Notorious Wichita Crime Figure George Poulos Dies

By: Jared Cerullo Email
By: Jared Cerullo Email

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Monday, November 1, 2010

One of Wichita's most well-known crime figures has died. George Poulos was found dead at his home Saturday. Poulos,the self-proclaimed Wichita Rascal, wrote two books about his life in Wichita. Many longtime Wichitan's will remember Poulos for his unusual and often scandalous behavior.

Poulos' history of crime in Wichita dates back to the 1940's. Former Sedgwick County Sheriff and District Attorney Vern Miller knew Poulos well. Despite being on the wrong side of the law for many years, Miller described Poulos as a nice guy.

"You know, he really wasn't a real bad guy," Miller said. "It's just that we were on different sides of the law and I had a job to do and he was just one of the persons involved."

As district attorney, Miller gained the arson and racketeering conviction against Poulos that sent him to prison for 20 years. Poulos was in jail at one time while Miller was sheriff of Sedgwick County. He recalls a time when Poulos convinced all the inmates to throw their food on the floor.

"Poulos was their spokesman and he said 'We're not gonna eat this trash.' And I said, 'Well George, that's alright with me. You just won't eat until this is all cleaned up,'" Miller said as he laughed. "About another couple days, they decided they wanted to clean up."

At sentencing, the judge asked Poulos if there was anything he'd like to say.

"And George did say, 'Judge I've lived in this town a long time and I know a lot of people and I like everybody, but there's one no-good SOB in this town and it's Vern Miller,'" Miller said as he laughed again.

Saying he'd put his life of crime behind him, Poulos ran for mayor of Wichita in 2002. He lost that race, but his notoriety lived on with those who ever came across him.

"He could have been a great cop if he wanted to be," Miller said. "He was smart enough and genius enough."

Poulos was found dead at the bottom of a stairwell at his East Wichita home Saturday. He was 85 years-old.

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