Top 10 Murderous Security Guards
The film “Richard Jewell” by director Clint Eastwood makes reference to the work of FBI profilers and their bastard offspring of journalists with pop psychology degrees. Specifically, the film and the book about Jewell’s case refer to the fact that FBI profilers working the bombing in Atlanta in 1996 suspected that the perpetrator was a “wannabe cop” who most likely worked as a security guard. Since this description fit Jewell, he became the innocent target of a media-driven smear campaign.
While Jewell was not the bomber, security guards do have something of a reputation for being addicted to power and control (two addictions also shared by serial killers). One international security company, G4S, has been under the spotlight in recent years not only for its shoddy hiring practices, but also for the number of employees who have committed high-profile rapes, murders, and mass shooting sprees. It would seem that there are more than a few security guards out there with bad intentions.
This list will profile ten of the worst people who ever worked as private security guards. This article is not meant to slur or slander the profession at all; there are millions of security guards in the world right now, and a vast majority are fine, upstanding people who do a thankless job. This list is about the few security guards who took things to awful and deadly extremes.
10 Joey Sanza
31-year-old artist Theresa Hak Kyung Cha was newly married and an already well-respected author, poet, and painter in 1982. Her book, “Dictee,” was about to be released, while that November she was gearing up for a showcase of her paintings at Artists Space in the New York neighborhood of SoHo. For those in the know, Theresa was considered the premiere voice for Korean American artists, especially those who came from the culture’s Roman Catholic minority.
Tragically, Theresa had the misfortune of one night entering the same building as security guard Joey Sanza. On November 5, 1982, Theresa went to the Puck Building in SoHo in order to meet her husband Richard Barnes. Not long after clearing the front door, Theresa was accosted by Sanza. Sanza then proceeded to rape and strangle the young artist to death. Unbeknownst to the staff at the Puck Building, Sanza was the chief suspect in several sexual assault cases back in Florida, all of which had occurred earlier that same year.
Sanza was already in jail in Florida by the time New York City investigators interviewed him about Theresa’s murder in 1983. This interview would ultimately lead to Sanza’s conviction for second degree murder and rape, for which he was sentenced to 25 years to life for the murder charge and eight-and-a-half years to 25 years for the rape charge. Sanza would appeal this conviction because he and his lawyer argued that the NYPD detectives failed to read him his Miranda rights during the 1983 interview. It took three trials to finally convict Sanza for the crime in 1987.
9 Bampumim Teixeira
All throughout his trial, former Boston security guard Bampumim Teixeira was hostile to the court, the jury, and most of all, the Suffolk County DA. When Teixeira was convicted of murdering 38-year-old Dr. Lina Bolanos and 49-year-old Dr. Richard Field in December 2019, he reportedly said to Suffolk County District Attorney John Pappas, “Yo Pappas, you better hope I never get out of jail”. Teixeira was not done; before being escorted out of the courtroom, he turned to the grieving families of the victims and said, “Do you want to know his [Field’s] last words?”.
The horrific tale began way back in 2016. For a brief time, Teixeira, a legal permanent resident originally from Guinea-Bissau, worked as a security guard for the Court Square Press Condominiums in South Boston. Bolanos and Field, who were engaged to be married, lived together at the Macallen Building located near the condos LINK 8]. Bolanos was a pediatric anesthesiologist who worked for Massachusetts Eye and Ear, while Field was an anesthesiologist for North Shore Pain Management. Both were described as warm and friendly.
Teixeira was no stranger to the police. In 2014, a full three years before the double homicide, he robbed a bank and made off with approximately $1,000. He robbed the same bank again before the 2017 murders. For these crimes, as well as two other convictions of larceny, Teixeira was sentenced to a year of house correction. For a part of this time Teixeira continued to work as a security guard. At some point he became homeless.
