Remembering 9-11-01.
We will not forget!

Here's a few Chief's badges for you
Just click on the thumbnails

Moline, ILL.

Banning, CA

Dell Rapids SD

El Segundo, CA

Elsinore, CA

Guntersville, AL

Kingman, AZ

Kingsburg, CA

Manhattan Beach, CA

Monrovia, CA

Placentia, CA

Ranger, TX

Reedley, CA

Richmond, CA

Seward, AK

Tustin, CA


The Lieutenant's Office

Lou's Place

Lieutenant Billy O'Gilliam has a bit o' info for ya...

May, 2003: This actually kills me.  Now somebody has actually advertised the  Langenbacher  junk repro badges as fine, handcrafted, hand jeweled badge that is "painstakingly" made, unlike the "mass produced reproduction".  Uh, excuse me, the King of repro's DOES mass produce over 200 varieties.

Sterling silver Chicago Police badge. Badge reads " POLICE 297 CHICAGO". This badge is tarnished, but in good condition. Pin is in tact on back and usable. Crafted by DR Langenbacher in sterling silver. ** Not a current badge used by the Chicago Police. purchased 10 * Langenbacher, a Utah jeweler, hand crafted his first badge out of sterling silver. As demand for a variety of badges increased, Langenbacher perfected the process of creating molds then painstakingly casting each badge identical to the original. More than 50 badges are attributed to Langenbacher ranging from U.S. Marshal to City and State Law Enforcement badges. This badge is not to be confused with a mass produced, plated, reproduction. We have had this badge for 10 years - was part of a collection we purchased. We are told that this badge was cast from the 1880's original. Email with all questions and thanks for looking.

Click to enlarge

And then there was the guy this month (May, 2003) who was listing the rare original Chicago pie plate with a beginning price of $300.  Straight out of the Langenbacker catalog, badge number 567.

Click to enlarge

Of course, he was quick to alter the picture by taking off the catalog number (86) and coloring in the brass numbers of this photo.  I placed an auction using the same title, notifying collectors of the fraud.  The seller pulled the auction within 24 hours, after the biggest sleaze dealer in the country (from the Boston area, most of you know who he is) wrote to him and told him of my auction.

California Scammer:   Careful of the guy in California that uses the name James Brown... AKA Jim Brown, AKA Jim Browne, AKA James Browne AKA, a whole bunch of other names. This guy has ripped off collector after collector buy offering to sell an LAPD badge, getting the money and never sending them a badge. He also likes to tell people that he is a descendant of Sam Brown, the guy who patented the LAPD holster with the same name. This, he says, is how he amassed such a large collection of LAPD badges that he is now "trying to sell off". Total rip-off, people. One foreign collector was taken for over $9,000 by this crook.

November 98: James Brown has once again surfaced, and I can only assume he is looking for other victims, using the following E Mail address: Beware, Mr. Brown, I have it on good authority that LAPD and the Ventura County District Attorney's office are closing in on you. Brown has now joined the EVOOA
and is advertising brand new police package vehicles for sale. Seems he's looking for a new niche of collectors to defraud.

January 04: James Brown just can't stay away.  Now he is found on E Bay selling LAPD badges under the name of LAzyPD and has a new e mail address of This time he's using his mother's name, "Elizabeth Browne" who says she's selling these for a computer-less friend in New Jersey.  E Bay just suspended him for fraudulent practices, including illegally surcharging for those who want to use Paypal.   

The Disney Badge: Out here on the Internet, there's a great place to visit called the eBay Auctionweb. There, collectors can find just about anything imaginable at some very reasonable costs. Of course, the merchandise available also includes police collectibles. Most of the time, the police collectibles are authentic and "good finds". At other times, the seller of the item really hasn't a clue as to authenticity and therefore will make a statement to that effect. And, still yet, there are the sellers who know they have a reproduction and go out of their way to make sure you realize that.

But, about every three months, a badge shows up on the Auctionweb that reeks of fraud. It's a "double ringer" because it appeals to two groups of collectors: badge collectors and Disney collectors. The badge in question is titled "Walt Disney World Security Officer". It's a tear-drop with hard black enamel lettering and a chrome or nickel finish. The bottom panel, typically where a badge number is stamped, is blank. This badge is the product of a company in Louisiana that supplies, what they call, "novelty items" such as "Official Agent" ID cards. A more apropos term, to put it bluntly, is "junk"! The company sells this fake Disney badge, along with fake LAPD, LA County Sheriff, etc., badges, for a mere

Unless this company has violated some copyright or trademark law, they probably aren't doing anything illegal. Ethically, on the other hand, as with all makers of repro's and junk, they may be wrong for not marking these items as "novelty" or "reproduction". Of course, by doing so, their sales would suffer. As one reproducer of badges said when asked why he didn't mark his badges "repro": "Why should I mark mine 'repro' when you cops don't have to mark yours 'original'".

