Celebrity burglar strikes Madison? Thefts of silver range from Charleston to Belle Meade, Tenn.

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By Patrick Yost, Editor

A man dubbed “Burglar to the Stars” may have been involved in the theft of more than $20,000 of antique sterling silver from a Madison resident.

According to Madison Police Chief Bill Ashburn, the recent arrest of Blane Nordahl in Florida due to similar thefts alerted local authorities that Nordahl might also be connected to a March 24 theft at a Dixie Avenue residence. In that theft, Ashburn said, a large window pane was removed from the front of the house and someone entered and removed an inventory list of more than two pages of valuable silver.

Ashburn said only sterling silver pieces were removed. At the same time, a vacant house across the street was entered, again by meticulously removing a large window pane, but that house was vacant at the time.

Ashburn said Detective Wes Thompson recently participated in a multi-state task force concerning a recent rash of silver thefts in six southern states. During those discussions, Ashburn said, Nordahl had become a person of interest to investigators.

In a story published Aug. 23 in the New York Times, Nordahl has allegedly been linked to thefts of fine silver from Charleson, S.C. to Belle Meade, Tenn., including a 1700s silver mug that had belonged to George II from an Atlanta residence.

The story states that Nordahl has been “in and out of prison since the 1980s” and that he was possibly responsible for more than 500 burglaries “that netted him several million dollars’ worth of some of the best domestic silver pieces in the country.”

Ashburn said authorities have determined by phone records that Nordahl was in the Madison area at the time of the Dixie Avenue thefts. He doubted, however, that any of the pieces stolen would be recovered.

The New York Times piece said Nordahl’s method of operation was to neatly remove window panes from targeted houses, enter the houses and remove priceless silver pieces. Often, he said, he would replace the panes and the items were not missed until the families had a special occasion.

Nordahl was released on parole from prison in 2010, the story states.

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