June 23, 2000 03:47am
Stripper helps nab murder suspect
Source: Detroit Free Press
by: Jim Schaefer
A man accused of killing a fellow militia member in Michigan is in jail after a four-year search that found him in Indiana with a new identity -- and an apparently oblivious wife.
Paul Darland, 28, had changed his name and his life story, but not his taste for strip clubs. And last week, after he showed a dancer his scorpion tattoo in a Ft. Wayne, Ind., topless joint, Darland lost his freedom.
Left in the wake are his new wife and in-laws, who police say had no clue.
"The whole family's in shock -- floored, angry, feel like they've been betrayed," said FBI agent Rusty Loran, who interviewed the wife and her parents. "Imagine yourself in that situation."
Loran would not identify the family but said the wife and her father both work for the U.S. government, an ironic relationship in light of Darland's association with the anti-government militia movement in Michigan.
On the night of June 14 in Ft. Wayne, luck changed. According to law enforcement authorities, here is how Darland blew his cover:
He approached a stripper that night in the topless club, commenting on her ankle tattoo of a scorpion. Darland had a similar design and pulled up his shirt to show.
The FBI had earlier distributed wanted posters of him nationwide, Loran said, and police in Ft. Wayne, where Darland was born, thought he might return. Authorities also noticed he frequented topless clubs. They sent posters to those establishments.
And the stripper was observant. She told the bouncer, who called the Ft. Wayne police. They came quickly.