Did a missing employee steal half a million in platinum from a glass plant?

Dale Kerstetter


Gender: Male
DOB: 3/7/37
Height: 5’4”
Weight: 130 lbs.
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Brown/gray; receding hairline


Saturday, September 12, 1987, began as a typical work day for Dale Kerstetter.   The 50-year-old security guard and maintenance man had worked for 27 years at the Corning Glassworks plant in Bradford, Pennsylvania.   At 11 PM.,   Kerstetter began his shift as a weekend security guard.   That night, $250,000 worth of platinum pipe vanished from the plant and Dale Kerstetter was never seen again.   Pound for pound, platinum is one of the most precious commodities in the world.   After Dale Kerstetter disappeared, authorities were mystified.   Was Kerstetter the unwitting victim of a robbery or had the engineered the heist himself?

His truck was found abandoned

By all accounts, Dale was an ordinary man who was loved by his family and respected by his employer. His son, Al, remembered him as being very compassionate:

“He’s just a great father.   I mean, there wasn’t a kid in the world that wouldn’t want to have him as their dad.”

On Sunday morning, September 13 th , security guard John Lindquist arrived at 7:00 AM.   He expected to find Dale waiting to be relieved:

“He usually sat right inside the door and he wasn’t there.   So I walked in the cafeteria and I see his lunch pail sitting on the table.   I happened to pick up the newspaper and there were the keys.   So then I looked in his lunch pail, and I see that… everything was there.   He hadn’t eaten.”

He left keys, a packed lunch, and cigarettes

Later that morning, Dale’s pickup truck was discovered in the plant parking lot.   Police were called in to investigate.   The truck yielded a number of clues that suggested Dale had not disappeared voluntarily.   His keys were still in the ignition, and he left behind a full carton of cigarettes, an empty gun holster from his .22-caliber pistol, and his daypack.

That afternoon, the sheriff’s K-9 unit was brought in to track Dale’s movements in the 112,000-square-foot factory.   The dogs led police to the second floor.   This was the site of the plant’s glass furnace, also known as “the tank.”   The tank contained the valuable platinum pipe but was not part of Dale’s normal security rounds.   Even though Dale’s scent was found near the tank, he was nowhere in the building.

Security cameras captured a masked man

The investigation next focused on the three security cameras that monitor the factory around the clock.   Personnel manager, Patrick Foley, was disturbed by what the cameras had recorded:

“The first thing I saw was a masked man in the back of the plant in the one area.   When I saw the masked man on the tape, I was very alarmed.   At first I thought… there’s been some foul play, Dale’s involved in foul play, and he probably is missing.   And then Dale Kerstetter came back and met this masked person in the back of the plant.   I had a very empty feeling in my stomach.   I said, ‘What on earth?’   And then, as I continued to review the tapes, I saw the masked person come back out and go up to the tank area, then I was extremely anxious because at that time I realized that not only do we have a missing employee… there was a good possibility that we had missing platinum in the plant.   Whoever removed the platinum from the tank was extremely familiar with the plant, everything in the plant–they knew exactly where to go.”

Police could not tell if Dale was being coerced or if he was part of the heist.   At one point he looked directly into the camera.   Was Dale signaling for help?   Or was he coolly flaunting his crime?   Patrick Foley was sure he knew the answer:

“I think the fact that he did everything in front of the cameras was once again just Dale Kerstetter saying to us, ‘Look, hey, here I am.   I’m taking your platinum and there isn’t a thing you can do about it.'”

Was Dale a victim or was he in on the heist?

However, Wendy Kerstetter believed her father was an innocent victim.   According to her theory, Dale heard or saw the masked intruder and went to investigate:

“If he had planned on taking off anywhere, why would he bother packing a lunch? I mean, just little things like that.   And a whole carton of cigarettes, and he smoked all the time.   I mean, he would’ve taken his cigarettes.”

Another theory places Dale at the center of a bold and premeditated robbery.   Inspector Max J. Bizzak of the Pennsylvania State Police was one of the lead investigators on the case:

“Through our investigation we determined Dale Kerstetter was approximately $30,000 to $40,000 in arrears on various payments–trailer payments, vehicle payments and, different bills which he had owed throughout the area.”

Whether Dale Kerstetter committed the crime or not, his daughter Wendy and the rest of his family are anxious to know if he is still alive:

“He had six kids, two grandkids.   And to do something like that and take off, and not call any of them–you know, just take off and never talk to your kids again? I just…   can’t believe it.”

Dale Kerstetter is 5’4″ tall and weighs 130 pounds.   He has blue eyes, brown and grey hair and a receding hairline.

