HARS - High value information Alert and Reporting System

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Brown Glove Bandit

A homeless Vietnam Vet, a local stick-up miscreant, and a Burger King, all elements in the episode of the Brown-Glove Bandit. This is an example of the Power of Public Eyes and an innate concern to get “The Bad Guy” off the street.

The following story is a true, real-life, first-person account of the public eyes providing information to law enforcement. There are lessons to be learned from this account and VitaStar Solutions is grateful to the person who gave us this story and allowed us to share it with others on our website.


He was a homeless Vietnam Veteran and spent a lot of time in a major, Mid-West city, down-town park. While existing in the park, the Vet met an odd person who would steal beer from a local grocery story and share it with the Vet. Eventually, with “trust” established, the Vet learned the person was a local stick-up artist known as the Brown Glove bandit. The Vet occasional was given free coffee at a nearby Burger King. One day the bandit said he was going to rob the Burger King. This could not stand. The Vet’s mission was now to get the bandit off the street and save his Burger King. After many unusual circumstances, the mission was finally accomplished.

The Story

I was a corporate man. Yes; tie, white shirt, rolled-up sleeves, and slacks. I even wore my wing-tips if I thought I might be going to a meeting. I had the job, but I was forced to relocate and commute on a weekly basis. Consequently, I was living as a bachelor Monday through Friday and would drive home on the weekends, about a 3 ½ drive. On occasion I would go to a nearby laundromat to do some catch-up laundry and while I waited I would pass the time at the bar next door. One time, I was killing time and enjoying my beer when I became aware of the only two other patrons in the bar engaged in a “discussion” that was becoming more heated. One was a Vietnam Vet and the other a civilian. Once I tuned-in, to what was quickly becoming an argument, probably spurred on by the beer catalyst, I noted the topic was the Vietnam War. Listening to the content, and being a Vietnam Veteran myself, I quickly identified with the Vietnam Vet side of the, about to become physical exchange. I was ready to inject myself if necessary, but it didn’t go that far. That is how I met the Arizona, Irish cowboy, and Vietnam Veteran, Kilty O’Dwyer (true name – if you know of him, please contact this website). I soon discovered he was married with one child, separated from his family, jobless, homeless, alcoholic, social misfit, and had a Master’s degree in Art and Literature. One might easily conclude, we were at opposite ends of the social spectrum, but…. We had one thing in common – we were both Vietnam Veterans.

Since I did not have a family to return to after work, I often stayed in the office late. Frequently, whether I worked late or not I would seek some socialization before returning to my quiet evening in my rented room. My cure was always the same. I would go to the small city park, located near where I was staying and nearly always I would find Kilty sitting on a park table, contemplating life. Routinely, I would then walk to the near-by grocery store and buy a 12-pack of the cheapest beer and join him sitting on the picnic table and we’d engage in spirited discussion on a wide-range of topics. He was very articulate and extremely opinionated, so the exchanges were always entertaining.

From my after-work discussions with Kilty I learned that in Vietnam, it was in the early part of the war, he was a member of a 7-man, long range reconnaissance patrol, referred to as “Lerp” or LRRP. He told me about the time they were discovered, deep in hostile territory by an aggressive enemy who immediately started a pursuit to hunt and kill. During their desperate evade and escape through the dense jungle Kilty was wounded in the lower leg; not serious but it slowed him down and he was bleeding into his boot. Kilty knew better, but he violated one of the basic principles when on patrol – never take your boots off. He sat down, leaning against a tree and took his boot off to see the extent of his wound, when suddenly a Viet Cong, in hot pursuit broke out of the bush, almost on top of him. There was no time for “Charlie” to raise and fire his AK-47 so he smashed the butt into Kilty’s face breaking several teeth. Kilty instinctively raised his left arm and hand in defense and grabbed the VC weapon before he could pull it back for another blow. Both hands of the VC where on his weapon, Kilty’s left hand was straining to hold the VC rifle, but Kilty’s right hand was free. He was able to unsheathe his K-Bar (knife) and with a mighty upward swing – brought the engagement to a conclusion. Kilty quickly put his boot back on and hurriedly, hobbled after his buddies. As Kilty was telling me this story, he mused that it was a miracle but all seven members of his LRRP patrol survived Vietnam, but he was the only one left alive All the others were unable to adjust and had committed suicide.

