Crime and Criminals
LAKEWOOD PRESS -- June 13, 1918
Raffles may call again on Friday night. At least Friday night is Raffles regular night for calling Lakewood. He made over a half dozen calls last Friday night and cleaned up the far western end of the city. One little peculiarity of Mr. Raffles, to which his friends on the Lakewood Police object, is the uncertainty of the place where he plans to hold his Friday night receptions. It's sort of a guessing game and so far Raffles has managed to outgess the score of patrolman, plain clothesmen and detectives who are making it the regular Friday night business to stay on the job for the special purpose of "getting the goods on Raffles".
Raffles has had Lakewood on his calling list about six weeks now and to date the police have never managed to get a line on him. They suspect he is the same man who was recently operating in East Cleveland to the despair of the police and the disgust of the householders of that suburban city. For Raffles called with the same regularity, every Monday night, rain or shine, in the new moon or the full, in hot weather or in cold, all Monday nights looked good to him. Now he is neglecting his East Cleveland Monday dates and filling his Lakewood Friday dates with great regularity.
The Lakewood Sherlocks are at sea. Whenever they gather in force in the vicinity of Warren Road, where he first began to operate, the thoughtless burglar jumps down to Rocky River or is up to Highland Avenue. No matter which way they go, he is always somewhere else. Raffles had a great field day last Friday night. Every member of the Lakewood force in and out of uniform was on the job, but not till after midnight did the first report reach police headquarters. Detective Anderson dropped down home to his midnight lunch when he heard a shot, over on Rockway Avenue. Rushing there, he discovered that the shot had been fired at the residence of W. Demierie, 1522 Rockway Avenue. Mrs. Demierie heard a noise an recalled to her father, Mr. Sears. He came on the spot with a gun. The gun was promptly discharged in the direction of a dark moving shadow, but the shot had no effect save to make the shadow move faster and soon to disappear. It was then learned that before coming to Mr. Demierie's house, the burglar had topped at the residence of M.W. Glyn of 1516 Rockway.
Despite the distraction of a gun, the bullet from which certainly whizzed closely in his vicinity, the burglar calmly made his way to 1562 Larchmont Avenue, where he stole from Louis Griner, a fountain pen, valued at three dollars and a Masonic Emblem. At the residence of Mrs. J.T. Darby, 1624 Cordova Avenue, he picked up a five dollar bill.
Over on Spring Garden Avenue, the thief made a final round-up. He dropped into the residence of C.G. Baum, 1469 Spring Garden, and took a safety deposit box, belonging to the Guardian Savings and Trust Company, containing twenty five dollars in cash. He also found a five dollar wedding ring and two dollars and fifty cents in cash in another spot. At the flat of George Doyle, 1481 Spring Garden, he took twenty-seven dollars in cash and at the domicile of Gidius Fisher, of 1491 Spring Garden, he appropriated a ten dollar watch and a dollar and a half in cash.
Raffles never breaks a lock, smashes a window or leaves a trail behind. He is the slickest, quietest, most audacious artist, who ever hit Lakewood. Even dogs, who can scent a policeman a block and set up a howl of warning as soon as a blue coat comes in sight, seem strangely tamed by this burglar. In one case on Rosedale Avenue, three weeks ago, he shut up a bull dog in the basement. Two weeks ago, he ran into dogs twice. On Ramona Avenue, he did not disturb a bull dog on guard and on Manor Park that same night, a nervouse and fiece airdale on guard was never aroused.
Raffles has picked up a lot of jewelry, rings, watches, pins and the like, but while full descriptions of every piece of jewelry has been promptly sent broadcast to the police of 150 other cities, nothing has ever turned up in any pawn shop. He has taken a number of Liberty Bonds, Thrift Stamps and War Stamps, but there is nothing to show that he has every tried to negotiate them. He seems to be satisfied with a modest amount of cash each week, just sufficient possible to pay his house rent, grocery and meat bill and to keep up his own installments on Liberty Bonds. The police think he is a respectable working man during the day and for six nights of the week. Only on the seventh night does he drop down into Lakewood from "somewhere" and make all sorts of trouble for our vigilant police.
To date, Raffles is not known to have made any large hauls in Lakewood. He has not in fact, secured much more than ordinary day wages, as wages go in these times of high living. On the east side, he made one $3,000 haul but included in that total were some bonds, that it is not known he ever undertook to cash.
Raffles will confer a favor on the Lakewood Police if he will send in a telephone call tomorrow night, telling them in which end of the city he will spend the evening. It's rather distracting and more or less discouraging to the zeal of a hard working and ambitious policeman to camp on the trail of a burglar two or three miles off the range. Moreover, it makes people peevish to have a burglar break into their home without making enough noise to awaken the dog and to clean up all the jewelry of the women on the dressing table. They think the police ought to "do something about it".
Now the police are perfectly willing to do anything they can do, if someone will only show them how to do it. If Raffles would only mail a postcard to the city council or send in a telephone call to headquarters, telling where he will make his next appearance, he would save himself from much of his present unpopularity with the police and the people who learn too late his purpose of making them a call.
Well, here's hoping that Friend Raffles will give the Lakewood police a chance to distinguish themselves tomorrow night.
LAKEWOOD PRESS -- June 20, 1918
Friend Raffles is just about as popular at the Lakewood police headquarters, on Warren Road in these days, as Kaiser Wilhelm at the western front held by the American troops. He outguessed them again last week. He had been paying weekly visits to Lakewood every Friday night for six consecutive weeks and the police had planned a very warm reception for him last Friday night. They armed themselves with periscopes, dictaphones, sound detectors and camouflaged themselves to look like something otherwise than policemen. All in vain, however.
Raffles calmly shifted the cards. Instead of making his weekly calls on Friday night, he came on Thursday night last week when no one was looking for him. In consequence, no one was out to receive him and he passed an exceedingly quiet and uneventful night. Raffles has been doing so well in Lakewood on former occasions that apparently he did not need to make much of a cleanup last week. Possibly, he did not need the money and made his call in Lakewood just from force of habit.
E.O. Jones, living at 1252 Cranford Avenue, was the first and most profitable victim. He contributed $10 to the Raffles relief fund. H.E. Weed, 1507 Mars Avenue received the next visit, but Raffles got only a solitary dollar for his pains. L.P. Marsal, 1527 Lakeland Avenue, was the real fortunate host of the night, however. He declined to come across at all. Raffles found only a couple of empty purses there; empty, that is, before Raffles arrived on the scene.
These three Thursday night calls completely flabbergasted the Lakewood police. They did not know whether Raffles was joking, by making a trio of preliminary visits, in advance of the main cleanup or whether he was taking a rest and did not need any more money. At any rate, every man connected with the force was out on the job all Friday night, covering the territory from Highland Avenue to Rocky River. Men on motorcycles and bicycles scouted here and there, dashing madly from point to point. Not a sign of Raffles was seen, however. The joke burglar had put over another stunt on the Lakewood police.
And now the guessing contest continues. Will Raffles come on Thursday night this week, or will he return to his old Friday night schedule? Or worse, will he pick out Saturday or Sunday nights for his calling dates?
Raffles is an unmitigated nuisance. He is becoming the bugaboo of the Lakewood police department. "If he would drop us a post card or a phone message, telling us when he was coming and where he might be found, we could appreciate better his subtle brand of humor," sigh the policemen. The Raffles joke is a good one, but somehow it's on the wrong party.
LAKEWOOD PRESS -- June 27, 1918 Pg. 1 and 8
The Lakewood police force and Mr. Raffles have not yet met. That is not the fault of the police, however. Raffles parties are on every night in the week, and unless the elusive joke burglar is landed soon, the overworked department of nineteen men, trying to protect a city with a population of 40,000 people will have nervous prostration.
Raffles is not playing the game fair. At the start, he made regular Friday night calls in Lakewood. The police could place some dependence on the regularity of these visits. Now he comes any time the spirit moves and whenever he needs the money. He made his first calls since former report on last Thursday night, visiting five residences. At the home of Charles Lehr, 1250 Charles Avenue, he picked up $8. At the residence of William Le Loose, 1241 Virginia Avenue, he got $15. A.C. March, 1225 Brockley Avenue, contributed only $2. At the residence of L.C. Frost, 1247 Westlake Avenue, he picked up a gold watch. He entered the dwelling of E.B. Ranney, 1225 Gladys Avenue, but the amount taken cannot be learned until Mrs. Ranney returns home.
Unfortunately, the policemen made a bad guess last Thursday night. They were all out in force, but they thought Raffles would not come back to old territory. They picked another place in the city, where he had not been and they were camping out there on his trail. Raffles covered old territory, however, and not a sign was seen of him. In fact, the police did not know Raffles had been on the job Thursday night until the reports came in on Friday morning.
They were much disappointed at the failure to meet Mr. Raffles, but they were not discouraged. They went out on the job again on Friday night, prepared to give him a very cordial welcome if he retained his old Friday night visiting habits. There was no sign of Raffles on Friday night, however, Nor was anything heard of him on Saturday or Sunday nights.
The police began to think there was nothing more doing until the end of the week. But Raffles put over an entirely new stunt this week, coming down for a couple of Monday night calls. The changing of the program almost caused his undoing, however. Raffles called first at the residence of M.E. Shane, 1481 Alameda on Monday night. He entered the back door, following his usual system and ransacked everything he could find on the sideboard and other places down stairs. A gold watch and a couple of dollars in cash were taken. All the silverware in the sideboard was left untouched, however.
After his visit to the residence of Mr. Shane, Raffles skipped across the back fence to the dwelling of H.W. Reeder, 1350 Lakewood Avenue. Here he had the surprise of his life. For Mr. Reeder heard the noise on the back porch about 1 o'clock in the morning and went down stairs to give Mr. Raffles a welcome.
Now Raffles has made it an invariable rule never to call at any dwellings where he thought any person was sleeping on the ground floor. In every case he has picked out buildings where the family were asleep upstairs and he has been able to continue his ransacking of the premises down stairs without, in most cases, disturbing the people. In few cases has his call been known until the next day, when the family came down to breakfast in the morning and ran against evidences of the burglary.
Another peculiarity of Mr. Raffles is that he avoids breaking any windows, doors, or locks. In most cases, he goes to the back door. By the use of tools he carefully turns the key in the lock until he is able to force it out and to insert his own key. In a few caes he has climbed into houses through open windows in the rear.
Raffles started his favorite system last Monday night at the dwelling of Mr. Reeder on Lakewood Avenue about the time the head of the house got down stairs. Carefully the burglar was turning the key in the back door, while the other man was waiting for him on the opposite side of the door. The key was pushed out of the lock, the burglar's key was inserted, the lock was truned, the door was opened and Raffles was preparing to step jauntily into the kitchen.
Mr. Reeder was in a hard predicament. He did not know whether Raffles was armed or not and he did not know, moreover, whether Raffles, if cornered, was prepared to shoot. So he waited development. As the burglar stepped into the room through the open door, the householder gave the door a violent slam in his face, seeking ot catch his foot in the door and put him out of buisness by throwing him down.
Exactly what happened in the dark, it is not quite clear to Mr. Reeder himslef and Mr. Raffles' version of the incident has not yet been obtained. But at any event, Raffles got his foot out of the door and his person off the back porch in mighty short order.
Moreover, that was the last of Raffles in the city of Lakewood that night. Although he had made only one small haul at the first call and had not even got inside the door at his second stop, he was apparently satisfied to call it a night's work and to quit the neighborhood. Possibly he thought Mr. Reeder might be able to send a prompt message to police headquarters and that he had only a limited time for his getaway.
So he did not make any more calls Monday night. Nor has he been down in Lakewood since. It is possible the shock to his nerves was too great and he is resting. Lakewood policemen do not bother him any, but its an unpleasant surprise to run into the man of the house at the door and to have the door slammed violently in his face. No wonder he passes up Lakewood for a few days after such an unprecedented reception.
One thing is certain. If the members of the Lakewood police department ever get their hands on Raffles, good night. He is no longer a joke to policemen or to householders. He is keeping the men on the force at work night and day and alarming all the timid householders of the city on account of his visits.
The police give one general bit of advice that will save trouble in the future. If the people would be careful to leave no money or jewelry down stairs at night, there seems no danger that they will meet with any loss. Raffles has in no instance gone upstairs in a house or sought to enter any sleeping room. Nor has he carried off silverware or anything excepting rings, watches and valuable jewelry that can be easily secreted. He seems mainly after cash, however, as he has never pawned one piece of jewelry that he has stolen in Lakewood to date.
If the residents of the city would cooperate with the police department in remembering not to leave valuable articles or money down stairs and if they would very promptly send in telephone reports to headquarters, if any signs of Raffles are seen, any night, the loot of the burglar will be gretly reduced and the chances of his sppedy catpure will be increased.
No one will dispute that a police department with only nineteen men is utterly inadequate to give proper protection against burglars in a city of 40,000 inhabitants. This is an average of only one policeman to 2,000 population, about a third of the average force of the ordinary city. If Lakewood had a police force of 60 to 75 men, as the population and territory requires for adequate protection, there would be much more prospect of rounding up Raffles. In fact, if the wily burglar did not know that Lakewood had a very small police force to cover a very large residential section, he probably never would come to Lakewood.
That is another matter, however. The present business of the people of Lakewood is to cooperate with the nineteen members of the Lakewood police department in putting an end to Mr. Raffles' career in this city. A general arming of the male population may not be necessary, but it is safe guessing that here are now many dwellings in Lakewood tonight where the mater of the house is prepared to shoot the burglar at night -- and to shoot to kill.
No one can make serious criticism of the police force, so long as the city neglects to provide enough men to cover the beats and to protect against anticipated raids. What chance has a dozen men to cover a territory four miles long and three miles width. It means too, every available man is out on a Raffles hunt, night after night.
LAKEWOOD PRESS -- July 4, 1918 Pg. 2
The streets of Lakewood are not safe for suspicious characters to use for strolling after midnight. So John McGinty found to his sorrow on Saturday night. John's official domicile is 1339 West 69 Street and he is out on parole, after serving a three-year sentence for burglary, through the efforts of police chief Christiansen of Lakewood. McGinty thought Lakewood after midnight was the quiet and secluded spot of his former days. Apparently he has not been reading the Lakewood Press; he did not know that every member of the police force has been out on the job every night for weeks, hunting the elusive Raffles burglar. That was where John's foot slipped.
In company with a companion, who gave his name as Stanley Shaughnessy and his residence at 1942 St. Clair Avenue, McGinty dropped over to Lakewood late Saturday night to do a little work at the old stand. IT was 1:30 a.m. on Sunday when Patrolman Maurer sighted the pair down near the river bridge at the corner of Detroit and Clifton. The patrolman was out after Raffles and he did not stand on ceremony. He made a grab for the men, rang for the police wagon and in a few minutes the wagon with Lieutenant Lang appeared. McGinty was immediately recognized and with his pal was hustled up to police headquarters without much ceremony.