Watch this case now on Amazon Prime in season two with Robert Stack and in season six with Dennis Farina. Also available on YouTube with Dennis Farina. Various seasons available now on Hulu.



  1. Jen

    *typo—Evelyn passed away in 94


  2. Jen

    His mother passed away in 2001, never knowing what happened to her son.


  3. Denise

    Based on what little we know, it’s possible he was approached by someone working with an organization overseas or even locally (United States) and to garner cooperation, he was promised money. Once he was no longer useful, he was smuggled out of the country and dropped in a remote area overseas where he could not be identified. It’s also possible he was approached by a former or current factory employee with the promise of a cut, and again, once Mr. Honest AKA Dale K. served their purpose, was killed somewhere between here and Norway, and dropped by the railroad tracks. The platinum was used for the production of something. If Dale was in on it, he may not have been aware of the statue of limitations on this particular crime, but I think it is unlikely. Of all the scenarios I can come up with, I think he has been dead for decades after being used to facilitate the successful procurement of the platinum.


  4. Anonymous

  5. Anonymous

    The eerie thing is, everyone is so calm. On the footage, Dale seems to strut, not walking tense or hightened emotionally (I’d be freaked). He was happy in his job as a Trade’s Worker, then he was transferred to a night watchman position with a $5-7k/yr paycut! I’d be PISSED. He possibly wanted revenge on his employer and planned all this. But, that would mean he’d never see his family again. Maybe the robbers were working for the people he owed $$$ to? Maybe he owed money to the wrong people? They might have killed him after they took the platinum, idk. This is an interesting case for sure.


    • Chris

      You do realize that the surveillance footage shown in the segment is not the actual footage. Robert Stack’s narration states it was recreated for the segment. So you can’t go by anything seen in that footage.


  6. Anonymous

    Unsolved Mysteries,

    Just curious why you weren’t able to show the real footage on the show? You were able to for other cases. Can I assume it was because the investigators needed to review it themselves and couldn’t hand it over?

    I ask because I’m surprised they wouldn’t let you broadcast the real tapes…Perhaps someone in the audience would have noticed Dale’s gestures on the video.


  7. Anonymous

    PS: I forgot to mention, the person in question goes under the same first and last name initials. D.K.


    • AH

      The statue of limitations is up, he can’t go to jail for it. Please alert your local authorities. Dale’s family has been longing hard to find the truth. He’d be in his late 70s today. You absolutely may have found this man. Please do anything necessary.


  8. Anonymous

    After seeing the show, my thought is that it is likely that he is totaly innocent . Very surprised that many are convinced he is guilty. Im my opinion there is no clear evidence of involment. Just because he walks with the masked could just mean he is not willing to risk his life for the corning company or an insurance company (what I would do myself). He looks right at the camera… as a taunt? thats crazy. If anything he is showing he knows the camera is there and if antthing indicates he is not involved


  9. Anne Owrenn

    An unidentified male was found dead on a Railway in Moss, Norway at september 1987. He looks like Dale Kerstetter. May Kerstetter have for some reason escaped to Norway? This man has never been identified og Norwegian authorities.


  10. Damn Dale

    He would be 80 years old today if he is alive might be an inside job


  11. Markus

    I think dale was found in norway, im not really sure click this link:http://www.tv2.no/nyheter/8989776/
    In norway they made a documentary on a mysterious man that Like dale not long time ago, he was found 10 days after dale went missing
    He was arround 167cm ( arround 5″4″)


  12. Arkana

    Ok. No reply to wich kind of cigarettes he smoked….

    I am asking, because there was found a man dead on the railtracks, in Norway, near a port; Just a little more than a week after Mr Kerstetter went missing.
    It might just be a wild guess, and it is most certainly not the same person, but….
    They appear to look quite similar and being around the same age of eachother.

    Has Mr Kerstetter fled on a ship to europe? And from a port in northern Germany, caught another ship to Norway, buying himself some second hand clothes first?
    And then unfortunately fell under a train and got killed?

    It is a wild theory, but. The dead man in Norway, has not been identified! Just a short time ago, they managed to extract DNA from the dead guys belongings.

    Thrity years has gone almost. Has the proper police authorities contacted eachother, just to exclude the possibility?

    The case regarding the dead guy, “Kambomannen”, is featured on norwegian TV2, this spring.
    Is there not a good deal of similarity, between the two?


    • A.H.

      Wow. I read this article (in translation), the photo absolutely looks like it could be Dale, and they found cigarettes around there. No sightings of him since he went missing, and who in Norway would have known he was a missing man?

      Unsolved.com, I think this is a solid lead. Is it possible to pass this tip onto the appropriate authorities?