One day I asked Kilty where he was staying and he informed me he was staying in an unheated, detached garage with no running water. It was owned by a guy who had a small house and drove a BMW. One day, not finding Kilty at the park, I went to his “home”. While visiting with him, the owner showed and started hollering at Kilty for some alleged infraction – extreme brow-beating and belittlement. Kilty remained silent, which was very uncharacteristic of him. I also remained silent and motionless while this wacko expended his vitriol upon Kilty. I wanted to punch his teeth in but knew if I did anything, Kilty would lose his home. When the sorry excuse for a human had finished venting himself, he left – strange way to exact the “rent” and a sorrowful way to pay the “rent”. Then there was the French lady across the street. Several times she took Kilty in, cleaned him up and let him board there for a few weeks – as long as he did the cooking (he was a good cook). It was rather a strange relationship, especially since she was a manic, fastidious house cleaner, and Kilty was certainly at the other end of the spectrum. I visited him there several times – a real improvement over the park picnic table. However, one time I visited him in the park and he told me he had moved into a new place. I asked, “Is it far?”. “No”, he responded. “Where?” I asked. “There”, he said, pointing in the direction of the two porta-potties. “Huh”, I uttered. “You mean in one of those houses over there?” “The one on the left”, he explained. Good Grief! His new home was the porta-pottie on the left.

Another day I stopped to visit with Kilty, and as we sat there on the picnic table, enjoying a cold, cheap beer, he told me he was concerned about “his Burger King”, where the benevolent workers would give him a hot coffee at the back door. Then he told me the source of his concern. One day he noticed a guy sneak into the park area, and in the bushy area he saw him remove his outer clothing to reveal another set of clothes underneath. He put the clothes in a carry-all bag and put the bag under some bushes, then continued to walk across the park. He saw Kilty and walked over to him, apparently to determine if Kilty had seem him in the bushes. Kilty said he just noticed him as he walked up to him. This started an unusual relationship. The guy would steal a 12-pack of beer and then drink it with Kilty on the picnic table. After two or three times, the guy grew to trust Kilty and revealed that his specialty was a hold-up bandit and he always wore brown gloves during the hold up and he used a gun which he kept in the bag (when it was not being used in a hold up). And, he proudly informed Kiltly that he was famous in that part of town and that he was known as the “Brown Glove Bandit”.

After Kilty informed me about the Brown Glove Bandit we agreed that to protect the Burger King, and to “do the right thing”, we had to remove this miscreant menace. The next day I went to the local police substation and explained why I was there. After a few moments I was shown into a detectives’ office. I sat in a chair on the other side of his desk and quickly noted he had his firearm, in its holster, sitting on his desk, and that I was closer to it than he was. Holly Cow! Need I explain what I thought about his mentality? I thought not. I explained the situation and clearly stated that this was a joint effort by Kiltly and I and that he was fully in partnership with me and completely cooperative, but that he was concerned about being identified as a “snitch”. The detective explained how the take-down would be accomplished and assured me that Kilty’s true role in the take-down would be kept confidential and then it occurred, the “perp” would be separated from him and then whisked away while Kilty would be dealt with separately. It sounded like a good plan – just like in the movies. The police wanted the Brown Glove Bandit badly and were going to use all their resources to insure an overpowering, positive outcome.

