In several cases since the novel was published, serial killers, spree killers, kidnappers, and other criminals have claimed that The Collector was the basis, the inspiration, or the justification for their crimes.
Leonard Lake and Charles Ng
In 1985, Leonard Lake and Charles Chi-Tat Ng abducted 18-year-old Kathy Allen and later 19-year-old Brenda O'Connor. Lake is said to have been obsessed with The Collector. Lake described his plan for using the women for sex and housekeeping in a "philosophy" videotape. The two are believed to have murdered at least 25 people, including two entire families. Although Lake had committed several crimes in the Ukiah, California area, his "Operation Miranda" did not begin until after he moved to remote Wilseyville, California. The videotapes of his murders and a diary written by Lake were found buried near the bunker in Wilseyville. They revealed that Lake had named his plot Operation Miranda after the character in Fowles' book.
Christopher Wilder, a spree/serial killer of young girls, had The Collector in his possession when he killed himself in 1984.
In 1988, Robert Berdella held his male victims captive and photographed their torture before killing them. He claimed that the film version of The Collector had been his inspiration when he was a teenager.