New York police officer Tom Burke is being hailed as the man who tracked down a vicious child murderer in Brooklyn, New York.
Burke identified Levi Aron’s Honda Accord car, which allowed the search party to track him down within 45 minutes. 8-year-old Leiby Kletzky was seen getting into the gold car just hours before he was brutally murdered.
As thousands searched for the eight-year-old Jewish child missing in Brooklyn, Tom Burke narrowed the search by just seeing the CCTV footage.
Chief Joseph Fox and his team who were coordinating the search for the Leiby on the night of July 12. They were desperately trying to identify the car that Leiby was seen climbing into before he disappeared.
Fox said "Call the car geeks!" and they called Tom Burke.
Burke was at home asleep when investigators called. The Irish American cop sprang into action. He hitched a lift with his partner Detective Emanuel (Manny) Rossi to Brooklyn to have a look at the footage.
The trail was getting cold and all they had was footage of this gold car that no one could identify.
Burke, who knows cars so well he can identify them from their hubcaps, was brought to the command center, Leiby's Bourough Park camp that he had left just a day and a half before.
The Chief of Detectives Phil Pulaski brought Burke to a monitor to see the grainy footage of the car on 18th Avenue.
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Burke scribbled down the words "Japanese" and "hubcaps." He told the New York Daily News: "Within five seconds, I knew it was a Honda Accord ... they change hubcaps every year. They are very individual."
Burke brought a printout of the image to the 66th Precinct station-house to compare it with similar models.
He explained: "I make cars into a fingerprint. I look at car lines, the wrap around bumpers and the rocker panel underneath the body. I look for distinctive things."
He remembered that the only year Honda has produced this particular gold-colored Accord was in 1990.
The make and model of the car were eventually what led Detectives Fox and Pulaski to find the home of Levi Aron, who is currently in custody awaiting trial.
Just 45 minutes after Burke identified the vehicle, two volunteer searchers spotted it outside Aron's home.
Leiby was drugged, murdered and mutilated. "I felt bad when I heard he was dead ... I wish things had happened quicker. Maybe if I had seen the video sooner, we could have found him alive. But that's not always possible."