Lonnie Mason Shows The Way

nordahl silver thief

Anyone coming here would know that I’d like the story of Lonnie Mason and his dedication to pursuing his skill long after he retired. If you’ve been coming here for a while you’d understand that I believe one of the worst things that has happened to law enforcement is the extensive reliance on informants. I’ve often called them the lazy cop’s tool.

Last Sunday I wrote about Robert Blakey and how he was instrumental in getting law enforcement the wiretap statute and the RICO law. How he worked at doing it is spelled out in the book Five Families written by Selwyn Raab. Once those laws were enacted, the federals were able to go about busting up the New York Mafia. What I found intriguing about the story that Raab tells is that this was done without any “high level informants.” It was mostly accomplished by hard and determined police work.

That’s why I have long maintained that the FBI’s top echelon informant program was misguided. That this is the case is well documented by what we saw in the Whitey case. It wasn’t high level informants that led to the destruction of the Whitey and his friends. It was a solid investigative plan and hard work.

The top echelon informant program came about because J. Edgar Hoover panicked. He’d just lost his ability to use bugs and phone taps, ELSUR in the FBI language. His brain trust convince him that using top gangsters who hung around with the top gangsters as partners with the FBI would replace the bugs. He gave up his forebodings that having his agents deal too closely with top criminals would result in them being corrupted. Old and losing it, he decided to let them partner with them. Even though it is abundantly clear the program doesn’t work, the FBI still uses it today.

The way crime is solved is not by going into business with the criminal but it’s through the hard detective work as shown by Lonnie Mason the retired New Jersey detective that enabled the police to nab a clever silver thief, Blane Nordahl. Mason had previously arrested Nardahl  a couple of times . He spent his career tracing his movements. He convinced a group of southern detectives that the silver thefts were the work of Nordahl and to catch him they had to be prepared to run a marathon, that they needed patience and dedication.

Nordahl, 51, has been stealing silver pieces since he was 21 years old. It is suspected that he has stolen silver worth in the many millions of dollars and some pieces that are priceless. This case aside from showing that the tedious work of doing the job right and following leads can solve crimes, it also shows some of the other things I have found disheartening.

It should have been obvious to people that Nordahl would continue to commit crimes as soon as he was back on the street. Although he’s not violent, he does put himself in a position where violence could occur, breaking into private homes. He does violate one’s feeling of safety and well-being. He does take irreplaceable treasures from people that had been in their family for generations. He’d be someone I’d characterize as a bad person who having shown his true colors should be sentenced to the maximum amount of prison time each time he is convicted.

The NY Times article noted this: “In 1998, Mr. Nordahl, in return for a lighter sentence, made a deal with federal prosecutors that involved detailing how he had burglarized more than 100 homes.” 

Now I ask you, does that sound like effective prosecution work? They have this lifelong burglar cold and tell him that if he tells them how he  did it they’d let him do easy time. It’s not like giving some computer genius a break because he knows how to invade the banking system and by doing so you’ll learn something that will stop others from doing it. Nordahl’s style was unique to him so his disclosure of his methods leads to nothing other than satisfying some prosecutor’s curiosity.

As part of the deal with the federals, he avoided charges in 50 burglaries in 5 states. He got 5 years from the federals in 2000 and was released in 2001. He continued to burglar places. In 2004 he got grabbed again and got 8 years. He was out in 2010 and continued to burglar places until caught on Monday.

It’s worth considering his case. There were no informants, he worked alone. Hard work and patience brought him down. Prior deals with him led to more people being violated because he wasn’t recognized for what he is. It seems its another case of federals giving deals to bad guys that make no sense. We’ve got a long way to go.

7 replies on “Lonnie Mason Shows The Way”

  1. Matt: this comment is intended in response to yesterday’s post:
    Matt, Cullen inflates the capability of the FEDs because they leak him info and give him access. Cullen’s constant trick is to praise three cops, three judges and three politicians before he guts someone. For example, he’ll praise by name certain detectives, firemen and lawyers (now he thinks he has them on his side) then he’ll excoriate (flay) some politician or businessman or felon. He thinks if he kisses some buts, polishes some shoes, then he’s got a license to throw dirt willy-nilly. His and his fellow Globe/Herald reporters’ constant lies and omissions have been amply demonstrated during this trial. (2) We are in danger when the Press/Media sees itself as the Partner of Government and the Government uses the Press/Media as a propaganda tool. Poor Syria: Here we go again the Press/Media/Government/WarIndustry gives us another Benghazi, Libya, Kosovo, Iraq, Beirut, Vietnam–trumped-up war efforts. Look deeply and like the phony Gulf of Tonkin Incident you’ll see CIA/NSA deception behind the gassing of Syrians. Was it the regime or was it a rogue general sponsored by the rebels/cia? Everyone should be aware that our government has been training SyrianRebels in Turkey for months; the US has been giving rebels assistance for over a year; the US has been itching for an excuse to attack “the regime.” Should Vietnamese have the right to bomb Washington for America’s use of Agent Orange? Watch out if when we attack “command and control structures” we don’t kill the family members of Syrian’s leaders, as we did in Libya killing Ghadafi’s children and grandchildren in their homes (we called the homes “compounds”.) (3) The alleged gassing and our foolish killing response plays only into the rebels hands. I think like Vietnam, with its Opium Triangle, we’ll see a narcotics (trafficking) or oil (pipeline) or defenseIndustry boom behind the attack on Syria. Raytheon is gearing up its missile-production efforts (more dough for the stockholders). (4) Many innocent Syrian soldiers and civilians will die if we attack. We are needlessly creating more enemies abroad who’ll wreak havoc on our grandchildren. Too bad we’ve become Imperialists and propagandists. The attack on Syria will result in a demand for a bigger Federal Government, more spies in the FBI, Homeland Security, etc, and more intrusions into our private lives and constitutional freedoms. CONCLUSION: Once again, We sell our souls to Imperialism and Interventionism.

    1. William:
      Good comment.
      (1) Cullen has problems. I understand some of the people around Henry do not like him much.
      (2) The American media is too much like Isvetzia. I hope to give my take on Syria tomorrow.
      (3) Your are right that few will benefit, many won’t, perhaps many more than we expect will suffer.
      (4) It may not just be Syrians who die.

      1. I found out that Cullen and Murphy used some scummy tactics to obtain letters for the latest installment of fantasy from whitey’s pal from the rock who was financially desperate, I recently heard Cullen say “Shelley was very good to him and we didn’t mean for him to have to choose between us and whitey” when pertaining to when bulger found out he was selling them to the two idiots and gave the ultimatum stop talking to them or we are done. Cullen and Murphy suck at life.

        1. Doubting:

          Shelley Murphy told me that neither she or Cullen paid anything for Sunday’s letters. I had written a comment wondering if they did pay him. It’s interesting to me what you wrote. Do you have any information on what Cullen meant when he said Shelley was good to Sunday.

          1. Matt- Sunday claims that whitey told him he could sell them, he says whitey thinks people are laughing at him. whatever Cullen means when he says “shelley was very good to him” I don’t think she was his home nurse or his home health aide. I did not even know Sunday admitted he sold them, until I dug up an interview he gave. Money rules, and she manipulated an old man with some cash.

          2. Matt- cbs/boston.com Karen Anderson wrote it, feb 21, 2013 title is excercise is over bulger latest heart exam.

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