The police did not know whether they had Raffles or not, but they were convinced that they had something just as good. So the examination at police headquarters proved. McGinty was not Raffles; he could prove an alibi for Raffles has been working in Lakewood for several months, dating back to the time when McGinty was confined in the penitentiary. But McGinty, when searched was found to be carrying a big ugly looking loaded revolver, and that was sufficient to hold him on the charge of carrying concealed weapons, a very serious offense for a prisoner on parole. On pressing the investigation McGinty finally admitted he had come down to Lakewood for the purpose of holding up some belated citizen and relieving him of his cash and watch and other available booty. Unfortunately the police was on the Raffles trail and stopped him before he got started.
Suspecting that McGinty might be wanted for something in Cleveland, Chief Christiansen got in touch with the Cleveland Detective Bureau with the result that the Lakewood prisoners were speedily identified with a holdup they later confessed they had committed on Friday night at Superior and East 129 Street. So the Lakewood police turned the man over to the Cleveland police on the highway robbery charge of Friday night, rather than to hold them on the charge of carrying concealed weapon in Lakewood.
The Lakewood police did good, snappy, quick work in landing McGinty and Shaughnessy, preventing a holdup that had been planned and that undoubtedly would have followed if their activities had not been cut short.
Nothing has been heard from Raffles for ten days. Since he received such a warm reception at the residence of H.W. Reeder, 1350 Lakewood Avenue, a week ago last Monday night, he has this city cut off his visiting list. What happened to McGinty and Shaughnessy on Saturday night is only a sample of what Raffles would receive if he were found wandering around on Lakewood Streets in these days. Suspicious characters will do well to keep out of Lakewood after dark for a time. There has been no relaxation in the Raffles hunt. It is kept up as persistently as Admiral Sims hunts German submarines in the North seas.
An amusing feature of the nightly burglar hunt by the police is the number of warnings that are telephoned in nights by timid and suspicious householders. In some instances policemen in plain clothes have been scouting through back yards and have been mistaken for Raffles, with the result that hurry calls have been sent to police headquarters. But the police are well pleased with the co-operation of the public, realizing that the constant vigilance of hundreds of householders is adding greatly to the chances of the final capture of Raffles. That is, if Raffles has not crossed Lakewood off his visiting list. It will take a good many nights to convince Chief Christiansen, however, that Raffles has actually quit. Raffles has been playing the double roles for several months, coming certain nights to Lakewood and other nights to East Cleveland. He has not only stirred up the police of these two smaller cities to extraordinary vigilance, but he is constantly on the minds of the Cleveland police as well.
For the present, all crooks, even with good intentions, will find Lakewood unsafe to visit after dark. The Raffles stunt while exceedingly exasperating to the police and the public, has not proved an unmixed evil. It is keeping the Lakewood police department on edge and no other transient visiting crook gets a change here, even if Raffles is not caught.
LAKEWOOD PRESS -- July 11,1918
Our old friend Raffles has made only one visit to Lakewood in over two weeks. He made three calls last Friday night, but he showed such an excess of caution that he got not cash whatever and he refused to take chances by picking up jewelry, which he might have had for his pains. He visited dwellings on French Avenue, Virginia Avenue and Brockley Avenue, using his skeleton key to open the back doors and leaving no trace whatever.
Raffles was almost caught on his visit prior to last week, when he ran against Mr. Reeder on Lakewood Avenue, facing him as he opened the door. Since then his precautions have redoubled. He made not a sound in any of the house he visited on Friday night, and the occupants did not know he had called until they found the kitchen doors wide open the next morning and saw evidence where he had ransacked the down stairs rooms for money. In one case, it was said, he overlooked a $10 bill that was left in a drawer. He seems to be taking no chances longer with jewelry, so that unless he is caught red-handed, nothing will be found on him, if captured or searched by which he can be identified. He did not pick up a pole of thrift stamps in another house last visit. The police are on the job, hunting Raffles every night, but they are beginning to feel there is a chance he may abandon Lakewood completely, in view of the close pursuit and careful watch that is kept here now, compared with the precautions that are taken in ordinary residential sections.
The police feel sure with the systematic work and the cooperation of householders, who are constantly on the watch in all parts of the city, that Raffles will soon come to grief if he continues to operate in Lakewood. After all the trouble he has made they will regret exceedingly if he now departs before they can land him. They say he is the slickest and most dangerous house burglar who ever operated in Lakewood, and they dislike to miss the opportunity of landing him for a long term.
LAKEWOOD PRESS -- July 25, 1918
What has become of Raffles, the master burglar, who kept the Lakewood police and the householders busy by his weekly visit for several months? There has not been seen the slightest trace of Raffles in Lakewood for three weeks. The last call he made, he ran against Mr. Reeder on Lakewood Avenue and received such a shock that he started to run off the back porch and never stopped running, so far as can be learned.
The Lakewood police are very skeptical, however. They are taking not the slightest chances with Raffles. They are ready for him every night in the week and they wish the repeated warning to be given to householders to guard against leaving money down stairs, for the special benefit of the elusive burglar in case he should drop in with a few more calls. Men on motorcycles and bicycles, in plain clothes and in uniform, are watching for Raffles every night as closely as the submarine destroyers in the North Sea are watching for German U-boats. They are taking no chances.
The local officials are keeping special watch of the operations of the East Cleveland burglar, whose methods are so similar to those of Raffles that they have always held the theory that the same man was operating in East Cleveland and in Lakewood. The reports from East Cleveland are to the effect that Raffles, or his double, is still working in that section one or two nights each week. So they are flattering themselves that possible he has dropped Lakewood permanently off his calling list, in view of the special vigilance with which the city is guarded against his coming.
"Of course, we never want to hear of Raffles coming back to Lakewood," remarked one plain clothes man yesterday. "We are satisfied, if he is. At the same time, if he insists on coming, we are willing to take the chances of landing him inside of the first week he comes back. If he want to try it out, we are ready.
"And it gets my goat," he sighed, disconsolately, "to let that man get away with it, after all."
24:7 FATAL SHOOTING AT NAT'L CARBON WORKS
THE LAKEWOOD PRESS -- Oct. 31, 1918 Page 1
William D. White, colored, who has been employed at the National Carbon Co., and lived in Bunk House No. 49, early Sunday morning shot to death James Charles Anderson. The negro is said to be a native of West Virginia and is thirty-three years old. Anderson was about thirty-seven years old, white, and formerly resided at 64 Oak street, Buffalo, N.Y.
It seems that a number of negroes had been shooting crap all Saturday afternoon in different rooms of the Bunk House. In the early evening Anderson joined the crowd in room three, where they were busy shaking dice.
In the small hours of Sunday morning bad feeling began to break out. When the tragedy took place it would appear that the two men were alone about 3 a.m. White claims that Anderson accused him of calling the dice wrong from time to time. Finally Anderson according the the negro's story, cracked White on the jaw, and exclaimed: "I'll murder you if call another pass like that."
Grasping a chair, Anderson made for White, who ten drew a revolver from his right-hand pocket and shot his assailant through the forehead. There being no witnesses to the deed, White's story for the present stands unchallenged.
Making for the New York Central tracks, the negro walked as far as 117th street and continued eastward on West Madison street. On reaching W 96th street Patrolman Herman Luedtke confronted White. The colored man pulled his revolver, but the policeman was too quick for him and threatened to shoot if he did not surrender. White submitted to arrest on charge of carrying concealed weapons.
Lieut. O'Laughlin had but a few minutes before received warning by telephone from Lakewood that a man was wanted for murder. When the negro reached the twelfth precinct station, his revolver was discovered to have one chamber empty. Police say that he confessed the crime, and pleaded self-defense as his justification.
Sunday afternoon the Lakewood police brought him to Lakewood, where he was placed in the city jail. Chief Christensen put him under a searching examination at which some of the foregoing statements were brought out. On Monday afternoon at 4 o'clock White was brought before Mayor Cook and charged with murder in the first degree. After the hearing, the prisoner was bound over to the common please court without bail.
24:8 MURDERS (KABER MURDER CASE)
STORY OF LAKEWOOD -- E.D. Lindstrom, Pg. 59-61
One of the most celebrated crimes in American history, one which ranks at least among the first twenty-five, was committed here on the night of July 18th, 1919.
The fact that the victim, Dan Kaber, 46-year-old publisher, was a well-to-do resident of an exclusive neighborhood; the persistence with which his death was sought and the brutality with which it was finally accomplished; the unrelenting chase of the murderers, and the fact that this is the only case on record where a grandmother, daughter and grand-daughter were indicted for murder, lent it extraordinary interest.
Kaber, long a paralysis victim, occupied an upstairs bedroom in his home at 12537 Lake Avenue. Shortly before midnight his male nurse, F.W. Utterback, was aroused by cries from the sick room and rushed to find his patient literally bathed in blood. Kaber's first words to police when they arrived were:
"My wife ordered this done! My wife ordered this done!"
Mrs. Eva Kaber had gone to Cedar Point two days before to visit a sister. Other persons in the house besides Utterback were Kaber's stepdaughter, Marian McArdle, 19, and one of her girl friends whom she had invited to spend the night, and Mrs. Kaber's mother, Mrs. Mary Brickel. None of these persons saw or heard the murderers, they said.
A dagger made of a file was found in the bedroom, one bloody glove was on the stairway, and downstairs the dining room buffet drawer was discovered to have been pried open and the silverware taken. A rug was on the porch as though it had been dropped by a burglar in his flight.
Kaber had been stabbed 24 times. He died the next day in Lakewood Hospital. A postmortem disclosed that he had enough arsenic in his system to have killed twenty men.
Mrs. Kaber was questioned sharply at the inquest, but every time she got in a corner she took refuge in tears. The verdict was "death at the hands of persons unknown."
Weeks and months of the most arduous investigation confirmed suspicions against Mrs. Kaber but produced no tangible evidence. Old Moses Kaber, Dan's father swearing that he would never rest until his son's murderers were brought to justice went to the Pinkerton Detective Agency.
Among the operatives the Pinkertons employed on the case was Mrs. Ethel Berman, a former friend of Mrs. Kaber. Mrs. Berman sought out the suspect, pretended that she was tired of her husband and had a lover in Pittsburgh, and so established a basis for for renewed friendship. She lived with Mrs. Kaber in a Pittsburgh hotel for eight days, while another Pinkerton detective posed as her lover. Mrs. Berman learned that Mrs. Kaber was a woman of violent temperament, that she was trying desperately to forget the murder of her husband yet had it constantly on her mind, and that she was in constant fear she was being watched. On one occasion Mrs. Kaber took Mrs. Berman to a clairvoyant, who later on was to furnish important evidence.
Mrs. Kaber went on to New York and Mrs. Berman went back to Lakewood to cultivate the friendship of Mrs. Brickel. One day at a theater Mrs. Brickel blurted out:
"If they try to put it on Charlie I'll tell all I know."
Charlie was Mrs. Brickel's son and favorite child. He had an alibi for the night of the murder.
Former County Prosecutor Edward C. Stanton had just been elected to office on a platform which included a pledge to solve the Kaber case, then nearly two years old.
One afternoon in May of 1921, Stanton asked Mrs. Brickel and her son to his office. Charlie was brought in first. As he was being led out and Mrs. Brickel was brought in, Stanton called out "throw him in jail--he's the one who did it, alright".
This little scene worked like magic. Mrs. Brickel promptly declared that she knew for a fact that Charles was innocent. How was she so certain? Because, she said, her daughter had planned the murder. She herself had left the side door open for the assassins and Marian had pried open the buffet with an ice pick and mussed up the rugs to give the appearance of a burglary.
With this lever on the case thw whole plot was soon uncovered. Mrs. Kaber and Marian, who finally confirmed her grandmother's story, were both arrested in New York City. It was revealed that Mrs. Kaber had first obtained arsenic, "medicine" it was called, from Mrs. Emma Colavito, to put in Dan's soup. The poison failed to kill him because an insufficient amount had been administered at one time.
Mrs. Kaber then arranged with Mrs. Colavito to hire two assassins, Salvatore Cala and Vittorio Pisselli, to stab Dan fro $5,000, of which only $500 was ever paid. Mrs. Kaber's motive was money and passion for an unidentified New Yorker.
After a long trial a jury on July 17, 1921, almost two years to the day after the crime, found Mrs. Kaber guilty. She was sentenced to life imprisonment and died several years later. During her time in Marysville Reformatory for Women she tried to bribe her way out, cursed her guards and was so generally unruly she earned the name "Ohio's worst prisoner". Marion was acquitted and the indictment against Mrs. Brickel was dismissed. Cala was sentenced to life in Ohio State Penitentiary. Moses Kaber, true to his bow, never to rest until every culprit was brought to court, furnished the money which sent two Cleveland detectives to Italy to capture Pisselli, who was convicted and sentenced to twenty years at hard labor. Mrs. Colavito, strangely enough, was acquitted in the Kaber case, but in 1924 was convicted of furnishing "medicine" to kill a fellow countryman. She was sentenced to life imprisonment and in 1936 was still serving her term and still protesting her innocence.
24:8a PAPER WRITTEN BY PATRICIA MARROGIUN -- KABER MURDER
EL PASO, TEXAS 79930
One of the worst crimes ever committed up to 1939 occurred in Lakewood, Ohio on the night of July 18, 1919. The victim, Daniel Kaber was poisoned, brutally murdered, and choked. Because he was a prominent member of Lakewood society, the murderers chase was persistent and unrelenting. The fact that a grandmother, daughter, and grand-daughter were indicted for Daniel Kaber's murder made it the first in the criminal court history of Cuyahoga County. ("Mrs. Kaber still exhausted." New York Times. July 17, 1921. p. 18). Not much is known about either Eva Catherine Kaber or Daniel Kaber. Mrs. Kaber was divorced once and had a daughter from her previous marriage. As for Daniel Kaber, he was a wealthy publisher born in 1874. Eva and Daniel were married sometime between 1907 (year of Mrs. Kaber's divorce) and 1916 (the year Mrs. Kaber's complaints about Kaber began).
Ever since 1916, almost 3 years before the murder, (July 18, 1921), Mrs. Kaber was having problems with Mr. Kaber. She wanted a divorce, or death; anything to be free from Mr. Kaber.
Sometime in 1917, Mrs. Kaber, still in pursuit of her freedom visited two women and asked them about Kaber's death. The only help she needed from them was advise to seperate legally. However, according to James T. Cassidy Assistant County Prosecutor, during the trial, Mrs. Kaber felt improper distribution of their property would have then take place. ("Trials starts; all comprise jury." New York Times. July 7, 1921. p. 17).
In 1919 during the month of March, Mrs. Kaber began administering arsenic at intervals. Mr. Kaber would suddenly become ill with stomach pains, he would also complain that Mrs. Kaber's cooking was too spicy, according to a maid living with the Kabers. She also testified to hearing Mrs. Kaber say, "Dan, if there's a God, you'll suffer before you die." ("U. Di Carpo testifies Mrs. Kaber wanted him killed; nurses also testify." New York Times. July 9, 1921. p.4). That same month Mr. Kaber had an exploratory operation to find the cause of his stomach pains. (Mrs. Kaber indicted in Cleaveland." New York Times. June 5, 1921. p. 18). According to Mrs. U. Wade, a friend of Mrs. Kaber, during this time Mrs. Kaber allegedly went to her and said she was in love with another man. For this reason, she needed Kaber dead. June 4, 1919, Mr. Kaber was said to have become a victim of neuritis. His right arm was paralized and only had use of his two left fingers. For this reason, F.U. Utterback was hired as Mr. Kaber's private nurse. ("Police seek two persons familiar with his house." New York Times. July 21, 1919. p. 2).
