Scotland Yard detectives enlist local judge's help in case

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

It is perhaps the most famous police agency in the world with a legendary reputation for skilled agents willing to go to any length to solve a case -- even across the ocean.

When Cape Girardeau County Circuit Judge William Syler vacationed in London in June, he left his judicial robes behind but still became embroiled in a criminal case that Scotland Yard needed his help in solving.

Syler was outside an Internet cafe in the London borough of Kensington when two men sitting nearby got up, knocked out an ATM service vendor and ran off with his bag of money.

"I had sat down at a bistro table and sort of noticed them, but I really didn't pay them much attention at first," he said.

Another witness saw the men get on motor scooters and drive away, Syler said. Still, what little he did see was important enough to the Metropolitan Police, headquartered at Scotland Yard, to send two detectives to Cape Girardeau Monday to take his official statement for the criminal trial.

Detective chief inspector Dave Thompson and detective constable Barry Bysouth from England's Metropolitan Police arrived in Cape Girardeau Monday to get Syler's statement.

The suspects were wanted in connection with a string of similar robberies that garnered more than £80,000 -- or about $125,528. Thanks to Syler's initial description, one man was caught and detectives set up a sting operation to "nick and tag the baddies" -- capture the other suspects, Bysouth said.

One man had a loaded gun when he was arrested. In England, only certain police are authorized to carry firearms, which makes capturing armed criminals a bit tricky, he said.

"It's just the element of surprise, really," Bysouth said. "You have to be a little bit inventive when you do it."

From Cape Girardeau, the detectives will travel to interview other witnesses in Ohio and South Carolina.

After giving his statement, Syler invited Bysouth and Thompson to an informal dinner at Buckner Brewing Company to meet the county's local law enforcement and court officers, including Cape Girardeau County Sheriff John Jordan, Prosecuting Attorney Morley Swingle, investigator John Volkerding, Cape Girardeau police chief Steve Strong, Circuit Judge John Heisserer, FBI Special Agent Tom Blades and Southeast Missouri Crime Lab director Dr. Robert Briner.

The gathering became a cultural exchange of police methods, court issues and several humorous case stories told over a few pints of ale.

The group listened eagerly as Bysouth and Thompson described crimefighting in London.

"It's not every day that Scotland Yard comes to Cape Girardeau," Syler said.

mwells@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 160

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: