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Interview With Lendon Gray, Acquaintance of "The Blonde Bandit"

Aired May 29, 2003 - 20:36   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Such a strange story.
Joining us now from Bedford, New York is one of Pamela Kaichen's former employers. Lendon Gray is the owner of Glenden Dressage Stables, where Kaichen gave riding lessons.

Ms. Gray, thank you very much for being with us.

I just saw you in that report and you said, basically, you've known her most of your life, and yet you now feel you didn't really know her. Explain.

LENDON GRAY, OWNER, GLENDEN DRESSAGE STABLES: Well, we both came from Maine and we used to compete at kids at horse shows. And then when I moved here, she came and would watch me teach and ask me questions. I was basically helping her to become a better teacher.

But having known her all that amount of time, I knew very little that was specific about her. We all liked her very much but knew very little that was concrete.

COOPER: So was she -- was she secretive? Would she just not open up or respond to direct questions?

I mean, for instance, apparently she was in financial trouble. Did you know any of that?

GRAY: I knew she was in some financial trouble because she came to me and said, "Maybe this is a good time for me to try the horse world as a career, teaching and training." And I offered to help her get started with that. And that's when she came and did some teaching for me, in an effort to become better known as a teacher.

COOPER: Now, Lendon, you saw her, I think, May 18, which was just three days before the first robbery. Did you have any sense that any thing was amiss?

GRAY: I had no sense, and the other people here that spoke with her had very relaxed conversations and no one had any sense of any difficulty or any tension from her. She seemed her normal self.

COOPER: Apparently, she had told a bank teller that she was in some way a victim or had lost someone in the September 11 attacks. Is there any truth to that as far as you know? GRAY: Not that I know of. I saw her several months after the 9/11 attacks. She told me she had been volunteering every day at Ground Zero, but she never told me about an individual or any direct connection with it.

COOPER: Do you even believe she was volunteering at Ground Zero now?

GRAY: I wonder. She told me she was doing it every night. I now wonder if that really was accurate.

COOPER: You know, often in this kind of situation, I guess you go back and start to rethink everything this person ever told you and start to wonder, was it all a lie? are you doing that at this point?

GRAY: Even before this, there were things that I thought, is that really accurate? Is she making this up a little bit or exaggerating a little bit? Nothing that was ever malicious or that would cause trouble, but just some stories that perhaps were a little more than they really were. But as I say, totally not causing any one any harm.

COOPER: Do you think she was a lonely person?

GRAY: I believe she was. I had no awareness of any one that she was close to. When she spent so much time here one winter, she spent time with my stable manager. But they were never -- even though it was a very nice person you would have expected them to become friends, but I don't think you could say they were friends in that she would confide in anyone.

COOPER: Obviously you had been following this case, it had been a big story in the area. You had heard about the bandit as they were calling her. You didn't know it was her at the time. When you heard that she had been apprehended, what went through your mind?

GRAY: Well, it was total disbelief. She was such an easy going person, such a sort of stable person. She was the same all the time. And she certainly was here and we trusted her with a great many things. I never had any reason to distrust her in any way. So I was very shocked.

COOPER: Just such a bizarre, sad story in many ways, I suppose. Lendon Gray, appreciate you joining us.

By the way, those horses behind you look absolutely beautiful. Looks like a great stable you have there.

GRAY: Thank you.

COOPER: Thanks for joining us tonight.

GRAY: It's wonderful.

COOPER: All right.

GRAY: Thank you, Anderson.

COOPER: Good night.

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