During the month of July, 1919 Mrs. Kaber began her preparations for Dan's murder. She went to a spiritualist medium to find a way to teach Mr. Kaber a lesson, since she accused him of abuse and treating her "uncivilized." ("Widow's statement; daughter and she taken to Cleveland; 2 other woman and man held in Cleaveland; two others sought." New York Times. June 11, 1921. p. 1). The medium suggested to Mrs. Kaber she use "ghost" to scared Mr. Kaber. Two men were then employed by Mrs. Kaber to pose as ghosts while Mr. Kaber was asleep. However, Mrs. Kaber didn't want him killed, just a "rough shaking so that evil spirits would be driven out of him." (New York Times. June 11, 1921. p. 1).
Either the eleventh or the sixteenth day of July 1919, Mrs. Kaber took the linen and silverware, which was supposed to appear to have been stolen on the night of Mr. Kaber's murder, over to Miss Marie Matthews home (palmist). ("Widow says she will tell whole story; absolves M. McArdle; silverware declared stolen, found; 10 persons now implicated." (New York Times. June 15, 1921. p. 5). July 16, 1919, two days before the actual murder took place, Mrs. Kaber left for Cedar Point, Ohio, 60 miles west of Cleaveland, to visit her sister. At the same time, July 16, 1919 Mrs. Kaber was leaving, the assassins were tiptoeing around the Kaber home to get a "lay of the land" (while Miss McArdle allegedly played the piano, to drown out any noise). ("Mrs. Colavito tells how preparations were made for is murder; man under arrest says Mrs. Kaber promised him an automobile if he would run Kaber down." (New York Times. June 13, 1921. p. 28).
After the murder was rehearsed, plans were set for July 17, 1919. Mrs. Brickel, mother of Mrs. Kaber, was supposed to be on the Kaber porch as a sign that everything was going well. However, the plan failed. ("Mrs. Erminia Colavito also indicted for murder in first degree; her confession." (New York Times. June 14, 1921. p. 4).
On the morning of July 7, 1919, Ermina Colavito, a midwife working for Mrs. Kaber called to inform Mrs. Kaber that the night before the door of the Kaber home was locked and no woman was found outside, or so the ghost had told Mrs. Colavito. Yet, Mrs. Kaber wasn't home. So Miss McArdle, Mrs. Kaber's daughter made new plans with Mrs. Colavito and the two men, for the night of July 18, 1919. It is stated that Mrs. Brickle and Miss McArdle disarranged the rooms in the Kaber house to make-believe Mr. Kaber's murder was due to a break-in and robbery. ((New York Times. June 14, 1921. p. 4).
On July 18, 1919, shortly before midnight, Daniel Kaber was dragged from his bed, stabbed 24 times and choked. Utterback, hearing loud, painful cries ran upstairs to Kaber's bedroom. Upon entering, Utterback found Kaber lying on the floor, drenched in blood. Kaber's words to police were: "My wife ordered this done! My wife ordered this done!" (Story of Lakewood, Ohio pp. 59-61).
As police searched his house, 12537 Lake Avenue, Lieutenant Miller found a dagger on Kaber's bed. The glove used by the murderers was also left behind. The second glove was on the stairway. It was discovered silverware had been taken from the buffet drawer. Police continued their search, by questioning the members of the household. These people included: Mrs. Kaber's mother, Mrs. Mary Brickle; Miss Marion McArdle, Mr. Kaber's stepdaughter; as well as an unknown companion of Ms. McArdle. However, no one had heard anything. (New York Times. July 21, 1919. p. 2).
As for Mrs. Eva Catherine Kaber, Daniel Kaber's wife, she had left to Cedar Point on July 16, 1919 to visit. ("Marion McArdle arrested on visit to mother in prison." New York Times. p. 3). According to U.F. Utterback, when Mrs. Kaber returned two days after the murder, July 20, 1919, she wasn't shocked. She didn't even ask Utterback questions about the murder of her husband. However, as police questioned her, she sobbed and sobbed. According to author E.G. Lindstrom, her tears were great. (Story of Lakewood, Ohio. pp. 59-61). Therefore the only clue police had to go on was the fact that the murder was committed by two people familiar with the house. Lakewood police were baffled. ("Police seek 2 persons familiar with his house." New York Times. July 21, 1919. p. 2).
The investigation continued for weeks, months. However no arrest were made within this time.
Mrs. Kaber, a few weeks after July 18, 1919 left Lakewood and occupied a hotel room in Pittsburg. Mrs. Ethal Berman, a former friend of Mrs. Kaber and an employee of the Pinkerton Detective Agency, renewed her friendship with Mrs. Kaber. During this time, Mrs. Berman attempted to inform suspiciouns against Mrs. Kaber. Whiling living with Mrs. Kaber, Mrs. Berman discovered Mrs. Kaber was a violent woman trying unsuccessfully to put aside her husbands murder but "she was in constant fear she was being watched." (Story of Lakewood, Ohio pp. 59-61). Mrs. Berman pretending she was tired of her lover (also a Pinkerton detective) asked Mrs. Kaber for help. Mrs. Kaber introduced Mrs. Berman to a clairvoyant Miss Marie Matthews. (Story of Lakewood, Ohio pp. 59-61)> It was later shown, along with other important evidence the Kaber's missing silverware was stored away by Mrs. Kaber with Miss Matthews. ("Widow says she will tell whole story; absolves M. McArdle; silverware declared stolen, found, ten persons emplicated." New York Times. June 15, 1921. p. 5).
The investigators, still persistent continued their investigation between 1920-1921. During this time, Mrs. Kaber occupied an apartment in New York City. In New York City she opened a millinery establishment. Miss McArdle was attending a school in Battle Creek, Michigan while Mrs. Brickle remained in Lakewood, Ohio. ("Marion McArdle pleads for mother, both arrained and held without bail; Mrs. Brickle pleads not guilty." New York Times. June 8, 1921. p. 36).
Also around time, 1920-1921, Mrs. Kaber recieved $6,800.00 from Daniel Kaber's insurance policy. From this, Mrs. Colavito recieved apprximately $500.00 to deliver to the two men responsible for Mr. Kaber's death. (New York Times. June 15, 1921. p. 5).
On April 1921, Mrs. Kaber was indicted for complicity in the moruder of Daniel Kaber. She was also charged with the illegal administration of arsenic.
Finally, May of 1921, Mrs. Brickel declared she knew the truth about the Kaber murder when her favorite son seemed to be the prime suspect. She incriminated her daughter, Mrs. Kaber, as well as Marion McArdle, her grand-daughter. (Story of Lakewood, Ohio pp. 59-61).
Mrs. Eva Catherine Kaber was arrested June 4, 1921 by Captain Carey and Detective Senff in the home of Verona Smith, a Christian Scientist, friend of Mrs. Kaber. (New York Times. pp. 3).
June 6, 1921, two days later, grand-daughter Miss Marion McArdle and grandmother, Mrs. Brickel were also indicted. They were charged for being connected with the slaying of Mr. Daniel Kaber. (New York Times. p. 4).
At this time, Mrs. Brickel allegedly confessed Mrs. Kaber was the instigator of the crime according to the New York Times. (June 7, 1921. p. 4).
While Mrs. Kaber was awaiting extradition, Miss McArdle kept protesting her innocence. Mrs. Brickel pleaded not guilty to first degree murder. ("Marion McArdle pleads for mother, both arraigned and held without bail; Mrs. Brickel pleads not guilty." New York Times. June 8, 1921. p. 36).
June 8, 1921 Mrs. Kaber attempted suicide unsuccessfully in the Harlem Prison where she was being held without bail. She was weak, but it was decided by police she would be well enough to travel back to Cleaveland along with her daughter, Miss McArdle. ("Widow attempts suicide in her cell; extradition papers signed; man and woman arrested in Cleaveland." New York Times. June 9, 1921. p. 6).
The month of June 1921, Ermina Colavito was examined by police, signing statements describing preparations for Daniel Kaber's murder. She gave police names of four actual assassins As for the participation in the killing, Colavito admitted she was a "go-between" for Mrs. Kaber (New York Times. June 11, 1921. p. 1). She was indicted for first degree murder, however, pleaded not guilty, even though she had offered to plead guilty to second degree murder. Four months later, October 21, 1921, Mrs. Colavito was found not guilty. ("Mrs. Emma Colavito acquitted." New York Times. October 22, 1921. p. 11). June 17, 1921 Salvatore Cala was captured in Buffalo. At that time, he voluntarily confessed as being one of two actual assailants. The second was Venturino Do Scenzo, alias Vittorio Pisselli.
June 28, 1921 Mrs. Kaber's trial began. Her defense was guilty due to insanity. Woman were barred from the jury, because as her defense Francis W. Poulson believed, women were merciless. Psychiatrists were brought in by both the defense and the prosecutor to prove and disprove the widow's insanity. One doctor described her as a "personality psychopathic." ("Widow refuses to take the stand; jury to get the case." New York Times. July 15, 1921. p. 5). Also, Mrs. Kaber's father, sister and brother testified she was insane. According to the New York Times, the trial was a very trying period for Mrs. Kaber. She was ill most of the time collapsing during the trial. ("Trial; widow collapsing. "New York Times. July 16, 1921. p. 4).
Almost 2 complete years after the death of Daniel Kaber, July 7, 1921, Mrs. Eva Catherine Kaber was found guilty of complicity in the murder of her husband, Mr. Daniel Kaber. This sentence brought the death penalty. However, because the defense pleaded for mercy, she recieved life imprisonment and died several years later. ("Widow gets life sentence." New York Times. July 17, 1921. p. 18). During her time in Marysville Reformatory for women, she attempted an escape and bribery to get out of prison. She earned the name "Ohio's worst prisoner." (Story of Lakewood, Ohio pp. 59-61).
A month later October 12, 1921 Mrs. Kaber's daughter, Marion McArdle was acquitted of the charges against her. Mrs. Brickle's indictment was dismissed. Do Scenzo, alias Pisselli the second of the two slayers was captured in Italy. Salvatore Cala was convicted and given a life sentence to be served in the Ohio State Penitentiary. Pisselli was tried and convicted in Italy for the murder of Daniel Kaber. He was sentenced to 20 years, in an Italian Prison at hard labor. ("V di Scenzo sentenced for murder." New York Times. August 3, 1922. p. 4).
Yet, even with the convictions of Mrs. Eva Catherine Kaber, Emma Colavito, Salvatore Cala and Venturino di Scenzo, many unanswered questions remained. What was the cause of Daniel Kaber's murder? Was he actually her in such a terrible way that it lead to his murder? Or was Mrs. Kaber mentally incompetent, unable to separate reality from fiction, dreaming up stories of an abusive husband?
The author of this paper hypothesized Mrs. Kaber was indeed insane, even though during her trial she was thought to be mentally competent. She referred often to palmists, fortune tellers, and a clairvoyant. It seems as if Mrs. Kaber was missing something in her life. She wasn't able to find it, so she turned to the supernatural--a world full of surprises. Soon, this was Mrs. Kaber's only sense of truth, of reality, depending totally on it. It finally reached the point where Mrs. Kaber felt she was being abused, no one believed her so she took matters into her won hands, as she had always wanted to do--she made preparations for Mr. Kaber's death.
As women, they weren't expected to feel anything but love and respect for their husband. A woman's life was devoted to her husband and her children. They weren't expected to think anything on their own, unless told to do so by the husband. According to the author, Mrs. Kaber longed to do something for herself other than stand by Mr. Kaber, especially since his condition was getting worse. However, Mrs. Kaber knew deep down inside, she was in no position to do something of this nature. The turmoil within her was too much. She began living in a dream world, til finally she reached the ultimate point, with no return. The emotional impact occurring within her was devastating after Mr. Kaber's death. No only was Mrs. Kaber unstable mentally, but she began to experience paranoia. (Story of Lakewood, Ohio, pp. 59-61).
Finally, during her trial, her emotions took over and Mrs. Kaber lost total control. She would not eat, and became very ill. (New York Times. July 16, 1921, p. 4). - She seemed to be in a state of semi-consciousness throughout the trial til finally on July 17, 1921, after many years of turmoil and uncertainty, she was convicted. Her suffering ended completely when she died a few years after July 17, 1921. Mrs. Eva Catherine Kaber finally got what she so desperately desired--peace and happiness.
"Daniel Kaber murdered." New York Times. July 20, 1919. p. 10, col. 7.
Lindstrom, E. George. Story of Lakewood, Ohio, Edited by Lawrence J. Hawkins. Lakewood, Ohio: E.G. Lindstrom, 1939.
"Marion McArdle arrested on visit to mother in prison." New York Times. June 7, 1921. p. 3, col. 2.
"Marion McArdle pleads for mother, both arrained and held without bail; Mrs. Brickle pleads not guilty." New York Times. June 8, 1921. p. 36, col. 2.
"Mrs. Colavito tells how preparations were made for his murder man under arrest says Mrs. Kaber promised him an automobile if he would run Kaber down." New York Times. June 13, 1921. p. 28, col. 2.
"Mrs. Ermina Colavito also indicted for murder in first degree her confession." New York Times. June 14, 1921. p. 4, col. 2.
"Mrs. Kaber indicted in Cleaveland." New York Times. June 5, 1921. p. 18, col. 1.
"Police seek two persons familiar with his house." New York Times. July 21, 1919. p. 2, col. 7.
"Trial Starts; all men comprise jury." New York Times. July 7, 1921. p. 6, col. 6.
"U. Di Carpo testifies Mrs. Kaber wanted him killed; nurses also testified." New York Times. July 9, 1921. p. 4, col. 6.
"Widow attempts suicide in cell." New York Times. June 9, 1921. p. 6, col. 2.
"Widow collapses." New York Times. July 16, 1921. p. 18, col. 7.
"Widow gets life sentence." New York Times. July 17, 1921. p. 18, col. 1.
"Widow held without bail." New York Times. June 6, 1921. p. 3, col. 2.
"Widow say she will tell whole story" New York Times. June 15, 1921. p. 5, col. 2.
"Widow statement; daughter and she take to Cleaveland." New York Times. June 11, 1921. p. 1, col. 4.
"V. di Scenzo, alias Pisselli, confesses murder; will be tried in Italian court." New York Times. December 17, 1921. p. 8, col. 3.
"V. di Scenzo sentenced for murder." New York Times. August 3, 1922. p. 4, col. 6.
24:9 MAIL ROBBERIES
CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER -- May 1, 1940
Catching mail thieves while he is off duty is a specialty for Patrolman Myron M. Shattuck of Lakewood. He reported the capture of No. 4 yesterday.
Postal authorities had noted a series of mail thefts from apartment buildings in Lakewood in the last tow months. Shattuck began a daily patrol of Edgewater Drive, Lake Avenue and Clifton Boulevard while off duty and in plain clothes.
