SMP Logo
SM Publications
Silver Salon Forums - The premier site for discussing Silver.
SMP | Silver Salon Forums | SSF - Guidelines | SSF - FAQ | Silver Sales

The Silver Salon Forums
Since 1993
Over 11,793 threads & 64,769 posts !!
Silver Stories Forum
How to Post Photos REGISTER (click here)

customtitle open  SMP Silver Salon Forums
tlineopen  Silver Stories
tline3open  The Silver Thief - Blane Nordahl

Post New Topic  Post A Reply
profile | register | preferences | faq | search

ForumFriend SSFFriend: Email This Page to Someone! next newest topic | next oldest topic
Author Topic:   The Silver Thief - Blane Nordahl
Scott Martin
Forum Master

Posts: 11321
Registered: Apr 93

iconnumber posted 02-24-2005 02:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If you aren't familar with the story of Blane Nordahl, you will find it here:

Has anyone ever seen the list of un-recovered items?

Or do you have any personal insights to the Blane Nordahl story that might not have been reported in the press?


IP: Logged

Scott Martin
Forum Master

Posts: 11321
Registered: Apr 93

iconnumber posted 02-25-2005 04:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Wilderstein Burglery in NY State
by Wilderstein Preservation, 2/19/102 MAD

The following items were discovered missing on January 29, 2002 from Wilderstein Preservation, a historic house museum in Rhinebeck, NY 845-876-4818:

A Tiffany Studios stained glass and bronze tile table lamp with a domed tile shade of mottled green glass. Shade signed, base signed and numbered 2133. (22 inches high)

A Gorman sterling silver after dinner coffee service. Of plain elongated urn-form comprising a coffee pot, a sugar bowl and a cream pot. (Height of coffee pot 9 inches)

Howard & Company sterling silver trophy. Of plain urn-form with rope-twist scroll handles; inscribed "Staatsburgh Golf Club, Oct. 9 & 10, 1896, won by Robert B. Suckley." (6 3/4 inches high)

Tiffany & Company sterling silver hot water kettle. Of flattened urn form, spirally fluted and with a scrolled bail handle; fitted on a matching stand with burner and square gafrooned base with animal paw feet. (11.5 inches high)

Tiffany & Company sterling silver cream pot. Of urn-form with beaded boarders, leaf-scrolled handle and chased allover with pedant floral devices (7-3/4 inches high)


IP: Logged

Scott Martin
Forum Master

Posts: 11321
Registered: Apr 93

iconnumber posted 02-25-2005 05:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here is the same list as discribed by
Gregory J. Sokaris
Executive Director
Wilderstein Preservation
quote:
Below are descriptions of the items that were stolen.

Tiffany Studios stained glass and bronze tile table lamp with a domed tile shade of mottled green glass circa 1895-1905. Shade signed, base signed and numbered 2133 (22 inches high).

Gorham sterling silver after dinner coffee service circa 1920-25. Of plain elongated urn-form comprising a coffee pot, a sugar bowl and a cream pot numbered A6912 (height of coffee pot 9 inches).

Tiffany & Company sterling silver hot water kettle circa 1879-91. Of flattened urn form, spirally fluted and with a scrolled bail handle; fitted on a matching stand with burner and square gadrooned base with animal paw feet (11.5 inches high).

Tiffany & Company sterling silver cream pot circa 1852-65. Of urn-form with beaded boarders, leaf-scrolled handle and chased allover with pendant floral devices (7.75 inches high).

Howard & Company sterling silver trophy. Of plain urn-form with rope-twist scroll handles; inscribed "Staatsburgh Golf Club, Oct. 9 & 10, 1896, won by Robert B. Suckley" (6 3/4 inches high).

Sterling silver repousse frame.


IP: Logged

akgdc

Posts: 289
Registered: Sep 2001

iconnumber posted 02-26-2005 12:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for akgdc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Perhaps it would be worth contacting the detectives quoted in the story and offering to post lists of the missing silver on this website as a public service. I'd bet we'd end up spotting at least a few of the pieces on the market (and hopefully not in our own collections).

IP: Logged

Scott Martin
Forum Master

Posts: 11321
Registered: Apr 93

iconnumber posted 03-02-2005 04:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The follow was faxed to me without photos. It was supposed to have originated form the police. The first 31 items are supposed to have photos. The [sic ?] stuff was added by me.

quote:
The following is a list of stolen sterling silver from Edgewater Estate in Barrytown, Duchess County, NY. The list numerically corresponds with each piece as shown in the two pictures.

