Meet Denver's pro-bono Reddit P.I. who solved the infamous “milkman mystery” - u/WhompO
u/WhompO is the hero this city deserves
When WhompO woke up on August 6th, 2019, he had no idea that he was about to be swept up into an internet mystery that would change his life, and potentially his career forever.
On that fateful day, a mysterious and perplexing reddit post appeared in r/Denver’s feed:
“Who’s milk is this?” wrote u/imraylewis, accompanied by the picture below. “There is a new bottle of milk left on this stoop everyday. It is always opened with about the same amount drank from it. Usually is not there prior to 8am, and almost always there before 10AM. Help us get to the bottom of this mystery. 17th and Blake”
Image credit: imraylewis
Well, it didn’t take long for that plea for help to attract the right kind of attention. Just like the bat-signal, this r/Denver post was a beacon for investigative aid.
And u/WhompO answered the call. The game was on.
“Greetings,” commented the Reddit user and Denver local on the mystery milk thread. “I'm a local private investigator and I've elected to take on this case. My methods are a bit unorthodox but I assure you I will uncover this lactose mystery, and will issue a report by the weekends' end.”
And by jove, he followed through with his promise. By the very next day, WhompO posted a full report to Reddit, describing exactly how that milk came to be on that stoop every day.
I still don’t know much about this rising Reddit star, even after having spoken with WhompO at length over the phone. He would not divulge his true identity, or many personal details. What I can tell you for certain is that he is a dude, he loves Denver, he loves Reddit and when he isn’t solving internet mysteries in real life, he is a music producer by the same name: WhompO.
“So far I've got a pretty good track record I'm not gonna’ lie,” he told me in earnest. “I'm 100 percent for my cases right now — this being my first and only case.”
It’s an impressive rap, no doubt. And one that has earned him notoriety online as r/Denver’s go-to private sleuth. But he admits, that this was not a mystery that he could have solved all on his own.
“I had really good intel. I have to give credit to the man who brought up the whole fiasco. He knew that the milk would be there sometime in between 8:00 and 10:00.”
Which was all WhompO needed to get down to business.
“Based on my personal research I knew the perp coming in south from the 7-Eleven up the road. So I knew exactly where to wait,” WhompO says. “At first I bought a newspaper for a stakeout and a pack of cigarettes — not because I smoke, but because I thought it was appropriate for the stakeout.
“At first I was on a Bench right next to the stoop but I knew right then and there I was a little too exposed.”
So, when a parking spot opened up nearby, WhompO didn’t hesitate to seize some better cover. He didn’t know what might happen if the perp saw him lying in wait — it could get ugly. So WhompO moved his car to the open parking spot and hung out, browsing Reddit to kill time.
But then, at precisely 8:28 AM he laid eyes on his man.
“It was exhilarating,” WhompO told me. “I saw it coming from a block away. The guy had his milk out, he had his coffee out. It was incredible how well he could take off the lid of a full coffee and pour in the milk, recap the milk all while both his hands are full. And the drop off happened so fast.” Recalls WhompO in amazement. “It's like he's done it a thousand times. And, of course, he has.”
WhompO managed to snap this single grainy picture of the milkman, just after the drop:
Image credit: WhompO
His report hit r/Denver the very same day:
“At approximately 8:28 am this morning (8/2/19) a milk and coffee were purchased from a nearby 7/11 located on the corner of 18th and Blake by a man appropriately named "Mystery Milkman". The MM then headed south on Blake, opened the milk, and emptied a fair portion into his coffee. At approximately 8:31 AM he approaches the Kessler Erlich Bldg (which happens to have the closest ledge in the path down Blake) the milk is fluidly placed on the stoop, and the MM continues his walk south. The drop was brief, but I captured this image.”
Case closed… at least, in part.
Who was this mystery milkman? Why does he purchase a new bottle of milk every day just to cream his coffee, when he could use the creamer at 7/11? Why does he feel the need to litter instead of properly disposing of his wasted beverage?
These questions and many more remain unanswered. But at least we know where the milk is coming from. And, according to WhompO, this man is still out there, dropping milk on his milk-stoop every day, at 8:30 sharp.
(Which, according to another Reddit user’s calculations, is probably costing him about $500 a year just to cream his morning joe.)
“The funniest part of it all was [something] you never really see, because Reddit is such an anonymous platform,” WhompO says, chuckling. “But as I was sitting there, I watched some people walk by and look at the stoop and then they looked at me and they pieced it all together and they smiled. I was like 'Holy fuck. These are some Redditors checking out the scene on their way to work.’”
With the curious case of the mystery milkman now closed, WhompO’s investigative schedule is wide open. I asked him if he had his eyes on any other cases, and he told me that so far, he hasn’t seen one that has really piqued his interest.
“I've had some summonings,” he says. “Some people called me out because there's a lot of abandoned car posts. I think people are looking now in Denver's suburbs for the next milkman case.”
Which, he says, he will happily take on when the time comes.
“My services are free for the people and I'm happy to do it,” he says. “My one message to the people would be to recycle your plastics; take that extra effort to keep the city clean.”
It’s counsel we can all learn from.
He may not be the hero that Denver actually needs, but damnit, WhompO is undoubtedly the hero this city deserves. And we’re all waiting eagerly to see where his bright pro-bono online career might take him next.