Completing such a tour yesterday afternoon, he returned to his residence at 12037 Lake Avenue. He saw a stranger enter the outer lobby and examine the letters in the wall boxes. The man replaced each letter and walked to the next building. Again Shattuck watched him examine letters taken from boxes in the lobby.
Patrolman Shattuck said he saw the man enter more than 20 apartment buildings and examine letters in the next hour before he arrested him. A letter bearing an Edgewater Drive address was found on the prisoner, Shattuck said.
Detective Elmer H. Lane of the Lakewood Police Department said the man would be turned over to postal authorities today. He is a former mail carrier who was previously convicted of rifling the mail, Detective Lane added.
24:10 AFTER HOLDING POSSE AT BAY SEVERAL HOURS, MURDERER GEORGE WAGAR IS LODGED IN JAIL
CLEVELAND FINANCIAL WORLD -- (Wednesday) January 25, 1905
Killed His Brother and Wounded Patrolman John Klaaymer, Probably Fatally
Desperate Struggle in Lakewood Ends With Capture of Man Charged With the Crime
After shooting his brother, John, to death and wounding, perhaps fatally, a police officer who attempted to gain an entrance to the family home at Detroit street and Hall avenue, in Lakewood, George Wagar kept three women prisoners for hours in a room where the body of his brother was lying and held half a hundred police officers at bay, until his capture was effected at 9:15 o'clock Wednesday morning through the personal daring of Tony Marshall, a Lakewood citizen specially deputized for the occasion.
Wagar killed his brother shortly before midnight and wounded John Klaaymer soon afterward. He had not been well disposed toward his brother because, as he thought, John Wagar, administrator of the estate of his father, was not treating him fairly in the division of the property. John came into the family sitting room about 10:30 o'clock Tuesday night and George, who had been writing a letter, asked him to read it. John replied there was no hurry about the reading and that he would look over the letter at his leisure. This seemed to incense George, according to those who were eyewitnesses, and he struck at John. Their sister, Mrs. Ashley, rushed between them and the blow from George's fist took effect on her face, causing her to become unconscious and fall to the floor.
Then George drew his Colt's revolver and fired at John. The bullet took effect in the forehead of the victim, who, as he fell over the threshold of the bedroom opening off of the family living room, managed to pull the door shut between him and his assailant. George continued firing through the door and two other bullets lodged themselves in the face of the man to whom death had probably already come.
Though there was terror in the house and, though Mrs. Hall, a neighbor who chanced to be at the Wagar house, wished to go home, none of the women were permitted to escape. Mrs. Hall managed, however, to get word over the telephone to Dr. A. E. McClure, who lives in Lakewood, almost across the street from the Wagar place. She told the physician that George had shot John and she asked him to come and attend the wounded man. At the same time word was sent to Dr. L. K. Baker of Cleveland, who started for the scene. Dr. McClure, knowing the reputation of George Wagar, feared to try to enter the house alone, and so called upon Patrolman Klaaymer of the Lakewood force. Klaaymer approached the door and when he saw Wagar standing on the threshold he hailed him in a friendly way. Wagar demended to know what the officer wanted and the latter declared he wanted admittance to the house. Then Wagar fired at Klaaymer, who, with a wound in his abdomen, staggered across the street. Wagar fired again, this time at Dr. McClure, who was in full retreat, and who was not injured. McClure carried the wounded patrolman into his house, whence, a little later, he was removed to St. John's Hospital, where he was operated upon and the bullet, a 44-caliber, was removed. Wednesday noon it was reported that there was reason for hoping that Klaaymer might survive the shock and recover.
By the time of the shooting of the patrolman a number of people had gathered in Detroit street. Wagar, locking the front door, lighted the gas in all of the rooms and showed himself at the windows, revolver in hand, as a warning to others that the fate of the policeman would be theirs if they sought an entrance into the house.
Mayor Rowe of Lakewood was advised of what had happened, and he had the entire police force of the town detailed to the scene of the shooting. Meantime Sheriff Mulhern was notified, and, in company with a squad of deputies and a detail of Cleveland police under command of Sergeant Isaacs, he arrived in Lakewood about 3:30 Wednesday morning. It was determined at once that it would not do to fire on the house, because of the presence of the three women. Diplomacy was attempted. Ernest Hall, who had been in the house since midnight, was endeavoring to persuade Wagar to give himself up. Hall is a son of the Mrs. Hall who was one of the imprisoned ones in the Wagar house. Her son was the only person Wagar would permit to come and go at will. Mars E. Wagar, a cousin of George, and a favorite of his, was admitted for a time, but was finally told to leave. He did not stand on ceremony in the manner of his going. Wagar had kept his cousin covered with a revolver.
Meantime the women in the house were beside themselves with fright and with the nervous strain in which they were being subjected. Face downward, as he had fallen, lay the dead body of John Wagar. Blood from his wounds had saturated the carpet. Later, by permission of George Wagar, who was patrolling the house, revolver in hand, the women were allowed to place the body of John in another room. They had discovered early in the night that there was no need of a doctor and had never been so far as John was concerned. Hall's first thought, when he gained entrance to the house in order to protect his mother, was to see if John was really beyond human aid. Cold forehead and breathless lips told the story only too convincingly.
Inside the house terror reigned in every heart except that of Wagar, who appeared recklessly cool and who was in the mood to joke grimly. Outside, in the blizzard, were the officers, impatient to capture Wagar and put an end to their frigid vigil. There was talk of burning the house, that Sheriff Mulhern would not allow that, nor would he countenance firing on the house until the women should be removed from it. The riot gun, a sort of short-barreled repeating shotgun, loaded with buckshot, had been brought from the Town Hall at Lakewood, and was ready to be trained on the Wagar homestead as soon as the sheriff should give the word.
Sergeant Isaacs determined to try diplomacy, since force was out of the question. He called Wagar on the telephone and was told he might come to the house at 7 o'clock in the morning, if he came alone. Wagar said he wanted to make his will and after making it would be ready to surrender. Isaacs was preparing to start at the time agreed upon, when Hall, the yound man who had been with Wagar, rushed out of the house and warned Isaacs that Wagar did not intend to keep his word with him. Isaacs needed no second warning, but desisted at once.
Then the sheriff counseled with Hall as to how the women might be removed and Hall said he thought he could arrange it. He went back into the house and presently appeared carrying Mrs. Wagar, the mother of the two men in the house, one dead by the hand of the other. Mrs. Ashley and Mrs. Hall followed.
Some time elapsed after the coming out of Hall and the women before the officers agreed on any plan of action. Finally it was decided to fire on the house and cause Wagar to exhaust his ammunition in replying. But this idea was never carried out. To one man was to belong the glory of making the capture.
Carrying a rifle on his arm, Tony Marshall dashed up to the Wagar home, closely followed by Marshal Coffinberry and Patrolman Franklin of Lakewood, about 9 o'clock. Fifteen minutes later George Wagar was his prisoner. A few minutes before this Marshall had been sworn in as a special deputy by Marshal Coffinberry. When he appeared on the scene his neighbors recognized him and they all shouted and cheered him. They knew his daring. But when he rushed up to the rear of the home his friends and the patrolmen cried to him to look out or he would be shot.
Not heeding these cried of warning, Marshall ran up close to the side of the house and with two shots from the rifle he broke two panes of glass in an upstairs window. Then he shot through the windows on the ground floor. Every shot was aimed at the bottom of the window, so that the leaden missiles would rake the rooms. Coffinberry and Franklin, in front, shot at the front windows. When this had been done, Marshall, closely followed by Coffinberry, ran in the front door.
Coffinberry covered the stairway, while Marshall went from room to room. Franklin, rifle in hand, was on Marshall's heels. Every time Marshall kicked open a door or went into a room, Franklin was ready to fire, at a moment's notice, at anyone who would try to shoot Marshall.
Meanwhile the half hundred of Cleveland police on the scene gathered around the house and ran into the place. Every room on the ground floor was soon filled with patrolmen and deputy sheriffs.
Marshall, however, found a stairway leading from the dining room upstairs.
While everyone held his breath, Marshall crept up the stairs. Then he returned.
"The man's right upstairs in this room," he told the policemen.
Then he shouted up the stairway, "George!" He cried in all four times before he received a surly, curt reply, "Well, what is it?"
"Hello, George," answered Marshall. "Come on downstairs. There's a lot of your friends downstairs."
There was no answer, and so Marshall traded his shotgun for a revolver and made his way stealthily up the stairs again. This time Wagar heard him and demanded to know who it was. Marshall told him his name, and Wagar, who had known him intimately for some time, told him not to come up the stairs or he would be shot.
"Don't come up, Tony," pleaded Wagar; "I don't want to kill you."
Marshall crept on up the stairs.
Over the balustrade he saw Wagar fumbling among the bed clothing. Marshall jumped into the room and covered Wagar with his revolver.
"Stop!" he cried. But Wagar did not stop.
Then Marshall ran to the bed and placed his revolver against Wagar's side and said, "Now, stir, George, and I'll kill you."
While he covered Wagar with the revolver in one hand, Marshall's other hand was busy searching the bed clothing. He was more successful in his hunt than Wagar, and in a minute he extracted the revolver from between the sheets.
When Wagar saw that Marshall had his revolver, he said:
"You've got me, Tony; I'm your man."
Franklin and Coffinberry appeared then and guarded by the three men Wagar was taken downstairs.
The Cleveland police wanted to take the prisoner, but he was dressed, placed in a car and taken to the Lakewood police station.
After being in a cell a few minutes, Wagar requested to see Attorney Jacobe H. Schoen, who was present at that time. After he had had a short talk with Schoen, Judge Blandin was called up over the telephone, and told to meet the prisoner and his attorney at the county jail.
A few minutes later a cab drove up to the side of the prison and, handcuffed to Patrolman Franklin, Wagar was led from his cell. He staggered considerably and seemed to be in a state of physical collapse.
At the jail, he was turned over to Sheriff Mulhern. Then he was booked. He gave his age as fifty-two, and said he was born in Lakewood.
Soon after he was locked up Judge Blandin hurried into the jail and he and Schoen went into Wagar's cell to have a talk with him.
Hall, who was in the house during most of the night, had an interesting tale to tell of his experiences.
"There was not a minute," Hall said, "when George Wagar did not have me covered with his revolver. Most of the time he had me writing wills for him. He dictated them. Thinking to keep him occupied in that way, I declared, after each draft of a will, had been finished that it was no good for the reason there was nobody to witness it. Then George would tear up that will and have me begin another.
"George kept a bead on me even when he sent me down cellar after cider for him. He stood at the head of the stairs with a light in his hand. At times he would make me go into the room, where his brother lay dead. He seemed to have no exact purpose in doing this.
"In the house at the same time were my mother, Wagar's mother, and Wagar's two sisters. I was not afraid he would do any of us violence except when he proposed that my mother and I watch him commit suicide."
Hall's haggard face, when he came out of the house Wednesday morning, was an unmistakeable index of the horrors of the night he had spent in the company of George Wagar.
John Klaaymer, the policeman who was seriously injured by Wagar's bullet, was born in 1867 in the village of Pemberville, Wood County, Ohio. He is a married man and has several children. He became a member of the Lakewood police force three years ago and had hitherto distinguished himself as an efficient and brave police officer.
At 1 p.m. his condition was declared to be as favorable as might be expected. He was operated upon at St. John's Hospital at 2 a.m. Wednesday. The house physician at the hospital said that it was impossible to tell whether or not he would recover.
Mrs. E.R. Hall, when interviewed for the WORLD, said she went in the Wagar residence at about 9 o'clock Tuesday night to see the old lady, Mrs. I.D. Wagar, and the latter's daughter, Mrs. Laura Ashley.
"I was sitting with the two women and the Wagar brothers in the living room George appeared angry and talked, rather incoherently, when he took part in any of the conversations.
"At at about 10:30 o'clock George tried to get John to read a letter. John refused, and George struck at him, hitting instead, however, his sister, Mrs. Ashley, who tried to prevent a fight, and was rendered unconscious by the force of the blow from her brother's fist.
"'You brute,' John exclaimed.
"Then George whipped out his revolver from a holster and fired at John, who fell into the adjoining bedroom, pulling the door shut after him. George fired several times through the door.
"Mrs. Wagar, the old lady, screamed and went upstairs to her bedroom, where she fell in a swoon. Mrs. Ashley was still unconscious from the blow in her face. I was the only person left to face the murderer. I asked him if he were going to shoot me.
"'I would not touch a hair on your head,' he replied. 'I'm very sorry I struck Laura,' he continued, as he stooped over the prostrate form of his sister. Then he walked out of the room.
"I revived Mrs. Ashley, and we telephoned in Dr. McClure."
"About 5 o'clock George left his post, where he had been watching the policemen who were guarding his house, and went in the bedroom on the first floor, where his brother was lying.
"He pushed open the door. Then he dragged his brother's body into the room farther, turned it over on its back, straightened the limbs, and stretched out the body. Then he left the room and went upstairs to again take up his vigil.
"He undressed, then, and wore his underclothing and a bathrobe, which was his garb when arrested.
"The body was left in the second bedroom by the police, who locked it in, pending the arrival of the coroner."
The Wagar family has been prominent in the county for many years, both I.D. and Adam Wagar, the latter of whom is still living at the age of eighty years, being well-known men. The first Wagar came to the county in 1820. What is known as the Wagar estate, now in process of settlement by administration, consists of the property, largely situated in Lakewood, left by the late Mars Wagar, the father of the man who did the shooting last night and of the man who was killed.
John Wagar, the murdered man, was the administrator of the estate. The home at Detroit street and Hall avenue, which has been in a state of siege during the night and morning of Wednesday, is the old Wagar homestead. The father died a year ago, leaving his wife, three sons and four daughters.
Two of the sons had been in the West. John arrived from Dakota two weeks ago; George also returned recently from the West, after an absence of twenty years. William Wagar, their brother, said Wednesday that George had been in Texas and that John had been on the ranges in the Dakotas and Montana, so that both men were accustomed to the use of firearms. Both went armed. They had been quarreling over the administration of the estate, according to other members of the family. George, it is said, maintained his brother was trying to give him the worst of it in the division of the property.
The sisters of John Wagar and his slayer are Mrs. Brown, Mrs. Ashley, Mrs. Loveland and Mrs. Baker. All live in this county except Mrs. Loveland, who resides in New York.
Mars E. Wagar, the cousin who went into the house during the night, is in the insurance and realty business in Cleveland. He was formerly a member of the Cleveland library board and is one of the best known men in the city. Ernest Hall, the other cousin who was admitted to the house during the night is an attorney in the Society for Savings Building.
George Wagar is a man about five feet six inches tall, stockily built, wears a heavy mustache and has a weather-beaten appearance, due to outdoor living in the West. His face, since his arrest, has been subject to a nervous twitching most of the time.
He is fifty-two years of age and his brother, whom he killed, was about two years older.
Deputy Coroner Kepke viewed the body of John Wagar Wednesday morning. The coroner's inquest will begin Thursday morning.
