Just the Facts, Ma'am

Thonie Hevron; bringing you the stories behind the badge

The Call Box: A Burglar’s Burglar

By Ed Meckle, Retired LAPD

lapd callboxFootpad, housebreaker, cracksman, 2nd story man—the list of slang names is endless.

Let me begin with a confession: I am not, repeat, not an expert on burglars. I probably know as much as the average street cop. There are those of you out there who have busted more burglars than I have written traffic tickets. So, this is not a lecture but a tale, The Tale of the Master Burglar, or the burglar’s burglar.

California penal code section 459 defines burglary (basically) as the entry into a building, room, etc. with the intent to commit theft or any felony. Remember this.

People are robbed—buildings are burglarized, thank you.

One of the perks of working Metro was the chance to attend any number of classes.

When Basic Investigators class was offered, I jumped. A week-long series of classes on “how to”, “where to find it” and “secret and sneaky sources”—great! One day the lecturer was Detective Dan Bowser (who was later to become my boss at Wilshire detectives and a longtime friend). It was the first time I heard the name Gordon E. Atterberry.

G.E.A. had been arrested only a year prior to the class I was attending so with the facts fresh in mind, Bowser talked for the full hour about this man. As I was to discover over the years Bowser was a great story teller but this one needed no embellishments.

We were on the edge of our seats the entire time. I wish I could remember more but these are some of the facts.

Atterberry was just 23 years old, slight and slender and had attended Wisconsin University where he majored in electronics, and made burglar alarms.

burglar alarmNothing more than “playthings.”

He was the ultimate cat burglar. He loved hi-end residences, mansions, fancy condos and town houses and almost preferred “working” while the occupants slept. In one instance, he not only disabled the alarm he stole it.

Later he recounted the home owner’s reaction to find the alarm gone. For the same reason, he would not only pilfer the pockets of the victims clothing while they snoozed nearby by, but on several occasions, took the car keys and then the car.

He had a wide variety of methods of entry from unlocked doors, windows to doggie doors. Later, he described the feelings while in the bedroom as a rush. He took money, jewelry, and anything of value he could turn over.

Then one late night he found a gun and badge on the dresser and admitted to a combination thrill/fear as the officer slept. He replaced everything carefully and left without taking anything.

burglar-committing-crime-vector-artHe worked mostly alone but sometimes with a small select crew. He ranged from San Diego to Bakersfield but preferred the San Fernando Valley plus Bel-Aire, Brentwood along with Beverly Hills.

He told of being chased any number of times by the police.  So he always tried to climb a tree.

He told detectives, “Cops look under things, they look behind things and between things but they don’t look up.”

When he was finally taken down it was due to a domestic dispute. What else?

Various detectives spent weeks driving him all over southern and central California while he pointed out his accomplishments. He had a fabulous memory and pointed out many victims who never knew they had been hit. Detectives found three apartments crammed with the loot that he had not sold off.

Detectives conservatively estimate he was “good for” a minimum of 150 plus burglaries.

He was to burglary what Babe Ruth was to baseball.

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

3 comments on “The Call Box: A Burglar’s Burglar

  1. marilynm
    September 10, 2017

    Fascinating!

    Like

  2. lapd16336
    September 10, 2017

    I remember the academy instructors describing Atterberry in the 70’s
    . I always reminded myself to look up. Good story Ed.

    Like

  3. lapd11331
    September 10, 2017

    There was a woman addict called ‘Darling Darlis’ who operated in the South Bay. She in fact did burglarize two separate LAPD Officers, taking their weapons, ID, and badges as treasures of the 459.. She was released from Chino WP about 1980, and I understood went straight, opening a beauty shop in Long Beach. My partner and I arrested her once for 1550 H&S, and never connected her with a burglary. But unlike Atterberry, she never gave up her M.O. or victims. However, she did brag about the two Ofcs who she burglarized.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Information

This entry was posted on September 10, 2017 by in The Call Box and tagged , , , , , , , , .

Cop Talk

For all things about cop culture-the work, the family, the days off.

The purpose of this page is to educate writers of all genres to be accurate in their portrayal of law enforcement professionals. This includes meter maids (I was a "lovely Rita" many years ago), dispatcher, patrol officers, detectives, and administrators.

I have many resources in my 35 year career in California law enforcement. I index and explain common errors that found in all media. Guests will also post about police professionalism today and tomorrow as well as historical articles about the way things used to be, "back in the day".

Examples of police media myths: missing persons cannot be reported by anyone but the family; missing persons reports can't be taken until the subject has been missing 24 hours; all cops eat donuts.

You get my drift.

Goodreads

Schedule

Just the Facts, Ma'am posts Sundays and Fridays. Sundays scheduled writers Hal Collier, Ed Meckle, Mikey, and John Schick take us through the days and nights of those who protect and serve.
Friday postings feature authors sharing their thoughts about this journey we call authorship.
Extra postings will include California 'Officer Down' notices or something special. I will update progress of my current literary project as they develop.
--Thonie Hevron

Just the Facts, Ma’am copyright

© Thonie Hevron, Just the Facts, Ma'am 2010-present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Thonie Hevron with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Thank you.

Categories

Ed A. Murray

On reading. On writing. On life.

Fictionophile

Fiction reviews, Bookblogger, Fiction book reviews, books, crime fiction, author interviews, mystery series, cover, love, bookish thoughts...

Nancy's Notes From Florida

Author Nancy J. Cohen discusses the writing process and life as a Florida resident.

Logical Quotes

Logical and Inspirational Quotes

RedheadedBooklover

Just a redheaded woman who is obsessed with books

Stories by The Spotlight on Medium

Thonie Hevron; bringing you the stories behind the badge

So you wanna be a cop?

Real world information for those looking for employment in Law Enforcement and Corrections and advice and stories from a veteran cop.

Donut County Cop

Random thoughts of a suburban cop at a department right outside a major US city...because blogging is cheaper than therapy.

Cop Musings

Thoughts From Behind the Badge

DAVE FREEDLAND

Author of Crime Mysteries & Suspense

NW Fire Blog

"Fire News in the NW and Beyond"

The author's Blog

Discussions, Interviews, Suggestions for Writers

Hook'em and Book'em

Thonie Hevron; bringing you the stories behind the badge

clswinney.wordpress.com/

#1 International Bestselling Author of true crime.

Just the Facts, Ma'am

Thonie Hevron; bringing you the stories behind the badge

Horse Listening

Horses. Riding. Life.

%d bloggers like this: