The D.C. sniper case is not the first large investigation into a string of terrible murders that was solved thanks to a little luck.
Infamous serial killer Ted Bundy — responsible for the deaths of at least 30 women — was pulled over by police in 1978 while cruising through Pensacola, Fla., one night with his headlights off.
Joel David Rifkin, who killed 17 prostitutes in New York in the early 1990s was chased down one night for driving without a license plate. The officer who pulled him over found a dead body in the back of Rifkin's pickup truck
Oklahoma City bomber Timothy Mcveigh was also stopped by an officer for a missing plate on his getaway car. "Son of Sam" serial killer David Berkowitz — while stalking one of his victims — illegally parked in front of a fire hydrant. Investigators later used the $25 parking ticket that was slapped on his car to track him down.
And then there was Mohammad Salameh — who rented the truck used in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. He returned to the truck rental center, saying the truck was stolen and asking for his $400 deposit back. That helped investigators lead to Salameh.
"Most of these guys are not Hannibal Lecter, but that's what the killers like to think they are," said. Xxxxxxxxx xxxxxxx.
When the killers have some success with their crimes — as the D.C. sniper did — they get cockier and sloppier. Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx said, "Falling asleep in a wanted car is just a sign of his feeling of invincibility."
These kind of mistakes are nothing new-- Leopold and Loeb case in 192_
They were considered geniuses who thought they had committed the perfect murder. They planned it in great detail, but during the crime Leopold's glasses fell out of his pocket. An unusual hinge on his eyeglasses gave investigators the clue they needed to crack the case.
These slip-ups reflect human nature — people make mistakes. Thank goodness we do, or killers might never be caught.