Friday, June 19, 2015

True Crime Roundup VIII

Crime doesn't pay, but that won't stop some people.

(1) "Saving Youth From Heroin and Crime" (1924) (2 pages):
     Apparently there has always been a correlation between drug addiction and criminal activity:
. . . In addition to the passage of the anti-heroin bill, which prohibits the importation, manufacture, transportation or use of the drug in the United States, it is further recommended by the Association that Congress send circulars on the general facts of addiction to schools, colleges and voters, and thus reach the 23,000,000 young people in the nation's educational institutions before the school year is ended.  . . .
"Heroin appeared in America only ten years ago. Its spread to the present proportions in so short a time is appalling and indicates new factors in the problem of addiction. These facts, defined and pointed out by the Association, are: Every heroin addict, because of the drug's action on his brain, has a mania to spread his addiction to others; the drug is four times as powerful as morphin and comes in the convenient deceptive form of a white powder, called 'snow,' which is generally 'whiffed' into the nostrils. One 'snow party' a day for a week makes a youth an addict."  . . .
(2) "A Congressman Sentenced to Prison" (1924) (1 page):
     Somebody has to be the first:
". . . The important fact is that no man in this country, no matter how high and powerful his official position, is above the law or beyond its punishments."  . . .
     According to Wikipedia (HERE):
. . . [Representative Langley, in office since 1907] resigned [from Congress] in January 11, 1926, after being convicted of illegally selling alcohol. Langley had deposited $115,000 in his bank account over a three-year period despite earning only $7,500 a year as a congressman. He had arranged for "medicinal" alcohol to be released to New York-based bootleggers during prohibition. He also tried to bribe a Prohibition officer. His wife Katherine, then ran for his seat and won in the next election, loudly declaring that her husband had been the victim of a conspiracy. She also won the next election as well.  . . .
(3) "Outwitting the Safe-Breaker" (1924) (1 page):
     Is any safe really safe?
. . . "Time is the most important factor making for the success or failure of the safe-breaker when attacking a bank vault. Manufacturers of burglar-proof vaults, therefore, are concerned with constructing a mechanism which will require a maximum amount of time to destroy."  . . .
See the Wikipedia article HERE for more about bank vaults.
(4) "Evidence Gathered by Suction" (1924) (¼ of a page):
     It's probably not what you might think:
[Full article] Microscopic examination of the dirt and dust upon the clothing of suspects is a new scheme of the French police to catch criminals, we learn from Science Service's Daily Science News Bulletin (Washington):
"After cross-examination, the suspects are stript of their clothing, whose superficial dust is first examined under a strong microscope. A vacuum-cleaner is next applied to draw out other dirt into a pan. In some instances a more thorough process, in which heating figures, is used to separate all particles of foreign matter. From the dirt thus secured the detectives determine whether the suspect has been telling the truth. One murderer tried to prove an alibi by saying that he had slept in an open field the night of the crime. Microscopic examination of his clothing showed that he had slept in a quarry. An unsuspected carpenter was connected with a murder by means of sawdust found on a piece of overall which the victim had torn from his assailant and which was found at the scene of the crime. The chief value of the new plan has been in breaking down the bravado of criminals. They frequently confess when shown that their first stories were lies."
(5) "Scientific Bandits Who Land in Jail" (1924) (2 pages):
     The Newton Gang strikes again:
THE EXPLOITS OF JESSE JAMES as a train-robber in Missouri come to mind as one reads of "the most daring train robbery in railroad history"—the hold-up near Chicago of a solid mail and express train and the theft of some forty pouches of registered mail, said to contain between $1,000,000 and $3,000,000.
Wearing gas-masks, and equipped with an airplane and four automobiles; armed with gas-bombs, nitro-glycerin, dynamite, sawed-off shotguns, and automatic pistols, according to the story told the St. Paul Dispatch by the mail clerks as they pulled into the station with shattered windows and bullet-marked cars, ten or a dozen bandits apparently terrorized seventy or more armed guards and mail clerks aboard the train and accomplished their purpose within ten minutes.
They forced their way into the barricaded cars by breaking the windows with rocks, and then threw in vials of gas, which broke as they landed upon the floor. The clerks and guards, nearly overcome by the fumes, were forced to open the doors. The leader then donned a gas-mask, placed another on the chief mail clerk, and forced him, at the point of a gun, to point out the valuable mail-sacks, which were thrown into the waiting automobiles. A few hours later two of the machines, showing hard usage, were found abandoned along the highway, and by daylight the next morning a hundred motorcycle policemen and nearly a thousand government and railroad detectives, deputy sheriffs, and special officers were on the bandits' trail.  . . .
From the Wikipedia article about the Newton Gang (HERE):
The Newton Gang (ca. 1919 through 1924) was an outlaw gang of the early 20th century, and the most successful train robbers and bank robbers in history. From 1919 through 1924 the gang robbed dozens of banks, claiming a number of eighty-seven banks (unconfirmed) and six trains (confirmed). According to Willis Newton, the brothers "took in more money than the Dalton Gang, Butch Cassidy's Wild Bunch and the James-Younger Gang combined." Also according to their own claims, they never killed anyone. It's true they were never charged with any death or injuries associated with their robberies, although one daylight robbery in Toronto, Canada proved nearly fatal for one bank messenger. Notable enough for the 1924 train robbery near Rondout, Illinois (the world's largest at the time), the brothers gained a second round of fame in retirement, when they participated in a 1975 documentary film, and then a more in-depth oral history project that eventually was published in book form, possibly one of the clearest records of a criminal career of the period, as told by the participants. This second round of fame led to a feature film [The Newton Boys] being produced by a major Hollywood studio, after the death of the last surviving brother.  . . .
- You can find True Crime VII HERE.

Category: True crime

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