On May 5, 2017, Teixeira spent hours hanging around the Macallen building. He waited for an opportunity to sneak in, and he eventually did so before walking up to the 11th floor penthouse apartment belonging to the two doctors. Bolanos and Field were well aware of the terrifying situation, as friends later told police that the pair sent out frantic text messages saying “Call 111” (a mistake assumed to mean 911) and “Gun man”. At 8:30 p.m., Boston police were alerted to the situation. At the scene they found both victims bound and dead in pools of their own blood. Both had been stabbed several times in the neck. Teixeira had also scrawled words on the walls using the blood of his victims. The phrases included “payback” and “He killed my wife”.
Robbery is believed to have been the killer’s motive, as the arresting officers found Teixeira wearing a backpack full of jewelry. For his part, Teixeira claimed that he and Dr. Bolanos were having an affair, and it was Field who killed his wife before being killed by Teixeira in self-defense. The jury did not buy the story, and Teixeira was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
8 Joseph Ferguson
For 24 hours between Sunday, September 9 and Monday, September 10, 2001, a suspended security guard named Joseph Ferguson had the city of Sacramento, California in the grip of sheer terror. Ferguson conducted a shooting rampage that killed five people. It only ended when he pointed the gun at himself and squeezed the trigger.
Ferguson, 20, made a video of himself prior to committing suicide. In it he swore to put on a “hell of a show” before killing himself. He also made threats to employees of Burns International Security, his former employer. Ferguson had made these threats before, which Burns International employees had sent to the FBI, which in response made a report but did not investigate the matter until after the shooting spree. Shockingly, this videotape was actually filmed by his fifth and final victim. In the tape Ferguson also promised to outdo the carnage wrought by Ukrainian immigrant Nikolay Soltys, who killed seven people in Sacramento one month before Ferguson’s rampage.
At the root of Ferguson’s rage was a break-up. His ex-girlfriend was a 20-year-old Romanian immigrant who worked alongside Ferguson at Burns International. She would be one of Ferguson’s five victims, alongside his former supervisor and wife, who Ferguson held hostage for six hours inside of their Rancho Cordova home. Other victims were shot in the stomach as Ferguson passed them in a stolen blue Nissan or handcuffed and left to die at the city zoo.
Although police later found white supremacist literature at Ferguson’s home in South Sacramento, the killings were not racially motivated.
7 John Arthur Getreu
74-year-old John Getreu is the latest serial killer to finally find justice thanks to DNA evidence.
On Thursday, May 16, 2019, Getreu, a former security guard at California Plant Protection Services in Palo Alto, was charged with the 1974 strangulation murder of 21-year-old Janet Ann Taylor. This arrest came after cold case detectives matched Getreu’s DNA with DNA taken from the victim’s clothing. This was the second time that Getreu had been charged with a homicide from the 1970s; in late 2018 he was arrested and charged with the murder of 21-year-old grad student Leslie Marie Perlov.
As shocking as this sounds, this is only the tip of the iceberg in regards to Getreu’s deviance. Getreu, who was born in Newark, Ohio to a military family on August 26, 1944, was arrested and convicted for the rape and strangulation murder of 15-year-old Margaret Williams in Germany in 1963. For this crime Getreu was only sentenced to ten years in a German prison, but he was already a free man by the time he married his first wife in Reno, Nevada in 1970.
In February 1973, Perlov is found strangled to death in the foothills surrounding Stanford University. A year later, Taylor was also found strangled to death along Sand Hill Road in Woodside, California. A year after that Getreu plead guilty to the statutory rape of a unidentified 17-year-old. For this crime he was forced to spend six months in jail and pay a $200 fine.
For a brief time, some suspected that Getreu, who had deep connections to Stanford University, may be the man responsible for the infamous October 12, 1974 murder of Arlis Perry. Perry, who was found nude below the waist with an ice pick in her skull and a candle inserted in her vagina, was mentioned by serial killer David Berkowitz, aka the Son of Sam, as one of the victims of a nation-wide Satanic cult. In 2018, cold case officers managed to find the real killer, former security guard Steve Crawford, who was the first person to find Perry’s body inside of Stanford Memorial Church. Crawford committed suicide before police could arrest him and charge him with murder.
6 Andrew Urdiales
Andrew Urdiales was one of America’s worst serial killers, and yet he nearly got away with it. In the end, Urdiales escaped punishment because, in November 2018, less than a month after being convicted of murdering eight women during the 1980s and 1990s, Urdiales, 54, committed suicide inside of his cell at California’s infamous San Quentin State Prison.
