NBC’s ‘Dateline: Recipe for Murder’ chronicles how Glenn Sandler hired an acquaintance to murder his wife to avoid paying a $2.5 million divorce settlement in late 2005 in Florida. However, the acquaintance backstabbed him by coming clean to the authorities. The episode showed how law enforcement officials apprehended Glenn with the help of a brave undercover agent. If you’re intrigued and want to know more about the case, including how Glenn was caught, here’s what we know.
Who is Glenn Sandler?
The Gourmet Deli House was a famous restaurant in Lake Worth Beach in east-central Palm Beach County, Florida, during the 1990s. Glenn H. Sandler bought the restaurant in 1986 when he was 33. The former manager of the deli, Rich Hardy, said Glenn was “one of the sharpest, smartest businessmen he had ever met.” The Garnett brothers, Andy and Bruce, were the former owners, and they recalled how they had sold it to Glenn over a lunch meeting after the latter returned from playing golf.
They recounted how Glenn, who had never run a restaurant before, was a workaholic. He was present at the deli from open to close, learning every part of the job — from cooking briskets to handling catering to using the slicing machine. One of the former employees, Glenn Dowler, who worked at the diner from 1984 until 2005, said his former boss was adept at hiring people by offering a decent wage. However, he complained about Glenn’s management style, recounting how he threw tantrums and objects when his employees demanded a raise.
Yet, Dowler alleged Glenn could easily afford to give a raise, given the money the deli was minting. But Glenn started frequenting the restaurant less and less as the business grew. He would pop in once a week to pay bills. Dowler recounted how Glenn had no friends and “every hobby he had was given up within a few months” because of a lack of buddies. He recalled, “Glenn took my brother and me fishing, and he just reminded us how much it cost the whole time. He bought a Harley, but you can only go riding by yourself for so long.”
Rich also remembered a golf outing where Glenn became infuriated after losing a game and threw his clubs in the water. He explained, “Everything was all about winning.” According to reports, Glenn met Blanche “Betty” Schuessler in Miami and married her on October 3, 1981. They lived with their two kids and the family dog in the Aero Club — a prestigious private community in Wellington — with a personal airplane hangar next to their two-car garage.
Glenn loved flying his four-seat aircraft alone between work while Betty was the ultimate stay-at-home mom. While neither his former employees nor the Garnett brothers knew how Glenn made his wealth exactly, he had told them he had been a regional manager for a chain of drugstores. He had given them a vague impression that he had gotten rich by partnering with a chemist and helping to patent a drug. However, the employees were convinced the Sandlers would divorce when their boys graduated high school.
Where is Glenn Sandler?
Dowler explained, “There’s no way a lady that nice could live with an a****le like that for that many years.” Making their predictions correct, the couple separated in July 2004, and Glenn changed after that. He started drinking and partying, got Lasik eye surgery, and a nose job. He would arrive at his deli with his hair messed up and make it a point to show off a new lady friend. Meanwhile, he was embroiled in a vicious battle over divorce proceedings. Rich said, ” Under any circumstances, he would not lose.”
The former employees noted how Glenn once commented about “killing off” his estranged wife, though they did not take it seriously. According to the show, he acquainted with Chris Robinson through a sex worker in 2005 fall. Soon, he became a regular in Chris’ room at the Super 8 Motel on Hypoluxo Road and bought crack cocaine from him. The show described Chris as a petty street criminal, but Glenn had no problem mingling with him — from lending him his truck to heft loan amounts.
However, he asked for Chris’ help in mid-2005 and offered $25,000 for the hit. On September 30, 2005, they met in Chris’ room in the Hilton, and Glenn arrived with $5,000 — an advance. But before Chris could execute the plan, the police raided the Super 8 and arrested him on an outstanding, unrelated warrant. While in prison, Chris told the officers about Glenn’s scheme, hoping to score a reduced sentence. An undercover officer from the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office (who remains anonymous and referred to as “Fred”) was assigned.
Fred, also in an FBI task force, met Glen under the guise of a hitman in the Office Depot parking lot on October 12. Chris had called from prison and introduced him to Glenn as his boss and supplier. After earning Glenn’s trust, Fred recorded secretly as the former talked about how he had arranged two unsuccessful hits on Betty. He also spoke about his drug trafficking operation — how he moved drugs in and out of Miami with speedboats in the early 1980s. He also confessed to using his plane to traffic drugs throughout the country.
The 52-year-old was arrested on November 9, 2005, after he paid $15,000 to Fred, believing the latter had carried out the hit successfully on Betty. He did not know Fred had liaised with his estranged wife and the authorities. He was arrested for solicitation to commit first-degree murder and for trafficking in cocaine. He pleaded guilty to both charges and was sentenced to two concurrent 15-year prison terms in June 2007.
As part of his plea agreement, he was also ordered to pay a $250,000 fine and forfeit his four-seater Mooney M20J airplane and a motorcycle. In exchange for the plea, the prosecution dismissed a third count — attempted first-degree murder. According to court records, Glenn, now in his 70s, was released from prison in 2018, and his current address, though available with law enforcement, is not in the public domain.
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