Mrs. Wagar, the mother of George and John, is eighty-six years old and very feeble. It was necessary to carry her to the house of a neighbor. She is described as being nearly crazed by grief and in a precarious condition from nervous exhaustion.
24:11 423 FELONIES HERE DURING LAST YEAR
LAKEWOOD SUN POST -- January 19, 1967
Lakewood police are nearly as good as their television counterparts.
Nationwide, the robbers win about 75 per cent of the time.
Here, the police are catching the robbers 70.6 per cent of the time.
POLICE records show 423 felonies (serious crimes) were committed in Lakewood last year. Almost 300 already have been solved.
Police did more crime solving last year than they did the year before. There were 423 crimes committed both years. But in 1965, the solution rate was only 52 per cent.
While serious crime rate stayed the same, misdemeanors are becoming less a problem in Lakewood. The department's year-end report shows 1385 misdemeanors in 1965 compared to only 1253 in 1966.
THERE WERE fewer juvenile offenses last year too.
Youngsters were arrested only 319 times in 1966, compared to 428 times the year before.
Other year-end statistics show there were two more traffic accidents last year (1505), the same number of traffic deaths (seven), but 78 fewer injuries (430).
More than 7500 traffic citations were handed out in 1965, compared with only 6243 last year.
EVEN parking tickets were down.
More than 21,000 were slapped on windows in 1965. Only 18,879 were issued last year.
Chief Joseph S. McMahon says the national crime rate, according to the FBI, is up 8 per cent nationally.
He says he's pleased that percentages here of juvenile offenders is decreasing.
Even though the picture is bright, McMahon says he needs more help. Another 12 men, according to the chief, would enable the department to create a traffic squad.
24:12 MAJOR CRIMES JUMP IN LAKEWOOD
CLEVELAND PRESS -- January 15, 1968
The number of felonies -- the major crimes such as robbery, arson, house-breakings and auto thefts -- increased 54% in Lakewood last year.
However, misdemeanors such as indecent conduct and petty larcenies up to $60 in value decreased 8.8% in the same period.
Lakewood Police Chief Joseph S. McMahon, in his year-end report to be read at tonight's Council meeting states the jump in felonies was from 423 to 642. Of the total, 291 were solved.
PRELIMINARY FIGURES indicate the greatest increases in the felony classification were in auto thefts and burglaries. McMahon today said auto thefts were spread throughout the city and that the burglary increases were in no particular geographic area but primarily in apartment buildings.
The number of juveniles identified or arrested in felonies was 142, a 100% increase over 1966 figures. The number of adults involved in felonies, 89, is a 5.3% decrease.
The solution rate for felonies was 45.3%, which compares with the national average of approximately 25%.
THERE WERE 401 juveniles involved in misdemeanors, a 26% increase, and 721 adults, a 1.3% increase. Of the 1139 misdemeanor cases, 522 were solved, a six per cent decrease.
"Felony increases in the past year were staggering, but the solution rates in both felonies and misdemeanors remained high," the chief said. "Traffic arrests showed an appreciable increase."
There was a total of 6164 traffic arrests made last year with only 585 juvenile offenders and the remainder, adults. The 585 represents a 16% increase over 1966 juvenile traffic arrests.
McMAHON HAS REQUESTED Council's approval to hire six additional police to bring the department's strength to 80.
"This size force should allow us to bring more traffic pressure and perhaps reduce all crime categories," the chief concluded.
24:13 LAKEWOOD POLICE CATCH CROOKS FASTER THAN NATIONAL AVERAGE
LAKEWOOD LEDGER -- January 18, 1968
"The upheaval of personnel that was experienced in 1966 continued through the year of 1967," says Chief of Police Joseph McMahon.
McMahon, in submitting a departmental report to city council for the year of 1967, noted that "five superior officers, two detectives, and three patrolmen, all having at least 25 years, retired from the department and 17 new men were added to the force.
"However, a more stable force is anticipated after the present year," McMahon told council.
The annual report noted an enormous increase in felonies in Lakewood, which soared 54% over the 1966 figure. In 1966 there were 423 felonies as compared to 642 in 1967.
One bright spot is that there has been a sharp increase in solving felonies. Two hundred and ninety one cases were solved in 1967 as compared to 199 in 1966. This was an increase of 46%, 21% higher than the national average of 25%.
McMahon said "our felony crimes jumped an enormous 54% in 1967. Preliminary figures indicate the greatest increases are in the categories of auto theft and burglaries. Solutions to our felonies are up and our solution rate, as compared to the national average, is very impressive."
McMahon's recommendations for the new year included the addition of six new patrolmen to the force to bring the department up to 80 persons. "This size force should allow us to bring more traffic pressures and perhaps reduce all crime categories," McMahon speculated.
While the police had their problems in the year 1967, Lakewood firemen enjoyed a sizeable decrease in fire alarms and actual fires.
However, the decrease in alarms and fires, did not hold down the total fire loss. Fires in Lakewood last year caused $627,500 in damages to buildings and contents, an increase of $190,575 over the previous year.
Two big fires accounted for $500,000 in fire losses and those occurred at Bowling City Lanes, 13900 Detroit Avenue ($400,000) and at a dwelling located at 17850 Lake Road ($100,000). The $100,000 fire accounted for the only serious injury due to fire when an explosion ripped through the home. Oddly enough, both fires occurred on the same day, April 1.
All in all, it was a good year for the fire department. No budget requests were submitted to council by either department to date.
24:14 CRIME UP IN '67 BUT SO ARE SOLUTIONS, MCMAHON REPORTS
LAKEWOOD SUN POST -- January 25, 1968
"It was a terrible year for crime in Lakewood last year," admits Lakewood Police Chief Joseph S. McMahon.
Felony increases in 1967 were "staggering," he notes--but adds that the solution of major crimes and misdemeanors remained high.
McMahon, who will complete his second year as chief this June, said the solution rate of felonies, 45.3%, indicates the police department "has done another good job."
He cited the national average -- about 25% -- when it was pointed out the police solve less than half the major crimes committed in the city.
FELONIES in 1967 increased 54%. McMahon explained the greatest jump was in auto thefts and house break-ins. There were 193 auto thefts and 150 house break-ins, his report stated. The chief said these two catagories accounted for more than half the felonies.
He further explained the auto thefts were the hardest type crimes to solve.
"A kid swipes a car--runs it a few miles, then dumps the vehicle, leaving few, if any, clues and making a most difficult case," is how he puts it. He said that of 193 autos stolen, 22 of the crimes were solved.
THERE WERE 642 felonies committed last year, according to McMahon. This is 219 more than were committed in 1966. However, in 1966, 191 of the cases were solved while last year 291 cases were closed. So, while the felonies increased 54%, solutions rose 46%.
On a much brighter side, McMahon reported that motor vehicle accidents for 1967 increased "a minimal 11 or .7% while the average increase in auto mishaps throughout the county was 10 to 15%."
Traffic fatalities also were down, with only three deaths last year as compared to seven in 1966. Besides this there were 22% more arrests for traffic violations.
"This increase of enforcement led to the fewer fatalities and the low increase in accidents," McMahon asserted.
THE CHIEF, a veteran of 22 years on the force, claims the 45% higher solution rate of major crimes in Lakewood for the past five years is "a good record."
However, he felt it could be better if the detective bureau of two officers and six men could be increased. McMahon also has asked council to add six additional policemen to bring the force up to 80 men.
Among the major crimes committed last year were three homicides--two of which are still unsolved. In October, 52-year-old Mrs. Helen J. Tietjen was stabbed to death in her Gold Coast apartment. In May, Mrs. Paul Lyons was shot to death in her home and her husband severely wounded.
The solved homicide involved the slaying of a 90-year-old woman of Fry Avenue. The murder was attributed to the woman's daughter who is now in a mental institution.
CHIEF MCMAHON was asked why crime was getting worse in Lakewood. His response was that if he knew perhaps it would be easier to solve them.
He said that besides beefing up the department, citizens could lend a hand.
24:15a LAKEWOOD CRIME CASES JUMP; Court Has 33% Increase
PLAIN DEALER -- February 26, 1970
The case load in the criminal branch of the Lakewood Municipal Court last year reached 9,139, a third more than the number filed in 1968.
That figure is part of the annual report released yesterday by Judge Richard L. McNelly. The judge noted that, despite the sharp increase, the trial docket is less than six months behind arrest dates for nonjury trials and eight months behind in jury trial assignments.
THE FUNDS HANDLED BY all departments of the court totaled $476,893.54 in 1969, an increase of $57,504.53 from the previous year.
There were 2,208 civil cases handled, a number Judge McNelly called "an astonishing increase" from the previous year. Net receipts of the civil branch were $117,508.51.
There were 20,499 parking tickets paid within 48 hours of issuance at $1 each and 2,474 at $5 paid after the deadline.
Speeding far outpaced all other traffic cases, total violations in that category being 2,449. Next in number of infractions was violation of traffic lights or signs, a total of 1,831.
INTOXICATION HEADED the list of misdemeanors or felonies with 290 cases tried. There were 45 disorderly conduct cases, 19 petit larcenies, 22 indecent conduct cases and 25 burglaries.
The court paid the city $251,803.20 during the year, the figure including costs, fines and forfeitures. The cost of the court operation was $91,572.98.
24:15b LOW CRIME RATE ATTRIBUTED TO POLICE
LAKEWOOD SUN POST -- August 27, 1970
Lakewood has the lowest crime record of any city of similar size in Cuyahoga County and the sixth lowest of 159 American cities in the 50,000-100,000 population group reporting to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, according to the 1969 issue of Uniform Crime Reports, annual FBI publication.
"Our crime is up, as it is in practically every city in the country, but I am happy to know that we still maintain a good picture nationally in our population group," Police Chief Joseph S. McMahon said in announcing the figures.
Lakewood's rating in the FBI crime index, a national tally of seven different crimes, is 482. The figure represents the total number of crimes reported in the suburb in 1969 in the following categories: criminal homicide (1), robbery (15), forcible rape (2), aggravated assault (14), burglary (197), larcency over $50 (27) and auto theft (226).
INDEXES of other Cleveland suburbs in the 50-to-100,000 class, as reported by the federal agency: Euclid 704, Parma 1337 and Cleveland Heights 1389. Ratings in the 25 to 50,000 category showed East Cleveland 1121, Maple Heights 662. The figure for Shaker Heights was reported as incomplete.
The Cleveland index was reported as 49,623, which placed it 50th among the 58 cities in the "over 250,000" population group.
Lakewood Mayor Robert M. Lawther expressed great satisfaction with the FBI report.
"It proves what we already knew--that we have a first rate police force, with dedicated officers and men who are sincerely concerned with doing the best job they can," he said.
"It also reflects our continuing policy of encouraging additional training for police officers and in upgrading the level of new recruits through our police cadet training program."
24:16a LAKEWOOD CRIME RATE IS STILL LOW
CLEVELAND PRESS -- August 31, 1971
Lakewood in 1970 maintained the lowest crime rate in the state for cities its size for the third successive year.
"I am very pleased that we were able to do this in view of the constantly increasing rates of crime through the United States and in our area," Chief Joseph McMahon said.
The chief cited the annual FBI Uniform Crime Report released today. It covers 245 cities in Lakewood's 50,000 to 100,000 population group.
The city also retained its position for the second successive year of being sixth lowest in the country in its population group.
However, Lakewood as well as Parma and Parma Heights showed increases in the seven major crimes.
Lakewood's total was up from 482. Parma increased 26% from 1337 to 1680. In Parma Heights the index count raised from 434 to 454.
This is in contrast to such eastern suburbs as South Euclid, East Cleveland, Euclid, Garfield Heights and Maple Heights which reported decreases last year.
THE 1970 REPORT gave Lakewood a crime index of 500. The highest is Compton, Calif., with 10,092 and the lowest, Weymouth, Mass., 319.
The count in other Ohio cities in the class for last year was Cleveland Heights, 1286; Elyria, 1028; Euclid, 665; Hamilton, 2067; Kettering, 1118; Lima, 1888; Lorain, 2654; Springfield, 1592, and Warren, 2122.
The count is based on seven major crimes.
Lakewood's last year were one murder or non-negligent manslaughter, two forcible rapes, 23 robberies, 21 aggravated assaults, 182 burglaries, 30 larcenies of $50 or more and 241 auto thefts.
24:16b CITY CRIME RATE LOWEST IN OHIO
LAKEWOOD SUN POST -- September 30, 1971
Lakewood for the second year in a row had the lowest crime rate for Ohio cities in the 50,000 to 100,000 population group. Nationally Lakewood ranks sixth in crime rate in this population category, according to the FBI Uniform Crime reports for 1970.
The figures published for release on Aug. 31, showed that 245 cities in the 50,000 to 100,000 population group submitted reports. Lowest crime index was Weymouth, Mass., with a crime index of 319. Highest index was of 10,092 reported from Compton, Cal. Lakewood's rate was 500.
24:17 AUTO THEFTS HERE SET RECORD 2 MONTHS IN ROW
LAKEWOOD SUN POST -- December 2, 1971
Three more stolen cars last week pushed Lakewood to its second straight record-setting month for auto thefts.
Cars were taken at a rate of more than one a day in November when 35 autos were reported stolen. That breaks by one the record set in October. The latest incidents push to 259 the number of cars taken this year -- already 18 vehicles more than were stolen in 1970.
The Gold Coast once again was prime target last week. A 1969 Camaro was reported missing from the Carlyle Tower parking lot, 12900 Lake Ave., 4:14 p.m., Nov. 23. That evening, a 1966 Pontiac was taken from the Winton Place parking lot, 12700 Lake Ave.
A 1968 Camaro was also stolen Nov. 23 at 6:47 p.m. from 2095 Lark Ave., in the city's southeast corner.
Auto tamperings reported last week included a slashed convertible top near the Gold Coast, 12002 Lake Ave., 8:10 p.m., Nov. 24.
Captain Richard Keller, who heads Lakewood's detective bureau, again urged residents to lock their cars.
"These cars are not being taken for joyrides as was the case before," he said. "More and more, we are recovering cars completely stripped."
There is "no real pattern" being followed by local car thieves, Capt. Keller said. "All kinds of cars are being taken." The Gold Coast line of apartments was cited previously as the prime location because of the number of cars parked outside.
Police Chief Joseph S. McMahon has promised extra surveillance but warned his department has no patrols to spare now.
Lakewood Municipal Court Judge Harold J. Craig has also predicted stiffer fines for persons convicted of auto theft or tampering.
24:18a CAR THEFTS ON RISE
LAKEWOOD SUN POST -- January 6, 1972
Unfortunately for Lakewood motorists, car thefts are not fading into memories of 1971--they are very much a part of the city's new year.
Good police work in the first half of December was wiped out by a disastrous second half to push Lakewood to a record year for stolen cars.
Twenty-seven thefts in December brought the city's 1971 total to 282, 41 higher than 1970 and 56 more thefts than in 1969.
THE LAST three months of last year were particularly bad, accounting for 94, or one-third of all thefts. And Police Chief Joseph S. McMahon admits his men have been able to do little but change the sections of the city that are victimized because of his manpower problems.
