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Published:May 17th, 2012 08:11 EST
Was Robbery the Motive of 'Fake Cop' in Mississippi Highway Homicide of Tom Schlender?

Was Robbery the Motive of 'Fake Cop' in Mississippi Highway Homicide of Tom Schlender?

By John G. Kays


Some inconsistencies exist in reports of this supposed fake cop working the highways of northwest Mississippi, and shooting people seemingly at random. First of all, we know two people (Tom Schlender, 74, and Lori Carswell, 48) have been killed after having been shot multiple times with a 9-millimeter handgun. The weapon used has been verified from ballistic tests, I assume. Shell casings (as many as 5 in the Schlender shooting) were found at the scenes of both crimes. But why does the Tate County Sheriff`s Office believe this `Fake Cop MO` was employed by the perpetrator?


What I can gather from secondary sources, earlier, on April 2nd, an unnamed victim had a most scary run-in with a man with an  `untucked plaid shirt` who tried to stop her, but he became flustered and fled, when she firmly requested to see his badge and ID. The vehicle driven by this fake cop was a gold unmarked Crown Victoria sedan, according to this poor woman who had the scare of her life. But how can they so readily extend this incident to Schlender and Carswell? 


Moreover, why are the Mississippi authorities now saying the Crown Victoria is probably white, not gold? The extension of the April 2nd incident to the May 8th and May 11th highway homicides very likely have linkage, but this is only a theory or a hunch of connectivity, and is not yet verifiable. And why did they change the color from gold to white? Did this victimized woman change her mind about the vehicle color? And another bit of trivia, that`s somewhat funny, we hear the fake cop was `dressed in pants!` Come on! Arn`t all men dressed in pants?


 And then we hear some mention that the flashing lights of the Crown Victoria may be blue. But this anonymous woman who encountered this rather unusual criminal, witnessed  `alternating headlamps and other lights.` There`s no mention of blue lights, so I don`t know where various news services are getting this? After all, there were no witnesses to either the Schlender or to the Carswell homicides. Therefore, we can`t know exactly how the perpetrator was able to lure these two people into his trap.


One oddity, that can only be explained in one way (I know of), is that Tom Schlender had crashed into a median divider. This suggests to me that the perpetrator drove up beside him and shot him through the driver`s side as he was still driving. This also suggests that Tom wasn`t fooled so easily by the fake cop`s tricks of the trade, flashing headlights and possibly a makeshift police uniform. Tom wasn`t going to stop; therefore, this man simply pulled up on him and shot him as he drove down the highway. 


Another puzzling item, is that Lori Carswell had somehow gotten out of her 1997 Pontiac Grand Am before she had died. There would be several ways to explain this source of perplex-ion, but one would be that Lori wasn`t fooled either by this amateur. He may have shot her once as she was driving, then she escapes from her car, but he shoots her again (when down on the ground) after he stops on the side of the road. But there are other possible scenarios on how this went down.


One last problem or inconsistency (as reported in the news) is whether the motive was robbery. When the story first broke, we hear the that the motive probably wasn`t robbery. Later, we hear that Tom Schlender`s wallet had been taken. Also, he had withdrawn $600 for his trip to Florida to pick up his grandson. So maybe the motive was robbery after all. Let`s hope they catch this guy soon, and let`s also hope we`ll get a little bit more of a consistent stream of information.  


Fake officer suspected in killing: Motorists urged to be wary | The Clarion-Ledger | clarionledger.com