Expert: What motivates 'copycat criminals'

Posted at 5:41 AM, Sep 14, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-14 08:41:41-04

Unfortunately, “copycat criminals” are nothing new. There has been a long list throughout history, from Jack the Ripper imitators to the ever-increasing number of school shootings.

Psychotherapist Duffy McMahon says most of the time, they’re just looking for attention.

“They basically disassociate from who they are, they take on the persona of the person that’s getting all the press,” she said.

McMahon says in the case of the latest arrest of the three teen boys, their actions have a lot to do with their age.

“Part of it is called ‘growing up.' But there’s a mentality about copycats when it comes to violence, and they have a tendency towards violence.”

She says it also didn’t help that they were working as a group.

“It’s a mob setting if you think about it. If you have one person that’s a leader, he can get them to do almost anything, including murder.”

McMahon says often times it’s easier for authorities to catch “copycats” than the original suspects, simply because they’re looking for attention, and they’re not as careful.

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