Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Joseph Kallinger, the Enigmatic Cobbler

The Slightest Clue

Not far away, an important piece of evidence was found.   A woman walking her dog had seen a man and boy run down a hill, bend over in a puddle of water to do something, and then run away.  The man had taken off his shirt and tie and left them lying on the ground.  The woman called the police, and they confiscated the discarded shirt and tie, which appeared to have bloodstains on them, for testing.  The puddle, too, appeared to have been used to wash blood away.  In the mud was a clear footprint, which they set to work to cast.

Shirt found with blood on sleeve
Shirt found with blood on sleeve

At the Romaine home, Detective Robert Roseman looked for evidence as well.   He made a list of what the family believed had been taken.  However, much of this was recovered in the house, apparently abandoned when the burglars had fled the scene in haste.  There were some watches and rings still missing, and money.  The officers dusted for prints and found several rolls of adhesive tape, a bloody footprint, and some tape with hair on it.

They also looked for witnesses and found many people in the neighborhood who had seen the man and boy walking together that day—not only there but also in nearby Fort Lee.   Apparently the odd couple was spotted there first.  But they did not appear to be from around there.  No one knew who they were.

One person told him the boy had knocked at his door and asked if the Joneses lived there.  Apparently it was a way to see who was at home.  It seemed as if this man and boy were just staking out places to rob.  A bus driver said he had picked up two passengers who had a strange appearance that matched the offenders and had transported them to New York City.  He said they had seemed to be in a hurry.

It was not difficult to trace their route from the park to the bus stop, since they had discarded things like watches, bracelets, rings and the leather knife sheath along the way.  The police even found the knife, still bloody, and it was a match to the wounds the murder victim had suffered.  Then they found a .32-caliber revolver cast aside in some bushes, and the Romaines recognized it as the gun the man had used to threaten them.

The autopsy of the murder victim indicated that not only had her throat been cut, but she had also been stabbed below the left breast, penetrating the heart, and below the left armpit, which had penetrated a lung.   There was no evidence that the killer had attempted to undress her.  She had died from a severe loss of blood.

Neither of the weapons found could be traced to an owner, but the discarded shirt had been manufactured in Philadelphia.   A laundry mark, difficult to decipher, revealed the letters KAL.  The crime lab set to work on it.

Shirt with laundry tag
Shirt with laundry tag

Prosecutor Larry McClure figured that this odd couple had done burglaries before, so he sent out a description of the man/boy team and received back four separate incidents in New Jersey, Maryland, and  Pennsylvania towns.  All of the victims into whose homes the man had gained entrance agreed, according to Downs, that the man had a peculiar odor about him.  Their MO was to have the boy knock on doors and ask if someone named Jones lived there while the man waited in the street.  Whenever a young woman with a nice build answered, especially one with children to be used as leverage, they would force their way inside to rob the place, strip the woman, tie her up, and subject her to sexual assault.   Often the woman was tied to the box springs of a bed.

The man had ordered three of the women he'd bound to perform oral sex on him, and he had unsuccessfully tried to rape one of them.   At another home, he had forced four female members of a bridge club, who had arrived one by one, into various humiliating positions in the nude.  He made one woman look at his knife, as if it was a substitute for his penis.  He had also cut one on the chest.  Then he and the boy had run.  From that home, they managed to escape with $20,000 worth of goods.  At another, they took $5,000 in valuables.  They always got away on a bus.

Unknown fingerprints from house were Kallinger's
Unknown fingerprints from house were Kallinger's

Only after the fatal incident in Leonia, New Jersey, were these various crimes finally connected.  Unknown fingerprints were collected from the Romaine house, but the FBI could not identify them.  They could only hope that someone would report these two before they struck again.

Then on January 14, the team apparently showed up in Margate, New Jersey.


We're Following
Slender Man stabbing, Waukesha, Wisconsin
Gilberto Valle 'Cannibal Cop'