Harley C.I.

A Detective Story

by Brian Hartz & Tom Gratz

About The Book

Harley C.I. is the story of two police detectives and a prolific, violent gang of burglars they investigated and brought to justice. Based in Fort Wayne, the seat of Allen County, in northeast Indiana, Sgt. Tom Gratz and Cpl. Dan Eddy began tracking the gang in September 1993. By March 1994, they’d arrested seven of its members. Known as the Wells Street Gang, the burglars operated with impunity throughout the state of Indiana, committing several burglaries per week. Gratz and Eddy broke up the ring with the help of detectives from neighboring police departments and an ex-con turned confidential informant (C.I.) nicknamed “Harley.”

The Wells Street Gang, though, was secretive and elusive. Gratz and Eddy desperately needed someone to infiltrate it if they wanted to bring the burglars to justice.

Despite, or possibly because of, his many flaws, Harley would be the break the detectives sought to turn around their stalled investigation of the notorious gang of burglars. Harley infiltrated the ring by becoming close to one of its leaders, a man named Larry Ashe. An ex-con himself, Harley was a natural fit with the other criminals in the Wells Street Gang, and could talk himself out of — and into — any dicey situation. As a C.I., Harley was good, but he could also be big trouble for Sgt. Gratz and the other detectives who handled him. Gratz worked hard to keep Harley in line, on the wagon, and out of the hospital. Thanks to his criminal background, reputation as a con artist, and colorful personality, he continually flirted with disaster. In essence, he was the classic smooth talker who knew a little about everything and could talk his way out of tight jams. What he didn’t know was the degree to which the Wells Street Gang would test those abilities.

The struggle would nearly kill him.

The Authors

Lt. Tom Gratz is a former detective with the Allen County (Indiana) Sheriff’s Department. During his 31 years with the department, he worked in the jail, traffic, and K-9 divisions, as well as the detective bureau. He has been awarded two Bronze Stars of Merit and numerous letters of accommodation. One Bronze Star was for apprehending a woman who kidnapped a newborn from a local hospital and another for solving many burglary and property crimes. Upon retiring from the Allen County Sheriff’s Department in 2003, he continued in law enforcement as an investigator for the LaGrange County Prosecutor’s Office for another seven years before retiring completely. Lt. Gratz also served for 22 years in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve.







Brian Hartz grew up in LaGrange, Indiana, and earned a master’s degree in journalism from Indiana University in 2001. He has worked as a reporter, copy editor, and editor at newspapers and magazines in Indiana; Toronto; Auckland, New Zealand; and Victoria, British Columbia. He currently resides in Bloomington, Indiana. Harley C.I. is his first book.


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