Burglars In Blue

Screen Shot 2014-03-31 at 8.56.04 AMThis is a repost from February, 2010. The Denver Post today carries an obituary for Mr. Winstanley who died Saturday at age 78. Beware when you embark on crime while young, even if you go on to live on the right side of the law for the next 50 years your criminal past may be recounted in your obituary. At least if your crime spree is notorious as the Denver Police burglary ring of 1960

From February 16, 2010:

The Denver Post today runs a history piece on the Denver Police Burglary ring that flourished in Denver in the Late 1950’s until it was discovered in 1960. In Denver Cop and Robber the Post reviews the major details of this case that dominated the news where I lived for several months. There is also an article on it that was run in the Post on December 16, 1961 here. A Time Magazine article from November 3, 1961 is here.

I was a 15-year old Denver Post paper boy in Cheyenne, Wyoming when this was going on. Breaking news on the scandal ran in the paper almost every day. The Denver Post was an afternoon paper at the time and for a while it would get dark before I got all my papers delivered because I had to read all the latest news on the burglar cops before I could start on my route. Each day I eagerly awaited the truck that drove up from Denver every afternoon to deliver bundles of papers to paperboys around Cheyenne by about 3:00 P.M.

The scandal was also covered on the Denver AM radio station KIMN 950. KIMN radio was the top 40 rock and roll station in Denver, broadcasting a good signal that easily reached Cheyenne. Everyone my age listened to it. Unlike music radio stations today, KIMN covered the cop scandal news every day in between playing records. There was a disc jockey at the time who went by the moniker “Pogo Poge.” Pogo reported the latest developments every day on KIMN radio. Much like conservative talk radio of today, Pogo would relate not only the news but also his running commentary on the news. I loved it. Being a child of the 1950’s and living in a house without a television — there were still houses without a TV in those days — I had grown up on radio. I think this may explain my addiction to talk radio today.

The story of how almost 20% of the Denver Police Department were involved in one way or another in a burglary ring that existed for years until it was discovered is still an interesting story. You can find a lot on it around the internet. The book pictured above, Burglars in Blue, by one of the participants, is available on Amazon. Click the book picture to go to the Amazon page.

The particular late-night event that triggered the discovery of the crimes and brought down the whole house of cards is set forth in the book.  It’s one of those real events that makes us say, “You couldn’t make this stuff up.”

UPDATE:  I’ve since learned a little more about the cop burglars that I didn’t know.  Apparently, they would break into an establishment and if it had a burglar alarm they’d wait for the call to go out on the police radio and then they’d take the call.  This is sinister as it gets.  Loot the place and then become the first responding police officers to the crime scene.

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  • Warren Wubker

    I was there and part of the crew that would not let the Mayor or the Denver Post sweep the growing scandal under the rug. KTLN was the radio station that did the most to keep the investigation alive, not KIMN or the Denver Post. KIMN simply reported. KTLN was outrageously active in demanding the investigation continue as Mayor Batterton and John Schooley were continually tried say that, “it was just a few bad apples and we have caught them”. As I recall, the Denver Post was more sympathetic to Mayor Batterton’s view than it should have been. I worked for KTLN and vividly remember a few of the anonymous death threats we received because we wouldn’t stop editorializing. We wouldn’t stop because honest officers were feeding us names and until that list was cleared, KTLN would not let up.

    • I had forgotten about KTLN, but you are absolutely right. Thanks for reminding me.

  • jim t

    Keith hutton lived right down the alley from my parents house in west denver……….jim t.

  • Vicky pfennig

    Keith Hutton was my step dad and he was brilliant. He was going to write a nook on safe cracking and decided it would be a bad idea because someone would use it to get in trouble.

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