Burgers, Bloggers, & Cops Excerpt Number Three

Author’s Note: This is the third excerpt of my work Burgers, Bloggers, & Cops. Here is a summary

B3 cover



Journal of Midwestern Independent Sociologists and Criminology    2, 31  pp 91

                   Home on The Range: Traditional Urban Mafias Relocate to Rural Locales

The draconian, yet effective policies of the 70s and 80s may have deterred crime.  Organized crime is certainly declining.  This can be shown in America’s population centers.  (Wittles, 1998).  However, organized criminal activity no matter what the illicit enterprise keeps returning in various forms according to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report (Hypos and Prosps, 2004).

What of the rural America some of us live in?  Effective policing in major cities is salient against organized crime rather gang or mob.  Furthermore, intelligence gathering and community actions have enjoyed success, alongside a high level of prosecutions where Federal Sentencing Guidelines are in place.  Anything in our evolutionary world changes though.  Our taxonomy of organized crime: La Costa Nostra, The Yakuza, Triads, and street gangs are now an endangered species.  But, survivors quickly realized beforehand that they must change their environment. (Postlewaite, 2003).


The sample was taken from 75 convicts incarcerated on RICO statute charges at United State Penitentiary Marion in Marion, Illinois on April 19th, 2005.  The convicts were drawn from second-time offenders from urban areas.  An undergraduate researcher interviewed the group, and administered a survey {See Appendix A}.  Fifty-four out of the seventy-five inmates viewed  relocating to rural areas after release to pursue criminal enterprise as a worthwhile endeavor.


The surveyed convicts represented urban locales with populations above 150,000 in  all fifty states (Appendix B). The crimes they perpetrated were all RICO related.  It can be argued that this small sample of inmates in federal custody studies its moves and takes inventory of their successes and failures while doing time. Furthermore, these criminals provide insights to each other while doing time regarding what are the best practices when perpetrating crime.  In a sense, prison is as much a physical social network as LinkedIn or Facebook.  Through their relationships with these fellow prisoners in this network, they are evolving, and their evolution will take time.  By 2030 when these convicts are either discharged or on parole, they may find themselves in the senior management of organized crime.  Furthermore, these convicts realized that it would be worthwhile and smart to relocate to rural areas where historically organized crime hasn’t been detected, and law enforcement agencies are unprepared to deal with criminal enterprises and front organizations (See Appendix D).  By 2030, Organized crime may permeate rural America.

Davids always liked getting a bird’s eye view before getting into the muck of details. A broad foundation led to sharp clarity, this was something he practiced and preached. He then turned to the criminal intelligence database.  On the intelligence database he found recent organized crime related arrests in the daily commitment report of several counties, all adjacent to Deacon County.  All of these suspects were under RICO statute charges.  One suspect’s name in particular stood out, Viktor Bouts—Davids had never personally encountered Bouts, but he knew that he had caused quite a stir at one time.  He was arrested once in Springfield, and the newspapers and television reports gathered around the police department thinking that the known terrorist and arms dealer, Viktor Bout had been arrested in downstate Illinois.  When in reality poor eyesight or a failure to comprehend led to the mistake in thinking it was Viktor Bout, when in reality Viktor Bouts was the arrestee.

Bouts had ties to the Russian Mafia, but after serving a three year prison term in Colorado in a federal facility, an honor farm- Bouts had kept low profile afterwards from 2008 to the present.  What had Davids interested in him was that Bouts had been arrested by Bannhart PD for cannabis possession just barely below 30 grams, 29.9 grams were found in a bag underneath his spare tire in the 2009 Jeep Grand Cherokee he was driving.  Bouts had never been into the drug trade, but he did move weapons like the big timer Bout.  Bouts was arrested two days before the attack on Livingston outside a restaurant called Lubankya Burger. Now he was out on bond.  The reporter had reviewed the restaurant, but surely he hadn’t written something so scathing that they decided to have him killed.  After all, it wasn’t published yet, but maybe, just maybe, they suspected something coming from him that wouldn’t be too favorable for their business. Yet, that would be too simple and somewhat stupid on their part.

Davids made a note of that, and then he saved his research, and shifted his attention to the Google Alerts.

The two restaurants Livingston had been sent to review were opened four weeks prior to the attempt on his life.  He looked for photographs of the owners of both places, and what he found was strange. The old mobster, Feodor Rimanov was in the background of the grand opening picture of Lubankya Burger. Rimanov was a former drug runner, arms dealer and bookie who operated in downstate Illinois.  He was a former KGB source, and found himself stuck in the United States after the fall of the USSR in 1991.  The Russian mafia welcomed him with open arms.  In 1994, Davids arrested him for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.  Davids also charged him with full-blown trafficking as Rimanov had been working as a one man drug hub for Chicago and St. Louis.

Like many cases that go to trial though, there was a plea deal. Despite the severity of Rimanov’s charges, only the possession charge stuck.  Rimanov served a paltry three years, and even though he ran in the same circles as he used to back in his drug running days, many were content to say Rimanov was reformed.

Davids, like any human being had his biases.  His work for the past thirty something years led him to believe that sometimes, criminals do reform.  Colejoy had all the potential to reform, and hopefully returning to the big house would kick start the reformation he needed.