  1. Tiffany 2 piece salad set (10 3/16")
  2. 2 piece salad set - monogrammed “JDB” (9 1/8")
  3. Garham [sic - Gorham?] carning [sic - carving?] knife - monogrammed “JD” (9 3/4")
  4. Starr & Marcus punch ladle - monogrammed “JD” (13")
  5. Starr & Marcus sauce ladle - monogrammed “JD” (7 1/2")
  6. 2 piece sauce ladles - monogrammed “RD” (7 ½")
  7. John McMullen soup spoon - monogrammed “WEG” (8 7/8")
  8. Hinsdale & Atkins 3 piece soup spoon set - monogrammed “WG” (7 1/2")
  9. Peter & Ann Bateman toddy ladle (11 3/4")
  10. Mead & Robbins 8 piece demitasse spoons - mono “ED” (4 1/4")
  11. Garham [sic - Gorham?] Co 9 piece dessert spoons - mono “RDB” (7 1/4")
  12. Platt & Brotlur [sic - Brother?] 8 piece tea spoon set - mono “B” (6 1/8")
  13. Gorham 12 piece tea spoon set - mono “MCC” (5 7/8")
  14. Tiffany & Co 6 piece tea spoon set - mono “PB” & 1902 (6 1/8")
  15. Bazel Wood dessert spoon - mono “SID” (6 7/8")
  16. Isaac Hutton 5 piece desert spoon set - mono “RD” (7 1/8")
  17. UNK 8 piece tea spoon set - mono “RD” (6")
  18. Starr & Marcus 4 piece soup spoon set - mono “B” (8 5/8")
  19. 4 piece luncheon knives - mono “JB” (8")
  20. J Richard 6 piece fruit spoon set - mono “RD” (7 3/8")
  21. Thomas & Benjamin Demilt 10 pcs luncken [sic - luncheon?] forks (7 1/8")
  22. Hinsdale 8 piece dinner fork set - mono “OB” (8")
  23. Starr & Marcus 8 piece dinner fork set - mono “B” (6- 8" & 2- 8 1/2")
  24. false hallmarks fish server - mono “W” (13")
  25. Whiting berry spoon - mono “MSC” (9 5/8")
    30. Starr & Marcus 6 piece tea set - mono “RDB”
    31. Marin-Guillaume Biennais coffee pot
    cup w/handle - mono “RDB” & “To Robert Bronson Cromwell Dec 5, 1904"
    Tiffany & Co compote - mono “PB” (2 ½")
    Gorham Porringer - no monogram diameter of bowl is 4"
    Theodore Star vase holder - mono “C” & “1864-1914"

IP: Logged

Scott Martin
Forum Master

Posts: 11321
Registered: Apr 93

iconnumber posted 08-28-2013 11:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
see update: Silver Thief Caught Again

IP: Logged

Scott Martin
Forum Master

Posts: 11321
Registered: Apr 93

iconnumber posted 08-28-2013 11:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Daily News

Notorious burglar Blane Nordahl, dubbed ‘The Silver Thief,’ arrested again in Florida for silver thefts across the South

Nordahl, whose career as a silver thief spans decades, is suspected of pulling dozens of jobs from Tennessee to Florida since 2011.

By Philip Caulfield / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Wednesday, August 28, 2013, 9:29 AM


    An old booking photo of master thief Blane David Nordahl. He was arrested again on Monday for allegedly robbing dozens of homes and estates in the South since 2011.


Cops in Florida have nabbed a master cat burglar known as "The Silver Thief" believed to have made off with millions in antique silver from wealthy families and collectors across the South.

Blane Nordahl, 51, was arrested in Hilliard, near Jacksonville, Monday after a months-long investigation led by a retired New Jersey cop who'd already put him away five times during a decades-long catch-me-if-you-can chase, ABCNews.com reported.

The notorious burglar — who was also dubbed "Burglar to the Stars" for his habit of hitting celebs' homes — is a suspect in a rash of silver burglaries from Tennessee to Florida beginning in February 2011.

RELATED: COPS: STAR CAT BURGLAR SCRATCHED

Authorities said Nordahl was a genius at covering his tracks, replacing removed window panes and disabling alarm systems as he slipped into mansions at night and made off with troves of rare and exquisite silver, including pieces smithed by Revolutionary hero Paul Revere and a cup once belonging to King George II.

Many of the victims didn't know they'd been robbed until several months later when they went to take out the fine silver for special occasions, authorities said.

