Hyde Park Hideout

Hyde Park Norfolk was home to convicted spy John Walker

Quietly situated in Norfolk’s Hyde Park is a house that once harbored secrets of the most damaging Soviet spy ring in U.S. history.

In May 1985, FBI agents raided a hotel in Rockville, Md. to arrest Norfolk private detective John A. Walker on a charge of espionage. Walker was retired from the Navy and had a top secret security clearance.

The night before Walker’s arrest, he had left a bag containing 129 secret documents in an area just outside of Washington D.C. to be picked up by a Soviet KGB agent. Federal agents prevented Walker’s secret delivery.

Walker was jailed in Baltimore without bail. After Walker’s imprisonment officials confirmed he had been supplying the Soviets with classified information for two decades, and the Soviet Union had made significant gains in naval warfare because of Walker’s spying.

According to an article in The Virginian-Pilot, before being busted, Walker lived in a Hyde Park house at 8524 Old Ocean View Rd. that was wired with a battery of electronic burglar alarms. The master bedroom boasted black shag carpeting, zebra-striped drapes, a free-standing orange fireplace, mirrored closet doors, a mirrored dresser and a white enameled water bed.

The FBI ripped up the carpet and dismantled part of the fireplace in search of secret documents, and might have torn the place down if the Internal Revenue Service had not stepped in to auction it off in December 1986.

Walker did not attend a trial but pleaded guilty to three counts of espionage in exchange for two life sentences. He is currently imprisoned in Butner, N.C. and will be released in 2015.

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