Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Trophy Wife and the Tennis Pro

The Stereo King

Werner Hartmann came to the United States from his native Germany in the early 1960s as a 19-year-old. He had little money but lots of ambition. He took whatever work he could find.

Werner Hartmann, younger
Werner Hartmann, younger

In 1964, while selling magazines door-to-door, Werner met a beautiful, raven-haired young waitress named Vasiliki. They dated, fell in love, and married the next year. The couple scraped by, even selling odds and ends, like cigarette lighters, at local flea markets to earn a living. Along the way Werner and Vasiliki had two daughters, Stephanie and Eva.

With a family to support, Werner realized he needed more money than he was earning selling magazines and trinkets. He also realized he had a gift for electronics.

In the 1970s, Werner started the Chicago Music Corporation, or CMC, a car audio store. Werner worked hard. The first few years he labored outdoors, installing stereos in customers' cars even in the midst of the freezing Chicago winters, because his first store didn't have a work bay. But the hard struggle paid off, and by 1977 the penniless German immigrant was an American success story, and a millionaire.

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