He was an angry and troubled army vet with a penchant for guns. Divine Fury. Chapter 58
April 25, 2013
A VG Serial: Divine Fury
ONCE BOBBIE CONNORS figured out that Bliss was an actual town in Montana and not simply a state of mind, she called the sheriff of Lincoln County which provided the fire and police services for Bliss and the surrounding area. He said that even without the “S.W.” initials Steven Walberg was the most likely match based on what Connors could glean from the email chain – a troubled army vet with a penchant for guns and angry enough to use them against someone. Walberg had had a few brushes with his deputies and he was someone who occasionally turned up at meetings of gun-rights and Christian militia groups the sheriff monitored.
He asked Connors for some time to make a few inquiries. Three hours later he called her back with an update. Walberg had left town at least two weeks ago and probably closer to three. No one, including his sister, had heard from him or knew where he’d gone.
Walberg had given away his dog and sold two of his rifles. A high school friend said Walberg maintained a virtual arsenal of weapons. The friend had described Walberg as unstable, lurching back and forth between rage and depression. At times, Walberg seemed in a confused daze, perhaps even hallucinating. Maybe he still suffered from effects of a battlefield head wound or was under the unpredictable sway of the cocktail of medications he took.
Connors went into overdrive and worked the phones furiously. She got the credit bureaus to run checks on Walberg to find out where he did his banking and what credit cards he had. She called the Montana motor vehicles department which told her the only vehicle under Walberg’s name was a 1998 black Chevy Blazer. She contacted the state police in Montana and in the several states Walberg might have passed through on his way to California and asked them to search their available records for any recent traffic tickets and arrests involving Walberg or his vehicle.
She also asked about crimes during the past three weeks, particularly those involving a black SUV, a person matching Walberg’s description, or the theft of any guns or ammunition. When she encountered skepticism on the other end of a call, she had no qualms about getting the San Francisco Chief of Police to jump in and emphasize the importance of her request. She was pulling out all the stops. When asked what all the fuss was about, she said the department believed Walberg may be on his way to kill an important official in California. She didn’t elaborate on who the target might be.
Connors was disappointed to learn that Walberg had withdrawn all his money from his bank and closed his account, and that he carried no credit cards. She’d hoped that an ATM withdrawal or payment at a gas station or hotel with a credit card would help her find him. The first round of database checks turned up no arrests or recorded stops involving Walberg or his SUV.
The deputy director of the Montana state police mentioned that the only unexplained murder in the state over the past three weeks was the killing of a security guard at a quarry in the northwest corner of the state. It had been accompanied by the theft of enough C-4 explosive to take down a good-sized building. With a growing sense of dread, Connors called the manager at the quarry herself and mentioned her search for Steven Walberg. The name sounded vaguely familiar to the manager. After putting Connors on hold for a few minutes, the manager read her the details of Walberg’s short period of employment at the quarry.
That was enough for Connors. Any questions she had about whether there was enough to arrest and hold Walberg disappeared. As far as she was concerned, the army veteran was coming after Harper and had already taken deliberate and deadly steps to implement whatever plan he had in mind.
After a few calls with the relevant Montana police agencies, Connors convinced them to consider Walberg a formal suspect in the quarry killing. That would be enough to enter his information in the databases of Montana, California and the states between. If Walberg were stopped by a cop who ran his driver’s license, an alert would not only say that he should be held for questioning in the quarry murder case, it would also warn that Walberg should be considered armed and extremely dangerous.
Connors made sure that every cop in San Francisco would be alerted to keep a watch for Walberg as they came on for duty. In addition to his identifying information and a description of his Blazer with Montana plates, she circulated his photo. It was taken from his driver’s license. He’d had longish brown hair, a mustache and an enigmatic smile when the picture was snapped five years earlier.
Chapters of the serial are published Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.
You can learn more about Divine Fury on Amazon.