"We were able to reduce auto thefts in the northeast corner of town (the Gold Coast area)," Chief McMahon said, "but then we noted a tremendous increase south of Madison Avenue and east of Warren Road. It was just bulk stealing there in the last half of December."
The chief said, "All we're doing is relocating the problem by losing the auto thieves for awhile. We're going to have to make these changes of concentration of personnel more often than we have in the past to get at these people."
McMahon admitted that "not having enough men contributes to my problem."
MOST OFTEN STOLEN are cars five years old, McMahon said. Although he urged citizens to "doublecheck" their cars to make sure they're locked, he said thieves have been breaking windows in cars they want.
Cars stolen this week include: 1 1964 Chevrolet from Lakeland Avenue, a 1972 Cadillac from Edgewater Drive, a 1963 Chevrolet from Waterbury Avenue, a 1966 Oldsmobile from Clarence Avenue, another 1963 Chevrolet from Waterbury Avenue, a 1964 Plymouth from Newman Avenue, and a 1963 Chevrolet from Lark Avenue.
Dec. 29 - Jan. 4
7 cars stolen in Lakewood last week. Most were unlocked.
24:18b AUTO THEFTS DOWN IN CITY
LAKEWOOD SUN POST -- January 4, 1973
Year end statistics provided by the Lakewood Police Department indicate that the department may have reversed the trend towards more and more stolen autos each year.
The final count shows 247 cars were stolen in Lakewood during 1972. Detective Donald Cleary, who has kept track of stolen cars since 1968, released these five-year figures:
"It's hard to explain the drop," Cleary said. "The law of supply and demand probably has something to do with it. After all the publicity given to "hot" car sales in the papers, people are wary of the "real good buy" someone wants to give them."
24:19 LAKEWOOD HAS LEAST CRIME IN U.S., POLL SHOWS
CLEVELAND PRESS -- November 12, 1973
Crime in Lakewood is the lowest in the nation.
So says a poll published in the December issue of Esquire magazine in which Lakewood has been named America's most crime-free city.
Another Cleveland suburb, Euclid, was ranked sixth.
Cleveland, didn't fare as well. It was placed far down on the list -- 351st -- of a Poll which included 396 cities throughout the United States with populations of more than 50,000.
Washington was ranked as the most crime-ridden city in the nation.
The poll was conducted by David Franke, co-author of the book "Safe Places." He collected the number of felonies reported by each city, then fed them into a computer matching them against each city's population to determine crime rates.
The categories included crimes of murder, robbery, forcible rape, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, involving property worth more than $50 and auto theft.
The last year for which Franke could get data, 1970 and 1971, were used as the base years.
Franke says the crime rate in Lakewood (population 70,000) is kept down by bright mercury-vapor street lights, a 75-man police force and criminal files that Lakewood police claim to be the best in the area.
He quotes Frank W. Payne, Euclid's police chief, crediting his suburb: "The omnipresence of uniformed police is the most tangible factor in keeping our crime down. It's a show of police strength."
Euclid's population is about 72,000.
Others in the top 10 safest cities are Rome, N.Y.; Weymouth, Mass.; Utica, N.Y.; Nashua, N.H.; Provo, Utah; Greenwich, Conn.; Florissant, Mo., and Westland, Mich.
Listed as America's 10 worst crime cities were:
Compton, Calif. (a suburb of Los Angeles); Newark, N.J.; Detroit; Pontiac, Mich.; San Francisco; Wilmington, Del., Oakland, Calif.; Cambridge, Mass.; Denver, and Washington.
24:20 STOLEN AUTO REPORTS DOWN
LAKEWOOD SUN POST -- January 3, 1974
Reports of stolen cars dipped to a five-year low in Lakewood in 1973.
As of Dec. 28, 211 autos were reported stolen in the city, the police department said, as compared to 253 last year and 291 in 1971.
These are the stolen car statistics from the last six years:
1973--211 (unofficial total)
Police Chief Charles C. Petro cited several factors int he declining stolen auto rate.
"One of the most important factors has been the various publicity campaigns directed toward the problem of auto theft," Petro said. "The Lock It or Lose It message has come home to many car owners through these campaigns," he said.
"ALSO A change in the locking methods installed in cars by the manufacturers has made it more difficult for the casual, non-professional thief to take a car."
Petro said an effort by his department to step up patrols in the Gold Coast apartment area has reduced thefts from parking lots there.
"We attempt to prosecute each chance we get," he added, "so a car thief knows that in Lakewood there is a 50-50 chance he will be charged with auto theft and will find us open to no plea bargaining."
24:21 SAFEST CITY STILL SAFE CRIME STATISTICS SHOW
LAKEWOOD SUN POST -- October 31, 1974
Lakewood's crime rate neither dipped nor rose dramatically last year despite new definitions and methods of reporting statistics to the FBI.
But those same figures may not be so stable this year, according to Police Chief Charles Petro.
FBI Uniformed Crime Reports released recently show increases in aggravated assault and larceny last year and recorded drops in auto theft and robbery.
Eight larceny cases reported in 1972 jumped to 920 last year, but the substantial rise is deceiving, Petro said. For the first time last year, police included bike theft in that category and scratched the monetary cutoff used in reporting larceny. In 1972, stolen property less than $50 was not included under that breakdown.
The 34 aggravated assaults reported in 1973 rose 42 percent over the previous year. Breaking and entering crimes increased slightly from 233 reported in 1972 to 248 last year.
Auto theft dropped 13 percent, with 212 autos recorded stolen last year compared to 243 in 1972. The 22 robberies occuring in the city last year represented a 15 percent jump over the previous year.
Last year, felonies overall increased by eight percent and misdemeanors rose nearly 10 percent.
Petro said citizens here are more likely to report crime when it occurs than in some other communities. "We believe we do better in reporting than in most cities" he said.
"Considering the community and proximity in a large urban area, Lakewood is still a safe community in which you can walk down the street at night without fear of crime," said Petro.
So far this year, statistics kept by the police show a marked increase in larceny, Petro said, with bike thefts again up dramatically. Thieves are shunning parks and playgrounds now, instead stealing increasing numbers from backyards and garages. The shift is likely due to stepped up patrol in public areas, he said.
Statistics for the first nine months of the year also show a rise in burglaries and continued drop in auto theft.
24:22-23 CRIME IN CITY CONTINUES TO DROP, STATISTICS SHOW
LAKEWOOD SUN POST -- December 7, 1978
Is crime decreasing in Lakewood? Police Chief Charles Petro said statistics seem to be pointing that way -- at least as far as one major type of crime is concerned.
Petro said motor vehicle thefts have dropped from 262 as an average in 1970 and 1971 to 204 for 1977, "and we have indications, at least from the first three-quarters of this year, that the number will decrease again."
He noted there have been decreases in other types of crimes, including larcenies, forcible rapes and criminal homicides, in the city during the past few years.
"THESE DECREASES can be attributed to two things, either a decrease in the number of crimes or a decrease in the reporting of such crimes," Petro told the Sun Post in an interview last week.
"I like the first prospect -- a decrease in the number of crimes -- because it means the efforts to develop community awareness -- the efforts of various community service groups over the past two years -- are paying off.
"It also means that supportive action of all three branches of city government is paying off," Petro said, noting the past two mayors (William Blackie and Anthony Sinagra) have recommended and approved additional money to keep the police department at full strength, and the finance committee and city council as a whole have voted their approval of the moves.
"On top of financial support, we have the support of our local court. Judge (Harold) Craig operates a firm, fair, no-nonsense court which lets offenders and would-be offenders know they will get more than a slap on the wrist if found guilty.
"Last, but not least, I believe an aggressive, alert, able and responsive police department contributes. I realize some of these statements sound horribly political and self-serving, but remember they are being made after an election -- not before," Petro added.
"FINALLY, IT supports what I have said for years -- that crime can only be reduced by the cooperative effort of citizens and their government," he said.
He said the fact that people may not be reporting as many crimes as previously does not seem a viable argument. "There are two types of crimes that are reported almost every time they occur -- criminal homicide and auto theft. Fortunately, we do not have enough homicide to use it as an indicator, but we do have enough auto theft. For the first three-quarters of 1978 auto theft has dropped 20 percent in comparison to 1977. It becomes then an indicator to support the overall drop in crime rate," he added.
Petro noted there had apparently been an increase in crimes committed in Lakewood around 1972, shortly after he assumed the police chief's post. He blamed much of this on changes in the reporting procedures for crimes, especially those required to be logged by the federal government for the Uniform Crime Report (UCR). These major crimes include criminal homicides, forcible rapes, robberies, aggravated assaults, burglaries, larcenies and motor vehicle thefts.
He said changes in the amount of crime consist of good and bad news, with major crimes in the UCR up 8 percent for 1977 with a national decrease of 3 percent. In Lakewood's population group, however (50,000 to 100,000), the city's UCR crime index is among the low 25 reporting areas in the country and is third in the state.
"MORE GOOD news -- for the first time since 1971, total reported crime for 1977, which amounted to 3,700, decreased in comparison to 1976. The best news is that for the first three-quarters of 1978, UCR crime dropped 15 percent and total reported crime dropped 11 percent in comparison to the same period in 1977," Petro noted.
Petro said the changes in laws have also affected crime and its reporting, with changes in the drug laws (reducing possession of marijuana to a misdemeanor) as among those having the greatest impact locally.
In 1974 the criminal laws of the state and the city were completely revised, Petro noted, and that included the advent of titled penalties. The vast majority of traffic offenses and about half of the criminal offenses are now considered minor misdemeanors, which means a maximum penalty of $100 and no jail time.
"Since Oct. 25, through an act of the state legislature, the basic rule of law states that a person shall not be arrested without a warrant for commission of a minor misdemeanor," Petro said.
"WHILE THERE are some exceptions to this rule, most persons will only be cited -- that is, issued a ticket -- for either a general offense or traffic offense or other minor misdemeanor and will be released on their signature. Strangely enough, a person cited outside the court jurisdiction of his residence for a traffic offense could be required to post his valid Ohio driver's license as a bond, but regardless of his residence, could generally not be required to post bond for commission of a general offense misdemeanor," Petro noted.
"As an example, if you consider 'shooting the moon' as disorderly conduct rather than indecent conduct and under the law it would be appropriate to do so, a person might have 'mooned' Vice President Walter Mondale during his recent visit here and he might only have been issued a citation -- an offense citation, that is.
"We are waiting to see the full effect of this law, but we could soon find about half of the police officers issuing citations while the other half chase those who fail to appear in court. I can tell you that is already a serious problem -- chasing the scofflaws -- and I can only see it becoming worse," Petro warned.
PETRO SAID the police department is about to undergo a tremendous change in personnel, with two captains, one lieutenant, one detective and one patrolman ready to retire between now and April. "All of these people will have to be replaced," he noted. He said the city administration has been cooperative with him, allowing him to appoint six new patrolmen last May in anticipation of these retirements.
"Those six new men will be about ready to go out on patrol alone by the time the retirements hit," he said. Petro noted it takes about nine months to a year to train new patrolmen efficiently. There are currently 86 officers in the police department, but when the five retire, the department will be back at its usual force of 81.
Petro said the department has remained basically the same since he assumed the chief's post in July 1972, with the biggest change being the authorization to hire and train new officers in preparation for retirements.
24:24 CRIME IS UP DESPITE DROP DURING 1978
LAKEWOOD SUN POST -- December 6, 1979
Although Lakewood posted a 12 percent decrease in crimes reported to police in 1978 in recently released FBI statistics, it is clear 1979 reports will show an upward swing.
According to national uniform crime statistics for 1978 released by the FBI last month, the number of crimes reported to police in Lakewood in 1978 was 1,840, while in 1977 some 2,079 were reported.
THE LARGEST decreases between the two years were in aggravated assault, down to 55 from 101 in 1977, and robbery, down to 42 from 63 in 1977.
Sixteen to 11 percent decreases from 1977 returns were totaled in the 1,196 larceny-thefts, 363 burglaries and 182 car thefts reported to police in 1978.
Police Chief Charles Petro said the decline in reported crimes can be linked to no single source, although he was glad the city experienced it. Cleveland Heights, Parma, Fairview Park and other Cleveland suburbs also reported decreases that year.
"The decrease is striking because it is counter to the national trends, which showed increases. In 1977, we showed an increase over previous years, and that was contrary to the national trend," Petro said. In 1978, most types of crime increased 2 to 7 percent, while murders decreased 2 percent nationally.
For 1979, the number of crimes reported to police will again increase, Petro said, which he expects to correspond to the national trend.
As of the end of October, the latest date for which figures are available, Lakewood citizens reported 1,939 offenses to police, more than were reported in all of 1978. For the period ending in October, 11 percent more offenses were reported this year than in the same period last year, according to Petro's statistics.
Crimes reported to police by October's end break down this way: three murders, four rapes, 33 robberies, 64 aggravated assaults, 275 burglaries, 1,135 larceny-thefts and 166 car thefts.
Aggravated assaults are defined as attacks with the intent to do bodily harm, while larceny-thefts cover the taking of property, including shoplifting, purse snatching and bike thefts.
WHILE NO murders were reported in 1978, four were reported in Lakewood so far in 1979, one of them after the October cutoff date in the 1979 statistics. "That will make for an astronomical increase in statistical terms, but two were due to domestic quarrels and two were street assaults," Petro said.
Overall, he said, he expects the level of reported crimes in 1979 to return to 1977, levels following the 1978 decline. Petro said that under the 1978 FBI statistics, Lakewood is among the 20 cities having the lowest number of reported crimes in the U.S. for cities with populations between 50,000 and 100,000.
24:25 CRIMES AGAINST PERSONS LED HIKES
LAKEWOOD SUN POST -- February 12, 1981
Crimes against persons, from assaults to rapes, increased more in 1980 in Lakewood than crimes against property.
Crimes and crime attempts reported to Lakewood police in 1980 which fall under the FBI's national uniform crime reporting standards include:
Larceny cases, which cover thefts not involving force or breaking and entering, such as thefts from cars or yards, actually declined 10 percent last year, according to police figures.
Noting the figures include attempts as well as actual crimes, Police Chief Charles Petro said the figures include six rape attempts and six rapes. Four of the rapes involved the woman being taken from the street, along with one rape attempt on the street, he said. The rest of the rapes were residential occurrences.
PETRO SAID one of the rapes occurred in the last quarter of 1980; the rest had occurred earlier. Petro said he's convinced more rapes have occurred than were reported, both in 1979 and 1980.
"A lot depends on the individual involved and whether, due to their personality, they are the type of person to report a rape," Petro said. He acknowledged rape prevention and education efforts may be prompting more women to report the crime.
"It also depends on how the woman believes police will receive her report," he said. "We make every effort to investigate the cases. We've even gone to the length of setting up special details when we suspect someone may be planning a rape," Petro said. Regular police patrols and precautions the women take themselves are keys to combatting rapes, he indicated.
A striking 25 percent upswing was recorded in assault cases.
"We're now seeing a case of simple assault a day and a case of aggravated assault each three days," Petro said. Aggravated assaults, involving the use of a weapon or requiring substantial medical treatment, have doubled in the past two years, from 55 in 1978 to 108 in 1980. In 1979, 76 aggravated assaults were reported. Simple assaults, which require little or no medical treatment, were recorded at 304 cases in 1979 and 369 in 1980.
