Gerald Daniel Blanchard: Where is the Jewel Thief Now?

As a Landon Van Soest-directed documentary living up to its title in every way imaginable, Hulu’s ‘The Jewel Thief’ can only be described as equal parts bewildering, haunting, and shocking. That’s because it incorporates not just archival footage but also first-hand accounts from key figures to really shine a light upon the life of career criminal mastermind Gerald Daniel Blanchard. So now, if you simply wish to learn more about him — with a specific focus on his overall background, myriad of offenses, as well as current standing — we’ve got the necessary details for you.

Who is Gerald Daniel Blanchard?

Although a native of Winnipeg in Manitoba, Canada, Gerald spent merely his formative years in this wondrous city before moving to a much different life in Omaha, Douglas County, Nebraska. The truth is the loving, adoptive mother he’d known since he was six days old had recently split with his rather wealthy stepfather, leaving them with practically nothing except one another. In other words, he went from comfort to near poverty in a moment, and that’s what led to his start in the world of criminality — from milk to candies, he reportedly stole it all in the years to follow.

In fact, Gerald had even managed to step up his game much further by the time he was a teenager despite being a “scrawny, nerdy-looking white” boy, thanks to his sheer street intelligence. His having found himself surrounded by small gangs and other troubled youths definitely did play a role in this as well, yet he himself also loved the thrill of finding new, illicit ways to make money. It admittedly began with him shoplifting small items, but then it evolved to cash, electronics, and furniture; plus, he cleared out an entire local RadioShack with some friends on Easter in 1987.

The latter actually resulted in Gerald’s arrest for massive grand theft at the tender age of 15, yet he was released on probation upon serving only three months in a juvenile correctional facility. According to his own narrative in the original production, this clear leniency was because he “was a white kid that went to school, and in the court system, when they see this little kid, ‘Oh, he stole some stuff from RadioShack, let’s give him probation versus sending him off to juvenile school.’ It helped a lot.” However, he still didn’t change his ways; instead, he leaned more into this lifestyle.

We say this as Gerald’s ensuing endeavor was not just antagonizing police officials but also fabricating receipts of stolen goods and then returning them to different stores for full cash refunds. The teen ostensibly pulled in at least $4,000 to $8,000 per week through this hustle, enabling him to purchase an actual house for his family at the age of 16 through a middleman associate. And that’s when it became evident his thieving was not some response to his financially poor or meek upbringing since he continued with it to such an extent he had an extensive rap sheet by 21.

Then came the arrest that changed Gerald’s world — in April 1993, he was taken into custody for setting a car on fire, following which he escaped, stole an officer’s badge, gun, radio, as well as other equipment, and fled again before being caught in a wooded area. He was subsequently sentenced in the state of Iowa — the place of the primary offenses — to seven years behind bars on the charges of second-degree arson with second-degree theft, only for him to be released and deported for good after serving four years. Nevertheless, he still didn’t change his ways.

Gerald actually returned to his trusted receipt fabrication scheme the second he stepped foot in his homeland to have some money for survival, allowing him to properly settle in Winnipeg again. That’s where he first noticed the lack of overall security measures and thought: “Why was I doing these small returns for small money, when I could actually just take the cash from the bank?” Thus began his ATM/bank hits across the nation — in Alberta, British Columbia, Edmonton, Etobicoke, Ontario, and Winnipeg, amongst others — throughout which he reportedly utilized at least 22 aliases.

According to the documentary, Gerald alone masterminded these patience-filled sophisticated robberies over long periods yet rarely acted unaided in order to ensure no mistakes in the long run. It thus comes as no surprise he managed to walk away from each larceny with a minimum of $250,000 to $750,000 cash in hand, which was then distributed amongst his team without any issues. The most incredible aspect is that the felon also enjoyed a jet-setting lifestyle alongside his unwitting moneyed wife between such hits, and that’s how he’d come across the Star of Empress Elisabeth “Sisi” of Bavaria at Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria, in 1998.

Gerald actually stole this piece of the 27 diamond-pearl hair ornament set within days, just for the fact it’d been replaced with a replica from a souvenir shop not to be discovered until weeks later. However, he only came under the police’s radar for good following his 2004 theft of a CIBC bank as a local Walmart officer had noted a car rented under his name in the area on the fateful night. But alas, it took a little less than three years for Winnipeg investigators to arrest him for good, by which point he’d admittedly begun dabbling in various organized crimes as well under a London-based leader.

Gerald Daniel Blanchard Now Leads a Quiet Life in Manitoba

As per court documents, Gerald was apprehended alongside six associates for conspiracy, fraud, participating in a criminal organization, theft, and trafficking in January 2007, soon leading to many search warrants being executed on his family members’ homes. Therefore, it was around five months later, in June, that the Sisi Star was recovered from a wall in his grandmother’s basement and returned to its rightful place in Vienna, Austin, in 2009. By this point, the criminal mastermind had pleaded guilty to 16 of the 54 counts against him under the stipulation his associates — whom he never properly identified — would only receive conditional sentences.

In the end, following Gerald’s October 2007 plea, for which he could’ve faced a maximum of 164 years in prison had he been indicted in the US, he was handed down a sentence of just eight years. Regardless, within two years, in January 2010, he was paroled and released into a halfway house under the belief he planned on establishing a new career as a security consultant.

As for his current standing, it appears as if Gerald continues to be comfortably based around Manitoba, Canada, to this day, where he prefers to keep his distance well away from legal troubles and the limelight. However, we should mention the admitted thrill-seeker was briefly arrested alongside an accomplice on March 22, 2017, for stealing PlayStations from an Ontario Best Buy.

“[Bank robbery is still] tempting, but my feeling is the police know my MO, so if I were to do anything, I would have to change it up,” Gerald recently said. “I still have five or six different MOs I could easily do to offthrow the banks. But I live this comfortable life now and don’t need to worry about committing crimes.” Nevertheless, despite insisting his felony days are behind him, he then added, “You can never say never. It’s a spur-of-the-moment decision, [and] things are always there.”

Read More: Gerald Blanchard Net Worth: How Rich is the Jewel Theif?