  13. Arkana

    What type of cigarettes did he smoke?


  14. Angie

    This is so obvious to me. Dale had nothing to do with this and was killed the night of the crime. He was forced into the furnace.


  15. Angie

    This is so obvious to me. Whoever came in to rob the place of platinum killed Dale. I believe he was forced into the furnace.


    • Ray

      Exactly what i was thinking. Guessing me maybe told someone about the platinum and they made a plan to steal it and he was double crossed, or an employee wore a mask, got in there and he thought he would be okay if he cooperated and didn’t try to be a hero. At some point the robber just offed him and got rid go the body. If the furnace was big enough to take a body, it’s sadly the most logical thing for the thief to do. Wonder if they grabbed any ashes or did residue swabs of the furnace to test it. (If that type of testing is even possible)


  16. Chanita

    U People need To Stop Worring About That Damn platinum and Focus On Trying To Find Dale The Man Was Brutally Murdered In Cold Blood! Why In The Hell Would He Do Something Like That? I Think All Of U Need To Get out There And Do Your Damn Jobs And Stop Neglecting This Poor Man And Help His Family Learn The Truth!


  17. Chanita

    I Think Dale Was Abducted He Probably Was Taken At Gun Point I Don’t Think He Did It That Masked Man Might Have Been A Co worker That Told Dale To Steal The Glass pipe And Dale Might Have Been Murdered Afterwards!


  18. Mr Cumfart

    Dale died in 2008 in Belize as a wealthy man


  19. Chanita

    Why Would He Do Something Like That ? I Think Dale Was Murdered!


  20. jon baptiste

    Dale was probably involved and in contact with Penny. Birds of a feather.


  21. Kenda's Sidekick

    Did Live in Albuquerque report his suspicions to Unsolved Mysteries and local authorities? Was the D.K. who lived near him ever investigated? Also, the boss/manager sure was quick to throw suspicion Dale’s way. Was he thoroughly checked out? Could he and the unreported maintenance man have pulled the heist, taking Dale hostage because he recognized him.?


  22. A.H.

    I’ve always told myself…I hope he was in on it. Better if he wasn’t an innocent man killed.

    Here’s why I think Dale was in on the robbery

    -Obviously enough, there was a lot of money to be made and he was in debt. As for his family saying it wouldn’t be like him to run off, it happens more often than you think. His daughter Penny even said that all the kids moved across the country, so it’d be hard for him to find them. Also, the security videos suggest that Dale and the intruder planned this out. Just the way they walk in the camera’s view, and it looks as though the man is pretending to have a gun. Remember, the masked man was walking alone in the first video shot without a gun. Surely, he’d have it out, knowing security was around. Also, why would Dale’s keys be in the truck if he was abducted/murdered? I doubt the masked man would stage that himself. There were no signs of a struggle there. Dale also didn’t check in the headquarters, which was a duty every hour. Something tells me he was planning this all along.


  23. LittleChicago

    This is my great unlce actually. I remember growing up and having my grandma tell me this story.


  24. Live in albuquerque

    To A.H. all the above is true, the guy fits the discription to a tee. I doubt that the authorities are still interested in apprehending this fugitive. Platinum at the time of the robbery may have been worth 250,000 dollars. But if it were held onto for a couple of decades. In today’s market it is worth 3 times that. Also, if sold off little bits at a time, the smart thing to do. All it took was ingenuity, sitting tight, changing states, becoming “a normal citizen”, the guy got away with it.


  25. Live in Albuquerque anonymous

    I suspect that a neighbor fits the discription of this man. Age, height, demeanor, very secretive, has no friends, smokes excessively, elusive. I know that this can discribe just about anyone. He lives in a senior housing apartment. Sometimes goes away for two or three days at a time?


  26. Jen

    I wonder if this will ever be resolved. After all this time,no sightings or no contact with family….I would lean towards his being deceased.


  27. Anonymous

    I believe it likely he was involved in some capacity. It makes no difference what kind of a father he was or if he was an alcoholic. People involved in criminal activity can come from all walks of life, all intelligence levels and can have the most obscure of motivations. Dale would be almost 80 now and I could easily imagine a scenario where he fled to some Latin American country and lived out his days well off the grid and anybody’s radar screen.