So, what ends up happening is that some third party gets hold of one of these badges and sets out to find an unsuspecting victim to bilk out of a bunch of dough. Since the Disney badge appeals to Disneyianna collectors, it's the perfect scam. After all, Disney collectors know about as much about badges as I know how to tell a black-market Goofy or Pluto. Hence, the badge frequently shows up on eBay.

Sharing the feeling with quite a few other collectors, I sincerely feel it's time to put our foot down on the constant scams we see so much in the badge hobby. In keeping with that, when I have seen the elusive "original, authentic" Disney badge on eBay, I have sent an e mail to the seller, stating my case. A couple of times, the seller has quickly ended the auction, allowing bidders to be free of their commitment. Since the bidder has typically exceeded
$100 for the badge, the actions of the seller who ends the auction without a sale is commendable. The last time one hit the auction, however, the seller had advertised it as "A rare piece, with only 8 known to exist". As usual, I wrote to the seller, who responded with "tough luck, it's buyer beware". Much to my regret, I stood by and watched as somebody became a victim, paying well over $150 for the piece of junk. After that, I decided to no longer sit idly by and watch a fraud be committed, regardless of the circumstances.

This past week (June, 1997), while strolling through the Auctionweb, lo and behold did I find yet another Disney badge. Here's the description, straight from the seller's keyboard:

This is a very, very RARE find. This is an "OFFICIAL" WALT DISNEY WORLD "SECURITY OFFICER" BADGE! This badge was acquired before the officer's number was put on it. Once the number is put on it the officier is responsible for not losing it. Plus it has to be turned in when he is no longer employed. How this badge was acquired from Disney Security before given out, I don't know. The person who got this badge wants to remain unknown. It was purchased in Orlando, Florida. I checked with a Security Officer at Disney World and this is authentic. QUOTE:(WARNING) "Please do not try and use this in the park. You may get into alot of trouble." The badge is heavy and probably made out of white metal and chrome plated (Like a Police Officer's badge). I started with a low price to save on listing listing fee charges, and put a reserve on this to protect my investment. ( I'm having a hard time parting with this as it is!) I'll leave an attached note when reserve has been met. THIS IS A RARE OPPORTUNITY FOR "YOU" THE SERIOUS DISNEY COLLECTOR to own this attractive MINT CONDITION SECURITY BADGE! -----SEE THE LARGE PHOTO BELOW !---- Buyer pays S&H.

Now, there's only about a dozen red flags showing in that description for an alert badge collector, or any other collector, to get the feeling they are about to be scammed. I especially love the spin about the badge number. For those that aren't aware, on this type of badge, the number is put on at the factory before the metal is plated, not by the agency, in this case Disney, as they issue it to a guard. Another good one in that description is the "authentication" by a security officer at Disney World. Did that guard happen to be in a Mickey Mouse outfit? Ask any collector, they'll tell you that most (non-collector) cops can't tell a reasonable facsimile of their badge from the real thing. This is why at NYPD, when a cop turns in their shield, a member of the Internal Affairs section checks the badge carefully by using the original die. The NYPD badge has to fit in the die and pass a weight analysis before the retiring cop gets his pension.

Here's the badge (left) being offered recently on the Auctionweb, as well as the badge available from the "novelty" company (right):

Click the thumbnail

Click the thumbnail

Don't be fooled by the yellow tint of the badge on the right. That's because the photographer didn't use the correct filter, turning the chrome or nickel plate to a yellow color. Also, the Auctionweb badge was slightly turned when the scan was taken, so don't be fooled by what appears to be a slightly different shape. You compare.

Well, not being one to sit back, I started some big "trouble". I notified all of the people who were bidding that they were buying a junk badge. When I found the item, a lady on the east coast, trying to buy her husband a badge for his collection, was the top bidder at
$122.50. I also sent a copy of my E mail to the seller. By the next morning, he had responded, demanding a "retraction". Of course, I told him, in no uncertain terms, that I would not apologize to anybody for trying to save some unsuspecting collector.