Investigators were stumped by the burglary until police in Atlanta received a call from Lonnie Mason, a retired Monmouth County cop who'd spent his career tracking Nordahl in the Northeast and first put him behind bars in 1983.

Mason said he'd seen Internet reports of untraceable silver thefts in the South and had a hunch his old nemesis was behind them.


    Wilderstein, the home of a relative of Franklin D. Roosevelt, in Rhinebeck, N.Y. In 2002, Nordahl received an eight-year sentence for stealing the silver from Wilderstein and another nearby mansion. The silverware was never found.
    JIM MCKNIGHT/AP

Wilderstein, the home of a relative of Franklin D. Roosevelt, in Rhinebeck, N.Y. In 2002, Nordahl received an eight-year sentence for stealing the silver from Wilderstein and another nearby mansion. The silverware was never found.

"It's his addiction," Mason told ABCNews.com. "He doesn't do drugs or drink alcohol. But needs to steal. He feeds off it. He needs to prove he's better than the police."

Nordahl was last paroled in 2010 after serving six years for a rash of break-ins across the East Coast.

In the '90s, he was fingered for burglaries at the homes of several celebs, including Bruce Springsteen and Ivanka Trump, from whom he bagged 120 pairs of salt and paper shakers.

Hilliard detectives collared him after a brief footchase on Monday.

According to ABCNews.com, as Nordahl sat cuffed, the cops called Mason to deliver the news.

"They told him, 'Blane, there's someone on the phone.' When they told him it was Lonnie Mason, he just buried his head in his knees," Mason said.

Nordahl was charged with felony burglary and conspiracy and was expected to be extradited to Atlanta from Florida in the coming weeks.

With News Wire Services



IP: Logged

Scott Martin
Forum Master

Posts: 11321
Registered: Apr 93

iconnumber posted 08-28-2013 11:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Cops Nab 'Master Thief,' Suspected of Stealing Millions in Silver
Aug. 27, 2013
By RUSSELL GOLDMAN

    Blane Nordahl was arrested in Hilliard, Fla., Aug. 26, 2013. He's accused of stealing millions of dollars worth of silver across seven states.
    Nassau County Sheriff

Police in Florida arrested a prodigious but picky cat burglar Monday, accused of robbing more than $10 million worth of fine antique silver from celebrity homes and historic mansions across the South.

For months, precious pieces of silver -- a stein that once belonged to King George II, a silverware set smithed by Paul Revere -- have disappeared from stately homes across seven states, while other valuables were left untouched. In nearly every instance there were virtually no clues, police said, and the thief would often cover his tracks, even replacing panes of glass he removed from windows.

The burglar was adept at sneaking past "sleeping dogs" and disabling alarm systems, according to the Nassau County Sheriff's Office in Florida.

"When all alarms were disabled, he would remove entire drawers full of silver items and take them outside to test them with his own silver test kit; plate silver would be thrown away at the scene and he would leave with only the finest and most expensive items," Sheriff Bill Leeper said in a statement.

    WHAT TO KNOW

  • Blane Nordahl, 51, is accused of stealing millions of dollars in silver from stately homes across the South.
  • A master thief, he is known to break into houses without tripping alarms or waking guard dogs.
  • He was netted with help from an ex-cop that has doggedly pursued him for decades.

Dozens of robberies, starting in February 2011 and all fitting a similar description, occurred across the South from Tennessee to Florida, and local cops were helpless to connect the dots, authorities said.

That was until Lonnie Mason, a retired New Jersey police detective, realized his former nemesis was up to his old tricks.

Mason had a hunch that a "genius thief," Blane Nordahl, 51, whom the ex-cop first crossed paths with in 1983 and had helped put away five times, wouldn't be able to stay away from the game for too long.

"I started Googling silver thefts," Mason told ABCNews.com. "And as soon as I saw a pattern, I knew it was Blane. I called the police in Atlanta and told them, 'Let me explain how this is all going to go down.'"

Mason is a Nordahl expert. And Nordahl is an expert thief. Nicknamed the "The Silver Thief" or the "Thief to the Stars," the ex-con, last paroled in 2010, has been tied to burglaries at the homes of socialite Ivana Trump and singer Billy Joel.

"It's his addiction," Mason said. "He doesn't do drugs or drink alcohol. But needs to steal. He feeds off it. He needs to prove he's better than the police."

Sticking to silver has its advantages, Mason said. It means the thief rarely has to venture upstairs into a home he's robbing. And it means that victims often don't realize they've been robbed "until Thanksgiving or Christmas rolls around and they go to take out their good silverware."

