It was the early morning hours of January 4, 2017, when police discovered the body of 47-year-old Daniel Aldape. Aldape, who had been homeless at the time, appeared to have been sleeping at a downtown Las Vegas intersection when an unknown killer had bludgeoned him to death with a hammer.
A month after the discovery of Aldape, a second homeless man, 60-year-old David Dunn, was found to have been murdered in a similar fashion. His body was found wrapped in blankets at the same intersection and was also believed to have been asleep during the attack.
Police had speculated that both men had been victims of an unknown “thrill killer.” Harkening back to the grim crimes of other notorious thrill killers like the Dnepropetrovsk Maniacs, the police realized that if this was the sort of killer they were dealing with, then the killer was in search of the opportunity to strike again.
It was upon this realization that investigators began hatching a plan to catch the mysterious killer preying upon Vegas’ homeless population. Using a mannequin decoy, investigators posed the decoy in a position that resembled a person sleeping on the very spot they had discovered the body of Daniel Aldape less than two months prior. Covered in blankets, at first glance it was nearly impossible for someone to realize that the dummy wasn’t a human.
With the trap set, all investigators had to do was wait.
It was the early hours of February 22, 2017, that surveillance footage captured a man walking up to the decoy. The man pulled his hoodie up in order to obscure his face, then looked around for passing traffic before producing a 4lb engineering hammer from his bag and striking the mannequin several times. Local police, who had been monitoring the scene, quickly swooped in on the suspect.
While in custody the man was identified as 30-year-old Shane Schindler. He is currently being held on $50,000 bond for attempted murder.
According to reports, Schindler told investigators that he knew it was a mannequin before striking it. Schindler has also professed his innocence in the unsolved homicides of the two homeless men earlier this year.
Schindler is currently awaiting trial, but for Vegas Police, they believe the case of the mysterious thrill killer is officially closed.