Petro said he cannot explain the drop in larceny cases -- especially during an economic downturn -- and called the report of 209 auto thefts in 1979 and 1980 "an incredible situation."
"The amazing part is that there is a considerable reversal in auto thefts during different quarters of the two years," Petro said. "In the first quarter of 1980 there were 40 less than in 1979, but in the last quarter of 1980 there were 40 more than in 1979."
Robbery cases increased by 12 percent and burglaries by 13 percent.
WHEN TOTAL uniform crime reports for the year are totaled and compared to 1979, there is an increase of 10 crimes over the year before, a hardly perceptible increase.
"I feel we've held our own in Lakewood, because most cities are looking at a 10 percent increase in reported crimes," Petro said.
But official nationwide figures for comparison will not be available until October 1981, when the FBI will publish its 1980 edition of "Crime in America." The figures Petro released are the same ones that will be used for that report.
Petro said police had a 38 percent clearance rate -- offenses cleared by arrest and prosecution, or identification but not prosecution -- in 1980, clearing 888 of the cases.
However, Petro noted the figures do not reflect all types of police and criminal activity in the city. Items such as misdemeanors are not included in the FBI reports and will not be available for months, Petro said.
24:26 CAR THEFT JUMP LED '81 CRIME SHIFT
LAKEWOOD SUN POST -- February 11, 1982
A dramatic one-year increase in the number of auto thefts was the major change in the number of crimes and attempted crimes reported to police last year in Lakewood.
"We got murdered on auto theft last year," said Police Chief Charles Petro. "The number of larcenies went up, but nothing like the 24 percent increase in auto thefts." Larceny cases increased 9 percent.
THE TWO TYPES of crimes are the only significant changes in crime statistics between the two years. The number of crimes and attempted crimes reported to police last year increased 6.3 percent over 1980 while the crime rate nationally is expected to increase 9 percent, Petro said.
Fifty-one more autos were stolen in Lakewood last year as the number of auto thefts climbed to 260 from 209 in 1980. Petro said the car theft figures are a part of Greater Cleveland's problem with auto theft and cannot be attributed to difficult economic times. The number of auto thefts had stood still at 209 from 1979 to 1980.
"The irony is that we put out as much effort to stem auto theft as in any other year in the department's history," Petro said. "We went to the extent of using unmarked cars and staking out parts of the city waiting for auto thefts to occur and staking out suspected chop shops (shops where stolen cars are dismantled) in Cleveland in hopes of catching some cars from Lakewood coming through."
Crimes and crime attempts reported to Lakewood police which fall under the FBI's national uniform crime reporting standards give this profile of major crimes in 1981 in Lakewood:
But even the new, higher figure for auto thefts should sound familiar to Lakewood residents. Petro points out there were 262 auto thefts in Lakewood in 1970. The number fell drastically to 212 by 1973, a change Petro attributes to the introduction of locking steering wheels.
However, auto theft has taken a more serious turn since the peak periods in the 1960's and early 1970's.
"Then is was mostly joyriding, kids stealing an unlocked car and riding around in it few hours," he said. "Many cars were recovered with little damage. Now, because professionals are at work, only a few are recovered, and most of those are not in running condition. Often the few we get back have been chopped for parts or have been burned."
And the simple precautions -- locked doors and locking steering wheels -- that reduced auto thefts in the past do little to protect against a rapid-working professional.
ONE PROBLEM THE department has with combatting auto theft is that it occurs all over the city. However, Petro said many of the car thefts occur east of Nicholson Avenue and south of Detroit Avenue. That is due, perhaps, to the number of cars parked in the area because of its population density, the quality of cars found on Lakewood's Gold Coast of apartment buildings and the presence of several car dealerships.
Prime targets are cars parked in outdoor parking lots, usually of apartment buildings, and cars parked on streets. "There is easy access, less chance of being seen and even less chance of being noticed," Petro said.
Larceny cases reflect general types of theft that does not fall into the burglary or robbery categories. Some of the increase in larceny cases is due to a flurry of parking meter thefts, a growing number of persons who drive away from self-service gas stations without paying and steady shoplifting enforcement by some stores which employ their own security guards.
The one murder in the city last year remains unsolved and there are no new leads in the Oct. 11 beating death of Ruth McNeil, 78, in her home at 2971 Baxterly Ave.
"Whenever any leads ome in, we jump on them. It's like the other unsolved murders in the city. It's not forgotten. If anything similar happens elsewhere, we also jump on that," Petro said.
Other major crimes show virtually no change from 1980.
ASIDE FROM ASSAULTS, the number of crimes against persons declined slightly last year. "I'm pleased to see it but I have no explanation for it," Petro said.
While an increase in the number of crimes was recorded in 1981, Petro pointed out that the city had had virtually no increase in major crimes recorded by the FBI in from 1979 to 1980. In the FBI's annual uniform crime reports issued for 1980, Lakewood came in among the 20 percent of the cities in the U.S. with low crime rates.
Among the 271 cities its size, in the 50,000 to 100,000 population range, Petro said the FBI report ranks Lakewood at the eighth lowest position -- or eighth best crime rate -- in the nation for cities in its class.
National figures for 1981 will not be available for some time. "But it's safe to say Lakewood is, relatively speaking, still a safe city," Petro said.
24:27 LAKEWOOD POLICE DISPUTE HIGH CAR THEFT STATISTICS
CLEVELAND PRESS -- February 16, 1982
Lakewood police bridled today at what they see as a "selective" insurance survey that left Lakewood with the greatest percentage increase in auto thefts in the state last year.
"Misleading," said Lakewood Police Chief Charles Petro, since only 21 cities were included in the survey.
The survey, by the Ohio Insurance Institute, showed Lakewood registered a 24.4% increase in car thefts last year -- from 209 the year before to 260.
Overall, car thefts in the state declined 2%, said the OII, a non-profit consumer group funded by the insurance industry.
Petro pointed out that, percentages aside, his city has fewer auto thefts than other communities of similar population.
Cleveland continued to lead the state in total number of auto thefts, said OII President John Winchell. Thefts rose from 14,186 in 1980 to 14,962 in 1981 -- an increase of 5.5%.
Other Cleveland area cities included in the survey were Euclid, which saw car thefts drop 9.3% from 410 in 1980 to 372 in 1981, and Parma, where the rate increased 10.7% -- from 392 in 1980 to 434 in 1981.
Several other Greater Cleveland suburban police departments contacted yesterday afternoon were unable to supply auto theft figures. In Westlake, however, police said car thefts jumped from 43 in 1980 to 108 in 1981 -- a 151% increase.
Winchell said a more revealing figure than the percentage is the rate at which cars are stolen from various communities.
For example, he said, one of every 25 cars registered in Cleveland was stolen during 1981. In Lakewood, it was one in every 152 cars; in Parma, one in every 153 cars; and in Euclid, one of every 118 cars.
This figure, too, can be somewhat misleading, Winchell acknowledged, since it does not take into account the large number of commuters who drive into Cleveland every day to work.
Petro said there were some problems with auto theft on the Gold Coast, while Interstate 90 has provided thieves with quick access and easy escape.
24:28 CITY EYES A NEW WAY TO FIGHT CRIME
LAKEWOOD SUN POST -- April 15, 1982
Lakewood council has reviewed several proposals for crime prevention programs over the years without implementing any. This year it plans to put its money where its mouth is.
In the 1982 budget that council recently adopted, council earmarked $25,000 to initiate a crime prevention program. The money would pay the salary of a full-time employee who would implement crime prevention programs and cover program expenses.
BASICS OF the program -- such as what type of credentials the individual should have and how he will generally operate -- are now being developed by Police Chief Charles Petro.
Different crime prevention programs have been discussed by councilmen for years. Generally, all combat crime by making citizens aware of criminal techniques.
Councilman Edward Graham (D-3) said he suggested a program in 1981; unsuccesssful council-at-large candidate Jack Flanagan proposed one last fall; Councilman Thomas Brown (R-at-large) proposed an effort to thwart auto theft in the summer of 1981; and Councilman Trudy Wendling (R-at-large), noting proposals have been discussed before, submitted a prototype at council's April 5 meeting.
Council decided to appropriate funds for the crime prevention program during budget hearings last month as it discussed the police department budget.
"We realized we had talked about crime prevention pgorams before and needed money to implement one. We checked the budget and found we had enough to do it, so we did," Wendling said.
Council President Thomas McBride (D-1) and Wendling suggested appropriating funds for the program. Councilman Thomas Brown (R-at-large) said the proposal was made after council decided not to budget for the purchase of a mobile command center or paddy wagon for the police department costing an estimated $25,000.
Brown said he supported the move because the police department has maintained it lacks personnel to initiate crime prevention programs with existing staff. Council decided unanimously to fund the program at its budget meeting.
"THERE'S A DEFINITE need for a crime prevention program in the city. We hope it can prevent some crimes from occurring in the neighborhoods," McBride said.
Petro said he is defining general parameters of the crime prevention officer's job, but that the particular form of programs the officer will develop will be left to him.
Petro said he is developing criteria for the position which he will submit to council.
"I see a need for police experience, at least at the investigator or detective level so the individual can work meaningfully with police to counter crimes that are occurring. This person should also have some qualities of a salesman to handle the public contact work involved," Petro said.
It is important that whatever crime prevention program is implemented fits the city and the types of crime problems it has, Petro stressed.
"Some targets are apparent, at least as far as occurrence is concerned. Burglary and auto theft are our two major problems. There is also a tendency to prey on older persons who are susceptible to a variety of bunko or con games. Those are basic," Petro said.
Lakewood experienced 260 car thefts in 1981 and 209 in 1980. There were 368 burglaries in 1981 and 363 burglaries in 1980, according to police statistics.
A BASIC CRIME prevention program would generally be designed to reduce opportunities for committing crimes by making citizens aware of steps they can take to, for example, counter burglaries.
However, Petro has made it clear in the past he is no fan of crime prevention programs because he believes they are generally less successful than their proponents pronounce them to be.
"I've not changed my mind, but I will not thwart implementation of a program. The council represents the people and it believes the program is necessary. I will do what I can to get it rolling," Petro said.
IMPLEMENTING a crime prevention program may assist the department in several ways. "It will give us someone who knows about different programs and knows what works and what doesn't. He will be more adept as a speaker and will be able to develop more materials for presentations," Petro said.
While police try to accommodate community groups seeking a speaker on police-related matters, Petro said he has sometimes had to turn them down because no officers with expertise in a particular area were available to speak.
Wendling said consideration will be given to hiring a retired police officer to reduce the fringe benefit costs of the post.
Wendling has suggested Lakewood implement a program similar to one in Vandalia, Ohio, which assigns a crime prevention officer to working with neighborhood volunteer crime watch groups, disseminating crime prevention brochures and giving lectures, and conducting home security inspections.
24:29 3 CHARGED WITH BILKING THOUSANDS
CLEVELAND PRESS -- April 29, 1982
A Lakewood trio, operating from a Gold Coast penthouse suite, bilked several hundred thousand dollars in money and merchandise from thousands of people and businesses across the country, a federal grand jury has charged.
The grand jury returned a 20-count indictment against Henry Daniel Stull, his son, Henry Daniel Stull Jr., and Patricia Mooradian, charging they used the U.S. mails to defraud individuals and businesses.
The elder Stull and Ms. Mooradian reside in Penthouse 2 of the Carlyle Towers, which also served as the headquarters for three companies. Stull Jr. resides in a separate suite at the Carlyle.
The indictment states the three collected $95 each from about 2,000 people around the country for a financial brokers course. As part of the program, the students were instructed to solicit clients who needed financing and to collect advance fees.
The would-be brokers sent the advance fees to the Stull companies expecting them to arrange loans for their clients. They were told that they would receive 30% of the advance fees and that they would earn $12,000 each year for participating.
"All, or virtually all, of the loan applicants never received financing through any effort of defendents or the Stull companies," the indictment states. "None of the approximately 2,000 individuals around the country who paid for the course materials earned anywhere near $12,000 as a broker in the Stull & Co. program and most earned little or nothing."
The three used "stalling and delay tactics" to thwart the efforts of many of the individuals to obtain a full and unconditional refund that had been promised in the course material and advertisements, the indictment states.
Meanwhile, the trio, operating through a company called Skipper's Discount Co., bought $56,000 worth of office equipment, supplies and advertising services on credit.
The indictments state that, to delay and frustrate collection efforts, they told the creditors Skipper's Discount was in the process of being acquired by Omar Mohammed Abdul Oil Co. -- alleged to be a phony company -- and instructed the creditors to forward mail to a Wilmington, Del., address.
The indictment shows a Casper, Wyo., couple was among the most prolific of the brokers recruited by the trio. Quin and Tami Rasmussen sent $7,056 in advance fees from clients looking for loans.
The case was presented to the grand jury by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kenneth S. McHargh and Dan Aaron Polster following an investigation by the postal inspectors office in Cleveland.
24:30 FIGHTING BACK : WEB AGENT TO HEAD CITY'S CRIME PREVENTION PROGRAM
LAKEWOOD SUN POST -- September 2, 1982
The city of Lakewood is taking its first step toward launching a crime prevention program with the selection of an individual to serve as the city's first crime prevention officer.
Mayor Anthony Sinagra said he has appointed Edward Patrick Jr., agent-in-charge of the West Shore Enforcement Bureau (WEB) and a retired Lakewood detective, to the post.
Patrick was certified by the city's civil service commission for the post following a noncompetitive examination or interview process.
PATRICK HAS BEEN in charge of WEB, a shared-time police unit serving six West Suburbs concentrating on narcotics enforcement, since he retired from the Lakewood police department in February 1981. He had been assigned by Lakewood to WEB's antitheft/burglary unit since 1977, and served as agent in charge from 1972-1973 when WEB was formed as a narcotics unit, according to Police Chief Charles Petro.
Patrick is expected to start Sept. 27 and will be paid $20,000 yearly, Petro said. The position is full-time.
A written resignation from WEB by Patrick had not been received by Tuesday, according to Rocky River Police Chief Richard Louth. When the vacancy occurs, Louth said the unit will probably be headed by a Rocky River detective temporarily while a replacement is sought. Direction of the unit circulates among member cities and is the responsibility of Rocky River this year.
Petro said he is pleased Patrick agreed to take the job because he has the police experience and crime prevention training he believes the post required.
Patrick joined the Lakewood police force in 1955, served on patrol, in the juvenile bureau and as a detective. He was the department's first full-time narcotics officer in the 1960s, is a certified instructor with the Ohio Peace Officers Training Council and received training in crime prevention at the University of Louisville. Patrick is married, has two children and is a Lakewood native but now resides in Westlake.
THE DEPARTMENT'S FIRST efforts will probably center on developing a "neighborhood alert" or block watch-type program enlisting the support of citizens to report suspicious activities to the police, Petro said.
Crime prevention programs generally aim at combatting crime by training citizens to take steps to make it more difficult to commit crimes by exercising caution and taking steps such as installing proper locks. Giving lectures to interested groups of citizens will be part of the job.
