Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Bobby Joe Long

The Classified Ad Rapist

Long had developed a successful MO: between 1980 and 1983, he scanned papers for ads for items for sale. Longs former roommate, Ted Gensel, recalled for police how Long used to make a lot of calls to people who had placed ads. In particular, he was looking for bedroom furniture (which Long later explained was because one would have to try it out before a purchase). He also went up to houses that bore For Sale signs and often forced his way in. A few times, he raped girls as young as 12 or 13.

After he found an ad he liked, he would call and arrange to go look at the item during the day, when husbands were unlikely to be home. If he was mistaken, he could always decline to buy the item and walk away. More often, a woman alone answered the door. They often let him in because he came across as clean-cut, well-dressed, and respectable. As Ward puts it, He did not look like a rapist.

He practiced this maneuver in neighborhoods in the counties surrounding Ocala, Miami, and Fort Lauderdale. When a woman opened the door and appeared to be alone and vulnerable, Long would pull his knife. Then he would bind the victims and rape them, often robbing the home as well before he left.     

In a letter that Ward reprinted, Long writes that a few of them got into it and even asked him if he minded if they enjoyed it. He said that while he raped them, he made them talk to him. Most did not resist, but those who did received a punch in the stomach that showed them he meant business. Give a bitch a choice between getting dicked and getting hurt, he said, you know what shes gonna pick.

In his opinion, he was doing them a favor because they had such miserable sex lives with their husbands. He believed that had he not begun to kill, he could have kept up with this criminal activity indefinitely. To him, it seemed foolproof. He got a kick out of seeing himself described in the newspapers as the Classified Ad Rapist or the Adman Rapist. Even when they knew how he was doing it, they had been unable to catch him.

Although the police dated the first of these rapes to 1980, Long claimed he had started using this method in 1975 or 1976. Mostly I did it for the thrill of it, he admitted. He especially liked the intimidation factor of his sharp, nasty blade.

The Evil That Men Do
The Evil That Men Do
The FBI labeled him a power assertive rapist, which meant that he was doing these crimes to affirm for himself his own manhood. Roy Hazelwood, in The Evil that Men Do, describes such men as those who assault to assert their masculinity, about which he has no doubts The most important thing in the world for him is for others to see him as a mans man. He will rip off clothing, terrorize, and show no concern for his victims suffering.

The method was actually not as foolproof as he claimed. He was nearly caught on several occasions as he fled the place. There were witnesses.

In 1981, he had actually been convicted of rape, but in an appeal he claimed the discovery of witnesses who affirmed that the alleged victim had actually given her consent to have sex. Long was let go and he continued his attacks.

He appears to have raped at least 50 women, with some estimates going as high as 150. Norris says Longs rapes followed the cycles of the full moon.

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