    "He doesn't do drugs or drink alcohol. But needs to steal. He feeds off it. He needs to prove he's better than the police."

Furthermore, there's a large market for the antiques and stolen silver isn't tracked nearly as routinely as fine art.

Nordahl typically cased expensive homes, but would also look for leads in architecture magazines and those featuring the homes of the rich and famous, Mason said.

Mason helped coordinate several police departments, pointing them to similarities in the way the suspect had cut holes in windows -- always starting from the same corner.

Sheriff's deputies in Hilliard, Fla., arrested Nordahl on Monday and charged him with felony burglary and conspiracy. After a short foot pursuit, officers cuffed Nordahl and placed a call to Mason.

"They told him, 'Blane, there's someone on the phone.' When they told him it was Lonnie Mason, he just buried his head in his knees," Mason said.

Nordahl has not yet appeared in court or retained an attorney, but is expected to be extradited first to Atlanta. Authorities in Tennessee and South Carolina also plan to press charges.

"I know Blane," Mason said. "He can't help himself. In the past I tried helping him get a job. The guy is brilliant and could do anything he chose. But he chose being a thief."


IP: Logged

Scott Martin
Forum Master

Posts: 11321
Registered: Apr 93

iconnumber posted 04-12-2014 09:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by chase33:
I thought I would share this article:

When I read it, I didn't know whether to be sad or angry (probably both)

On the Trail of a Silver Thief
by Kim Severson - April/May 2014

[I.] The Crime Scene

As she did most mornings, Mary Doffermyre woke up and headed straight for the thermostat in the dining room. Her husband, Everette, had a habit of turning it down. The old white brick Georgian-style house on Tuxedo Road, one of the best addresses in Atlanta, could get drafty. As she reached to turn up the heat, she noticed that her beloved art deco Tiffany tea service, the one that had been in the family for as long as anyone could remember, was missing from the sideboard.

Again, she blamed Everette. He was a noted plaintiff’s attorney, a wealthy man unafraid to take on tobacco and pharmaceutical companies. But he was always moving artwork around the house, a trait she found maddening. Then she noticed that her mother’s ornate sterling-silver compote, a foot-high beauty with little oarsmen on the top, was gone. “Everette!” she screamed as she ran back up the stairs. “We’ve been robbed!”

Sometime while the couple slept upstairs, the bedroom door locked and the dogs snoozing nearby, a thief with the precision of a craftsman had unscrewed the black wrought iron that protected the lower half of the French doors in the dining room. He eased off the putty from around the windowpanes and then meticulously stacked the thin strips of wood framing in a triangle, the way a child might assemble Legos. “They were just laid out there so neat,” Mary says. “He was so anal.”

The thief set the old window glass carefully against the side of the house and hoisted his body through the small hole. He had chosen only two rooms to rob. Crossing the hall into a living room, with pieces of silver on top of the baby grand and the bookshelves, could have set off the motion detectors. Still, the damage was devastating. He got the julep cups, three silver pitchers, and countless silver trays. Gone, too, were 150 pieces of Mary’s favorite flatware. Like so many Southern women?of a certain generation, Mary was deeply attached to the spoons and forks that marked her table at dinner parties and holiday gatherings. What was on your table said everything about you.

Looking back, she is grateful she had moved another set, her cherished Francis 1, down to the Palm Beach house. But the set she kept in Atlanta was particularly important to her. It was an antique Lansdowne pattern by Gorham, each piece monogrammed with her grandmother’s initials. She had service for twelve, both the dinner and the daintier luncheon size, along with every service piece one could imagine.

The silver thief had gotten almost all of it, right down to the butter picks and sliced tomato server. All that remained were the hollow-handled knives and the boxes, which the thief had left on the ground right where he had squeezed in through the door. The knives just didn’t weigh enough to be worth the cost of shipping them to the smelter.

On that November morning in 2012, the Doffermyres had become members of an exclusive club: victims of a silver thief investigators believe was so prolific and so skilled that for nearly three years he marched through as many as a hundred homes in the most privileged neighborhoods in six Southern states, stealing more than $12 million worth of the region’s finest sterling silver.

The theft of silver in the South is particularly painful. So much was lost during the Civil War. The pieces that remained had sometimes been saved only because someone had hidden them in a smokehouse or buried them somewhere on a plantation. Silver had also offered a way for the South to rebuild. Pulling together a new collection of silver after the war sent a signal that life would go on, and that Southern civility was not, in fact, dead.

