Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Twisted Tale of Peter Braunstein

Walking Time Bomb

A search of Braunstein's apartment and storage space in Queens turned up items from the victim's apartment, according to the New York Daily News: a fur coat, shoes, luggage and her driver's license and resume. Supposedly, he had seen the victim on a regular basis when he had worked at Fairchild and apparently grew obsessed with the stiletto-heeled shoes she wore. Vanessa Grigoriadis in New York magazine, who supplied details about both the victim and the alleged offender, discussed this potential motive along with Braunstein's past behavior with his former girlfriend — the woman who had alerted the police. Given how he had once harassed her and her family with a bombardment of threatening emails when she'd broken up with him two years earlier, he seemed like a walking time bomb.

Wanted poster
Wanted poster

With sufficient evidence linking Braunstein to the incident, the police distributed a poster throughout the city that featured his photo and indicated that he was wanted for questioning. It listed facts about him supplied by friends and associates, detailed in an AP report: he liked Guinness beer and beef curry with extra mustard. He rolled his own cigarettes, spoke French, and had a brilliantly sarcastic wit. He was one inch shy of six feet, weighed 150 pounds, was born in the Aquarian side of January 1964, and used aliases such as "Peter Grant," "Peter Bronson," and "Peter Brown." He had an unruly mop of brown curly hair, liked strip clubs and did not drive.

Aside from his former job at Women's Wear Daily, where he had commented on current fashions, Braunstein used to write about popular culture for publications like The Village Voice, specializing in the 1960s and 1970s. He discussed subjects ranging from movies, disco, and female icons to the role of white heterosexual males. He was also an aspiring playwright. But over the past year or so, Braunstein's life had taken a turn for the worse, one from which he had found no recovery.

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