Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Gary Krist: The Einstein of Crime

Escape from Florida

Krist turned up that night, Friday, Dec. 20, at the first lock of the Florida Intercoastal Waterway near St. Lucie.

He gave the lock tender his boat registration information, then continued west across Florida through the St. Lucie Canal, across Lake Okeechobee and through a series of locks leading to the Caloosahatchee River in the Fort Myers area on the west coast of the state.

Krist covered more than 100 miles by daybreak Saturday. But the tender at the final lock before the Caloosahatchee and open water got suspicious when Krist claimed he had lost his registration paperwork.

He radioed back to other locks and learned the man had crossed the state using the same story at each stop.

He allowed him through but called authorities, and they quickly discerned that the suspicious boatman was Krist.

A helicopter was scrambled up and an armada of police boats was turned loose on the Caloosahatchee. With lawmen approaching from all directions, Krist beached his vessel on Hog Island, a 30-square-mile jungle of dense mangroves in the bay off Fort Myers.

Map with Hog island Indicator
Map with Hog island Indicator

Agents and officers surrounded the island, and Krist was finally tracked down after 12 hours of running through the jungle.

According to the deputies who arrested him, Krist's first words were, "I have rights!"

Gary Krist
Gary Krist

The deputies recovered $17,000 from his pockets, and the FBI found another $480,000 in the boat.

Subtracting the cost of the boat, Krist had netted a grand total of $761 from the perfect crime.

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