Next from the seller, I received an e mail laced with statements that I was a "disgrace" to collectors and should leave the hobby. In the same e mail, he professed his "honesty" as a Christian and father of 6. Now, anyone who's had training in interview and interrogation techniques knows that, once God and family is brought into the conversation, not to mention when a person must profess his "honesty", you're fixin' to be lied to. But, in the name of "honesty", the seller (who whined that I hurt his "business") dares to put this in the description of the item:

I started with a low price to save on listing listing fee charges, and put a reserve on this to protect my investment.

I must say, a more honest statement would be:

I started with a low price to CHEAT eBAY OUT OF THEIR LISTING FEE charges, and put a reserve on this to INSURE I DON'T LOSE A DIME OUT OF THE TON OF MONEY I AM MAKING ON THIS.

Now THAT would be honesty.

The seller also indicated that he had been selling collectibles for over 25 years. Now, you would think that a person with that experience would be tired of manufacturers who ruin various hobbies by dumping unmarked reproductions onto the market. Nope, not this guy. Instead, he contacted the company in Louisiana and sent them my e mail because, he said, I had "slandered" them. I guess they are planning some sort of lawsuit or something.... I wrote back and urged him to continue sending my e mail. I welcome a lawsuit where the people who have screwed up my hobby want to go into court and testify that they make their money out of bilking collectors. Actually, this was a double-edged sword and I probably did the "novelty" badge maker a favor, since some of the collectors who backed out of the bid were going to the company in Louisiana to get their badge for $29.95.

In any event, the auction went on to completion at 23:40 hours on June 6. The winning bidder, knowing nothing of the controversy between me and the seller, put in a bid for
$152.50 and the seller sent in a complaint on me to the Auctionweb. I was contacted by E Bay and asked to quietly inform sellers of the problem. I responded to E Bay by stating my case (basically what I have said here). As I finished this page, I received the following from E Bay:

Thank you for your thoughtful post. I can see your point perfectly and I would suggest that you continue doing what ever you can to stop a fraud from being perpetuated. We would only ask that your posts to any bidders not be in a form that could appear to be a mass mailing, that is, they should be somewhat individualized for each person receiving one. This is to help avoid an accusation of "spam" , another source of many complaints.

In an ideal world, eBay would be able to have some reasonable policy regarding the accuracy of item descriptions. As we do rely on our users to help keep the site honest and above board in so many other areas, perhaps leaving these questions of authenticity to users such as yourself is actually in everyone's best interest. Any apprehension we may seem to have is due to the fact that in the past, we have seen attempts to destroy a seller's transactions made by users whose malicious intent was masked behind a concern for "purity" of a particular field of collecting interests. We suppose that we will have to use our better judgement in discerning these two very opposite motivations. It is now apparent that your actions were not of the malicious type.

Most of the bidders wrote and thanked me for my butting in, including the winning bidder. The seller, at this point, is still whining that I ruined his business and income (his entire life's income depended on this one scam???).

Meanwhile... I sit waiting for the papers to be served.... see you in court!
Note: I have not identified the junk "novelty" company that is part of the subject of this page. It is not out of fear of legal problems but, rather that, I do not advocate the sale of products they sell.

1998 Update: I have received many, many E mails as a result of this page, all of them thanking me and supporting me for my efforts. I am also constantly informed that more of these badges appear on E Bay, being identified as "authentic". Whenever you find one, drop the seller a note and ask them to visit here. Meanwhile, I have received some input from a badge collector who wishes to remain anonymous:

By the way, in case you haven't seen one, the real Disneyland and Disneyworld badges are made by Sun Badge Co.; they are all series 5 style (like your DPD Sgt/Lt badge--- Click here to see which one this collector is talking about --- Sun calls it P-200 style). The officer rank ones have the Disney "D" superimposed over Fantasyland castle (like on the sweatshirts) on the seal (blue and silver). The top panel reads Disneyland or Disneyworld, the second panel reads Security and the bottom panel reads Officer. All lettering is hard enameled and die-stamped; that is, the letters are curved to the panel shapes but remain aligned vertically. Yes, they're all numbered. The older badges were the slightly smaller eagle-tops with the curved number panel. The EuroDisney badges are similar, but written in French. There's also a Disneyland Hotel badge, which is similar to the current badges, but two tone, with a Wrather Security Company seal. Wrather no longer has the contract, and I haven't really paid much attention to the security arrangements at the hotel in recent years. I believe Disneyland park security runs it now. I bought both the Disneyland and Disneyland Hotel badges for peanuts at local swap meets many yrs. ago, but the ones I've seen available recently have been going for big bucks. In fact, price has been basically no object; first come/first served is usually the primary factor in who acquires it. Disney supposedly WILL go after any that they find.

