Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Gary Krist: The Einstein of Crime

The Ransom

Mackle with "kidnapped" sign
Mackle with "kidnapped" sign

Krist phoned the Mackle home that morning to direct the family to a set of instructions he had buried ahead of time under a rock in their yard.

If Mackle agreed to pay the $500,000 ransom, he was to place a classified ad in the next day's Miami Herald.

Krist and Eisemann spent the day preparing the ransom pickup and their escape. They bought plane tickets to Chicago and a small boat.

The next morning, Dec. 18, the ad appeared in the paper:

"LOVED ONE: Please come home.

We will pay all expense and meet

you anywhere at any time. Your Family."

Late that night, Krist phoned the Mackle home with ransom drop instructions. Robert Mackle was to leave the money on a seawall along Fair Isles Causeway at Biscayne Bay, a few miles from Mackle's mansion in Coral Gables.

Krist waited nearby, bobbing in a skiff in the bay. He planned to race to shore, grab the cash and jump in a getaway car, the Volvo, driven by Eisemann.

But as Mackle made the drop, two cops happened by, and the pickup was aborted, with Krist fleeing on foot and Eisemann abandoning the Volvo.

It was a fiasco. The car contained a trove of information about the kidnappers, including Eisemann's passport, their checkbooks, documents that revealed their past addresseseven a collection of lacy bikini panties and racy nude Polaroids of both Krist and Eisemann. Police also found a Polaroid of Mackle holding a sign that bore the word "Kidnapped."

Krist and Eisemann decided to split up, planning a rendezvous in Austin, Texas, as a prelude to their escape to Europe.

Eisemann boarded a bus heading west while Krist pressed a second ransom payment plan. He rented a car and phoned Mackle at 10:35 that night.

He ordered a new money drop on Southwest Eighth Street, at the edge of the city. The second drop went as planned, and Gary Krist had his $500,000.

He was richbriefly.

By the time Krist picked up the cash, the FBI already knew the identities of both kidnappers. Warrants were issued, although authorities had no good idea of where to find the kidnappers.

Logo: FBI
Logo: FBI

That would change when Gary Krist made a rookie mistake.

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