“The silver that’s here, it fought to be here,” says John Jones, an appraiser based in Birmingham, Alabama, whose clients numbered among the victims. One family in Nashville’s Belle Meade neighborhood lost four generations’ worth of fine silver, some of which had been crafted from melted coins and hallmarked. Whether the thief knew all of this when he began raiding the richest homes in the South is still a mystery. The answer lies, at least for the moment, in the Fulton County jail in Atlanta, where the man police believe is responsible is awaiting trial.

[II.] The Suspect

Blane Nordahl, who is fifty-one, is a short, muscular, and exceedingly focused career criminal who had, until 2010, been serving time in New York for a series of silver thefts that had already made him infamous. People call him the silver thief to the stars. He has his own Wikipedia page. TV shows like Law and Order have built plots around his career.

Nordahl was a Midwestern boy with divorced parents who dropped out of high school in the eleventh grade and joined the navy, only to be discharged after he deserted. His first burglary arrest came in 1983, when he was a two-bit criminal just learning the craft. By the 1990s, he was devouring architectural magazines and learning all he could?about silver. And he was becoming a better thief, learning how to enter homes without leaving a trace save a small passage where he fastidiously removed a window or the panel of a door. He became a master at slipping past dogs and alarm systems, often doing such a clean job that people had no idea they had been robbed until it came time to pull out the silver for a holiday.

He went for colonial silver in Philadelphia, Boston, and Baltimore and took coin silver pieces from high-end homes in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, and Winnetka, Illinois, a community of expansive mansions on Lake Michigan. He slipped away with a quarter million dollars’ worth from a home in Essex Fells, New Jersey. Investigators say he even stretched his enterprise to Palm Beach back then, once hitting the home of the sportscaster Curt Gowdy.

In 1996, he took more than $150,000 in silver from Ivana Trump’s house in Greenwich, Connecticut, and a load of Francis 1 cutlery, a pattern ripe for the taking in Southern homes, from another Greenwich residence. He was caught and charged for those and a handful of other burglaries in upstate New York, and served a relatively short sentence after he admitted his role in 144 burglaries in several states. He was released after just a few years and got right back to stealing silver.

In 2002, he worked New York’s Hudson Valley. The most stunning jobs involved the priceless collection of period silver contained in the Edgewater mansion, assembled with great research and several trips to Europe by Richard Jenrette, a Southern-born Wall Street financier and restorer of historic homes, and a collection from the Wilderstein estate, the former home of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s cousin.

By 2004, he was sentenced to eight more years in prison. He got out six years later and immediately headed to Jacksonville, Florida, where his sister lived. Like Sherman, the nation’s most notorious silver thief, investigators say, was planning to march through the South.

[III.] The Sting

Lonnie Mason, a retired New Jersey detective, is a balding, straight-talking father of four children, three of whom are turning out to be cops, too. He’s a fan of the New York Giants and the Mets who lives a couple of blocks from the Jersey shoreline. He started his police career the day he graduated from high school, and he is the person in the country most singularly obsessed with Nordahl.

“Blane and I hate each other,” he says. “We love to hate each other.”

Mason started investigating Nordahl in the 1980s, trying to solve some petty burglaries in the shore town he patrolled. Nordahl wasn’t involved, but Mason soon connected him to other crimes. He’s talked to Nordahl on more than two dozen occasions and arrested him five or six times, in conjunction with other jurisdictions.

Once, he nabbed him in a motel room. Nordahl was hiding behind the door. The two ended up wrestling on the floor, and Mason found himself staring at a tennis shoe whose tread would be matched to a footprint on a counter at a crime scene—a rare mistake Nordahl never made again. After that, he took to wearing layers of socks and shoes a couple of sizes too big.

Mason is an old-school gumshoe who has embraced the digital age. Once he heard Nordahl had made parole, he felt certain the thief would be at it again. “He is what he is,” Mason says. “He is a real whack job when it comes to silver. This is his high—this and trying to beat the police.” One ex-girlfriend told Mason that Nordahl would be eighty years old and still running down the street with his cane and a piece of silver in his hand. “He is just fascinated with this stuff,” he says.

When he learned Nordahl had headed for Florida, Mason sat down at his computer. For months, he plugged the words silver and thefts and burglaries, along with Florida, into the search engine. In March 2013,?he started adding other states. He got a hit in Georgia, a report on burglaries in Buckhead. All the hallmarks were there. Remarkable pieces of silver lifted from rich neighborhoods in the middle of the night, with nary an indication the homes had been robbed.

