“This guy’s sheet is so long you could wrap it around a jury box, but only one conviction, second-degree burglary in Detroit. I spoke to the arresting officer, an old buddy. Two years ago he nabbed Young as he was entering an apartment building, a video recorder and a boom box under his arms, a pry bar, screwdriver, rubber gloves, and a stethoscope in his pockets. Search warrants were obtained. My guy found sixteen stereos, eight VCRs, eight TVs, eleven ghetto blasters, four bikes, thirteen guns, some jewelry, and thirty-seven pawn shop tickets in Young’s crib. Young was arraigned in the Frank B. Murphy Hall of Justice, bail set at twenty thousand, trial date set for mid-October.
“Young couldn’t make bail and he didn’t want to sit in jail for a couple of months awaiting trial so he cuts a deal with the state attorney. He’ll cop to one count of second-degree if he can get help for his drug problem. The prosecutor figures what the hell, first conviction, Young will probably get probation and time served anyway, why waste the taxpayers’ money? So he goes for it, you know how it works.”
“Young pleads guilty and a hearing is scheduled, but rather than send him back to jail to await sentencing, the prosecutor asks the judge to release Young to a treatment center. The judge agrees and Young is given conditional release. As long as he reports for treatment he can come and go and …”
“I see it coming.”
“He boogies. A warrant is issued for his arrest, but c’mon. A property crime? No one exactly broke their hump looking for him.”
“How long had he been in Minnesota?”
“DMV issued a driver’s license fourteen months ago.”
“Where did he live?”
“Nine hundred South Fifth Street in Minneapolis.”
“Ahh, Chief. That’s the address of the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome.”
“Hmm,” he grunted. “Serves me right for not being a sports fan. But it makes sense. He worked a concession stand at the Metrodome for two months before he was fired for employee theft.”
“But not prosecuted. Big surprise.”
“There’s more, but the way the intel came to me makes me nervous.”
“In what way?”
“I was checking on a possible gang connection. Gangs and Guns Unit in Ramsey County, Minneapolis Police Gang Unit, the BCA—no one knew anything. Suddenly, I get a phone call from an officer who works armed robbery in Minneapolis, some guy I never heard of, says he heard about my problem, says I should call ATF.”
“Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms? Why?”
“Why, indeed? But gift horses, right? I call ATF in Minneapolis. The receptionist hands me off to an agent named Bullert.”
“Did he know anything?”
“He knew plenty.”
“And he told you? When did the ATF become so forthcoming?”
“Since nine-eleven, I guess. Anyway, turns out that Bradley Young was a leading member of a street gang called The Family Boyz.”
“Never heard of it.”
“According to Bullert, this particular group is very tight, very small, and far less visible than Young Boys, Inc. or Pony Down or the Crips, Bloods, Gangster Disciples, El Rukns, White Knights, Vice Lords, Lower-town Gangstaz, Bogus Boyz—who have I missed?”
“Brown for Life, Vatos Locos, Surenos Thirteen,” I offered.
“The new kids on the block. Only these A-holes are much better organized from top to bottom than the other gangs. They operate like a corporation, what we call a CEO—a covert entrepreneurial organization. Very security conscious. They don’t wear gold chains or beepers, nothing to draw attention to themselves. More likely they wear ratty clothes and drive beaters. Family Boyz was one of the first gangs to stop wearing colors. They laugh at the gangs that still wear jackets and flags and tattoos. Something else. They have a very limited presence in the drug trade. Drugs fuel nearly every gang in the country, but not these guys.”
“What are they into?”
“I don’t know.”
“What does ATF say?”
“Is ATF investigating them?”
“I asked. Bullert wouldn’t confirm.”
I had to think about it. When I finished, I said, “If the Family Boyz is active in the Cities, I know a guy who can tell us all about it.”
“Keep me informed.”
“It’s the least I can do.”
“The very least,” the chief said. “There’s one thing you should know, however. For what it’s worth, Bullert gave me the package like the file was open on his desk and he was waiting for me to call.”
I thanked the chief and headed for the door. Before I reached it, he stopped me.
“Are you busy, McKenzie?” Here it comes, I warned myself. The reason he had been so forthcoming. “Have a cup of coffee with me.”
To get the coffee, the chief led me through the maze that was the City of St. Anthony Village police department. I had a good look at dispatch, booking, the holding cells, squad room, even the garage, stopping for the coffee at the offices of the investigation unit, then out the back door. It was like he was giving me the grand tour but not once did he introduce me to anyone or say, “Look at this.”
Outside, he gestured at the impressive baseball, football, and soccer fields, the skateboard course, the park, the tennis courts, and, up on the hill, the St. Anthony High School and Middle School—all of it in the shadow of a huge, white water tower painted with the community’s name and logo.
“Beautiful, isn’t it?” he said.
“Bart. It’s the suburbs.”
“I love this town,” Casey said.