Rimanov was a different story.  Rimanov was a former spy, an emissary of tyranny, and above all someone who left their county to cause mischief in Davids.  While the cold war was over, Davids remembered his service and the service of others against communism.  Glen’s job though, gave him responsibilities and duties higher than his private biases though.  He had to gain information from Rimanov, yet like Colejoy, he wouldn’t be complacent.

Perhaps there was a connection with Bouts to the attempted murder on Livingston.  He opened a Link Analysis chart on his desktop and attempted to create a theory about how to solve the puzzle amongst these scattered pieces.

In the morning he’d visit Rimanov in Bannhart.  Till then he’d play Apples to Apples.

Sean had just called several more job prospects, the day was winding down, and then his telephone rang.

“Mr. Livingston, this is Glen Davids.  I’m looking into your Bannhart issues.  You’ll hear from me again soon.  I may drive over to you to meet you.  Are you staying at the only hotel in town, or the bed and breakfast?”

“The hotel, and thank you, sir.”

Davids hung up the phone and hit the hay; Sean did the same.  It was one of those exhausting days where one already knows tomorrow will bring the same. That is, unless one plans and anticipates for it.

A knock on the door woke Sean up at 9:30am.

“Room service!”

He stumbled out of bed, careful not to pull out his stitches—he was in his pajamas.  He looked through the peephole of the door.  It was a better sight than room service, so he met this sight with an open door.

“Good morning, Winni.”

She was holding a tray with a dome lid in both hands, she wore a blue and maroon striped dress that ended at the knee.  She spotted Sean’s bandage.

“I heard you were hurt bad, so I brought you breakfast.  How’s the pain?”

Sean replied swiftly, ushering her in to the hotel room.

“How’d you know I was hurt?  I didn’t speak with you after it happened.”

“My mom’s an ER nurse.  I mentioned that you were the one I was with last night, and she remembered that you were admitted with a police escort.  I’m so sorry that you got hurt.  Could you tell me about it?”

She uncovered the dome to the breakfast tray, revealing a mound of scrambled eggs seasoned with peppers, and chives.  Other dishes that were beneath the dome contained toast and bacon.  Carafes of coffee and orange juice were also present.

“I certainly can, Winni.  But, how did you carry all that?”

“I used the elevator, Sean. You must have been clobbered pretty good to forget about the elevator. I cooked it all at home.  Now what happened to you last night?”

Sean told his story to Winni.

Bannhart always left a bad taste in his mouth.  Davids had grown up in this town, and lived in Bannhart until 2007.  He served on its police force, he protected its citizens from criminals major and minor.  Now, he returned to protect a stranger to Bannhart, only in the town to review restaurants.  But, he was there to do more than just that.  He was in Bannhart to prove to its citizens that crime happened in their city.  That denial led to him losing his job, seven years ago.

He parked the car at Bannhart’s city park and waited for Rimanov to show up.  Rimanov would hopefully be a source of information to answer Mr. Livingston’s questions.  He also wondered if these Russians robbed the armory nearby.  Frankly, the troubles in the Ukraine had Davids asking questions about another cold war starting up.  America’s actions abroad and at home hadn’t really boosted the fan club membership.  Rimanov sat down on the bench he was to occupy for their meeting, across the parking lot.  Glen exited the car, and approached the Russian.  Glen wore some casual walking out clothes, plus a short leather jacket.  Underneath the short leather jacket was a shoulder holster containing a Sig-Sauer P228.  This was Glen’s favorite handgun for concealed carry.

Rimanov wore a tracksuit–the kind of tracksuits the Russian mobsters wore in the movies. Glen didn’t laugh on the inside or on the outside though.  What a person wore didn’t make them any more or less dangerous, it’s what’s inside.

Rimanov had been behaving pretty well over the last few years.  He had no arrests or citations to his name according to LEADS and the National Crime Information Center. Glen didn’t get to see many people turn around after living a life of crime.  Yet, there are always a few exceptions, or ‘outliers’ as his old chief used to say.  But, Glen wasn’t ready to pass judgment yet to find anyone guilty or acquitted.  He was there to acquire that golden, non-tangible currency: information.

Glen greeted Rimanov.

“Good Morning, Feodor”

“It certainly isn’t a good morning. The weather is supposed to be awful during this evening and the next day.  Severe thunderstorms and a tornado could be arriving.  You called me late, and I don’t understand why a State of Illinois investigator wants to speak with a naturalized American citizen, who lives comfortably as a Real Estate Salesperson in Bloomington.  I helped you once, and you got me off—I don’t understand why you disturb my weekend and why you bother me again. I am a law-abiding citizen, not a reformed criminal.”

Glen nodded. Rimanov had been arrested, but as part of plea bargaining, he charges dropped for battery, home invasion, and arms dealing dropped. Rimanov was either repentant or good at not getting caught.  Again, Glen wasn’t here to mince words or pass judgment, he was here to gather information.

“Somebody got hurt two nights ago, a reporter or a blogger.  Whatever you call those folks nowadays,” Glen said with faux bewilderment.  “He was in the hospital from a knife wound.  He wasn’t covering anything serious.  But, he was reviewing that new Russian restaurant in town.  I spotted you in a photograph taken at the restaurant’s grand opening.  I figured you could point me in the direction of what’s going on exactly with this blogger.”

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