The FBI survives on information from the public and still does today. All law enforcement does.
It comes from family, neighbors, nut bags and “sources” or “informants”. To develop informants takes a desire first and then a skill however, even a blind squirrel can find a nut. The FBI helps Agents get sources by requiring Agents to have informants or else! I was very good at developing sources from the beginning as I realized how important they are to doing my job. I also found that the harder I worked the more things came my way!
In my time on the squad I partnered with Steve, an ex-marine Captain with Vietnam combat experience. We both rode motorcycles and volunteered to do it for the Office, and ride we did! We were called out on major surveillances for kidnappings, fugitives, extortion, Patti Hearst, top 10 fugitive Bernadine Dorn, you name it, as well as our squad stuff. We were assigned as a team and could only be used when absolutely necessary as it was very risky. We both bad been hit by cars, and went over car hoods. That was because we had to go the wrong way down streets like 5th Ave in Manhattan in the middle of the day and on sidewalks to stay locked onto the target.
That’s what happened when 7 year old John Calzedia, from Brooklyn, was kidnapped for ransom. The family decided to pay and the chase was on! The case was all over national news, TV and the papers. The moronic press kept reporting that the family was rich, which they weren’t and it drove the ransom up and up. Mr. Calzedia scraped together the money and the father drove the money car with Danny O. Coulson (DOC) in the trunk as the father’s cover, (we had named Danny the Keebler Cookie Elf due to his size), but he was no little Agent! Steve was to lock onto the father and I had DOC. That meant DON’T LOOSE EITHER NO MATTER WHAT!!!
The caller ran us all over just like the movies, phone booth to phone booth, he made the fixed wing plane and chopper early. Kept us and some 100 Cops and Agents going and the good guys started to get lost due to lousy radio contact, just as the bad guys planned. He ran us in and out of Manhattan all over. Our radios were crap. The small “kell” 2 ways radios were good for less than 1 block in Manhattan and that’s what Steve and I had to use. After several hours Steve and I were the only two still on the surveillance. We could talk to each other and DOC sometimes. We closed the distance whenever the phone call was made.
We knew we were getting close to a drop as we were led away from the Manhattan crowds, into Jersey, heading North with no radio contact to the troops for a LONG time and had to make a plan and decided that Steve would absolutely stay with DOC and the father and I would try to cover the drop. We stopped and Steve gave me one of his two guns so I would have 3 on my person, we had to carry 6 shot revolvers at that time. We were way out in North Jersey when the father was told to drop the money over a railroad trestle bridge onto the tracks below! They called out that the drop was made, Steve followed the father and DOC and then they all waited for me. I trailed back as I was now out of sight of the boys and out of radio range with Steve. I waited long enough and closed the gap and saw the bridge. I dumped my bike and bailed down the embankment onto the tracks below. What we were doing now was contradictory to orders but we had to improvise and had no other choice. There was no one there, no money, no RR workers, no bad guys, nothing. I thought it was either the wrong place or he missed the drop. I climbed back out and met with the guys.
They made the drop as per instructions and I told them there was nothing there. We made our way to a phone and called the NYO. We had been out of contact for hours and all 100 good guys were conducting a land, sea and air search for us 4. We made our way back to NYO and received word that the boy was released in Jersey at a Motel The boy told the staff to call the police as, ‘He was a kidnap victim”! The bad guy called again to say he did not get the money and the boy was dropped off at the Motel. Steve and I were given a car and told to go get the boyfrom Newark FBI at the tunnel. We stopped on the NY side of the Tunnel when the SAC of Newark and his troops arrived with John, the kidnapped boy.
The SAC (Agent in charge) stomped up to our car and said that Newark “recovered “the boy and should keep him there. I handed him our car radio and told him, “ADIC Malone is on the other end, tell him that!” He didn’t know what to say and threw the “mic” into our car and told the troops to give us the kid.
On the way to the office Steve and I started interviewing the 7 year old boy who was as sharp as a tack. He kept saying, “I’m a kidnap victim, how cool is that!”? He recognized one face and the voice of another! The Newark Agents never asked him anything as they didn’t know anything about the case. We radioed the office for the name of a particular worker Mr Calzedia had fired. Mr. Calzedia was in our radio room crying with joy. With that, and this little boy’s help we were able to piece together almost all the kidnappers by the time we got back to the office! The reunion was very heartwarming.
Follow up investigation by the Kidnap Squad revealed that 2 RR workers were on the tracks when they thought a drug drop was made, and they grabbed the money and ran. The Squad got most of the money, arrested both workers and all the bad guys in a few days. The ring leader was the one the boy recognized. Steve and I and DOC all received letters from Director Hoover for a job well done!
Right after this case I fell into the best informant that the Organized Crime (OC) division had for a year and a half and the best I ever had. We made lots of arrests and recoveries, for truck cases as well as OC cases and a few corrupt cops.