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Retired Chicago Police Detective Chief Accused of Running Multimillion-Dollar Theft Ring

Aired October 20, 2000 - 1:15 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: He was in the top ranks of the Chicago Police Department and even consulted on a television crime show. Now federal prosecutors say a retired chief detective is a criminal himself, charged with running a multimillion-dollar jewelry theft ring.

Carol Marin of our affiliate WBBM in Chicago has the story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CAROL MARIN, WBBM REPORTER (voice-over): William Hanhardt retired from the force in 1986, but the U.S. attorney says he never retired from his real work. And prosecutors say it was Hanhardt's experience as a cop that allowed him and five other defendants to operate so long and not get caught.

SCOTT LASSAR, U.S. ATTORNEY: The hallmark of this jewelry theft ring was its extreme sophistication and planning.

MARIN: Planning that allegedly netted the ring close to $5 million in gems, jewelry and watches. Hanhardt and his alleged gang reportedly had a kit bag full of tricks, too, including smoke grenades, key cutters, lock picks, fake beards, bulletproof vests and listening devices. Hanhardt's son-in-law says it is all a figment of the Fed's imagination.

MIKE KERTEZ, SON-IN-LAW: If he was involved in a jewelry ring, why is he broke? I mean, he had to borrow on his house to pay for an attorney in this case.

MARIN: But today's indictment once again raises the specter of pervasive corruption within the ranks of the Chicago Police Department.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ALLEN: And prosecutors say the alleged thieves had ties to organized crime.

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