Blog: 'Bad guys' like Castro don't always look scary

9:19 PM, Jul 9, 2013   |    comments
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Judging by the 17-year prison sentence a Geauga County man got Tuesday, you can't spot the "bad guys" by their looks anymore.

In the "olden days" in the movies, the "bogeyman" was a really scary looking guy who dressed in old clothes and looked strange and could be easily spotted "lurking" in the shadows.

True, "Psycho's" Norman Bates in 1960 looked mostly normal, that is until you saw him talking to the corpse of his dead mother or wielding a knife while you tried to take a shower.

But lately the "bogeyman" can be your normal-looking neighbor who keeps his secrets well.

He can hide behind a computer or drive a school bus and live on Seymour Avenue, despite keeping three women and a child locked up inside, sometimes in chains.

If you passed accused kidnapper/rapist Ariel Castro, 52, as he stepped off the Cleveland school district school bus he drove from 1991 until November 2012, you would only see a balding, middle-aged man.

It was only after Amanda Berry made that brave and successful attempt to escape back on May 6 that we learned of Castro's "house of horrors" and the chains in one of the rooms.

When kids are warned of "stranger danger," they are now taught to scream and yell if even a normal-looking person asks them to go somewhere or tries to drag them into a vehicle.

And judging from the description of the suspect in an alleged attempted abduction on Gordon Drive in North Royalton last Friday at 5:30 p.m., it sounds like he could be someone's grandfather.

Black or white, old-ish or not-so-old, Irish/English/Puerto Rican/German...there is no stereotypical bogeyman anymore.

Now, that Geauga County man -- Allen Warner -- was sentenced to 17 years in prison after pleading guilty to a few dozen of the charges against him, instead of the 78 counts he was originally charged with that could have sent him away for up to 185 years.

Yes, that's 1-8-5 years. It's not a typo.

Warner, often characterized by prosecutors as a voyeur, spied on his victims using pinhole cameras that he placed in their home DVD players or alarm clocks, according to Cuyahoga County prosecutors. They have said he may have given the camera-rigged equipment as gifts.

So here we have a suburban Cleveland man with a wife and a beautiful home and he certainly didn't "look" like a "bogeyman" but he most certainly was.

A fleeting glance at his Cuyahoga County jail photo led at least one Facebook viewer to exclaim "I thought it was Dick Van Dyke when I first looked." Now, no one would ever characterize Dick Van Dyke as a bogeyman.

And that's just my point. You just can't spot the bogeyman anymore.

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