January, 2000. I am sick and tired of all the Disney collectors coming to me over these badges for sale on E bay. I'm not tired of the collectors... I am tired of the THIEVES selling these things... It's a shame that there are people targeting Disney collectors at their weak points.... as of this date, there are a bunch of these junk badges selling on E Bay. Here's a description that kills me:


Hard to find? Yes, just go to NIC's web page and buy it for $29.95. It's as hard to find as running a search in a search engine. That's right, against my better judgment, I am telling you where to find these things for $29.95. That's better than you Disney collectors getting ripped for hundreds... this guy, the guy who placed the above ad... started his auction at $140. Another bid is currently up to over $60.
$7 for shipping? Is it not bad enough that he is charging 4.6 times what the badge sells for at the junk badge company? And has to add insult to injury by overcharging for postage. Give me a break.

And hat's off to this guy:
This is a Walt Disney World security guard's badge in mint condition. A truly amazing collectible I purchased about 8 years ago at a collectors show. I haven't seen many of these at all since then. This would be the pin on badge of all Disney pin on badges for any serious collector. Don't let this one get away!! Buyer pays $4.00 shipping........

Apparently some surfer pointed him in my direction... it seems there's an Army of Disney collectors out there that hunt these guys down and tell them they are selling fakes... directing them to my page... the seller, to his credit, added this:

On 01/24/00 at 07:07:50 PST, seller added the following information: I don't know if this is a real badge or not. I have heard it may be a reproduction issued by some novelty company. It is silvered/chrome in color and metal with no markings on the back.

Another E Bay rip off: E Bay has basically become synonymous with the word "rip off" over the last few years. Yes, you can find good quality collectibles there and sometimes at a decent cost. But new or inexperienced collectors can be hurt big time.

Check this out: "Leon" from the "East Coast" has been selling a few badges on E Bay. They are some of the worst junk that I have seen. Here's the wording on his "authentic retired LAPD" badge


And the picture of this junko.

What a piece of excrement!  It doesn't even contain an LA City seal. I'd guarantee this POS came from Taiwan... I can't imagine even one of the US badge makers that are known for putting out garbage would do one this bad.

Leon also had two others: A US Narcotics officer badge. It was a "defunct agency" he said, so it didn't fall under "Title 18". Here's a picture of this lousy fake:

This one was last seen going for over $66. Too bad somebody will be paying big bucks for it and learning later that they got taken.

How 'bout Leon's other badge? Oh, it is the WORST... a Chicago badge that he calls a "pie plate" (Leon obviously doesn't know his badges). This one, he says, is an "older issue". HAH! Leon, it's a VERY bad rendition of the current issue badge, the badge that CPD is putting people in jail for selling them over the net. Here's the picture:

Collectors.... Get to know what you are buying before you get ripped! 

Chicago Gets Their Man: It's been a long time coming... but the Chicago Police have finally done what no other agency has done to date. They got Tom Gunther of Schaumburg, Illinois. Tom Gunther has been one of the more notorious sleazebags in our hobby for a long time. His typical game is to have tons of badges made up and sell them to us as "authentic" department issue. He has made tons of money bilking collectors around the world, mostly with the assistance of PC News, who continually allows his advertisements.

But then, Gunther hit the Internet, more specifically, E Bay. Apparently Chicago PD tripped over him there...

But it wouldn't surprise me if someone in the collecting world didn't actually tip CPD off.

A few years back. I wrote an article for my former "Behind the Badge" column in the PC News. I had been tipped off that Gunther, in his quest to become rich by bilking collectors, had arranged with Blackinton to purchase several of the custom-die Cook County Sheriff's Police badges. These are hard to find badges, tightly controlled by the CCSP. Because they are hard to find, Gunther was able to sell them at asking prices of $900 and up, depending on how bad he feels he need to take you.

Blackinton will not make the badges for anybody but the CCSP, since they contain, in addition to the custom-die, a custom Cook County seal. That seal is owned by Cook County and no one is, supposedly, able to order them on any badge. But Gunther needed to circumvent this Blackinton rule. So, he develops a plan where he has a company called Orber Manufacturing in Rhode Island (a badge maker that has no problem flooding our hobby with junk badges) make a custom-die Cook County seal.

