Is Thomas Dewald the Definition of a Serial Predator?


Thomas Dewald in an undated photo from the Franklin County Jail and the AP.

Coming out of Waynesboro, PA, we have the story of Thomas Dewald, who has a rather unseemly hobby: it seems he finds pleasure in scoping out kids that are “living in deplorable conditions” and then kidnap them and have his way with them. His most recent hit was a situation where he took a four year-old girl from her house and stuffed her in a trunk at his grandmother’s house. The girl would escape at about 5:30 in the morning last Thursday and she was found safe a few blocks away. Of course, the rhetorical question is this: does Thomas Dewald fit the profile of a serial predator? The answer to that question just might be yes, and here are some reasons why:

Serial predators are opportunistic. 

One of the concepts that Thomas Dewald has told investigators is that he was looking for children that lived in “deplorable conditions.” To that end, Thomas Dewald would canvas neighborhoods trying to find kids that would live in these type of environments. Another way that this fits the criteria of a serial predator would be the very narcissistic element of it. In a sense, he picked out kids in these environment as potential kidnapping targets simply because it would be easier for him to elude police.

Serial predators are calculating. 

When Dewald was in the process of carrying out this plan of taking this 4 year-old girl, he first of all considered taking her older brother. However, he decided against it because he thought the young boy would be too large for the trunk he was going to place the child in. Moreover, Dewald only canvassed areas that had limited surveillance areas. Simply put, this man knew exactly what he was doing.

What do the actions of Thomas Dewald mean to us? 

First of all, if you see something unusual in your community, you need to report it. Secondly, if you considering committing a crime, please be aware that yes, you will be caught. Whether it’s kidnapping a child like this psychopath did, or knocking off a neighborhood liquor store, you will be caught. There are people who have spent their whole entire careers investigating crimes, and they are dedicated to solving them, even if it was a set of crimes that occurred decades ago. Moreover, there is actually a parallel to this in Judeo-Christian scripture. In Numbers 32:23 it notes, “you can be sure that your sins will find you out.” This kid is going to probably going to get some extensive jail time for terrorizing this young child, and there is no question he deserves it.