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Who Stole Denver Burglar Alarm?

Stew Jackson let one of Denver's oldest family-owned businesses slip away, but his bands play on.

These days, the four-story building where Sara Jackson lived in a penthouse apartment until her death hardly looks like a high-tech fortress. Now, it looks as if it was abandoned in the 1960s. The walls of a second-floor conference room are covered with cork. The carpeting is aqua, the lampshades green. SecurityLink is shopping for a new place to set up its regional office. The company's central stations are being moved to a handful of national sites; Denver alarms will route through Florida, then back to Colorado law-enforcement agencies.

The headquarters for Stew Jackson's new company, Jackson Burglar Alarm, is just around the corner, at 100 East 20th Avenue. It is, in fact, the former after-hours club where Jackson's band rehearsed to open for the Supremes.

Inside, Jackson works on the old raised bandstand, and four or five other people work nearby. There are no offices, just one big room, some desks and a tiny kitchen stocked with coffee supplies.

The only reminder of the old dynasty is the red-shield logo of Jackson Burglar Alarm--a virtual duplicate of the DBA logo. Already, SecurityLink has sent a letter warning Jackson that the new logo looks too much like the old one. Jackson says he's planning to redesign it.

And he's fighting back with newspaper ads. One is so big it reads more like a printed infomercial. "Ameritech has boasted that they will be continuing to layoff and downsize in order to get everything to Florida as soon as possible," Jackson writes. "The Jackson Burglar Alarm personnel possess many years of experience. All but two employees are from my previous staff at Denver Burglar Alarm."

The JBA logo notes that the company had its start way back in 1892.
"Stew's kind of a colorful guy," says Schwab. "He likes to win. Sometimes he sees things differently than what the facts are." Schwab says a cop once said that Jackson's "1892" meant the company started "18 hours and 92 minutes ago."

"I wish the best for Jackson Alarm," Schwab says. "He has the knowledge, the financial power to drive; he's got the anger."

And Jackson's still the man about town. During an interview in the back room of one of his restaurants, someone pages him with tickets to a show in Manhattan. A week later a promoter in S‹o Paulo, Brazil, is trying to book Jackson and the Herman Orchestra to come to South America.

On a recent Saturday night, Jackson is decked in a gold blazer and black shirt with razor-like collars sweeping around his neck. He's at Vino Vino to see tango stars Daniela Arcuri and Armando Orzuza play before a packed crowd, which Jackson whips up with boisterous "Bravo!"s.

Then it's through the kitchen to Cliff Young's, where several men and women decked in suits, ties and dresses quietly eat under dim lights. Jackson tips the piano man to play some Rachmaninoff.

Then Bichette arrives. The Rockies' slugger is dressed in a white shirt with the Nike swoosh, some black gym pants and a Mickey Mouse fanny pack, so it's over to Dante Bichette's Grill, where Rockies fans approach the jovial left-fielder for autographs.

Jackson met Bichette two years ago at a Rockies fantasy baseball camp during spring training. "I felt like he was the guy who could make it work," Bichette says of his restaurant venture with Jackson. "Plus, he loves baseball."

At the end of the evening, Jackson steps behind the wheel of his 1947 Cadillac. It's a lime-green job with a beige canvas roof, plump whitewashed wheels and bulging wheel wells. There's a gig at the Hornet, and Jackson thought he might sit in and play a few tunes. By the time he shows up, though, he can see through the joint's windows that only the drum stand is still up.

But the Herman Orchestra is set to play on a cruise to the Caribbean next March. And Bichette has agreed to do a commercial for JBA.

"This," Jackson says, "is where the game begins.

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