Did Luka Rocco Magnotta want to get caught?

A retired criminal profiler says it's a 'myth' that fugitives like Magnotta want to get apprehended for their alleged crimes.

Luka Rocco Magnotta didn't appear to be going to a lot of effort to lie low before he was arrested Monday in Berlin.

The subject of an international manhunt and worldwide media attention, the first-degree murder suspect had been spotted at bars and hotels in Paris over the weekend, before he boarded a bus for Germany. And once in Berlin, he spent hours at a public internet café, apparently reading articles about himself.

And he reportedly told German authorities 'You got me,' upon his arrest at that café, hinting that he may have viewed the whole ordeal as some kind of game.

This image taken from CCTV obtained by Associated Press video shows Luka Rocco Magnotta entering the Berlin internet cafe where he was arrested. (AP Photo/AP Video)

But a retired criminal profiler rejected the idea that Magnotta was taunting authorities or trying to get himself arrested.

"Clearly he’s running, he’s trying to avoid apprehension. But that’s a myth that people want to be caught for their crime," Jim Van Allen, who was a manager with the Ontario Provincial Police Criminal Profile Unit, told CBC News.

Van Allen, who now heads the Behavioural Science Solutions Group, a private firm in Langley, B.C., that specializes in threat assessments and violence reduction strategies, said that Magnotta could have turned himself in at any time if he wanted to deal with the allegations or show remorse, but chose not to.

"There’s very little of that taunting behaviour going on. I’ve only seen it in a couple of crimes in my career and it generally means an arrogant, overconfident individual, which I think Magnotta is, but I didn't see anything he was doing as taunting. Everything I saw from him [was] avoid apprehension and stay on the run."

Van Allen said he's not surprised that Magnotta was arrested, saying that he was up against a formidable police presence, international co-operation, media scrutiny and assistance from the public.

"He had very few options left to him. He was just making mistakes and it caught up to him," he said.

"Any acquaintance network you have over there would likely know of his involvement and that he was wanted. He had to put himself out there to survive —  go to restaurants and things like that. I would have predicted he wouldn’t have been able to stop himself from checking the media for the police progress to see what  they know how close they [were to him]."

Van Allen described Magnotta as a "creature of habit" who craves attention and being part of the scene.

"Therefore he’ll be using the same type of haunts, using the same type of communication methods, i.e., the internet and internet cafés."

"He's driven by different needs than what we have. His personality makes him impulsive, makes him careless. He’s got poor behavioural control and I think he showed bad judgment and what we would anticipate from a person like this. And lo and behold, that’s what he demonstrated."


Mark Gollom

Senior Reporter

Mark Gollom is a Toronto-based reporter with CBC News. He covers Canadian and U.S. politics and current affairs.