Hearing about an old flame can be…a strange feeling. Maybe it’s charming – you learn that the first girl you ever kissed on the lips, 20 years ago or so, just gave birth to twins – or maybe it makes you a little mad – “They started dating ONE WEEK after we broke up?” Or maybe it gives you a glimmer of hope – “Wait, he’s single again?” But nothing can compare to the feeling Whitney Kirkpatrick had recently when she heard about an old flame. Her ex-boyfriend was recently accused of a gruesome murder.
Kirkpatrick dated Gregory Thomas about a decade ago when she was fresh out of college, and she never had a sense that he could be violent. He did commit an incredible, outrageous, almost unbelievable crime during their 9-month relationship, however. Thomas claimed to be a wildly successful oil and gas man from Texas, with powerful friends like then-Governor Rick Perry. While wining and dining her, whisking her away on fairy-tale trips like a New Year’s Eve celebration in New York, Thomas lied. About everything. His job, his cars, his friends, even where his money came from. It call came from … her. Thomas spent those nine months stealing Kirkpatrick’s identity, and her money, using it to fund a lavish lifestyle. He joined a country club, drove a steady stream of new cars, even bought a million-dollar home. He had delusions of grandeur so extreme he once threw himself a presidential-inauguration-themed birthday party — “Hail to the Chief” played when he entered the room.
The party stopped one day when Kirkpatrick was in the shower and she heard a loud bang at her front door. Soon, her apartment was crawling with police and her boyfriend was handcuffed.
I spoke to Kirkpatrick almost 10 years after her bout with identity theft, soon after she got the news that Thomas had been accused of killing a young woman, stuffing her body in a trash can, and hiding it in a public storage facility. (Thomas is awaiting trial on the allegations). In light of this new information, it’s understandable that Kirkpatrick feels like she dodged a bullet. Quite literally.
There’s much more to this fantastic story, which you can hear by listening to episodes 1 and 2 of The Perfect Scam podcast, “Oil Tycoon Steals More Than Hearts.” You can press play below or visit AARPs home page for the episode, where you’ll see a full transcript. A partial transcript appears below.
[00:26:00] Bob: That got on her nerves a bit. But there is one incident that nags at Whitney even more. The one time she sees Greg get mad and the strange thing that happens to his southern accent.
[00:26:13] Whitney Kirkpatrick: I had found a picture of a little girl that looked just like him. I’m talking like if he had had a daughter, that that would be him. Carbon copy, and I said, “Oh my gosh, who is this little girl?” And when he snapped and snatched the picture out of my hand, the southern drawl went away, and the South Dallas came out. Uh, and I just looked like, huh? I, I had never heard him, heard him speak like that before, and uh, it was shocking. And then he went, he saw the look on my face, and went right back to the, the southern drawl. So that right there was very odd.
[00:26:52] Bob: And there is one thing that bothers Mom too. Not only is Greg always ambitious, always on the go, he seems to never sleep.
[00:27:01] Claudia Kirkpatrick: He just never stopped, and I’d say to Whitney, and she said, you know, she thought it was odd that he never slept. I said, “What do you mean, he doesn’t sleep?” She said, “He, he never sleeps. He may lay down, but his eyes are open.” And I said, “Well, that sounds like fear to me.”
[00:27:22] Bob: What is Greg afraid of? And what happened to his accent? As Whitney starts thinking more about these things, Greg’s birthday arrives. His ambition fully unleashed, Greg actually throw himself a large birthday party. Well it was more than a large birthday party. It was an inauguration, and yes, that is what it sounds like.
[00:27:46] Whitney Kirkpatrick: Like I said, he um, liked politics, so he had this things about wanting to be President, and the whole theme of this party was uh, Greg as President. And so he had a podium and everything. It looked like an inauguration, the setup, same setup you would have at an inauguration is what he set up at this place he rented out for his, his birthday. They had a presidential seal on the podium. He stood up and gave this birthday speech. He got dropped off in a limo and walked in, and they played the, the presidential entrance song. There was a balloon release, and he just wanted to, to eat it up, I guess, uh and, and have that really awesome, of course my friends loved it. He bought out the bar, everybody got free drinks, there was plenty of food and it was just this elaborate, just, he was just living a dream.
[00:28:41] Bob: He pretended to be inaugurated as President?
[00:28:46] Whitney Kirkpatrick: Right. Yes. Yes.
[00:28:48] Bob: The home, the girl, the country club, the fake inauguration. Greg seems truly on top of the world until one day…
[00:28:58] Whitney Kirkpatrick: While I’m in the shower, I hear the loudest bang on the door that I’ve ever heard. Bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang. And I immediately turn off the water, wrap up in a towel. I peak my head out the door and say, “Oh my gosh! What is going on?” He is at the door looking through the peephole, and he just said, “It’s going to be okay.” And I was like, “What’s going to be okay?”
[00:29:22] Bob: What’s going to be okay? Well, that’s next week on The Perfect Scam.