Wed. Feb. 17, 2010
They began to arrive in Key West around 5:00 pm. First came a middle-aged white woman travelling alone. She attracted suspicion by hanging around the arrival gate much longer than expected. Then two more came on a later flight. They hooked up with the first subject and continued to hang at the gate checking cellphones frequently for a couple of hours. When their contact didn't arrive, they left Key West Int'l by taxi. The taxi was followed to the 1800 Atlantic Condominiums. These three subjects apparently checked into a condo and an hour later were seen exiting and walked over to the Shanna Key Pub on Bertha St. After they downed a few and had dinner there they were seen stocking up at a liquor store between Shanna Key and the condo and returned to the condo. Meanwhile two more subjects of interest had arrived in Key West complaining about the D Gate at Miami where they had missed a connection and had only made the last flight to Key West by the skin of their teeth. They picked up a rental and were also followed to the 1800 Atlantic Condomiumiums, arriving before 10:30 pm. An attendant at the condos was interviewed and revealed the 5 were together at the condos and had already been the subject of several noise complaints. They had been warned more than once. The 5 had finally taken their revelry off their veranda to the indoors a little after 11:15 pm. An investigator at the back of the condos noticed two of the pack emerging very late at night with photographic equipment. Authorities in Key West had already dubbed the group "The Rat Pack" and they were to continue under surveillance until cleared of any suspicious activity.
Thurs. Feb. 18, 2010
The Rat Pack were not seen until at least noon. Perhaps they had been put off by the unusually cool, partly cloudy weather or had been busy getting their stories, schemes and plans in place. They exited the condo garage in a red convertible sportscar and they were followed. But they seemed to be driving aimlessly, perhaps checking out escape routes having to do with an as-yet unknown illegal activity. They finally stopped at Salute On the Beach, a tourist hangout not far away down the road from the condos. They were seen having brunch and Key Lime Pie, at times talking conspiratorily and at other times cackling like tourists on a binge. They were seen taking walks along the beach afterwards, voraciously snapping photographs. They were followed to the famously fashionable Duval St. area, where our investigators soon lost them. Too many shops, too few investigators. It was obvious we were going to have to ramp up our investigative team for the Rat Pack.
Fri. Feb. 19, 2010
The surveillance team had all but given up hope of spotting the group on this dark rainy day, until the Rat Pack again exited well after noon in the red sportscar. They again appeared to be driving aimlessly, but eventually stopped at the Winn-Dixie grocery store. We learned they had not only purchased groceries but had also purchased tickets to a Stephen Marley concert on the pier that night. Marley is a well known rastafarian pot-smoking tweaker, so we were beginning to see a connection here. - After dropping their groceries, they returned to Duval St. They appeared to be acting the tourists, shopping and stopping at Croissants De France for coffee and pastries. Late in the day they tried to ditch us by Rickshaw, but our operatives managed to nab a rickshaw too and followed them. Arriving at the other end of Duval closer to the pier, they exited and immediately entered the Island Dogs Bar. They appeared to be drinking heavily and watching a bad imitation of Jimmy Buffet perform a few songs. Leaving there, they headed on foot to Pier 00, site of the Marley concert. At the pier they seemed to split up making our surveillance more difficult. Four hung out near the stage and the youngest one stayed on the shore, where she appeared to strike up conversation and continued her photographic activities. A typical reggae style concert ensued, but some kind of smoke and light rain obscured the stage area. The oldest of the Rat Pack seemed to hook up with an African-American man named Brian, perhaps their drug contact? Three others tried to hold their position near the stage as the crowd deepened. When the concert had ended, our team again regained knowledge of their position when the four plus Brian emerged from the crowd leaving the pier. They finally met up with Liberty Lin on shore, who appeared to have gotten wasted in the interim.
Sat. Feb. 20, 2010
Surveillance at the back of the condo near the pool and beach area spotted straggling rat-packers entering the pool area around 11:00 am. They swam, they sunned, they conspired. They headed out the gate to the beach and sunned some more there. Four of them signed up for parasailing with a local vendor. One returned to the condo, apparently not feeling well, or perhaps to attend to more subversive business. The four went out on the water about 2:30, went up, and appeared to be acting touristy. They returned wobbly-legged but self-satisfied back at the condo area as the sun was beginning to fall low in the sky. - They later emerged and were followed to a late dinner at the Conch Republic.
