• Calls to vice girls made on untraceable cell phones
  • He thwarted police with three-minute calls to sister of victim
  • They believe he may have murdered four prostitutes in Atlantic City in 2006
  • Search widened to Nassau County
The serial killer dubbed the Craigslist Ripper has a sophisticated understanding of police investigation techniques and 'may be a cop', it was claimed today.

The startling new theory emerged as it was revealed the last man to see suspected victim Shannan Gilbert believes the prostitute is still alive.

Officers in Long Island where four bodies of of vice girls have been dug up, are convinced the killer could be in law enforcement because:

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Shannan Gilbert: The 24-year-old was last seen in May 2010 in the Oak Beach area. She is from Jersey City and was known to be a prostitute.

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Murdered: Barbara V. Breidor.

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Kimberly Raffo, two of the victims of an unidentified murderer in Atlantic City in 2006.

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Murdered: Tracy Ann Roberts.

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Molly Jean Dilts were also victims of the same murderer, who could possibly be the Craigslist serial killer.
  • He used disposable and untraceable cell phones to contact the four victims - all in their twenties - who advertised their services on Craigslist.
  • When he made six taunting calls to the sister of victim Melissa Barthelemy they lasted under three minutes each thwarting officers racing to find his exact location.
  • The calls were made in New York City, including Times Square and Madison Garden, allowing him to blend in with the crowds unseen, ensuring if his cell was pinpointed surveillance cameras would not be able to pick him out.
Some investigators now believe the killer's behaviour points to a man who has a deep knowledge of how police investigate serious crimes.

One told the New York Times: 'He is a guy aware of how we utilise technology. Frankly, people are thinking maybe he could be a cop - either one still in law enforcement or one who has moved on.

'Without question this guy is smart, this guy is not a dope. it's a guy who thinks about things.'

Ms Barthelemy's body was found in deep undergrowth along Ocean parkway near Gligo Beach last December along with three others. All were covered in burlap. She had been missing for nearly two years.

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Craigslist killer: The bodies of Amber Lynn Costello, 27, (top left), Megan Waterman (top right), Melissa Barthelemy, 24, (bottom left) and Maureen Brainer-Barnes, 25, were discovered in shallow graves in December at Long Island.
Last month the remains of four more bodies were discovered a mile from where the others were found. They have yet to be linked with the investigation.

Meanwhile, the last man to see suspected victim Shannan Gilbert, 24, before she disappeared sparking the Craigslist manhunt, believes the prostitute is still alive.

She vanished from the Long Island home of businessman Joseph Brewer who said:' I really do believe she's alive. What did she do? Just drop dead walking down the road?'

He spoke out as it was claimed that Gilbert partied with another man at the house that night.

Brewer, a former financial adviser, was cleared of being a suspect after being questioned by police and his rented house in Oak Beach searched.

Gilbert disappeared last May after she ran from his house in a drug-fuelled frenzy, knocking on neighbours' doors for help screaming: 'They are trying to kill me.'

She spent 23 minutes on the phone with a 911 operator before vanishing into the night.The tapes have never been released. The driver who brought Gilbert to Brewer's house was also questioned and eliminated from the inquiry.

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Target: Atlantic City's famous Broadwalk, where the four dead prostitutes would have worked.
Suffolk county police said this week that they had finished searching Oak Beach and Gilgo Beach, and are expanding their search for Gilbert to Tobay Beach in Nassau County.

Another man was staying in Brewer's home that night and partied with Gilbert, according to the New York Post.

He has been identified as a 48-year-old drifter who likes strippers. Police would not say if he has been questioned.

The new revelations emerged after police now fear the body count could be as high as 13 - and possibly more - as investigators believe he may have also killed four prostitutes in Atlantic City in 2006

According to the Post, investigators believe the killer changed his habits during his killing spree, altering the way he dumped his bodies.

But they said there were enough similarities in the Long Island murders and the grisly slayings in Atlantic City, which have so far remained unsolved.

Kimberly Raffo, Barbra Breidor, Tracy Ann Roberts and Molly Jean Dilts were all prostitutes murdered in 2006 and their bodies were found in a marsh area off a New Jersey road in West Atlantic City.

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Discovery: The most recent human remains were found on Cedar Beach, only half a mile away from where the other bodies were found on Oak Beach, Long Island.
The new bodies may pre-date the others. Police Commissioner Richard Dormer told the Post: 'We don't know their sex, we don't know their age, we don't know anything about them.'

Commissioner Dormer said they would be back in case they missed something and issued a warning to people in the area: 'We tell people they should be careful with any contact they make with strangers, especially women involved in the escort business.'

Police believe his killing spree may have taken in a larger area and could have spanned more than four years.

They will use ladder trucks from area fire departments and officers on horseback to search the dense brush in Nassau County as it gives them a better view.

Investigators were quickly able to determine Shannan Gilbert's body was not among the new remains because she had a metal implant in her upper body that would be easily identifiable.

Speaking to the paper, Ms Gilbert's sister Sherre said: 'My heart sank when I got the call from the detective.

'We have to find my sister, she's out there somewhere. Out of all the bodies we all thought one had to be her. He was shocked as well. Now I'm left with more questions that are unanswered.'

Hound: Police use cadaver dogs to search the thick brush on the side of the road near Oak Beach.