Urdiales began his crime spree while serving as a member of the US Marine Corps at Camp Pendleton outside of San Diego. The Chicago-born Marine’s first murder occurred on January 18, 1986. His victim was 23-year-old Robin Brandley, whose corpse was found in a parking lot on the campus of Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, California. Urdiales stabbed her 41 times. Two years later, on July 17, 1988, Urdiales shot and killed Julie McGhee in Palm Springs, California. This murder was followed by the September 25, 1988 murder of Mary Ann Wells, who was also shot and killed by Urdiales. Urdiales killed two more women in California: 18-year-old Tammie Erwin on April 16, 1988 and Denise Maney on March 11, 1995. In between these crimes Urdiales abducted and raped 19-year-old Jennifer Asbenson. Asbenson managed to escape Urdiales and report him to the police. This report was not taken seriously by California police owing to the fact that Asbenson, like the many of the other victims, was a prostitute.
Urdiales’s final murders occurred in his native Midwest. In 1996, Urdiales relocated to Chicago and took a job as a security guard at a Chicago-area mall. On April 14, 1996, detectives in Cook County, Illinois found the body of Laura Uylaki, who had been shot to death the night before. A few months later, on July 14, 1996, the Livingston County Sheriff’s Department of Livingston County, Illinois found the body of Cassandra Corum floating in the Vermillion River. She too had been shot to death. The last to die was Lynn Huber, who was found floating face down in Cook County’s Wolf Lake on August 2, 1996.
Urdiales was finally connected to all of these crimes after he was pulled over by Illinois police for having an unauthorized weapon in his vehicle. In 1997, this weapon was matched to the weapon used to kill the three women in Illinois. Once presented with this evidence, Urdiales confessed to the murders in California.
5 Steven Hobbs
Steven Hobbs did not seem like a serial killer to the people who knew him. The married father of two was a big man (6’4) and a security guard who did not appear to be a threat to anybody. Little did Hobbs’s Texas neighbors know, but the 40-year-old man had been murdering sex workers for almost a decade.
On September 22, 2011, Hobbs was pulled over for speeding along Red Bluff Road in Harris County, Texas. The motorcycle cop who conducted the stop found the badly decomposed body of 57-year-old Wanda Trombley, who had been missing since that July. Her body and Hobbs’s vehicle were found not more than thirty feet away from where Hobbs worked as a security guard in Pasadena, Texas.
It is believed that Hobbs’s crimes stretched all the way back to 2002 (although the crimes may have begun as early as 1996). In total, Hobbs is believed to have killed as many as fifteen prostitutes in Eastern Texas between 2002 and 2011. His first known victim, 38-year-old Patricia Ann Pyatt, was found dead on November 19, 2002 not far from her Crosby, Texas home. That same August, Hobbs had actually been charged with the aggravated sexual assault of a prostitute. Besides the murders of Pyatt and Trombley, Hobbs was also convicted in 2011 of the October 2010 murder of 48-year-old Sarah Annette Sanford, whose decomposed body was also found near the town of Crosby.
Hobbs, whom one Houston newspaper described as a modern-day Jack the Ripper, was forced to submit his DNA to Texas authorities in the hopes of linking him to other unsolved homicides. In 2017, David Mitcham, the head of the Harris County DA’s trial bureau, told the media that his office would pursue the death penalty against Hobbs.
4 Kenneth Bianchi
Kenneth Bianchi, along with his cousin Angelo Buono, carried out 15 rapes and murders in the Los Angeles area between October 1977 and February 1978. Together the pair were known as the “Hillside Strangler”.
Part of the pair’s MO was to pull over their victim’s while pretending to be police officers. Bianchi had long aspired to be a police officer, but while still living in his native Rochester, New York, he had to settle for a job as a security guard. In 1975, Bianchi relocated to Los Angeles in order to live with Buono. After having a child with his girlfriend Kelli Boyd, Bianchi tried to a while to pass himself off as a psychologist, even going to far as to create a fake degree for himself.
