Your $5 Ma’am: An Approach By A Serial Killer
By Christopher Caile
A recent mass forwarded e-mail I received highlights just how creative
potential attackers can be in their tactics to get you to let your guard
In teaching self-defense we always talk about constant awareness: being
on your guard when approached by strangers, avoiding groups of people
in the streets and avoiding dangerous places in general. But what about
someone who is trying to return money to you, offering to help you carry
a package, approaching to ask directions, or someone on crutches asking
for your assistance?
The incident portrayed below attributed to Margaret Wade from Lafayette,
LA, is scary. It illustrates the potential danger in one of those scenarios.
Hopefully, her account may make you just a little more aware and careful
As some readers may know from the news or America's Most Wanted TV program,
there is a serial killer active in Lafayette. This incident recently
happened and it could have been deadly.
It was 5:15 am in the morning and Wade was on her way to work after
staying over at a friend’s house. On her way to work she stopped
at an Exxon/Blimpie station to get gas. She got $10 in gas and a Diet
Coke. She recounts that “I took into the store two $5 bills and
one $1 bill (just enough to get my stuff).”
As she started to pull away, a man approached her vehicle from the backside
of the store, and as he knocked on her window. He was clean cut, shaven
and well dressed, Wade noted, someone who was “approachable looking.”
Since Wade was admittedly “very paranoid” and "always
looking for the rapist or killer," she didn't open the window. She
just asked what he wanted.
The man held up a $5 bill and said “you dropped this.” Luckily,
Wade knew how much money she had taken into the store, what she had spent
and how much change she should have. Thus, she said it wasn’t hers.
Then the man began pounding on the window and door, screaming at her
to open the door and insisting that she had dropped the money.
At this point, she just drove away as fast as she could.
Initially Wade didn’t contact the police because she didn’t
realize how serious the encounter had been. But she did talk to a few
people in the jail where she was employed, and shortly thereafter Internal
Affairs got involved and asked her to recount her story.
Wade recounted the events, and it was determined that the man who had
approached her vehicle may have been the much-publicized serial killer.
Her story may also just have uncovered the tactic he used to access his
victims. While Wade may never know who the man was for sure, the incident
illustrates an important principle: always be careful and be on your
guard when approached by strangers.
The story also highlights the fact that those intent on robbing, raping
or even killing can be very ingenious in their approaches. They need
not force entry or break in to be successful. If you have your guard
down, if you are not aware, or think that clean shaven, good looking
people who approach you “must be OK,” you might be inviting
trouble. After all, what is nicer than having someone return money to
you that you have dropped?
Ask yourself, would I have opened your vehicle window to accept the
This is a sad story too. We want to be able to trust people too or help
those who genuinely need assistance. I still think this is possible,
but we also have to be careful. Be extra careful of the environment.
There is more potential danger when you are isolated, alone or at night
without others around. It is safer in public places and where there are
others who can assist you.
Remember, what looks innocent, may not be. Always be on your guard.
About The Author:
Christopher Caile is the Founder and Editor-In-Chief of
FightingArts.com. He has been a student of the martial arts for over
43 years. He first started in judo. Then he added karate as a student
of Phil Koeppel in 1959. Caile introduced karate to Finland in 1960 and
then hitch-hiked eastward. In Japan (1961) he studied under Mas Oyama
and later in the US became a Kyokushinkai Branch Chief. In 1976 he followed
Kaicho Tadashi Nakamura when he formed Seido karate and is now a 6th
degree black belt in that organization's honbu dojo. Other experience
includes aikido, diato-ryu aikijujutsu, kenjutsu, kobudo, Shinto Muso-ryu
jodo, kobudo, boxing and several Chinese fighting arts including Praying
mantis, Pak Mei (White Eyebrow) and shuai chiao. He is also a student
of Zen. A long-term student of one branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine,
Qigong, he is a personal disciple of the qi gong master and teacher of
acupuncture Dr. Zaiwen Shen (M.D., Ph.D.) and is Vice-President of the
DS International Chi Medicine Association. He holds an M.A. in International
Relations from American University in Washington D.C. and has traveled
extensively through South and Southeast Asia. He frequently returns to
Japan and Okinawa to continue his studies in the martial arts, their
history and tradition. In his professional life he has been a businessman,
newspaper journalist, inventor and entrepreneur.