He got on the phone, cold-calling detectives to say he knew who was doing the crimes. One can imagine the reaction. “Southerners aren’t very accepting of Northern ways,” Mason says, “and here I am this damn Yankee telling the Southerners I know who is doing this.” Eventually, he convinced Drew Behry, a detective in Atlanta, to listen.

“I’m going to tell you how the glass was cut out,” Mason told him. “I am going to tell you the corner he started with. It will be pressed in harder than the others. Then he goes clockwise.” Mason had so many details right, the officer was stunned. “Either you did the job or you were with the guy who did the job,” Behry told him.

Investigators arrested Nordahl last August, using a mix of technology and old-fashioned police work. For months, law enforcement officers had tracked his movements with cell-phone records and public cameras. They figured out which motel rooms he was staying in, knowing he didn’t spend more than a hundred dollars a night, and tracked the nice rental SUVs they say he preferred so he would better fit in with the neighborhoods he was prowling. They went over his bank accounts, used phone records to find the New York and Pennsylvania smelters where he allegedly shipped the silver to be melted down, and discovered the UPS store he used, intercepting a few boxes in the process.

Then they got to his new girlfriend, a Florida woman named Elizabeth Irene Music, with whom he began a pool service company that may or may not have been a front to funnel silver money. Investigators who have plowed through Nordahl’s phone records for years say he was a great lover of pornography and sometimes visited prostitutes. But he had had a string of girlfriends over the years, vulnerable women he would attract and spend money on, coercing them into becoming accomplices. Music was a perfect target for Nordahl. She had no record, but she was lonely and had financial trouble.

“She was like finding a lost puppy,” Mason says. She was afraid of Nordahl and afraid of jail, and she wanted to protect her daughter, who sometimes, according to officials, received the checks Nordahl would have shipped from smelters. So she cooperated, even driving around with detectives in the Atlanta neighborhoods where she said Nordahl had worked his craft.

When the police arrested her on August 24, she told them they could find him at home in Jacksonville. Dozens of officers arrived to arrest him. The house was virtually surrounded, but Nordahl, inexplicably, managed to drive his car past an officer, waving as he went. “It was,” says Mason, “a screwup.”

Nordahl headed to Georgia, but investigators say he knew he had cash coming in from his latest shipment. Two days later, he called Music’s daughter and arranged to pick up some checks from her place in Hilliard, Florida. The cops were waiting. But as he was pulling into the apartment complex, Nordahl made out a surveillance team. He jumped out of the car and, as he had done plenty of times before, he ran. Officers began the chase through the grass surrounding the apartments. They were losing ground when a man in his sixties saw a short figure scrambling through the complex. He figured it was a teenager who had done something wrong. He tackled him.

As Nordahl was sitting on the grass, hands cuffed behind his back, the arresting officers called Mason. His nemesis, they told Nordahl, was on the phone. The suspect just lowered his head to his knees. “If it wasn’t so early in the morning,” Mason says, “I would have had a cocktail.”

Nordahl is currently waiting to be tried on eight burglary charges, one of which is Mary Doffermyre’s. Music is facing the same counts and will be tried in Fulton County along with Nordahl. As of earlier this year, she was out on bail in Florida. A bad back from a recent car accident and a case of pneumonia have kept her from appearing at any of the hearings that have been scheduled as the case works its way through a backlogged system. It will be months before they go to trial.

After the cases in Atlanta are completed, Nordahl will face similar charges in Brunswick, Georgia, and finally in Aiken, South Carolina. Those jurisdictions have the strongest cases. In South Carolina, burglars?who have been convicted on similar crimes in the past and committed the new crime when someone was home at night face life in prison.

There is no way, Mason says, he will ever get out again. At least if things go the way he and other investigators believe they will.

[IV.] The Lawyer

Previous defense attorneys say Bruce Harvey, Nordahl’s current counsel, has his work cut out for him. Nordahl, who lays out his own detailed legal strategies in tiny, neat print, is an extremely controlling client who will work every angle and thinks he knows better than any lawyer how to beat his case.

Harvey isn’t worried. He says he has plenty of legal leverage, and that Nordahl will continue to fight to prove his innocence. But still, Harvey says, his client realizes he is in a tight spot. “He’s been down this road a number of times and now people are not going to be as forgiving as they were in the past.”