Sun. Feb. 21, 2010
The pack emerged early and were followed to the Key West Butterfly & Nature Consrvatory. A brunch on cafe veranda above Duval St. followed, as the early sun began to turn to dark clouds. As the tropical sky continued its descent into darkness, they drove willy-nilly all over town and finally landed at the Pier area, where they had Cuban coffees, shopped in lower-end tourist shops, purchased jewelry and tried on funny sunglasses. Then had lunch and drinks under an outdoor canopy at Dante's, bemoaning the unstoppable rain falling relentlessly into the cabana pool, while also seeming to make a close connection with a handsome young waiter there. At one point he appeared to explain to them how to make an espresso vodka cocktail, but we suspected this was code for something more subversive. Another waiter took a picture of the group in front of a gigantic beach photo on the Dante's stage which would make it appear they were in a sunny place. Clearly a deceptive crew was at work.
Mon. Feb. 22, 2010
Another rainy day, the pack did not emerge until late. We followed them to tattoo appointments at Paradise Tattoo on Duval St. where they arrived about 2:30 pm. Unbeknownst to us, three of the crew had picked out tattoos on a prior trip to the shop. Two got butterflies, and one got an angel. Profilers suspect this reveals that the oldest rat packer is actually the leader of the group - "the angel" so to speak. They were then seen frequenting various Duval St. hot-spots and ended the night at The Green Parrot, a known hangout of dead-beat musicians and bingo-players. This night Ca-Ching! cashed in big as a bingo-winner. She was passed a framed artwork as her "prize" but we suspect some other type of pay-off was made here as well.
Tues. Feb. 23, 2010
The pack was seen in the South Beach area on a good weather day, strolling near the 90 miles to Cuba marker, the Southernmost House and other nearby tourist attractions. They imbibed, sucking down numerous and massive fruity tropical drinks at the Southernmost Beach Cafe, sleeping it off on the beach. - They were seen at Mallory Square near the Sunset hour where a crowd had gathered for the daily sunset celebration. Periodically they were lost in the crowd enjoying street performers and craft booths. Two were seen watching the water for boats coming in late in the day, but it was so foggy by then it is unclear whether they made contact with any boats. They were seen however making contact with an older distinguished-appearing gentleman on the waterfront, but he left alone. Crews were too far away to hear the conversation or to notice if any packages were exchanged. The Rat Pack later ended up at an outdoor Cuban restaurant area, where there was a lively band and a lady in a white dress dancing. They remained in that location for hours and watched while a little girl from Denmark joined the lady in the white dress dancing to entertain the patrons of the bar. Her parents were nearby and members of the Rat Pack spoke with her. Were the little girl's "parents" actually more contacts for their illegal enterprise? There was still no hard evidence on what they were up to.
Wed. Feb. 24, 2010
Escape Day.... The surveillance crew almost missed the Pack when they left the condo earlier than usual - surfacing by 10:00 am. It was a warm day, but started out with light rain showers. The Rat Pack went straight to Blue Heaven for brunch and waited for a table under the trees. They ordered lobster this and that - lobster crepes, lobster eggs benedict, lobster omellettes and drank coffee. Afterwards they were followed to the Hemingway House where they made contact with several six-toed cats. After that the crew expected the Pack to return to Duval St., a usual hangout. However, this was a miscalculation on their part. Our airpot contact called to inform us they were now at Key West International, checking in to various separate flights. Escaping so soon? We were floored. But the weather had turned dark again, and flights were delayed. After check-in the Rat Pack members had joined up in the waiting area. There was lightening and thunder and rain brewing hard. The youngest two were first to board their flight - on an 8 seater plane headed for Ft. Myers. We tried to hold the flight on the runway, claiming bad weather flight dangers, but they must have convinced the pilot to take off anyway and they were in the dark sky before we got to them. We can only assume they made it to their destination, as no downed flights were reported. While chasing down Liberty and Drama Queen on the 8 seater plane, Lucky Roll, Ca-Ching! and Masquerade had also escaped on other flights. Damn!!