Flashback Friday: ‘Slippery’ Walt Gets Caught (1933)
Walter Dietz was a forger and a thief, and in 1933, the GRPD finally caught up with him.
The Grand Rapids City Archives Is A Great Source Of Mug Shots
The Grand Rapids City Archives (Facebook, Instagram)is a treasure trove of historical photos of Grand Rapids. Many of us here of the Townsquare Staff have found things worth posting about before thanks to its pages.
My favorite thing on the sites is mug shots of criminals from the past. They always leave me thinking about their lives. Most of the time they appear to be regular guys, who somehow fell off the straight and narrow for a life of crime.
A case in point is the tale of "Slippery" Walter Dietz, a criminal who ran afoul of Grand Rapids authorities back in 1933.
'Slippery Walt' Was Named For His Elusiveness
A handsome man, Walt, was busted on a farm in Allegan County after stealing a car from a GR dealerships.
He had evaded Police in Grand Rapids for three years for a forgery charge, once evading capture by wriggling out of his coat which an officer had grasped. He finally slipped up when he went to a car dealership in town in 1933 and stole a car during a test drive. He told the dealership where he was working to be able to take the test drive. Seven detectives went to the Allegan farm where he was employed and while they searched the farm, he hid. When he finally made a break for it he was quickly apprehended. In custody he confessed to a number of other auto thefts from around town, and confessed to the forgery three years prior.
So What Became Of Slippery?
I'm not certain, but a Google search revealed a Walter Dietz who was born in Coopersville and died in Kalamazoo in 1971 at the age of 64.
One hopes that he got his life squared around and lived well after his prison time. But that's what makes the Archives page so appealing, you are left to wonder.
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