also having done things like sending the cops a swatch of his victim’s clothing, didn’t just compose a bunch of random nonsense in a later letter to mess with them, knowing that they would take it seriously. If it IS just a cipher, and contains anything like the expected content, you might expect it to have been broken, like the initial one.

Yes, “Jack the Ripper” is from a pseudonymous letter sent after a couple of the murders in Whitechapel; not to the police but to a news agency. As a matter of fact, the sender wrote more than one, taunting the police. From the first (snipped):

After a double murder, snipped:

At this time the letters were published, and the name stuck. Also, the police was drowned in bogus letters from “Jack the Ripper”.
One which caught interest though, came with part of a kidney. It was this one that opened with “From hell”, and was signed “Catch me when you can”. It was not signed “Jack the Ripper”, and was not of the same hand writing as the first two.
Probably all were hoaxes though, but I do not believe there’s an agreement who wrote any of them.

Maybe my memory is wrong, but didn’t several of the crime scenes (of “Jack the Ripper”) show an attempt to taunt the police?