  28. charles

    It makes no sense that Dale would not have contacted SOMEONE in his family if he were still alive, as the statute of limitations has long since run out for punishment for the crime. If he stole the platinum, flew to Australia and waited, well the wait is over. I think he is a victim one way or the other, perhaps he was supposed to assist or allow the theft and get a small cut of the profits, but the thieves found it easier to just kill him to guarantee his silence and keep all the money. He doesn’t appear to be a mastermind type person to initiate this kind of caper. If involved at all I think he was coerced to help with the promise of getting a cut and the in satisfaction of getting back at the company that screwed him and his fellow employees out of their salaries. I think he is dead. I think his body was thrown into the platinum processing furnance. Platinum melts at an incredibly high temperature, like 3500 degrees F. A melted mass of platinum would be quite higher even than this temperature, as it has to be fluid enough to work with, so any biological material in the melt would be completely, absolutely, and wholly consumed. Everything except the calcium phospate of the bones would be boiled into a gas and released to the atmosphere. The bones would be melted and the calcium would be intergrated into whatever other trace metals was in the melt. The phosphorus would either be boiled away or become a trace metal in the melt as well. There would be nothing to conclude that a living thing had existed from the metal, unless the entire batch was saved and tested using sophisticated instruments to determine any unexpected deviation from whatever the smelting was supposed to contain. This would be one of the best ways to dispose and hide a body. I think what is left of Dale resides in some landfill in some electronic equipment scrap device, long since buried or else in a thousand such devices using the recyled metals or someones’ catalytic converter.


    • Do Hong

      I believe you are right. Everything points to him being pushed in the furnace and disposed off in that manner. I believe a familiar voice may have called his name and he confronted him. The masked man stated who he was and said we are going to steal the platinum, you are either with us or against us. Dale complied and assumed he would be let go with a little shut up money. The masked man and his cohorts, which I assume there were, used him as a scapegoat. Hence the reason we are debating the possible scenarios 30 years later.


  29. Johnny

    You make a good point about the furnace. I guess the police didn’t find anything with Dale inside. They found things in the Bocks case. Must have been a nightmare Dale’s situation. He was a veteran of the plant. Could he have made a run for help or knew a place to hide in the labyrinth. Interesting to think but he probably was at gunpoint. There was probably a few other people at the plant. Maintenance or cleaning crew etc. It’s a difficult case to solve.


  30. Shawn

    It sounds like they killed him that day by putting him in the furnace since the dog tracked him to there and he is still missing


  31. Johnny

    My theory probably that Dale saw the masked man as he entered the plant. The masked man walked to the platinum pipe area to steal it and Dale confronted him. Another masked man out of sight walked from his hiding area and had Dale trapped at gunpoint. Dale had 27 years at the plant and would have known most of the workers. He has a family including 6 kids. Dale would have complied like many victims do to save their life. A few of the posters made some good points about Dale knowing the perpetrators through mannerisms or voice. The final scenario was Dale helping the men under duress and then being captured and later killed at another location. They were afraid Dale would identify them. I think Dale would have contacted his family if he was alive. Most likely, the perpetrators represented a former employee plus an inside man currently at the plant. I think they can solve this case although it has been cold for many years.


  32. Tree

    I believe him looking square into the camera was a mute, desperate plea for help. Corning using his debt as a way to show likelihood of guilt is ridiculous. 30 or 40k is nothing..he could easily file bankruptcy. And what about the fact that the masked person wheeled out something in a large bag? This unfortunate employee was murdered right there.


  33. Anonymous

    My thought is if he was looking into the camera to taunt them why not wave flip the camera off ect … Just looking to me dosent mean taunting in my opinion … And if he was involved and want to taunt them why act as tho he wasn’t involved ??


  34. Ben Johnson

    Clearly a victim. He was NOT a new employee, knew the value and wouldn’t know what to do with platinum. He was a security guard who didn’t give a s**t about anything but his comfortable schedule. Alcoholics don’t like change. And his stare/look directly into the securiry camera was was him knowing that police would see all of this and how he wished they could see him now. He was murdered.


  35. Dayle Kerstetter

    He was an abusive alcoholic.


  36. kilmo

    I don’t know about this one. I do not feel like he is involved, but who am I to say? He just seemed like a simple man, so not exactly a man that would not slip up at some point. Him returning to the robber is something victims do all the time.. they feel like if they do what they are told they have a better chance at getting out alive. The robbers most likely took him with them, just in case they ran into an issue leaving the plants location, they at least had a hostage that could buy them an escape. This most likely involves multiple people, so even though this is an older case… people just can’t help themselves and they end up telling their story to somebody. So hopefully some more information will come out at some point.


  37. Mariah

    Has he been found at all? This story capture me I lived in that town for a few years


  38. Anonymous

    I forgot to add in my previous comments that the plant was sold to another company not too long after the robbery and the new owners went out of business and shut the plant down.
    thank you

    William Mc cartney


  39. Scott N.

    Your sayin that Corning killed Dale in order to steal its own platinum? Really? $250,000 is nothing to them strapped or not and his pension was part of a pension fund, not Cornings money. Crazy theory.