During the four-month murder spree, Bianchi and Buono killed women and girls between the ages of 12 and 28. Their victims included: Yolanda Wahsington, Judy Miller, Lissa Kastin, Dolly Cepeda, Sonja Johnson, Jane King, Lauren Wagner, Kimberly Martin, and Cindy Hudspeth. Most of these victims were bound and raped prior to being murdered. Also each woman was subjected to horrific torture, with Weckler being injected with household cleaning agents.
The duo were even dangerous by themselves. On January 12, 1979, Bianchi kidnapped and murdered two Western Washington University students, 22-year-old Karen Mandic and 27-year-old Diane Wilder. However, as a solo serial killer, Bianchi proved sloppy. He was caught by Washington police on January 13th. Ultimately, the cousins were sentenced to life in prison. Buono died in 2002 of a heart attack. Bianchi is still serving time inside of the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla.
3 Dennis Rader
Dennis Rader is best known to the general public as the “BTK Killer.” From 1974 until 1991, Rader killed 10 people in and around Wichita, Kansas. For much of that time, Rader worked as a security guard and technician for ADT Security Services. For years, Rader installed fire alarm and home security systems for customers in Wichita, thus creating a darkly ironic situation in which the man responsible for so many peoples’ home security was also a serial killer adept at breaking into homes.
Rader wasn’t just any security specialist either—his co-workers at ADT told the Los Angeles Times that Rader’s office nickname was “Blue Book Man” because he had memorized every regulation in ADT’s blue policy manual. Such meticulousness and attention to detail characterized Rader, a native son of Kansas and a former enlisted man in the US Air Force. As the BTK Killer, Rader carried out gruesome crimes with precision. On January 15, 1974, Rader broke into the home of the Otero family and strangled to death all four members of the family. On April 4, 1974, Rader pounced on Kathryn Bright after waiting inside of her apartment. There he stabbed and strangled her and attempted to kill her brother Kevin by shooting him twice. Kevin survived.
Rader went underground for a while before reappearing in 1985. On May 5th of that year he murdered 53-year-old Marine Hedge. Three years later he killed three members of the Fager family. His final crime occurred on January 19, 1991, when Rader murdered Dolores E. Davis.
Rader was finally caught in 2005 thanks to his lust for publicity. Weeks before his arrest, Rader sent a floppy disk to Lt. Ken Landwehr and KSAS-TV. An analysis of the floppy disk led back to a computer at the Christ Lutheran Church, where a user named “Dennis” had left behind traceable metadata. Dennis was none other than Dennis Rader, the president of the church’s congregation. The floppy disk’s metadata, along with DNA evidence, finally brought down BTK.
2 Omar Mateen
Remember the introduction to this list? Specifically, do you remember how I said that the London-based G4S security company has come under fire for hiring psychopaths? Well, one of their more infamous employees was Omar Mateen. Mateen joined the company as a security guard in September 2007. At the time he was subjected to background checks and criminal records checks, but he was not forced to undergo a psychological evaluation.
During his employment with G4S, Mateen, 29, worked as an unarmed guard at a retirement home in Port St. Lucie, Florida. Then, in October 2013, Mateen worked as an armed security guard at a county courthouse. The company allowed Mateen to carry a handgun even though he was interviewed by the FBI in 2013 for falsely claiming to be associated with the Tsarnaev brothers who killed three by bombing the Boston Marathon that year. G4S knew about this interview, but decided to forgo another MMPI, or Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory test.
On June 12, 2016, Mateen, armed with 9mm Glock 17 semi-automatic pistol and a SIG Sauer MCX semi-automatic rifle entered Orlando’s Pulse nightclub and killed 49 people and wounded 53. This was the worst mass shooting in American history until the 2017 Las Vegas shooting which killed 59.
In the immediate wake of the massacre, many in the media falsely reported that Mateen was a frequent patron at Pulse, which was as a gay nightclub. Others jumped on the suggestion that Mateen was a closeted homosexual. In fact, as evidence released in 2018 proved, Mateen carried out his massacre on “Latin night,” therefore most of his victims where Latinos, with Puerto Ricans being the majority. Mateen also spent months scouting out possible attack locations, including Disney World. Alongside his wife Noor Salman, Mateen used Google to search for “Orlando nightclubs,” not “gay clubs” as originally reported.
