Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

David Berkowitz: The Son of Sam


Two days later, August 8, Chamberlain and Intervallo called Detective Salvesen to tell him about the Craig Glassman event and the letters that Glassman had received. One of the letters was amazingly confessional: "True, I am the killer, but Craig, the killings are at your command." Salvesen promised to inform the task force immediately, but the information didn't get to the task force for days.

Berkowitz's car, impounded for evidence
Berkowitz's car, impounded for evidence

In the meantime, several traffic tickets that had been written the night of the shooting, outside witness Davis' apartment, were at last found. All but one were investigated and yielded nothing. One final ticket was yet to be investigated — one belonging to a Yonkers man named David Berkowitz.

Detective Jimmy Justus called the Yonkers Police Department and talked to Wheat Carr, the daughter of Sam Carr, who had lost her dog. She gave him a real earful about David Berkowitz and everything her father had tried to impress upon the police days earlier. Officer Chamberlain called Justus shortly afterwards and told him everything he knew. They compared notes.

Then after the Carr family and officers Chamberlain and Intervallo had connected all the dots repeatedly for the New York City Police, the latter were more than anxious to go in for the collar and the glory that went with it. On August 10, Shea, Strano, William Gardella and John Falotico put 35 Pine Street under surveillance. The number of cops grew as everyone wanted to be in on the arrest.

Just after 7:30 P.M., a heavy-set Caucasian male walked out of the apartment building and seemed to head towards Berkowitz's Ford Galaxy. The police started to close in on him. Falotico pulled his gun and stopped the man. "David, stay where you are," he warned him.

"Are you the police?" the man wanted to know.

"Yes. Don't move your hands."

David Berkowitz arrested
David Berkowitz arrested

It was not David Berkowitz, but Craig Glassman, the part-time deputy sheriff who realized that these men surrounding him were not the Yonkers police but New York City's "finest." Glassman figured it out fast that Berkowitz was a suspect in the Son of Sam murders.

Several hours later another figure emerged from the apartment building, carrying a paper bag. The man was heavy with dark hair and he walked slowly toward the Ford Galaxy. This time, the police waited for the man to get into the car and put the paper bag on the passenger seat. "Let's go!" Falotico yelled and the officers advanced. The man inside did not see the approaching figures. Gardella came from the rear of the car and put the barrel of his gun against the man's head. "Freeze!" he yelled. "Police!"

The man inside the car turned around and smiled idiotically at them. Falotico gave him very explicit instructions to slowly get out of the car and put his hands up on the roof. The man obeyed, still smiling.

"Now that I've got you," Falotico said, "who have I got?"

"You know," the man said politely.

"No, I don't. You tell me."

Still smiling his moronic smile, he answered, "I'm Sam. David Berkowitz."