Baldwin-Felts author to speak at June Historical Society Meeting
by Allen Worrell
Continuing the Centennial Commemoration of the Carroll County Courthouse Tragedy, author John Velke will speak at the quarterly meeting of the Carroll County Historical Society on Sunday, June 10, at 2 p.m. in the historic courtroom located on Main Street, Hillsville. The program is hosted jointly by the Historical Society and the 1912 Courthouse Centennial Committee. The public is invited and there is no charge.
John Velke is a direct descendent of Capt. Denison Butler Baldwin, patriarch of the Baldwin family of Bluefield, West Virginia. Capt. Baldwin’s oldest son, William Gibboney Baldwin, was founder and principle of the Baldwin-Felts Detective Agency. Velke’s interest in the detective agency began at a young age as he listened to older relatives recount the exploits of the agency. In 1997, after spending more than 30 years researching, Velke published his book, The True Story of the Baldwin-Felts Detective Agency. The book was re-published in soft cover in 2005.
Velke is a private security professional specializing in retail loss prevention. He is currently the Vice President of Loss Prevention & Safety for Total Wine & More, a Potomac, Maryland based company with 80 stores in the United States. He previously served in a similar capacity at Saks, Inc., Fred Meyer, Inc., and Lord & Taylor. He has served on the Illinois Attorney General’s task force on computer crime, on the National Retail Federation’s Loss Prevention Advisory Committee, and was appointed by the Governor of Oregon to serve as a board member on that State’s Board of Public Standards & Training (The Police Academy).
Velke has guest lectured on the topic of private security at many colleges and universities, written many magazine articles on retail loss prevention, and is a contributing author to Retail Crime, Security, and Loss Prevention, An Encyclopedic Reference.
Velke and his wife of 31 years, Dani, live in, and are restoring, The Baldwin House in Bluefield, WV which they hope to have listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The basement of the house contains two jail cells used by the Baldwin-Felts Detective Agency and is open for complimentary tours by appointment.
For more information about the program, contact the Carroll County Museum at 276-728-4113 or e-mail email@example.com
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