Stolen From the Garden: The Kidnapping of Virginia Piper

By William Swanson

On a July afternoon in 1972, masked males waving weapons kidnapped forty-nine-year-old Virginia Piper from the backyard of her lakeside domestic in Orono, Minnesota. After her husband, a admired funding banker, paid a $1 million ransom, an nameless caller directed the FBI to a thickly wooded part of a northern Minnesota kingdom park. There, days after her nightmare begun, Ginny Piper––chained to a tree, filthy and exhausted, yet bodily unharmed––awaited her rescuers. 
The intensely deepest couple lived via a media firestorm. either Bobby and Ginny Piper herself—naturally reserved and unusually composed within the aftermath of her ordeal—were topic to FBI scrutiny within the greatest kidnap-for-ransom case in bureau annals. while occupation criminals have been ultimately indicted 5 years after the kidnapping, the Pipers back took middle level in lengthy trials sooner than a jury’s verdict made headlines around the nation. 
Drawing on heavily held executive files and particular interviews with kinfolk, investigators, suspects, legal professionals, and others in detail attached to the case, William Swanson presents the 1st complete account of the sensational Piper kidnapping and its lengthy, eventful aftermath––and makes a case for the main believable reason for what fairly occurred on that July afternoon. 

William Swanson is the writer of Dial M: The homicide of Carol Thompson and Black White Blue: The Assassination of Patrolman Sackett. 

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Not anyone had ever gotten away with somethin’ like that. ” For greater than an hour and a part, Larson talks, occasionally answering Harry’s questions, usually rambling off on an complex story during which the various Piper saga’s names—Bob Billstrom, invoice Cooper, Harold Combs, John Dineen, Occie Fleitman—appear like forged contributors in a not-quite-classic movie noir. hearing the tales, it wouldn’t be tricky to finish that Larson served time with part the felony inhabitants in Minnesota up to now sixty-odd years, which, after all, will not be out of the query. He and Callahan have been convicted within the first Piper trial “because each person lied, together with the FBI. ” The FBI recruited Combs, Dineen, and the opposite prosecution witnesses and swapped diminished sentences for his or her testimony. “[The executive was once] chatting with each liar within the nation, and so they all desired to get out. ” notwithstanding Harry isn't desirous to cross there, Larson doesn’t hesitate to revisit the Pine County homicides. He says he had deliberate to head smelt fishing along with his son, however it was once raining the afternoon they drove up from the dual towns. whilst he stopped on the farm, Jim Falch used to be stealing his energy instruments and getting ready to maneuver away together with his spouse. Ruth have been taunting him, he says, and Falch was once a federal informant, “though I didn’t recognize that on the time. ” “I had a . 38 and that i shot him within the arm … then went loopy, shot every little thing in sight, emptied the gun, reloaded, shot [Falch] back …” Larson doesn't say that he used to be insane, as Meshbesher argued in the course of the Pine urban trial. in truth, he makes no try and excuse himself—“I’m in charge of that, I’m now not lying”—though he tells Harry with murky jailhouse good judgment that he must have been charged with both second-degree homicide or manslaughter. Now, he says, he's on a regular basis denied parole for the Pine County murders due to the Piper accusations, even if he used to be finally acquitted of that crime. a number of days later, Harry stocks a sales space at Mark’s eating place, in Cumberland, Wisconsin, with Ken Callahan, who has pushed down from Kirby Lake, a number of miles north of city. whereas they speak, Harry’s spouse busies herself within the small town’s outlets. Callahan lives in the home he outfitted for his spouse and himself in the course of and after the Piper trials. He has develop into renowned within the quarter, having spoken to the neighborhood Kiwanis membership and a junior university classification approximately his adventure as a defendant in a kidnapping trial that attracted all over the world consciousness. He and several other Cumberland cops are stable associates, often getting jointly for espresso and gossip. he's revered on the town for his carpentry abilities and turns out to have as a lot paintings as he wishes. He has stayed out of difficulty and performed not anything to draw undue recognition to himself. Ken Callahan and Harry Piper III, Cumberland, Wisconsin, 1998. Mary Piper, courtesy Harry Piper III Callahan is seventy-three. His young children and stepchildren are heart elderly, and he's a great-grandfather. Erna died of melanoma a yr ago—they were married for forty-three years—and he's deliberating promoting the home and stepping into city.

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