The day for the take-down arrived and unfortunately, being a “normal” person”, I was at my corporate job. After work I hurriedly went to the park where I found Kilty sitting on our regular picnic table, with a 12-pack sitting next to him. I quickly grabbed a beer and with great expectation and thumping heart… Well????? What happened? And here is what he told me…

It was mid-afternoon when the Brown Glove Bandit came confidently sauntering up to my picnic table with a hot, 12-pack of cold beer. We were on our second beer, maybe a fourth when on the far side of the park, in front of us, a car jumped the curb and was headed straight for us – then a second car did the same. We both jumped up and started to move in the opposite direction when two more vehicles, this time plainly marked as police cars where bouncing across the park directly toward us from the rear. Suddenly the sound of wap-wap-wap become louder and a helicopter appeared overhead. We were sounded on all sides. It was a full-fledged assault and with the familiar sound of the copter beating in my head, and the adrenaline pumping hard, I was momentary transported in time back to the steamy jungles of the Delta where I lost some of my teeth. Damn good thing I didn’t have a weapon on me or the outcome might have been different in a flash-back. Before a second thought entered my head I was brutally slammed onto the picnic table, face first, by a female police officer who shouted at me to spread my legs. As my head was ground into the picnic table I couldn’t move it but found I was looking at the other picnic table where the Perp was receiving similar treatment. I watched as they ratcheted his arms behind him and fastened the handcuffs on him and roughly force-marched him into a nearby police vehicle, which sped off, bouncing over the park lawn. After he was out of sight, the plain clothes Detective commanded the female police officer to let me up, which she reluctantly complied. Several other police officers came up and demanded I reveal the location of the Preps bag. I hadn’t seen him carrying it today, but I pointed toward the bushes where he usually hid it, and it was quickly found – thank goodness. I was still being roughed up by the female cop and the Detective growled at her and told her to ease up. He then asked her if she had her wallet on her and she replied in the affirmative. He then told her to take out a 20 dollar bill and give it to me. She was obviously shocked and perplexed but she complied. The Detective then told me I could leave, which I promptly obeyed.

With a smile of satisfaction, Kilty asked me if I was ready for another beer and I nodded, yes – the beer was recently purchased with a crisp 20 dollar bill – to the victor belongs the cold beer. Was this the end of the story? No. In the real-world, there is always more.

The day after the take-down of the Brown Glove Bandit, over my corporate lunch hour, I returned to the police substation to talk to the Detective. He was a little surprised to see me, but I had something to say. I told him that there were a lot of advertisements on television about rewards for information that led to the capture and conviction of the Bad Guys, and wondered if Kilty and I could qualify. His first response was, “NO”. He said that only was for information that was provided before an arrest and the request for reward was logged into the system before the arrest. “HUH”? Needless to say I had difficulty with the logic and repeated my request with more passion and conviction. “Well, let me submit the request to the business man’s association who provides the community money for the rewards and see if they will approve an award,” he responded and I said, “Thank You”.

Almost a week passed before the Detective called me and asked me to come to his office, which I promptly did. He handed me a paper with an alpha-numeric number on it and told me to go to a closed bank drive up teller window at exactly 0900 hours this coming Saturday. He said that when I drove up the tellers window, the shade would be down but a drawer would be extended and I was to put the paper with the alpha-numeric number into the drawer. That Saturday Kilty and I followed the instructions, to the letter, and when the drawer came back out there was $500 in cash waiting for us. There was no verbal exchange. I immediately reached for the cash, grabbed it and drove off. I drove to the nearest tavern where I stopped. We split our treasure and went inside to enjoy the coldest beer I’d had in a long time – it was probably psychological. After the beer, I left Kilty and started my drive home for the weekend. We were both satisfied and content.


For those readers who have reached the end of the story, if you would like to learn more about the real-life, interesting person, Kilty, more information is provided to appease your interest and curiosity. Learn more...


The Brown Glove Bandit was a case of a local criminal pursuing his trade in a very localized area of the city. If HARS had been available, the police drawing of the Prep and his MO (Modus Operandi) would have been displayed ONLY in the immediate, local area of the city. As is so often the case, it was the Power of the Public, the Human Factor (Hu) that provided the information that removed this criminal from the street. And, since he performed his trade with a loaded weapon, there was always the potential of a disastrous outcome with personal injury or loss of life.

VSS would like to thank the unnamed person who provided this real-life story to us and allowed us to share it with you. We would also like to thank Kilty – wherever you maybe.