July 2nd, 2008
04:02 PM ET

So a murder suspect walks into a bar...

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/07/02/art.vert.sheley.jpg width=292 height=320]
Ismael Estrada
AC360° Producer

It sounds like the beginning of an old joke. But if Nicholas Sheley was trying to hide from the cops, the joke was on him.

Bindy's bar in Granite City, IL, is well known here among none other than cops. Granite City police tell us that it's a known hangout for local law enforcement. Officers have gatherings, retirement parties and watch the game on television there.

So when Sheley walked in, all it took was a phone call and cops knew exactly where to go.

"He walked in and ordered a glass of water," said Bindy's bar owner, Bill Watson, who added that patrons in the bar had just finished watching local news casts where Sheley's mug shot was plastered all over the screen.

Watson said he was watching over his bar along with a bartender and 2 patrons when the man wanted for questioning in eight murders in Illinois and Missouri ordered his drink and walked into the bathroom.

"He returned from the bathroom and he wanted a cigarette and he asked me to borrow a lighter." Watson said the bartender had already called the police when Sheley was advised that he'd have to smoke his cigarette outside due to a new smoking ban in Illinois.

"He walked outside and within 30 seconds the police were there."

It was the end of the man hunt for the suspect in brutal murders over the past few days. Watson said he felt good about the arrest and their tip to the police. They were all joking around and enjoying the fact that of all places, Shelley chose a cop hangout when the bar phone rang.

It was a victim’s family member who tearfully thanked Watson for calling in the tip and getting Sheley off the streets.

"It was right at that moment when I realized the seriousness of what had happened. It really hit home."

Filed under: Crime & Punishment
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Kathy Waters

    I'm glad the public is so willing to assist the police to capture this killer. The police are our protectors and the only people that don't respect the police are the criminals.

    July 2, 2008 at 8:40 pm |
  2. Mary H - St. Louis, MO

    All I can say is.... I am so glad they caught him. There were e-mails flying around telling everyone to be extremely cautious and I can speak for several here in St. Louis that it had us making sure our doors were locked and we were looking behind our shoulders for a few hours... I'm also very glad no one else got hurt or killed.

    July 2, 2008 at 6:17 pm |
  3. Alex

    Sounds like somethging out of a movie I saw.....dumb bad guy walks into a bar filled with off duty cops, pulls a gun and announces a robbery. When he looked around, he saw 50 barrels pointed at him. As you can imagine, those "barrels" weren't exactly filled with beer. Thank goodness crooks like this idiot aren't generally too smart.

    July 2, 2008 at 6:02 pm |
  4. Michelle, Spring Valley,CA

    Going to a bar got him behind bars?

    Wow. Pretty ironic.

    But, at least now the families can at least try to get some justice now that he's behind bars.

    July 2, 2008 at 5:19 pm |
  5. Victor in Saanich, B.C. Canada

    He was thirsty and then needed to use the washroom!! :]
    Okay, not one of the brightest bulbs in the 'human' chandelier I must say!! A laugh indeed for the prison population n'est pas??

    July 2, 2008 at 4:42 pm |
  6. Jolene

    I can't imagine seeing a mug shot of a guy, seeing him in your bar and then having the composure to direct him outside for a smoke. I'd be weak in the knees and scared silly. Kudos to Watson and his bar staff for saving the day. The more I read about this guy, the more I wonder how much his drug addiction had to do with why and how he committed these murders. It should be an interesting case to follow. Thanks for the updates.

    Jolene, St. Joseph, MI

    July 2, 2008 at 4:40 pm |
  7. Cindy

    Who in their right mind would go into a very public place like a bar when they are wanted for murdering 8 people!? Seems to me like you'd be in hiding or getting the heck out of dodge! So OK I guess he isn't in his right mind seeing as he killed people huh!? LOL


    July 2, 2008 at 4:09 pm |