    N. Carden:
    The show clearly stated that the video was a recreated by them. It’s not the original.


    • william mc cartney

      The company cut the wages drastically of all of its employees
      Stripped the pensions of most of its loyal retired employees
      Hired a new person to report the security guards check ins
      Failed to properly train the new employee of the proper phone numbers
      and actions to take on any emergency or unusual situation.
      .i can not .believe a company that was in business as long as Corning Glass.could
      or would accidently overlook the proper training of this individual.
      I also believe that it was no accident that the company whithheld information that another employee was working in the plant on the same day and shift that the robbery occurred.
      the company has another plant in the elmira ny..region that the company also has uranium stored in the plant and could have slipped the missing metal in to with out suppecion.over time. that would explane why the metal never appeared up fo sale.
      even if the company .has never been been found guilty it should be held responsible and pay his wife and family for the loss of thier loved one because of the mistakes in training and withholding infomation from the invesitgators and the insurance company
      OJ simpson was found not guilty but .had to pay his wifes familly and i believe this is
      the same situation.

      thank you
      William Mc Cartney
      a simuilar case.



  40. william mc cartney butnthat does not alter

    corning glass company appeared to be very financilly strapped to take away the pensions ffrom so many loyal employees over a very mimor mistake by the retired employees.
    there was another employee working in the building that night of the robbery why was this imformation not disclosed to the police.
    the employee the electrician on duty in the plant that night was never questioned by anyone about the robbery why because the company withheld this information and it appears the company may have staged the robbery for the insurance claim and moved the metal to there other plant easilly with out detection a very good friend of mine and disclosed this information to me recently before he passed away i believe this case should be reopened and corning glass should answer why they witheld this informationto the police. thank you brother of one of the employees please excuse my typing i am on a very bad computer that has seen its beter days ans that does not change the imformation i am disclosing


  41. n. carden

    You can see clearly in the video that Dale and the masked man are not walking side by side—which is odd, but notice what the masked man’s right arm is doing. It is parallel to the floor and appears to me that Dale was walked at gunpoint. As far as knowing exactly where to get the platinum rods, Dale might have told him under duress, or the guy was a former or current employee (or relative/friend of an employee) of the plant and knew where it was located. If he was an employee, that might explain why he didn’t care if he went by the camera masked. Also, perhaps Dale recognized the voice and confronted the guy, so he decided to kill Dale. Why he would not just leave the body there behind equipment or something is a mystery though. With all the evidence, it would be hard to believe that this man was a partner in crime to the masked man. For another thing, watch the way the masked man walks before he is pushing Dale to walk out. He has a bounce that would indicate youth, at least low 30s and it would be unlikely that an older man with so many kids (Dale was 50 and looked it) would be chosen to pair up with him. I also believe that there are others who remained outside to wait for the stolen property and not be seen on the cameras. All they needed was one inside contact to pull this off. The show did not say if they checked backgrounds on the other employees or talked to them at all. What about outside security? Was there none? Was there any activity on any banks for Dale? When he looked in the camera face on he appeared to be saying “Help me!” If I were a family member or friend of the family, I would be upset with that manager who implyied that Dale was thumbing his nose (in the camera) and the plant by stealing from them. This case ought to be reopened to have some fresh eyes on it.


    • Anonymous

      Yeah I always wondered if they reopen this case… Does anyone have this video. Seems like a mystery to find any of these original shows.


    • Nick

      It seems to me that dale was probably murdered. They use is debt as a motive for him to be involved. The man disappear off the face of the earth. He didn’t settle his debt with the money. So that doesn’t hold water. Second is if he were involved he could have acted as if he were in fear for his life while he was in view of the cameras while actually letting the robbery take place. Then there would be no reason to disappear. Third is if he was involved why leave every possession he had that day there. I believe it was a employee or former employee that dale probably knew. So they had to kill him. They kidnapped him and killed him elsewhere so that the gunshot wouldn’t draw attention to what was taking place. One more point is who would completely disappear and leave their family and life behind for $125,000 in platinum? Assuming he would have got a even cut with the other guy if he was involved. All in all it just don’t make sense! And these morons are gonna accuse this poor guy of being a arrogant vengeful theif!


  42. tom

    can you show a photo of him at his age today


    • unsolved

      Hi Tom – unfortunately we do not have access to an age progression. Perhaps someone will do one in the future.


  43. Charmaine Little Burgett

    I still wonder to this day if he is alive. I went to school with Wendy and cannot imagine what she and her family goes through.


  44. Heather

    So was he ever found?