Real Name: Dale Kerstetter
Nicknames: No known nicknames
Location: Bradford, Pennsylvania
Date: September 13, 1987
Occupation: Security guard and maintenance man
Date Of Birth: March 7, 1937
Weight: 130 lbs.
Marital Status: Divorced
Characteristics: Brown eyes with receding gray hair
Details: Fifty-year-old Dale Kerstetter was a security guard and maintenance man at Corning Glassworks in Bradford, Pennsylvania. He had worked there for twenty-seven years. He grew up in Bradford and lived there for most of his life. He had been divorced for ten years and his teenage son still lived with him. Four of his five daughters also lived in Pennsylvania. He was very close to his family. At his job, he was described by one of his managers as a "marginal employee" who was slow at some tasks. However, during one incident at work, a forklift rolled underneath a stream of molten glass. The glass started pouring down on the forklift's propane tank. Dale immediately jumped on the forklift and drove it away from the glass, potentially saving dozens of lives and thousands of dollars of property.
Dale began his security guard shift at 11PM on Saturday, September 12, 1987. The next morning at 7AM, guard John Lindquist came by the plant to relieve him. He went inside and found Dale's full lunch pail and keys on a table in the cafeteria. His new pickup truck was still in the parking lot. However, Dale was nowhere to be found. The police were soon called to the scene. Inside the truck, Dale's keys were still in the ignition. A full carton of cigarettes, an empty holster for his .22 caliber pistol, and his day pack were also left behind.
At first, authorities believed that Dale had suffered from a heart attack or some other medical condition and was in need of assistance. Police dogs tracked his scent via his usual security route; the dog led police to the second floor where the plant's glass kiln was located. This was not part of Dale's usual security rounds. Although Dale's scent was found on the kiln, there was no other trace of him throughout the building.
The investigation then focused on the three security cameras that monitored the plant. The tapes showed a masked man entering the plant at 11:15PM. Shortly afterwards, he is shown meeting with Dale. The tapes also showed the man opening the tank where platinum was stored. Whoever removed the platinum from the tank was extremely familiar with the plant and knew exactly where to go to find the platinum. They also knew where to find bags and tools that were used to remove the platinum. This suggested that someone who worked or previously worked there was involved. The tapes also showed Dale apparently being coerced by the masked man. At one point, Dale looks directly at the camera, although it is not known if he was secretly signaling for help or "flaunting" his crimes.
It was soon discovered that $250,000 worth of platinum had been stolen from the tank. Dale's mother and daughters did not believe that he was involved in the heist of the platinum, but his employers and even his son believe he might be involved. The final clue from the cameras showed the masked man wheeling out something on a manual forklift, concealed in a large bag. Some believe that the cart had the missing platinum, while others believe it contained Dale's body.
Authorities learned that Dale had been cut from the trade program at work, which took between $5,000 and $7,000 from his usual pay. Dale was also at least $30,000 in debt at the time of his disappearance. His daughters, however, stated that he would have asked them for help if he needed any money. Authorities are still uncertain if Dale was involved in the heist or if he was an innocent victim. Dale's son believes that he may still be alive and in hiding, but his daughters and mother believe that he was abducted and murdered.
Suspects: There is no description available for the masked man that was involved in the theft and Dale's disappearance. It is still not known if Dale was involved in the theft or not.
Most of Dale's family and friends do not believe that he was involved in the theft. His daughters noted that if he was involved, he would have tried to cover up the cameras and avoid being seen on them. They also do not believe he would have packed a lunch or left his cigarettes behind if he was involved. They believe that Dale saw or heard something and went to investigate. They believe he was then overpowered by the masked man. They also believe that he was killed shortly after the robbery.
His employers suspect that he may have been involved in the theft. They believe he "flaunted" his crime when he looked at the camera. They believe that he was involved because he had been cut from a program at work and was in debt.
It is important to note that the amount of platinum stolen that night could have easily been carried by one person, making it unlikely that it was the only items in the bag on the cart being wheeled out by the masked man.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the October 25, 1989 episode.
The surveillance footage of the plant was not shown on Unsolved Mysteries. Reenactment footage was shown instead.
Results: Unsolved. Dale was declared legally dead in July of 2014. Police have investigated several leads in the case, including that: Dale was "double-crossed" and killed by a former co-worker who helped him steal the platinum; Dale was placed in a gas well near the plant or in the plant's furnace; and Dale was killed in a mob-related incident. However, none of these theories have been confirmed. In fact, authorities have noted that the furnace was not turned on that night, meaning that it could not have been used to dispose of Dale's body. His whereabouts remain unknown.
- Dale Kerstetter at Unsolved.com
- Dale Kerstetter at the Charley Project
- Dale Kerstetter on the Doe Network
- Dale Kerstetter at McKean County Cold Cases
- Dale Kerstetter at Pennsylvania Crime Stoppers
- Dead or alive: Guard still key to 1987 platinum theft
- Kerstetter: Is he dead or alive?
- In Re Kerstetter (1990 Appeal to declare him legally dead)
- Dale Kerstetter: Gone Platinum (includes interviews with family and investigators)
- Kerstetter disappearance, missing platinum more than 30 years ago still an open case
- Unexplained Mysteries Discussion on Dale Kerstetter
- SitcomsOnline Discussion of Dale Kerstetter