Like most who come into Nordahl’s orbit, Harvey is intrigued. But he is not enamored. He says Nordahl, who would not agree to an interview for this story, doesn’t come across as a brilliant, physically fit mastermind able to elude manhunts and haul a hundred pounds of silver out of a house in a duffel bag. He looks, Harvey says, like one of Santa’s aging, pudgy elves. Still, he has the steely confidence of a man who enjoys being Blane Nordahl, silver thief to the stars. “You get to a point in your life,” Harvey says, “where you want to live up to your own reputation.”

[V.] The Victims

For a few of the people involved, there is some small comfort in believing they were bested by the world’s greatest silver thief. It certainly made the theft at the Buckhead home of Beverly “Bo” DuBose III, a real estate developer and noted collector of Civil War artifacts and exquisite Chinese porcelain, something more than your average home burglary.

While Bo and his wife, Eileen, slept during a stormy June night in 2013, the silver thief removed a couple of panes of glass by carefully prying the putty from the windows with a small knife. The security cameras in the house were outdated. Whether the thief knew that remains a mystery, but it seemed as if he did. No images were usable. As Nordahl did in most of his work, the burglar who hit the DuBose house left the felt bags that had cradled the silver folded neatly in the drawers. And as Nordahl had done in past burglaries, the thief took entire trays of silver outside. He kept the heaviest flatware, leaving the hollow-handled knives in their case near the spot where he made his entrance and exit.

The couple left the next day for a trip, unaware they had been hit. When they discovered the theft, the loss was devastating: $177,000 worth of silver, including a rare cake basket made in the eighteenth century that the DuBose family kept in the dining room, a fifty-two-piece silver flatware set, and, perhaps most painful of all, a small pint mug from 1734 that was connected to King George II. Nonetheless, Bo is a bit philosophical about it all. “To be here asleep and have it happen, you realize how good he really is,” he says. “He was the best of the best.”

Other victims have been more traumatized. A woman in Aiken, South Carolina, one of six cases there, had just brought her husband home from hospice care when a man police suspect was Nordahl slipped in.

In Columbus, Georgia, a woman woke her husband up when the alarm to the silver closet went off. He went downstairs and closed the door, figuring the old lock was just acting up again. Police believe Nordahl was in the house, hiding until the man went back to bed. The next morning the couple saw wood missing from the door but assumed the men who had been working on the house had perhaps started early. But then they noticed a cloth napkin on the ground outside. They won’t talk about it publicly for fear something they say might ruin the legal case against Nordahl. And they won’t reveal what was taken. One thing that was spared: a pair of sterling candlesticks the woman had put in the freezer, using an old trick to help remove candle wax.

John Jones, the appraiser, says his clients in Nashville—some of them quite elderly—are still shaken. Seven homes in Belle Meade were hit over an eighteen-month stretch from 2011 to 2013, among them the estate belonging to the widow of Jack Carroll Massey, who once owned Kentucky Fried Chicken and one of the nation’s largest Wendy’s franchises.

The thief also tried and failed at two other homes, one of them a mansion that appears regularly in the television show Nashville. In the aftermath, many people with extensive silver collections in the city are considering selling them. Better they end up in the hands of someone who loves them than a silver thief’s.

The losses were historically devastating, too. In October 2011, the thief hit the Cooleemee Plantation House in North Carolina, a historic landmark that has been in the Hairston family since 1817. According to Davie County detective Scot Kimel, the thief was particularly careful about how he made his entry. He disabled the alarm system wire by wire, waiting an hour after each cut to see if there was a police response or a signal from the alarm company. Then he cut the phone lines. He made his entry through a window, and spent an hour and fifteen minutes inside the house, never once crossing a motion detector. He walked away with an antebellum tea set that historians say a slave named John Goolsby had hidden in the woods until Union troops had passed by. He also got a dozen silver spoons forged by Paul Revere, a prize so rare Mason suspects Nordahl might have kept them for himself.

For most victims, the lost silver was an irreplaceable link to their history and their ancestors. They had become caretakers of the family legacy, and in a flash, it was gone.

Kathleen Hohlstein had left her silver locked inside the silver closet in her Green Island Hills home in Columbus, Georgia, when she and her family were transitioning to Atlanta. They had set the alarm, put the lights on timers, and parked a car in the driveway. Still, the thief got in. Had he watched the neighborhood? Had he used Google to find their address? Did he find the neighborhood or even specific victims in publications that highlighted the glorious homes of the South?

