Scribe Braces Hard Facts of Life – Even Severed Thumbs

The Washington Examiner‘s Scott McCabe isn’t afraid to think about some of the ugliest crime stories to cross his desk. He has his faves — one is the hotshot who forgot his thumb at the crime seen, another is a child sex offender (who was caught), and still another is a kidnapper who held his hostage “at a Days Inn in Northeast, but escaped from police in a wild shootout and ducked into the National Arboretum never to be seen again.”

Since July 2008, the Examiner has been running a weekly feature called “Most Wanted” on its Crime and Punishment page profiling some of the city’s most dangerous fugitives. McCabe, who gallantly writes it, notes that at least 24 featured criminals who have been scooped up based on readers’ tips.  Law enforcement officials sings their praises because the feature has been so successful.

Does being a crime reporter ever wig him out? “Writing about crime, you’re definitely aware of what’s going out there, and much of the way you know the city is based on the stories you covered,” he told FishbowlDC. “Oh, this is the street is where that little girl was shot, that’s where the guy got his head nearly decapitated, that’s where the Metro bus driver punched McGruff the crime dog for no apparent reason.”

McCabe says other forms of paranoia come with the job – he refuses to jay walk and rarely crosses the street against the red hand signal because of too many pedestrian deaths. “And I’ve developed an irrational fear of man hole covers because they have a habit of blowing up around here,” he said.

Read about his “favorite” criminal after the jump (it involves the man who got his thumb hacked off and left it for police…)

McCabe’s “favorite” criminal: “There was the man who robbed a brothel in Columbia Heights with a machete but left his thumb at the crime scene after it got hacked off during a struggle,” he said. “Police fingerprinted the thumb then quickly learned that a man had gone to a hospital with a missing finger. The ER doctor compared the thumb to the man’s hand and the bloody appendage fit like a puzzle, and sewed it back on.”

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