One of the most notorious thieves in the U.S., Blane Nordahl, a.k.a. the “burglar to the stars”, began his life of crime in the1980s. Until recent years he victimized numerous homeowners, targeting ritzy and glamorous homes on the U.S. east coast and southern states. He was caught several times but got away more often than not. He was finally captured in August 2013 and police say he’ll be in jail for a long time.
Nordahl’s Long History of Crime
Nordahl, who was also known as the “Silver Bandit”, is suspected of committing more than 100 burglaries (and that could be a conservative figure). He meticulously did his homework, learning how to spot the best, and specifically targeted these quality possessions. Most of the time he stole high-end silver, usually historic, antiques, and one-of-a-kind pieces, leaving silver-plated items behind. He even toted along a silver tester to check the quality of the pieces he found. Items he pilfered included:
- Revolutionary-era pieces, one set made by Paul Revere
- Civil-War era and antebellum pieces, mostly family heirlooms
- A stein that once belonged to King George II
Over the years Nordahl targeted homes belonging to Billy Joel, Ivanka Trump, Bruce Springsteen, and Curt Gowdy, to name a few. He also broke into two restored historic mansions in Dutchess County, N.Y. Once he got away with the goods, he’d destroy the silver by sending it to smelters in exchange for cash.
How Did He Get Away With It For So Long?
Investigators say Nordahl a shrewd burglar, despite the fact he was occasionally caught. Some of his tactics included removing window or door panels (a favorite was French doors) to gain entry to the homes, replacing them after he left. He picked locks, evaded sleeping dogs, and squeaked by home security systems while owners slept soundly in their beds. In addition to his craftiness, his short stature and strength enabled him further avoid detection by squeezing into tight spaces. This master thief sometimes cased targets by posing as a wealthy man looking to buy an elaborate home. Real estate agents helpfully showed him the homes where the richest people lived, sometimes even sharing whether or not the owners were out of town. After he’d case his victims, he’d park a fancy car a few miles away and walk to the targeted home.
He [Nordahl] often drove a near-new Cadillac Seville. He once told the cops, “You have to park where it fits in. If it doesn’t fit in, then you can’t park there.”
He was so good at his illicit craft, most of his victims didn’t even know a thief had entered their premises, it wasn’t until they went to pull out the good silver, they’d realize they were victimized.
The Burglar to the Stars is Caught
It wasn’t until August 2013 the infamous “Burglar to the Stars” was caught by police. It took a large coordinated effort by authorities in six states to finally nab the mostly-elusive Nordahl. Investigators were finally able to tie the notorious burglar to the crimes through mobile and hotel records, along with other surveillance tactics. Overall, his criminal activity was linked to millions of dollars in stolen property (some reports suggest a whopping $10 million). Before his last bust, Nordah was paroled in 2010. Police say he’s addicted to stealing and indicate he probably won’t ever stop if he were to be released.
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. Over the years he committed hundreds of crimes.
Unfortunately, criminals like Nordahl often return to their criminal roots. Interested in monitored home security to help deter these bad guys? Call Protect America today for a free quote,