All of it, detectives say, is possible. Nordahl was a researcher who knew how to find the homes that would yield what he was after. He once bragged that he had no scent dogs could detect, and he understood the habits of people lulled into complacency by the promise of expensive alarm systems and the limitations of small-town police departments. It would be nothing, detectives say, for Nordahl to hike a mile or more from his car to avoid detection, or hide out in a nearby field until a thunderstorm reached its noisy peak to mask his break-ins.

No one knows if it was Nordahl who entered Kathleen Hohlstein’s house, but she is sure he’s the one who stole her most emotionally priceless belongings. Gone is her great-grandmother’s flatware, the Gorham Buttercup pattern with serving spoons bearing a 1909 monogram. “It was just precious to me as an heirloom,” Hohlstein says. Gone, too, is a silver service from her grandmother, who had married during the Depression. The burglar took a tea urn connected to General Henry Martyn Robert, who wrote Robert’s Rules of Order, twelve hammered silver goblets, and an 1847 presentation ewer made by Bailey and Kitchen. And in a particularly painful move, the thief took the julep cups her mother had been giving her sons, one each year, until they each had a set of six.

Hohlstein and the other victims pore over every detail of the case against Nordahl, showing up on the days he is scheduled for court hearings and sharing information as they try to piece together what happened to them. “I would like to lay an evil eye on him and just hope he doesn’t slip away,” she says. “I hope that the Atlanta judge and the other judges that do actually sentence him will not be light.”

They also realize they may not be the most sympathetic victims. People have suffered more violent crimes. There is a tendency, they understand, for people to dismiss their loss as material, as a small financial blow to a class of people who have plenty and are most likely well insured. And most of them, correctly it seems, have given up hope that they will ever see their silver again.

As part of the investigation, police found a storage unit Nordahl rented. There was a welcome mat on the floor and a weight system. He would place the South’s priceless silver on the rug, police say, and smash it flat with a small dumbbell. Then he would pack it into small boxes and ship it to smelters up north, getting in return checks that averaged around $3,700.

Police intercepted a few boxes, but most of the silver is gone. What the victims hold out for now is justice, something Mason believes will come. After more than thirty years, and countless family events missed, numbing stakeouts, and legal documents, after what seems like a lifetime of days that started before dawn and ended well after midnight all in pursuit of one criminal, Mason says this is where the story will end. The man he has built a career studying, whose body language and disposition and methodology he knows by heart, will not get away this time. The country’s most notorious silver thief has made his last stand in the South. “He has finally come to the end of the line,” Mason says. “He doesn’t know how well he is had.”




IP: Logged

Scott Martin
Forum Master

Posts: 11321
Registered: Apr 93

iconnumber posted 08-07-2016 03:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Last night, I was channel surfing and stumbled upon a past episode of "American Greed"
quote:
Air date: 01/29/2015: AMERICAN GREED 97 – EA$Y BEING GREEN

Con man Rodney Hailey runs a fake green energy business ..... NEXT: For nearly 30 years, notorious cat burglar Blane Nordahl steals sterling silver in America's most expensive zip codes. His crimes spark a nationwide man hunt. It's a nearly $15 million precious metal meltdown


I couldn't find a free link to the show for you but if you can find it, it is interesting.

I did find these:

IP: Logged

All times are ET

next newest topic | next oldest topic

Administrative Options: Close Topic | Archive/Move | Delete Topic
Post New Topic  Post A Reply
Hop to:


Ultimate Bulletin Board 5.46a


1. Public Silver Forums (open Free membership) - anyone with a valid e-mail address may register. Once you have received your Silver Salon Forum password, and then if you abide by the Silver Salon Forum Guidelines, you may start a thread or post a reply in the New Members' Forum. New Members who show a continued willingness to participate, to completely read and abide by the Guidelines will be allowed to post to the Member Public Forums.
Click here to Register for a Free password

2. Private Silver Salon Forums (invitational or $ donation membership) - The Private Silver Salon Forums require registration and special authorization to view, search, start a thread or to post a reply. Special authorization can be obtained in one of several ways: by Invitation; Annual $ Donation; or via Special Limited Membership. For more details click here (under development).

3. Administrative/Special Private Forums (special membership required) - These forums are reserved for special subjects or administrative discussion. These forums are not open to the public and require special authorization to view or post.


| Home | Order | The Guide to Evaluating Gold & Silver Objects | The Book of Silver
| Update BOS Registration | Silver Library | For Sale | Our Wants List | Silver Dealers | Speakers Bureau |
| Silversmiths | How to set a table | Shows | SMP | Silver News |
copyright © 1993 - 2020 SM Publications
All Rights Reserved.
Legal & Privacy Notices