Now Gunther places an order through Blackinton, ordering the custom-die Cook County Sheriff's Police badge but with a Georgia state seal. The plan calls for the removal of the seal by Orber, replacing it with their Cook County seal. Except, word leaks out about the plan. The CCSP is made aware of the plan and contacts Blackinton. At the same time, someone in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago faxes a copy of Gunther's PC News advertisement to all the Chicago-area police departments that are on his list (I am still being blamed by Gunther and his cronies for doing this, though I live nowhere near Chicago).

In addition to the CCSP, several other police departments begin investigating. And so do I. I reach a Vice President at Blackinton. He confirms that an order had been placed with the Georgia seal, he confirms that the CCSP has questioned Blackinton, he confirms that Gunther has received a letter from Blackinton's legal counsel, ordering him to cease and desist the selling and advertising of Blackinton products. The VP went on to say that, as of right now, no more Illinois police badges can be ordered by distributors until a letter of authorization on department stationary is sent in with the order. He also tells me that Gunther does not have a Blackinton dealership.

So, if Gunther wasn't a distributor or dealer for Blackinton, how is he able to order up not only the CCSP badge, but a ton of suburban Chicago badges? For years, a collector named Jack Genius has dealt in brand new suburban department badges. All collectors in the Chicago area are aware that, through a police supply store in central Illinois, Genius is able to order whatever Blackinton badge he wants. And Genius and Gunther are "tight". It doesn't take a rocket scientist to work this one out if you know about the connection.

So, my investigation in preparation for the article goes on. I call the CCSP and reach a detective reportedly working on the Gunther case. He tells me that it is their policy not to comment on "ongoing investigations." Gee, that's a pretty good indication that there actually is an investigation. I reach another agency who is listed on the list of badges Gunther is selling. I am told "yes, we are investigating this matter". From that detective, I learn about the fax to all agencies involved. I also learn that Gunther is refusing to be interviewed by any police agency.

I also contacted the Sheriff in Cook County, Georgia. As I thought, his department knew nothing about the scam. But the Sheriff did say that, if Illinois police couldn't put Gunther in jail, he had a nice, warm cell down in Georgia for him. Too bad this wasn't an extraditable offense.

Then, out of the blue, Jack Genius calls me. Seems someone had tipped him off that I was doing an article. The reason for his call, he said, was to make me aware that he had no connection with Tom Gunther. He wanted to tell me that he only "used" Gunther, trading him brand new badges for all of Gunther's "Old stuff". He was proud of this "sting" he was doing, at the same time berating Gunther for "ruining the hobby".

Within a couple of days, I was beginning to have enough information to put a great article together. I had confirmed information through various sources. I notified PC News editor Mike Bondarenko of the article, which was probably going to shake the hobby. It was going to be a doozy. But Bondarenko refused to allow me to use any names in the article. So, the article went in, telling the story of Gunther as an un-named person.

The article, along with the CCSP and other PD investigations seemed to put a crimp in Gunther's activities. The badge list he advertised became void of Cook County badges. But at the same time, an unknown from California showed up on the scene, advertising in PC News with a PO Box number. The ads were carbon copies of Gunther's list. Rumors floated in the hobby that this "unknown" was Gunther's brother. The ad only lasted a couple of months. Then, all of the Gunther badges, including the CCSP badges, began showing up in a list put out by an antique shop in Nevada. Rumor had it that Gunther, during a trip to California, had traded off a bunch of the CCSP badges to this antique store.

The antique store had recently come under the scrutiny of Nevada Gaming officials for their selling of Gaming agent badges. Law enforcement agents in Nevada had been trying, or did, catch this store selling badges that are used by Gaming agents to gain access to any casino's back room. About the time that the store began selling the Cook County badges, Tom Gunther begins selling the Gaming agent badges. Again, doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out this trade.

Shortly thereafter, Nevada Gaming officials came to me for help. They wanted to purchase a Gaming agent badge from Gunther. Of course, Gunther wouldn't even speak to me, nor was he dumb enough to deal with anybody in Nevada. So, I set up a sting through another collector, who was able to purchase one of the Gaming badges from Gunther and forward it to the investigators in Nevada. That's the last I heard on that subject. For all I know, there's a warrant out on Gunther in Nevada.

But the saga continues. Gunther begins to get a little low on badges. Blackinton, who supplies most of the badges for the Chicago area, has put a damper on unauthorized badges. What to do, what to do? Then comes word that Jack Genius has been arrested for forgery. The complaint reads that he had ordered a ton of badges from his source in downstate Illinois, the police supply company. And in doing so, he presented forged letters of authorization from police agencies in order to circumvent the Blackinton rules. Caught red handed, he is arrested, charged and fired from his job as a Sergeant for the Cook County Forest Preserve Police.

