The True Story of Bernard Welch Jr. Master Thief, Ruthless Con Man, and Cold-Blooded Killer
Author: Jack Burch,James D. King
Category: True Crime
Bernard C. Welch was called the most prolific burglar of modern time. He eluded police up and down the East Coast for years and was finally caught only because he shot prominent heart surgeon, Dr. David Halberstam, who then hit Welch with his car as Welch fled the scene. Halberstam died and Welch was sentenced to 143 years plus life by one of the nation's first and most prominent black judges, Judge Carl Moultrie of the D.C. District Court. Sent to an "escape-proof" prison in Marion, Illinois, Welch managed to trick federal officials to sending him to a facility on the Chicago River on the promise of becoming a snitch. There, he broke out with the help of an enforcer from the Aryan Nation, hired to help him escape. Newspapers reported the Halberstam death, but the background and aftermath of this story never saw the light of day because other news events (the murder of John Lennon that same week and later the assassination attempt on President Reagan) became bigger headlines.This book is the whole story of a Rochester, N.Y. plumber who turned thievery into a business, even to the point of keeping books and filing taxes with the IRS for a "legitimate" antiques and silver trading business. This could only have happened in the 70s, before the age of computers made hiding in plain sight more difficult for criminals like Welch.