The Dinnertime Bandit

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In 2005, I was contacted by a gentleman from Scotland named Peter Gordon.  He sent an e-mail requesting any information I might have on "The Dinnertime Bandit".  This was the name given to a brazen robber, who entered homes while families were having dinner.  Peter said he thought he knew where this man was living in Europe.   I remembered reading about these robberies in the local newspaper during the late - 1990s.  Peter said he was trying to launch a website modeled after the "America's Most Wanted" program.  I went back and researched this for him.  I sent him several articles.



Robber.jpegFrom September 1996 to October 1997, sixteen robberies were committed in town, which netted about $1 million. Newspapers nicknamed the culprit "The Dinnertime Bandit" since he'd rob people between 6:30 and 11 pm when people were home (perhaps having dinner).  One victim claimed she was tied up, but that the robber seemed concerned about her welfare.  When she complained about being locked in a closet, he tied her to a bedpost with her husband's neckties.  He also brought her an inhalator when she started to have breathing problems. By the way . . . he stole her Jaguar to escape!  Another woman said she got a brief look at the robber, but couldn't remember a lot of detail.  A child saw him flee the scene of a crime in September 1997.  The eight-year-old screamed, he skillfully dove out a window onto a porch roof and escaped.



vincent the chin.jpg

                              Vincent "The Chin" Gigante


                                      SOURCE:  New York Times 


The trail remained "cold" for several years until a parole officer in New York in 1998 claimed he got a tip from an anonymous source.  John "Jack" Kulp, Alan's half-brother (an early accomplice with Golder), is believed to have been that source because after he talked to police, he was released to face lesser charges for other crimes he committed.   Based on this information, it's known that Golder grew up in a poor family in Lynbrook (Long Island) near the railroad tracks.  As a boy, he stole toy cars and baseball cards.   He dropped out of high school, and taught himself to disarm burglar alarms at the age of 16.  Golder joined one of the world's largest jewelry theft rings, and even knew Vincent "The Chin" Gigante.  From 1976 to 1980, the FBI said he stole $25 million in gold and jewelry in California from such well-known people as Johnny Carson, Glen Campbell, former US Treasury Secretary C. Douglas Dillon and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis's mother. At one point, he sold some of his stolen jewelry to an associate at St. Patrick's Cathedral!  He is believed to have associated with members of the Genovese crime family,  and liked to hang out with the wealthy.   In 1978, he was arrested and convicted of a robbery on Long island, which resulted in the death of Lawrence Levin, a well-known real estate developer.  Even though he didn't pull the trigger, he was guilty by association for participating in the robbery.    He received early parole for good behavior in 1996, but it wasn't long until he reverted to his old ways.  Golder was believed to have committed 55 burglaries all across New England, Westchester and Pennsylvania. 







                              Whitestone Area in New York

                                      SOURCE:  Google Commons



Golder was living in a modest apartment in the Whitestone section of New York.  He drove a modest car and kept a low profile as his neighbors never suspected he was a career criminal.  When the police announced that Golder was a suspect in a press conference, Golder fled the area. His parole officer and other brother, Thomas Golder, who was a detective in Lynbrook, went to Alan's apartment when he failed to show for a scheduled meeting.   Surprisingly they found a Millionaire magazine and a story proposal in his apartment for a screenplay titled "Precious Metals: Confessions of a Rock and Roll Jewel Thief".   He had received $17,800 from Paramount Pictures for the rights.  It's believed to be based on his life.  To circumvent the law which prevents criminals from profiting from their crime, Golder had the money paid to his mother.    He adopted the title "Rock and Roll Jewel Thief" as if to further his reputation.


In March of 1998, the Philadelphia Daily News quoted Golder as saying he was going to "live it up" until he was caught.  He also mentioned that he never carried a gun and planned to surrender peacefully.  It seemed as though he was expecting  to get caught eventually and didn't want to be shot at.  About this same time, there were several false sightings.  A man who looked like Golder was spotted in Nashville.  He was later stopped in Florida, but soon released.  The FBI launched a website online to solicit information on Golder's whereabouts in 2001.  In 2005, Peter Gordon launched his website in Great Britain and America's Most Wanted and Unsolved Mysteries featured Golder in 2006.  This caused another round of false reports.  People called to say he was spotted at a grocery store in Nashville, buying a hot dog in St. Augustine FL, watching a game at the Georgia Dome, and performing in a traveling circus!  What they didn't know was that Golder had fled the country in November 1997 by flying from Chicago to Amsterdam. 


