At 11:00 PM on September 12, 1987, 50-year old Dale Kerstetter showed up to work the overnight shift as security guard at the Corning Glassworks plant in Bradford, Pennsylvania. Dale was a divorced father of six who worked at the plant for 29 years, but had recently been transferred from his position as a trades worker to a security guard, which involved him taking a pay cut of between $5,000-7,000 per year. At 7:00 AM the following morning, Dale’s relief arrived and discovered he was missing. Dale’s truck was still in the parking lot with the keys in the ignition. His daypack and a full carton of cigarettes were inside the truck, along with the holster for a .22 caliber gun he carried which was never found. Dale’s keys to the plant and a newspaper were found on a table in the cafeteria, along with his lunch pail, which still had all his food inside. A police dog was brought in and tracked Dale’s scent from the cafeteria to the second floor, but it came to an end at the plant’s glass furnace.
The security tape from that night was later checked. The plant had three security cameras and the feed would alternate between each camera at random intervals. The footage revealed an unidentified masked intruder walking through the plant at various points between midnight and 1:00 AM. In one of the shots, the intruder was seen meeting up with Dale in the back of the plant. They both walked past the security camera together, where Dale appeared to look up and stare directly at the camera before they disappeared out of frame. Dale did not show up in the security footage again, but one shot showed the intruder heading towards the glass furnace, the same area where the police dog tracked Dale’s scent. There was also a shot of the intruder wheeling a large bag through the plant on a manual forklift. It was soon discovered that $250,000 worth of platinum lining had been stolen from the furnace.
On the surface, it appeared the intruder had forced Dale to escort him to the area containing the platinum before he subsequently murdered him and disposed of his body. However, Corning’s management believed that Dale was actually involved in the theft.
When Dale walked through the plant and stared directly into the security camera, some people interpreted this as a signal for help, but Corning thought Dale might have been taunting them about his crime. At the time, Dale was in debt and unhappy that his employer had cut his pay and given him a security position, so Corning believed Dale willingly escorted the intruder to the furnace, helped him steal the platinum, and then skipped town with his share of the profits. Of course, Dale’s family did not believe he would get involved in anything illegal and abandon his children, so they feared he was an innocent victim of foul play. Whatever the truth, there has been no trace of Dale Kerstetter in nearly 30 years.