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About the Book

Bernard C. Welch, dubbed “The Ghost Burglar” by the detectives who hunted him, was called the most prolific burglar of modern time. He eluded police up and down the East Coast for years, stealing millions of dollars worth of goods from the elite homeowners of the Washington, D.C., area.

Welch was finally caught when he shot and killed Dr. Michael Halberstam, a prominent D.C. heart surgeon and community activist, during a botched burglary. He was sentenced to 143 years plus life in prison, but Welch escaped from a prison in the heart of downtown Chicago and earned a place on the U.S. Marshals’ Most Wanted list before being captured again.

Ghost Burglar: The True Story of Bernard Welch—Master Thief, Ruthless Con Man, and Cold-Blooded Killer by Jack Burch and James D. King details Welch’s life from his impoverished beginnings in upstate New York to the lavish world he created for his family- all financed by his criminal activities- to his trial, imprisonment, escape, and eventual recapture. Co-author King, one of the key detectives on the Ghost Burglar case, offers firsthand insights into the police investigation that always seemed one step behind Welch’s maneuvers. Extensively researched, Ghost Burglar finally reveals the full details of Bernard Welch’s life of crime.

About the Authors

Jack Burch

Jack Burch was the photo chief for Channel 9 Fox News in Minneapolis and a part-time filmmaking instructor in the Journalism Department at the University of Minnesota. He then spent 30 years as the owner and operator of Burch Communications, a Minneapolis-St. Paul video production company. His clients have included ABC News, Boy Scouts of America, the Discovery Channel, ESPN and ESPN2, Fox Network Sports, HBO, Johnson & Johnson, the Learning Channel, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the U.S. Marine Corps. He received the InterCom Award at the Chicago Film Festival (1982) and the Keith L. Ware Award, the U.S. Army’s equivalent of an Emmy. Burch lives in Minnesota. Ghost Burglar is his first book.

James D. King

James D. King was one of the chief investigators of the Ghost Burglar cases for the Montgomery County Police Department in Maryland. From his work on various robberies, King developed an interest in antiques and art theft. After extensive research, he wrote several articles for the International Archive of Art and Antique Theft. This research, combined with his work on the Welch case, led him to write and champion a Montgomery County law that required sellers of precious metals and antiques to produce identification and the buyers to report the purchases to the police. This law became the model on which a Maryland state law was based, on behalf of which King was called on to testify.

After retiring from the police force, King became a security specialist with Montgomery County public schools. He was also a contributing editor for the trade magazine American School and University, writing monthly articles on educational security issues.

King retired from school security after twenty years and is now a full-time author. He lives in Maryland, and Ghost Burglar is his first book.

Ghost Burglar Reviews

“From the first page…I was gripped. And the story features characters and plot twists as interesting as nearly anything by the masterful [Elmore] Leonard.”

–Ed Newman, Ennyman’s Territory

“Tremendous read! Anyone who reads this story will never again refer to burglary as merely a ‘property crime’!”

–Mark S. Rubin, St. Louis County Attorney

“Ghost Burglar is a fascinating tale of a remarkable and tragic crime spree where the good guys ultimately win. The authors weave a saga of crime and human deception that comes alive and tells a story that would make a captivating movie.”

–Jay B. Stephens, Assistant U.S. Attorney and member of the Welch prosecution team, Assistant Watergate Special Prosecutor, United States Attorney, and Associate Attorney General of the U.S.


Ghost Burglar Authors Interviewed on WPR Today - Do you have a question for Ghost Burglar authors Jack Burch and James King? Do you want to learn more about Bernard Welch’s criminal activities? Then be sure to tune in to your local Wisconsin Public Radio station! Jack Burch and Jim King will be featured on At Issue today, May 7, between 3:00 and 4:00 p.m. …
What Readers Are Saying About ‘Ghost Burglar’ - In writing our book, Ghost Burglar, Jack Burch and I worked in a sort of isolation. We researched and wrote, only sharing our work with each other and Jack’s lovely wife Marion. Marion was our sounding board, not only correcting our grammar and punctuation, but questioning when we might have said something a better way. …
Ghost Burglar Authors to be on WGN Radio - Listen up, Ghost Burglar fans! Authors Jack Burch and James King will be interviewed by Paul Lisnek on WGN Radio (720 AM in Chicago) on Monday, December 24, at 9:00 a.m CST. They will be discussing Ghost Burglar and how the recent escape from the Metropolitan Correctional Center compares with Welch’s escape in 1985. Not in …
Ghost Burglar Makes the News - Thanks to an AP story about the recent prison break at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago, Ghost Burglar is finding itself in front of a national audience. The story, with a mention of Ghost Burglar and authors Jack Burch and James King, has been picked up by several national media outlets, including CBS News, …
The Metropolitan Correctional Center in downtown Chicago. Chicago MCC Jail Break: It Happened Again! - Ghost Burglar details how Bernard Welch and Hugh Colomb managed to escape from the downtown Chicago Metropolitan Correctional Center in 1985. Now 27 years later, two other convicts, Joseph Banks and Kenneth Conley, did the same thing – and the similarities are eerie. In 1985, Welch and Colomb were transferred to the MCC to testify …