Crime in Syracuse Sparks a Fear of Local Danger

With a sophisticated computer science and engineering background, David Renz, 29 of Cicero, NY managed to deactivate his court ordered electronic ankle bracelet in a matter of minutes. Disregarding his 9:00 pm curfew, he drove to the nearby Great Northern Mall. He then allegedly carjacked and abducted Lori Bresnahan, an Elementary school Librarian in the district and her 10-year old daughter after they were leaving a gymnastics class around 9:00 pm.

Renz allegedly raped the child in the car of the mall parking lot and then tied up the two females and drove them to a nearby park. The girl escaped and the mother later died of multiple stab wounds. Renz was found fleeing the park’s wooded area around 11:30 pm and was tackled and brought into custody by authorities.

According to The Post-Standard and its affiliate,, Renz was awaiting trial under federal jurisdiction for possession of 100 plus gigabytes and over 3,000 images of child pornography. According to court documents, these files were on an encrypted hard drive on a homemade computer in his residence.

During pre-trial, Renz was afforded free reign to continue to work at his longstanding job at Wegmans, but was hesitantly given an electronic monitoring device in the meantime. Due to his swift nature with technology, Renz was able to reconfigure the device’s settings in a few minutes and the company didn’t detect any problems until four hours later, which was four hours too late for Lori and her daughter.

Senior criminal justice major Nicole Close and resident of Clay, NY said, “It’s just a shock and really devastating. We never expected something to happen like this here.  I live two miles from where it happened. My mom’s a pre-school teacher and I’ve been around the man who did it. He used to attend a church I went to, so it hits really close to home.”

The alleged murderer and rapist stands approximately 5’3. He attacked the mother and child in a well-lit parking lot and was carrying what authorities believe to be a knife. Authorities are unsure if the victims attempted to fight off Renz.

“Nothing good will happen if you get into the car,” said Corporal Detective Jeffrey Layton of Monmouth University Police Department. “I would punch, scratch, kick and scream and try to get away.”

“Along with this advice of course comes the warning that I give that could prevent this from happening,” continued Layton. “Try not to go to places that don’t seem safe. Walk with another person if possible, even if you have to wait in the building until you see someone walking to a nearby car. Park in well lit areas and be aware of your surroundings.”

But what matters in the face of danger? The alleged attacker is small in size, but has serious facial deformities. Renz was born with the lower half of his left jaw and part of his cheekbone missing. He underwent years of extensive reconstructive surgeries to correct his face, but was left with a lowered-self esteem and facial scarring. Quite possibly his fate was ruined simply at birth. recently posted an article titled “David Renz was the kid with the deformed face before being accused of horrifying crime,” which concerned the upbringing of the assailant. His character showed signs of deviation even at a young age. He was the typical advanced, intelligent quiet kid who was isolated in elementary and high school, similar to the incidents of Uni-bomber Ted Kaczynski. Draw your own conclusions, but the complexities of this case bring up the idea that childhood memories shape our adult disposition.

Senior communication major Alexandria Fitzgerald said, “If we lived in a society where diversity was more welcomed and people were embraced rather than excluded, these people going off the deep end wouldn’t feel the need to take out their anger on innocent civilians.”

When are the signs of deviation noticed? Who’s to blame? Parents or teachers?  Television series? The answer is not simple, but it brings awareness to future generations.

Currently, Renz is under a 24-hour suicide watch at the Justice Center Jail in Onondaga County after he was previously attacked by an inmate.

“It makes everybody second guess things and a little more fear has been put into the mothers and families here. It’s such an awful tragedy,” said Close.