Thursday, April 21, 2011

Captain Crunch - The Forgotten "Cereal Killer" of Providence

In the scuzzy old world of Providence back in the eighties, when the Cosa Nostra ruled City Hall as well as Federal Hill and young miscreants were catching all sorts of diseases in downtown clubs, my girlfriend got to be great pals with a serial killer. I shit you not. My girlfriend then was a fiery little critter taking conceptual art courses at RISD, but to make ends meet she worked as a waitress at a downtown Dunkin' Donuts. She worked the nightshift and got to know all the local late-night workers and assorted street people. They must have liked her for her nonconformist vibe. I know I did. One of these folks was a sometime cab driver and failed transvestite whose actual name I do not remember. Rail-thin, long-haired and apparently quite sexually ambiguous, he/she kinda liked my girl, and often warned her sternly that, "It's not safe out there". Indeed it wasn't. At about that time, a serial killer was cruising the streets. This dude specialized in older women, and even violated one of his victims with a broom handle. In retrospect, the guy sounds like he was takin' his moves from The Boston Strangler's playbook, but he had a distinctive moniker of his own. The phrase "serial killer" was relatively new back then, and the Providence cops made a joke of it by referring to the guy as "Captain Crunch". (Get it? "Cereal killer"?) A few months later, they had their man. So to speak. They hauled in my girlfriend's buddy, and he went to jail, never to be heard from again. He never even made it into The Serial Killer Hall of Fame. Luminaries like Jeffrey Dahmer and John Wayne Gacy never had to share the stage with him. I asked my girlfriend if having known this guy sent chills up her spine. All she did was shrug and say, "Well, he did seem a little strange - and weak. Very weak." I'd link to an article about this guy if I could, but I can't find a damn thing about him. Crime doesn't pay (as they claim), and sometimes it doesn't even make you famous.

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