Blane David Nordahl, a notorious cat burglar, has attracted the attention of Columbus police but an official stopped short of calling the convicted thief a suspect in thefts of more than $101,000 in sterling silver from the Green Island Hills neighborhood.
“We are aware of him,” Police Lt. Steve Cox said Friday. “We are following up on numerous leads. It is still under investigation.”
While Nordahl has not been named a suspect in four break-ins at Green Island Hills, his name is being circulated in the upscale neighborhood along the Chattahoochee River as police look for a suspect in thefts that have residents on edge. Between April 26 and Monday, homes in Green Island have lost $4,000 to $45,000 in each break-in on Green Island Drive and Waterford Road. Items have included silver mint julep cups, pitchers, goblets and other items.
Nordahl has been dubbed the “Burglar to the Stars,” with Ivana Trump, Curt Gowdy and Bruce Springsteen among his victims, according to his Wikipedia page. He was described as a skilled burglar who targets homes of wealthy families across the East Coast and has a penchant for taking antique silver.
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A detective for the Atlanta Police Department has said burglaries in Columbus are similar to eight in the metro area, including five in a posh Buckhead neighborhood. In addition to Georgia, police are looking at silver thefts in North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama and Tennessee.
Nordahl, in his 50s, has spent years in prison since he first served time in 1983 in New Jersey. Many of the homes were targeted by Nordahl after doing research at local libraries.
Break-ins occurred while residents were still inside sleeping. He is known for removing a pane from French doors or windows and crawling through to gain entry. After entering a home, he would take only sterling silver, leaving the plated items behind.
At Green Island, the burglar removed a pane from the door or window and entered the homes without setting off an alarm. Police wouldn’t state whether victims were inside, but some break-ins occurred during early morning hours when residents would be asleep.
In 1996, Nordahl was accused by Connecticut police of burglaries netting $750,000. It included the theft of 120 pairs of silver salt and pepper shakers from the home of Trump in Greenwich. Police followed a trail of burglaries in Chicago and eventually arrested Nordahl outside a Walmart in Sparta, Wisc.
After pleading guilty to conspiracy to transport stolen goods across state line in 1997, he was held in prison to await sentencing but was released in July 1998. Nordahl was sentenced in 2000 to serve five years in prison for conspiracy and ordered to pay $1 million in restitution which allowed him to avoid charges in possibly 50 burglaries in five states.
Since his release in April 2001, he has been accused of burglaries in Philadelphia and arrested by U.S. Marshals in Maple Shade Township, N.J. He was sentenced to serve two more years in prison.
More arrests followed after his release in November 2003. He avoided an extradition hearing and became a fugitive as mansion break-ins spread along the East Coast. Nordahl was arrested again in 2004 in Philadelphia. He was sentenced in December 2004 to eight years in prison. The Atlanta detective said he recently was released from prison.
Anyone with information on silver thefts in Columbus should contact Burglary-Theft Division at 706-225-4335.
“We are going to follow up on every lead we can get,” Cox said. “Any information at all would be helpful.”