As for motive, Mateen himself made things quite clear. He used Facebook to pledge his loyalty to the terrorist group ISIS. During the massacre itself, he called 911 and said, “What am I to do here when my people are getting killed over there. … You need to stop the U.S. airstrikes. They need to stop the U.S. airstrikes, OK? . … This went down, a lot of innocent women and children are getting killed in Syria and Iraq and Afghanistan, OK? … The airstrikes need to stop and stop collaborating with Russia. OK?” He again pledged his allegiance to ISIS during that same call.
Mystery continues to surround this case. In March 2018, Noor Salman was acquitted of terrorism charges by a federal jury after she defended her actions by claiming to be a victim of domestic abuse. After the trial, Omar’s father, Afghan national Seddique Mateen, was later revealed to be an FBI informant who began cooperating with the bureau after being investigated for suspicious financial transactions in Central Asia. Furthermore, after the massacre, a video surfaced of Seddique praising the Taliban during his aborted run for president of Afghanistan. Finally, during the 2016 presidential election and just two months after his son’s massacre, Seddique Mateen was caught on video attending a rally for Hillary Clinton. This fact was used to great effect by the Donald Trump campaign and center-right media outlets.
1 Tiago Henrique Gomes da Rocha
One of the worst serial killers in modern history worked for much of his life as a security guard. In October 2014, Brazilian national Tiago Henrique Gomes da Rocha, 26, admitted to detectives that he was responsible for the murder of 39 people. His targets, he said, were vagrants, women, and homosexuals. Rocha shot them all with a .38 revolver that was later recovered from his family’s home.
According to the police task force that captured him, Rocha preyed on the citizens of Goiania by approaching them and demanding their valuables. This was a ruse, as Rocha always shot or stabbed his victims before leaving their bodies with all of their worldly possessions intact. Speaking for himself, Rocha blamed his actions on feelings of “fury” which made him angry “against everything”. At a press conference following Rocha’s arrest, Chief of Police Deusny Aparecido admitted that Rocha murdered at random and never knew his victims.
Rocha later tried to explain his criminal inclinations by saying that he was sexually abused as a child. This background caused him to boil over with rage whenever women rejected him as a romantic partner. Rocha told police and the Brazilian media that, “In a way I’m a victim here, too”. Such coldness and boldness has characterized Rocha since his incarceration. Not long after failing a suicide attempt that saw him slash his wrists with a broken lightbulb, Rocha actually asked corrections officers if they would let him kill other inmates. The request was denied.
+ Jack the Stripper
One of Great Britain’s most infamous serial killers, Jack the Stripper, carried out six murders in the Hammersmith section of London between 1964 and 1965. Each victim was a prostitute and each was found nude or partially nude in the River Thames. Because of this the press dubbed him “Jack the Stripper.” Despite one of the largest manhunts in the history of Scotland Yard, Jack the Stripper was never been identified.
One of the most intriguing suspects was a man with the unusual name of Mungo Ireland. In March 1965, just one month after the murder of Bridget “Bridie” O’Hara, Ireland committed suicide by filling his garage with lethal carbon monoxide. Ireland, who was ironically Scottish, became the police’s main suspect sometime in early 1965. In fact, Chief Superintendent John Du Rose of Scotland Yard held a press conference in which he claimed that the prime suspect had committed suicide. He also said that the suspect (Ireland) worked as a security guard at the Heron Trading Estate. One of the most significant pieces of information pointing to Ireland as Jack the Stripper comes from the fact that O’Hara’s body was found at the Heron Trading Estate. The fact that the murders stopped after Ireland’s suicide also makes it seem like he was indeed the murderer.
For more lists like this, check out 10 Potentially Deadly Accidents That Cured People Of Medical Ailments, and 10 Horrifyingly Deadly Sweets And Treats.
About The Author: Benjamin Welton is a freelance writer based in New England.