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Did a missing employee steal half a million in platinum from a glass plant?
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?
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:
On Sunday morning, September 13 th , security guard John Lindquist arrived at 7:00 AM. He expected to find Dale waiting to be relieved:
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.
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
Dale Kerstetter is 5’4″ tall and weighs 130 pounds. He has blue eyes, brown and grey hair and a receding hairline.