The Chicago Syndicate: Jewel Heist Fugitive "Cherry Nose" Brown is Captured by the @FBI

Montana West World

Montana West World

Friday, February 08, 2002

Jewel Heist Fugitive "Cherry Nose" Brown is Captured by the @FBI

A 76-year-old fugitive accused of belonging to a $5 million jewel theft ring masterminded by Chicago's former chief of detectives was arrested in the suburbs outside Washington.

William "Cherry Nose" Brown was picked up by agents from the FBI's Washington field office in Woodbridge, Va., the FBI said in a statement. It said that the arrest was without incident.

Prosecutors say Brown was part of a ring of thieves led by former chief of detectives William Hanhardt that stole $5 million in gems, jewelry and watches in eight states over a decade. Hanhardt, a tough, crime-busting cop in his heyday who later became a technical adviser to Michael Mann's 1980s television series "Crime Story," was indicted in October 2000 along with five other men.

All but Brown have pleaded guilty and await sentencing.

Brown, who formerly lived in Gilbert, Ariz., has been a fugitive until now. Details of what he was doing in suburban Washington and how the FBI discovered his presence there were not immediately available.

The charge against Brown is not as extensive as those against other members of the ring. But he is charged with conspiring with Hanhardt and the others to transport stolen luxury watches in interstate commerce.

Prosecutors say that on Oct. 2, 1996, Brown was among ring members who trailed jewelry salesman Paul Lachterman from suburban Chicago to a Chesterton, Ind., restaurant. There, Brown allegedly served as a lookout while others opened Lachterman's trunk and removed a box of watches.

Ring members knew Lachterman sometimes traveled with as much as $500,000 worth of watches. On Oct. 4, 1984, $300,000 worth of watches had been stolen from the trunk of his car in suburban Milwaukee.

In the 1996 incident, though, the watches in the trunk had been planted there as bait by FBI agents who were already watching the gang.

The thieves drove the box a short distance, checked the weight and immediately returned it to Lachterman's trunk. Prosecutors say the light weight may have suggested the contents were not worth stealing.

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