Last I heard, he is still awaiting trial. But badge collectors across the country, knowing how the whole Genius-Gunther spider web works, are shocked when PC News editor Mike Bondarenko comes out with an editorial asking all collectors to rally behind Jack Genius, a "great guy". Never mind that these two have pumped so many new badges into the hobby that Chicago-area collectors can't tell an authentic from a "back door" badge. Genius begins to sell off most of his collection at shows across the country to pay for his legal fees. Gunther, meanwhile, goes unscathed and lays low for awhile. Little does Gunther know, he continued to be under investigation.

One of the investigating agencies included Postal Inspectors. Seems Gunther, not content with just ripping off collectors by selling "brand new-never-seen-the-inside-of-of-a-police-station" badges, he begins telling collectors he never received the badges that they returned for refunds. Apparently there are many rookie collectors purchasing badges from him and, upon receiving them, find that they aren't all they're cracked up to be. He refuses to refund any money, he says, because they never sent the badge back. So, enter the Postal Inspectors. Last I heard, they are still working up a case on Gunther.

Well, my hat is off to Chicago PD! I really hope the charges stick. Heck, I'd even love to testify against Gunther, a guy who has helped turn a great hobby into trash.

Incidentally, since Gunther's arrest by CPD, I have had more Chicago police officers e mail me in reference to my Chicago collection. Requests have included whether I have any CPD badges for sale, where am I located, can they come and see me, where the next Chicago show is, etc. In all the years on the net, I haven't had more than a couple of Chicago police officers interested in my collection. It's pretty coincidental that, in less than a week, I have had over 10 inquiries from people identifying themselves as Chicago cops wanting to buy Chicago badges. A note to CPD: I am a collector. Gunther is a dealer. I have no CPD badges for sale, they are all part of my personal collection, behind glass. I support your case against Gunther and would do whatever you need in order to help your prosecution. All you have to do is ask. You don't need to run any kind of sting on me.

Gunther update, Dec 1998: I attended the show in Chicago in December 98. Gunther was there, as was his "attorney" Jack Genius. Jack made it very clear, meeting up with me during a bathroom break, that he intends to "summons" me into court due to this article. I guess that means he's going to sue me. Anyway, as of today (July 99) the papers haven't arrived.

Gunther update, Jan 2000: According to a letter sent by Mr. Gunther to the Police Collector's News, he has been "cleared" of all charges, as in "charges dropped". Since I no longer subscribe to PCN, I have not seen the letter but from what I have been told, Mr. Gunther's ads in PCN have resumed.

Gunther update, Feb 2000: Hmmmm. I have received this little ditty from ""
Dave A.
You have had your fun - now it is My turn-
Tom G.

Gunther update, July 2005: Word has it that Gunther has shown up at a badge collector's show in Kentucky with hundreds of reproductions of the newly designed Chicago PD badges.  One of the reasons for CPD re-designing their badges was because of the repro artists, including Gunther, out there knocking off copies.  Now Gunther has managed to get a badge manufacturer to supply him with fakes.  CPD, we hear, is looking into further charges as well as a civil suit for copyright infringement.

A conman comes back:  April 2006, Back in the mid-90s, I fell victim to the cons of a guy out of Ashland, Missouri named Tony Carpenter.  He had purchased some badges from me and ended up never paying for them.  I had documented this guy here on the site and after finally throwing up my hands, he had appeared to leave the hobby.

Now comes news about this guy once more.  Seems he is hot and heavy into conning well-known collectors into major trades, making them believe he has a large California collection for sale including LAPD/CHP badges.  One collector from Denver sent him 65 badges in a trade, only to lose them all.  

This collector contacted local authorities in Ashland only to find out Carpenter has a record of police impersonation.  Local police were able to recover most of these badges lost by the collector.  They remain in the safe of the Ashland Police Dept. pending the outcome of the case.

If you have contact with Tony Carpenter, my suggestion is run.  Real fast.  If you are a victim of Tony Carpenter, you may want to contact Chief Scott Robbins, Ashland Police, (573) 657-9062.

Gunther update, May 2006: Tom Gunther has once again been arrested for selling fake badges.  Click HERE for the full story from the Chicago Tribune, Sun Times and WBBM.  Hey Tom:  You have had your fun - now it's the STATE'S turn-


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