It All Started With a Piece of Tape

June 17, 1972 started off as an ordinary night for Frank Wills. As a security at the Watergate Hotel Complex in Washington, D.C., it was his job to watch over the high-end apartments and offices, including the Democratic National Committee headquarters. On yet another round of the premises, Wills noticed something strange on the door between the basement stairwell and the parking garage. It was a piece of tape, and it was keeping the door unlocked. Wills removed the tape, assuming it was left there by the cleaning crew. Yet when he returned a while later, he found that the piece of tape had been replaced. Knowing something was wrong, he called the D.C. police.

Faces of a Crime

Police arrested five men for breaking into the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee. The apprehended individuals were Bernard Barker, Virgilio Gonzalez, Eugenio Martinez, James W. McCord, Jr. and Frank Sturgis.

Fatal Errors

The men had apparently broken into the offices three weeks earlier. Instead of basking in the glory of their successful spy mission, the men supposedly returned to fix wiretaps that weren't working, and possibly to photograph documents.

If it wasn't for a piece of evidence found on McCord at the time of his arrest, the burglars' White House connections may never have been revealed. Police found a significant telephone number in McCord's notebook, that of E. Howard Hunt, a former White House employee. This evidence suggested a link between the burglars and someone close to the President and thus sparked the investigation that led to the unraveling of the Watergate scandal.

1972 News Report on the Watergate Break-In

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