Copycats II: Dinnertime Bandit

Posted by: Pete Salerno in Pete 10 Comments »

I hear they just brought back Alan Golder – the guy they were calling the Dinnertime Bandit. Guess where they got that name from. Let me tell you how he found out about me & Don when he was a kid, and was sent out to copy us. Don told some of this to the newspapers last year when Golder was caught.

When we were the biggest in the early 70’s, everybody wanted a piece, and Figgy, one of the mob guys we knew through the family, was always puttin’ pressure. So every once in a while instead of our regular fences, we’d give his guys – Alex, a Russian who survived the concentration camps, and his son – a little something. The last package we gave Alex was in ’75, from an actress who was giving a party in Greenwich. Just before me and Don split up for a while.

So Figgy and Alex need somebody else, so they tell this kid Golder in ’76 – I hear he was like 21 – that he had to copy us, that’s how we made the money. I hear this later from the FBI, who wanted to prove a RICO case against Figgy and Alex. They did it to – Figgy and Alex both took a plea later and got 10 years each.

Golder made the mistake of bringin’ guys with guns to that house on Long Island in ’78, and the owner gets killed. They told me Golder took a 6-carat ring right off the wife’s finger – that’s when the husband went and got a shotgun and they shot him instead. Golder brought other guys in the house with him, which you can’t ever do – you have to make sure you always know where everybody is. Yeah, you can’t ever allow weapons, never confront people. Rather walk away with nothin’ than hurt anybody.

Even in our last thing in ’92, the minute we knew the woman heard something, we left. She never saw us, I didn’t take a thing. That’s the way it had to be.

Days of Gold

Posted by: Dominick Latella in Dominick 7 Comments »

A funny thing happened yesterday. My son wrote me an e-mail and showed me where the Palm Beach Post posted an article talking about Pete and myself in reference to a recent bunch of burglaries that were taking place inland around Boyton Beach while most of the people were either out or away. After reading, I could not see where there was the same type of burglary being done. This wasn’t how we did it, but none of the people who tried to copy us ever could.All I could think of was Gold, because the price of gold is going crazy again. The last time the price was so high was in 1980 around the time we did a big one in Minnesota and someone else in St. Charles, Ill. We took apart everything, including rings and it weighed 12 ounces and then we melted it into a bar. We separated 14k-18k and platinum. I recall that being a lot of fun.

In our biggest days in the early 70’s, you couldn’t buy and sell gold bars. It was illegal – I know it’s funny for me to say that – but you couldn’t get much of anything for it. So the necklaces and bracelets and broaches were just the throwaway stuff for us, compared to the big jewelry. We’d sell it for practically nothing to a gold place in Florida.

I just have to say this one time, that if we would have continued to do the same thing and stay out of the snow in the 90’s, when we went back to work and got a little careless, we probably would not be talking about this now. We were getting a ton of the gold necklaces and stuff, and if we melted it down and held onto it, damn what that old “throwaway stuff” would be worth now. Anyway, I get goose bumps when I see the price of gold. Its a shame that if anyone should read this article, they will never share the thrill I received during the Days of Gold.

Copycats

Posted by: Pete Salerno in Pete 2 Comments »

“I’m not a burglar,” I’d tell the cops who’d come to me, and they’d look at me like I’m crazy. “I’m one of the only international cat burglars alive today.” Then there’s these copycat burglars. Even while I’m locked up, I hear there’s articles in the paper in Palm Beach about thieves taking jewelry who remind the cops of The Dinner Set Gang – me and Don. But they’re nothin’ like us. All these copycats never were – they weren’t patient, go to empty houses, or jerks brought guns if people were there. They didn’t know how to do it – have the skill or guts to do it right. There’s one big reason for that – I never taught nobody, other than Don. Don and I kept it in the family – safer that way.

For years after we were done, local cops would come to us whenever there was a burglary and say “we think it was you guys.” I would ask ’em, “was it a giant mansion that was hit?” They say no. I ask, “was over a million dollars taken?” They say no. So I tell ’em, “When it is, then you come talk to me. ‘Cause it wasn’t us.” I’d tell ’em they were dealing with amateurs, bumbling idiots.

The FBI’s been tracking us for more than 26 years. One of our main FBI guys, from the time we disappeared for a while, would tell the local cops, “We took them out of circulation. If I let them loose, there wouldn’t be a diamond left in Palm Beach.”

We did come back when we had to. And there were guys from in the family and outside who heard stories, thought they could copy us. Forget it. Copycats, amateurs. Interesting the cops still compare people to us, but if we ever came back, they’d know it… maybe they wouldn’t.

Welcome

Posted by: datkins in Uncategorized 2 Comments »

Welcome to the blog site of the Dinner Set Gang, the most innovative and successful jewel thief team ever in America. Because of the enthusiastic response after Pete and Dominick agreed to appear on 60 Minutes with their story, and continuing articles in the press that refer back to their incredible exploits, the guys are willing to share some of their thoughts and memories more directly through a blog. While Dominick is free now, on parole for a bit longer, Pete is still incarcerated on a separate charge, so we can pass along and post his thoughts here for him. That should be unique – both voices, from inside and out.

So check back periodically for posts from Pete and Dominick (who’s called “Don” by Pete and the family) and feel free to comment if you like. They’ll hear about it.