Tipster Calls In A Lead

In late September 1982, troopers received an anonymous call from a tipster. It seemed significant. The caller whispered that he’d been in the Craig Inn on the day before the Investor fire. While there, he overheard a man bragging that he was “casing the Investor.”

This same man, the tipster told him, announced to everyone within earshot that he “wasn’t going to leave no witnesses.” The long-distance caller said the name of the man in question was Don Draper. [1]

Craig Inn, 1994 (copyright Leland E. Hale)

According to the informant, Draper had allegedly been in the Craig Inn with an accomplice on the evening of Monday, September 6th. Draper and his pal were seen talking to an Investor crewman. They were plying the crewman with drinks. They had a reason. Draper and his buddy knew the Investor’s skipper had not been to the bank. The plan was for them to get Coulthurst’s money before he got to the bank.

Asked to describe this Mr. Draper, the informant said the man was about five-feet-eight inches tall. Weighed one-hundred-fifty pounds. Had light brown, sun-bleached hair that was slightly wavy. Spoke with a southern “twang,” possibly from Kentucky or Tennessee.

And, said the tipster, Draper had a mouth, eyes and chin that matched one of the composites. Even more important, the caller was able to provide a description of the Investor crewman. The crewman, he said, was a white male. He was five foot ten, weight one-hundred-sixty pounds and had light brown hair.

Skiffman composites (courtesy Alaska State Troopers)

Miller immediately put a “flag stop” on Draper in the statewide computer system. Any trooper who had occasion to pull over Mr. Draper on a traffic stop would know Miller wanted to talk to this man. And in that moment, the tipster’s tip could provide the break they so desperately needed.

[1] Not THAT Don Draper.

Excerpts from the unpublished original manuscript, “Sailor Take Warning,” by Leland E. Hale. That manuscript, started in 1992 and based on court records from the Alaska State Archive, served as the basis for “What Happened in Craig.”

Copyright Leland E. Hale (2019). All rights reserved.


Order “What Happened In Craig,” HERE and HERE. True crime from Epicenter Press about Alaska’s Worst Unsolved Mass Murder.

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