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Book details
  • SubGenre:Criminals & Outlaws
  • Language:English
  • Pages:196
  • Paperback ISBN:9781098323974

From Thief to Chief

by Kevin Lowry

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Thief to Chief is the story of one man who turned his life of crime into a career fighting it. This is an amazing autobiography about a white boy growing up in a black street gang in New York City during the turbulent decade of the 70's. In a series of flashbacks, the author tells the tails of how he called upon his harrowing, violent and illegal adolescent experiences to make him a highly respected beat cop and to catapult him to the highest ranks of the Nassau County Police Dept. This is also a story of personal achievement. The author, an underprivileged teen from a dysfunctional family and destined for prison takes the reader deep into a world of drugs, thievery, gang culture and racism. The book goes on to describe how this deeply troubled young thug took stock of himself, took responsibility for his own actions, literally escaped from the street and turned his wretched life into the American dream. Thief to Chief is a tremendous literary achievement for this first time author. The story is riveting, heart wrenching and glorious.ALL PROCEEDS FROM THE SALE OF THIS BOOK ARE DONATED DIRECTLY TO ISLAND HARVEST FOOD BANK TO FEED THE HUNGRY AND THE HOMELESS.


I grew up as a gang member on the streets of New York City, and I retired from the Nassau County Police Department in NY, having reached the rank of a three-star division chief, the second-highest uniformed position in the 3,500 member department. I had 700 officers working for me. I'm a lawyer now, but as a kid, I sampled a wide variety of drugs. I stayed high on weed from morning till night. I stole drugs, and I sold drugs. I did robberies, burglaries, pocketbook snatches, assaults—you name it! Some of my friends grew up to be killers. I lived in a roach-infested tenement apartment building, and I was the only white kid in my gang. Everybody else was Hispanic or black. I learned about sex on top of an apartment house with a girl called "Rooftop Rosie." Now I'm paid a six-figure pension just for waking up in the morning. And I make a lot more than that from my business ventures. Most of the other kids in my crew are dead, crippled, or doing hard time. I got shot, locked up, beat up, and robbed; and I robbed and beat up other kids. It was a rush! And it was a horrible existence that almost ruined my life. My father was a drunk and my mother was a pill head. I loved them both but I couldn't stand being around them. They loved me too, but they couldn't see me because they were busy fighting violently from dusk to dawn. They wallowed in their own misery and they had no time to look after me. I guess they thought I was okay. They just couldn't see where I was going. I escaped to be with a group of boys who had it far worse than I did. The street beckoned with solace, family, and adventure. I longed to be black. I dressed black. I walked black and I talked black. I dated only black girls. But I was white. That was my identity crisis, and it fucked up my self-esteem. From the streets, I learned firsthand about racism. And I'm not talking about "dog whistle" racism. I have experienced hardcore, genuine, and sometimes violent hatred from whites and blacks alike. That's real racism! Every time the gang got into a confrontation with a group of white kids, I was the first one to get hit. Whenever the cops rolled upon us, and it happened a lot, I was the first one with his face against the bricks. My parents wouldn't allow any racist words to be used in our home. In the streets, they called me nigger lover, wannabe, peckerwood, and cracker. Back in the lair, the brothers broke my white balls relentlessly, but in a half-joking way that creates a pain that you feel much later. When we went out of our turf, they would, at times, have to protect me from the blacks outside of our crew who didn't know me but hated me just because I was white. I did my best to pass for Puerto Rican when I could. And when the 'Five Percenter' movement hit, they told me that the black man was God, and the white man was the devil. I started believing it. That's where my head was at that time. I have two children now, an amazing wife, and by all accounts, I am a wealthy man. I once worried that my son might be too much like me. I didn't want him to read this book while he was in his vulnerable and impressionable adolescence. I am an enigma. Most kids never climb out of the hole I dug when I was a teen, but I couldn't expect him to realize that. Regrets? I have a few, but too few to mention. I have a life that others envy, and I owe it to the sum of my experiences. As a decorated beat cop, I called on those experiences to keep myself one step ahead of the bad guys. What almost killed me as a boy saved my life more than once as a man. I knew what the criminals were going to do because I had been a one of them. Thief to Chief is my story.

About the author
Kevin Lowry is a retired Police Chief from the Nassau County Police Dept. in Long Island, NY. He is also an Attorney and a former professor of Criminal Justice at Molloy College. Mr. Lowry has a BA in Sociology from St. John's University where he also went to law school and a Master's in Criminal Justice from LIU CW Post. At the age of 63, Mr. Lowry runs a successful subrogation company specializing in the collection of auto accident claims for transportation companies nationwide. Mr. Lowry is also a real estate investor and a motivational speaker for at risk teens.