In a February 2008 interview, Golder explained that he led a very "charmed" life in Europe.  He had an apartment with a view of the Eiffel Tower.  Several women ended up living with him, and one even let him use her car.  He used trains and cars to tour Belgium, France, Switzerland and Britain.  To make money he worked for a tile company.  Acquaintances thought he was charming and articulate.  Unfortunately, Golder was apprehended when he was on his way to the barber in Belgium.  A friend had used his phone, and authorities were able to track Golder's whereabouts.





                                 Alan Golder in Custody

                               SOURCE: New York Times




The man who had eluded police for nine years was finally arrested in Antwerp, Belgium, on December 14, 2006 on unrelated charges.   The Connecticut State Attorney's office and Office of International Affairs of the US Department of Justice applied for extradition.   They prepared themselves for a long, drawn-out fight.  Belgium decided not to prosecute Golder, and this opened the door for US officials to extradite him.  On November 22, 2007, Golder returned to Greenwich.  Belgium authorities had turned him over to two US Marshalls and a Greenwich detective in Brussels.  He was arrested at Greenwich Police headquarters, and arraigned in Stamford Superior Court, which set bond at $250,000.  Golder was returned to Greenwich where he was jailed.  On November 24th, there was another arraignment.  He was transported with a police cruiser and unmarked car for escorts.  (There was even an officer spotted on Benedict Place outside the jail wearing a bullet-proof vest and carrying a Colt M-4 rifle.)  Bail was increased to $3 million since he was considered a flight risk.


In December 2007, Alan Golder pleaded not guilty to 40 felony charges, 18 burglaries, and 5 botched breakins.  By this time, his half-brother, John "Jack" Kulp, had died from an undisclosed illness. Jack  Golder claimed his half-brother and other associates had committed the crimes.  He also feared for his life since his earlier testimony had helped imprison a ring of powerful Manhattan jewelry fences.  An organized crime member had accosted him and beaten him up outside a New York bar.  He was afraid someone might plant a car bomb to kill him.  Other prisoners had threatened him as he was being transported in vans and while in prison.  To make matters worse,  police officials had reneged on a promise to enter him into the Witness Protection Program.


By 2008, Golder was anxious to get the trial started.  He claimed the police had rigged the photo lineup to persuade witnesses that he was the perpetrator.  Golder also tried to have the kidnapping charge dropped.  After all, he had not taken the victim anywhere.   A judge ruled out the use of the photo ID lineup and rejected the testimony from a woman who placed him at the scene of the crime.  In August 2008, Golder finally went to trial in Stamford Superior Court.


The trial proceedings were full of theatrics!  The judge warned the jury about the photo ID lineup.  Golder's lawyer wanted all charges dropped.  He said the evidence was "questionable" and that Golder had not been properly extradited.  Jack Kulp's testimony had been given when he was under sedatives and on his death bed.  Golder even blew up when the photo evidence was presented.  The judge refused to compel a reporter who had interviewed Golder to testify. 




On August 21, 2008, Golder was found guilty of committing robbery.  He was sentenced to 15 years in prison.  In November, Golder hoped that a court ruling would help his appeal case.  Later, in March of 2009, the Golder extradition was ruled illegal by a Belgium court.  Armed with this information, Golder sent a letter to the state Supreme Court appealing his conviction. He claimed his lawyer did not have his best interests at heart.  Furthermore, the evidence presented from his Whitestone apartment had not been obtained with a warrant. Also, he contended that one of the witnesses had been coached about the photo lineup.  Although he had filed his request with the Supreme Court, the case was heard by the State Appellate Court.  In March of 2011, his appeal was denied.  Golder continues to serve out his sentence at the MacDougall-Walker Correctional facility in Suffield.


In December of 2006, a member of the Dinner Set Gang was interviewed about Alan Golder.  From 1969 to 1974, the gang had stolen between $150 to 200 million from Florida to Connecticut.  Their victims included the DuPonts, Macys and Gimbels.  They planned their robberies carefully and never once used violence or had a mishap.  They detested Golder and called him a "copycat".  Golder had learned his break-in skills from them.  They, in turn, had learned their skills from Army Rangers in World War II, who scaled buildings to steal secret documents from the Nazis! 


The man who liked to hang out with celebrities and likened himself to a "rock star" was finally under lock and key for the duration.  Judge John Kavanewsky said, "Mr. Golder, you may have illusions that you are an icon in the industry. But simply put, you are a convict."


As one detective put it . . ."you're not an icon. . .you're a con".



SOURCE:    Greenwich Time  (Hearst Corporation)













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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Carl White published on June 19, 2012 7:19 PM.

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