Cops 'n' Robbers

Readers reopen the Rockwell Files.

Feature, June 7, 2007

Take the Monet and run: I read Chad Garrison's "The Rockwell Files" this week with great interest. I had been out of town for 26 years, having spent time in Kansas City and then Washington, D.C., before returning to St. Louis in 2006. In 1978 I was the only detective for the Rock Hill police department. I helped execute the search warrant on Russell Byers' house. The part you write about Byers' wife not opening the door is correct, but the part about the FBI playing a major role in the day's activities was not completely accurate. It was mostly the St. Louis police that conducted the search, assisted by detectives from the county and various municipalities.

We went through that little house three, four times. Byers did a poor job of hiding things. His kids were playing ping-pong on a table that was sitting on top of six stolen Oriental rugs. I found a painting that appeared to be a Monet behind the furnace where most folks would keep extra furnace filters. There were so many cops conducting the search that we made an order for twenty burgers, fries and Cokes from Steak n Shake to feed everyone. The city cops were seizing anything and everything, including cheap clock radios and the kids' $150 Sound Design stereo under the theory that everything was probably stolen. We took everything with a serial number expect the refrigerator. Later, Byers sued to get his everyday items back and they were returned.

The FBI was there during the search but served more as an observer and didn't do any of the heavy lifting. In those days, the rule of thumb among cops was that the FBI was not your friend. Just like on television, the bureau was famous for not telling you anything and then taking credit for work you'd done.

There was, however, one FBI connection with Byers and Rock Hill police. The FBI occasionally would stake out Byers' house. Byers and his wife would see them and call us to report a suspicious car in the neighborhood. We'd respond, only to rustle up an FBI agent. After a couple of these calls, a note was placed on the dispatcher's desk not to dispatch any suspicious auto calls on Byers' street. John Hoffmann, Town and Country

RFT Music Showcase, May 31, 2007

These don't go to eleven: Please spend some time making sure that the sound equipment is in working order before a band takes the stage! I came to see the Vultures and was terribly disappointed when the microphones went out every two or three minutes. The band had to stop playing three or four times because of equipment failure. RFT folks in blue shirts tried to correct the problem, but it was too late! I don't blame the band for walking off the stage. Please look into this problem before next year. The Vultures were sorely missed this year!

Bridget Koenig, St. Louis

Feature, May 3, 2007

Lucky to be alive: I thank Chad Garrison for adding more pieces to this strange puzzle ["Dead Pool"]. As Lionel Sands' second wife, I am changing my name to Lucky.

I'm working on a book for emotionally abused but otherwise intelligent women who find themselves conned by men like Lionel Sands. I feel fortunate that in my case the abuse was psychological and not physical or fatal, but that may have been only because he had not disintegrated yet. Susan B. Schenk, Wilsonville, Oregon

Erratum

Kristen Hinman's May 24 news story, "Irons in the Fire (Again)," incorrectly stated that the St. Louis Board of Education had voted in March to reinstate ousted Vashon High School basketball coach Floyd Irons. The school board had voted only to reinstate Irons' eligibility to coach in the St. Louis Public Schools.

 
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