Lakewood council decided to specifically fund a crime prevention program last March in view of requests by several councilmen and even candidates over the years for the police department to implement crime prevention programs.
When such requests were made, Petro had said the department lacked the manpower with existing staff to operate them without reducing the number of officers available for street work.
24:31 CITY'S CRIME DOWN; CHIEF PETRO IS UNIMPRESSED
LAKEWOOD SUN POST, February 10, 1983
Despite one of the worst economic years in post-World War II history last year in the United States, crime and crime attempts reported to Lakewood police did not increase in 1982.
In fact, the total number of "serious" crimes and crime attempts reported to police under the FBI's uniform crime reporting standards actually decreased.
However the slight decline of 77 crimes and crime attempts -- to 2,377 in 1982 from 2,454 in 1981 -- does not impress Police Chief Charles Petro.
"THESE ARE slight differences in magnitude," Petro said. "These are reasonably static crime figures."
Asked if it was surprising some property crimes posted slight declines in a period of recession when prevailing wisdom dictates unemployment would generate more crime, Petro indicated he puts little stock in that theory.
Aging of the "baby boom" generation beyond the teenage and young adult years when individuals may be more likely to be involved in crime may explain some of the change as much as any other factor, the chief indicated.
The only increase in crimes against property was under larceny, or theft, a gain of seven cases, to 1,291 in 1982 from 1,284 in 1981. "We were hit with an awful lot of bike theft again which paced that figure," Petro said.
Increases that were recorded fell in the "crimes against persons" category of aggravated assault, rape and robbery.
Petro attributed the decline in auto thefts to the operation of the Southeast Suburban-Cleveland Strike Force Against Auto Theft which shut down several "chop shops," where stolen cars are stripped and reassembled, in Cleveland.
"With some chop shops shut down, their independent associates who take the cars had less of a market. That affected us here," Petro said.
The decrease in auto theft followed a 1981 increase in auto theft. The decline means the figures are "more in line" but still higher than Lakewood's history of auto thefts the past few years, Petro said.
CAR THEFTS and car theft efforts reported to police numbered 228 in 1982, down from 260 in 1981. In 1980 and 1979 there were 209 car thefts reported in each year.
Petro said he was pleased there were no homicides in 1982, but noted "inches and seconds" separated some aggravated assaults from homicides.
In another important statistical area, no pedestrian fatalities from car accidents occurred in 1982 for the first time since 1964, Petro said. The number of pedestrian accidents fell to 35 in 1982 from 45 in 1981.
There were three persons killed in three motor vehicle accidents in 1982 while six persons were killed in six fatal accidents in 1981, Petro said.
Police reports also show there were 327 motor vehicle accidents in which injuries were sustained in 1982 while there were 313 in 1981. A total of 431 persons were injured in car accidents in the city in 1982 while 428 were injured in car accidents in 1981.
Petro noted the number of simple assaults (see box) are recorded by the FBI but are not included in its annual crime index so the FBI's final national report will not include that number for Lakewood. That number for simple assault also would not be included in the city's total number of crime and crime attempts.
Crime and crime attempts reported to Lakewood police in 1982 which fall under the FBI's national uniform crime reporting standards break down as follows:
24:32-33 VIOLENT CRIME IS UP 12 PERCENT
LAKEWOOD SUN POST, February 26, 1984
Violent crime, or crime against persons, increased 12 percent in 1983 in Lakewood while crimes against property decreased 5 percent, according to police statistics.
Police Chief Edmund Mecklenburg points to an increase in the number of reported assaults, from 456 in 1982 to 504 in 1983, as the source for much of the increase in crimes against persons.
"THERE IS more effort to identify assaults resulting from domestic violence cases than in the past, and sometimes a domestic violence call can bring reports of assaults by both parties such as an attempt with a weapon," said Mecklenburg. "Time of economic distress as the nation has been having also put more stress on the family unit which could account for some of the rise,"
According to reports of "serious crimes" and crime attempts which police report to the FBI under national uniform crime reporting guidelines, the city actually posted a slight decrease in crime in 1983. Police received 2,345 reports of crimes and crime attempts last year compared to 2,377 in 1982. It was the second year the city recorded a small drop in the number of reported crimes.
The city posted declines in the number of larcenies, burglaries and a significant drop in the number of auto thefts. Auto thefts numbered 176 last year, down from 228 in 1982 and from 260 in 1981. There were 209 car thefts in both 1980 and 1979.
The continuing decline in car theft Mecklenburg attributed in part to the success of joint Cleveland police, southeast suburban police and Ohio Highway Patrol efforts which have broken up several car theft rings and put several chop shops out of commission. Chop shops strip and reassemble stolen cars.
While the number of burglaries reported in Lakewood actually fell by 12 cases last year, the city is now experiencing an increase in burglaries, Mecklenburg said. The upswing came after 1983 books were closed.
Due to special operations by the detective bureau and several burglary arrests, the number of burglaries the last quarter of 1983 fell 8-10 percent, with 10 forcible entries reported in December. But in January the number of forcible entries increased to 20-25 as a burglar or group of burglars began operating in the city.
"I'm very concerned because the number of burglaries doubled between December and January," Mecklenburg said. "We're back to the tempo we had in October while there were almost none in November."
BURGLARS CURRENTLY WORKING the city are striking in the late afternoon, generally breaking the glass in rear doors to unlock them or kicking in basement windows and climbing in, Mecklenburg said. Targets are currency, stereos, portable TVs and jewelry.
"They have to be carrying TVs and stereos from the houses," Mecklenburg said. "I can't believe that with the number of burglaries we are having, someone would not see them in action and report it."
The larceny category is the city's largest crime group which includes everything from shoplifting to thefts of statues from yards. The majority of larceny reports is due to the city's continuing problem with bicycle theft, Mecklenburg said.
The one homicide case reported in 1983 is actually a 1967 case police became aware of last year, Mecklenburg said. That is the Andrew Prunella murder case where Prunella's chained corpse was reportedly dumped in Lake Erie. Two Chardon men were arrested for the crime last summer but the case was thrown out of court because of the lack of a body to prove a murder occurred.
Police clear rates for cases -- the solution of crimes by prosecution or by the identification of suspects when victims refuse to prosecute -- were as follows: burglaries, 69; auto thefts, 11, larcenies, 363; assaults, 431; robberies, nine; rapes, 13, and arsons, 11.
Another longstanding murder case was reported cleared last year. That was the 1967 murder of Helen Tietjen in a Gold Coast apartment building. An Avon Lake woman, 41, was charged with the murder last March, but the case was dismissed after the judge ruled too much time has passed to allow the suspect a fair trial.
The decision was upheld in local appellate court but is being appealed to the Ohio Supreme Court.
Police will implement a new program against bike theft this spring, Mecklenburg said, consisting of stamping identification numbers on bicycles to aid in identifying them.
THE CITY'S NEW crime prevention bureau may have an unexpected effect on crime statistics the next two years, Mecklenburg indicated.
Nationally, every city that has implemented a crime prevention program has had increased crime reports the following two years. That is because increased stress on reporting all crimes is a key part of any crime prevention program, Mecklenburg explained, and crime reports go up as a result.
Crime and crime attempts reported in 1983 to Lakewood police which fall under the FBI's uniform crime reporting standards break down as follows:
24:34-35 VIDEOTAPING SET FOR CITY CHILDREN
LAKEWOOD SUN POST, January 17, 1985
A special videotaping session for children will be held Saturday in the second floor auditorium of Lakewood city hall.
Sponsored by the Lakewood Crime Prevention Bureau, the city and Lakewood schools, the program is designed as a precautionary measure in case a child is abducted or reported missing from the city.
"We don't have a serious problem with missing or abducted children," said Ed Patrick, crime prevention officer, "but we feel anything we can do to help with the problem is good."
CITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT William Chinnock (D-at-large) proposed the videotaping project last year. He requested that no age limit be placed on participating children since "a child of 16 can be missing just as easily as a child of 4."
All Lakewood youths, children who attend Lakewood schools (public or private) and day care facilities and non-resident children who attend Lakewood schools are invited to participate in Saturday's videotaping session.
Patrick said filming will be done 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Parental permission slips must be returned for children under 18. These forms are being distributed through the schools. Forms are also available at the police department prior to the taping and will be distributed at city hall on Saturday.
Each child participating in the taping will be asked to hold an informational card with his or her name, age, height, weight and identifying features. The child will be asked some simple questions so the voice can be taped for voice identification, Patrick said.
HE EXPECTS the segments on each child will be about 15 seconds long, with possibly as many as 100 children taped ona roll of film. Patrick said the tapes will be indexed and filed in a safe place in police Chief Edmund Mecklenburg's office.
"The tapes will only be used in case of an emergency -- in case a child turns up missing or is abducted. Otherwise they will be kept confidential," Patrick said.
He noted the program goes a bit further than the fingerprinting of children, which was undertaken previously in the city. "This will give us a vehicle for better and quicker identification," Patrick noted. He said the tapes will also enable electronic media fast access to pictures and voices of children reported missing.
The project comes on the heels of Gov. Richard Celeste's signing last week of the new, stiff missing child law, Patrick said. He noted videotaping of children has been done in other cities, but usually in cooperation with a video store. He said Lakewood may be the first city to independently organize a taping session.
"Hopefully we won't ever have to use these tapes," he said.
PICTURE 1, CAPTION: Crime Prevention Officer Ed Patrick helps 5-year-old Jonathan Barbero get ready for his moment on videotape.
PICTURE 2, CAPTION: Jonathan Barbero makes his debut on videotape as the first participant in the city's child identification program, proposed last year by City Council President William Chinnock (D-at-large). The program will be conducted 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at city hall.
24:36-37 BLOCK WATCH SIGN PROVIDES WARNING
LAKEWOOD SUN POST -- July 24, 1986
Lakewood's Neighborhood Crime Watch program is getting a boost.
The first sign advertising the program was erected recently at Winchester and Detroit avenues by city workers.
The Winchester area Neighborhood Crime Watch, which includes residents on Hopkins Avenue, was one of the first to organize in the city. Ed Patrick, crime prevention officer for the Lakewood Police Department, said it is also the most active unit. "The erection of the sign will be the first step in recognizing the Lakewood Crime Watch program," Patrick said.
There are currently four active crime watch programs in the city. Each will have a sign posted on its streets identifying the area as a crime watch site. In addition to Winchester, Cannon, Westlake and Thoreau avenues have organized a crime watch group.
THE PROGRAM began in 1983 to reduce the incidence of crime in the city, Patrick said. "Neighborhood Crime Watch members act as the eyes and ears of a neighborhood by observing and reporting suspicious activities to the police, which reduced criminal opportunity," he said.
"It's not because we have a lot of crime," Patrick noted. "This is more a preventative measure. We try to start in an area where there is already a coalition of neighbors from some other problem like noise."
The group usually meets monthly, at a local home or gathering spot. A captain and co-captains are selected for each group, Patrick said. When a group is organized, Patrick said the goal is to get 40 to 50 percent of the neighborhood or street involved.
Interested persons attend a crime watch training session about 1/2 hour in length and learn how to report crimes, terminology, how to give descriptions when reporting a crime, etc. "Our dispatchers are trained to take the crime watch reports the same way the members are trained to give them," he added.
Patrick said sometimes crime watch organizations help solve problems just by getting people together for dialog on a common issue. "That's one of the fringe benefits," he added.
With crime watch beginning to blossom, Patrick said he can see the day when citizens will run the entire organization and elect officers to head the citywide program. For now, Charles Kirk of the Winchester group, has been named Neighborhood Crime Watch coordinator in the city.
KIRK HAS given many hours of time to helping the program get off the ground, Patrick said.
In addition, Patrick said efforts are being made to begin new groups in other areas of the city.
"When a house is burglarized, we send a letter, under the police chief's signature, suggesting that crime watch may be one way of combatting this type of offense," Patrick said.
He noted crime watch is nationally recognized and accepted. "It's been active close to 10 years and is one of the earliest types of policing known," Patrick said.
During his more than 25 years as a uniformed police officer, Patrick said he learned police can't be everywhere. "We're (police) usually re-active, responding only when a crime's been committed. This organization (crime watch) is pro-active -- trying to help prevent crimes from being committed. It's similar to what the fire department teaches about fire prevention," he added.
In addition to the crime watch program, Patrick said his crime prevention bureau guides about 18 programs, including videotaping and fingerprinting of children, bike identification, senior citizen and school programs and visits from McGruff, the popular mascot of the bureau.
"Crime prevention is everybody's business," Patrick said.
PICTURE, CAPTION: Proudly displaying the first Neighborhood Crime Watch sign, which was installed recently on Winchester Avenue, is Charles ("Charlie") Kirk, coordinator of the city's Neighborhood Crime Watch. Kirk was instrumental in organizing the block watch in his neighborhood and has since been named the first coordinator of the citywide program.
24:38 CITY CRIME ROSE 18.3% DURING 1985
LAKEWOOD SUN POST -- August 21, 1986
The number of crimes reported in Lakewood increased 18.3 percent last year, with the largest numerical increase -- 261 -- in the larceny-theft category. The rise there was 23 percent.
Percentage changes were calculated from figures in the Federal Bureau of Investigation's 1984 and 1985 annual reports, "Crime in the United States." The latest report, based on crime statistics from nearly 16,000 police departments, was released at the end of July.
The report includes total crimes by similarities in population, showing crime increases in the one-year period. With 61,193 residents last year, Lakewood falls into the 50,000-99,999 category, consisting of 303 cities.
For the group, total reported crimes increased 4.4 percent, while Lakewood's increased 18.3 percent. For the country, the report said, reported crimes increased 5 percent.
Police Chief Edmund Mecklenburg said reported crimes in Lakewood have increased in the last two years, partly as a result of greater observation by Block Watch programs. Yet, he said, the total number of crimes is actually higher because not all are reported to police.
Although the bureau's figures showed two homicides here each year, Mecklenburg said there were three in 1985. The extra one occurred after figures were submitted to the bureau, he said.
In Lakewood, the two-year comparison showed increases in the number of rapes, robberies, burlaries and larceny-theft. Decreases were shown in aggravated assault, motor vehicle theft and arson.
Mecklenburg said the bureau's larceny-theft category -- which at 23 percent showed the largest numerical increase, from 1,133 in 1984 to 1,394 in 1985 -- includes reports of bicycle thefts and of people driving away from self-serve gas stations without paying. He said bike thefts went from 266 in 1984 to 354 in 1985.
"Overall, I don't see any cause for significant alarm; Lakewood is a comparatively safe community," Mecklenburg said. "The only area that should alarm our citizenry is burglary."
In the one-year period, burglary showed the largest numerical increase here -- from 274 in 1984 to 326 in 1985, a rise of 18.9 percent. Mecklenburg attributed the rise, in part, to changes in the police department's reporting method and to greater efficiency with a new, computerized system.
"We're reporting more of them as crimes, rather than as lost property," he said.
Mecklenburg said there's a need for residents to practice basic home security measures, such as locking doors and windows, to cut down the chances of home burglary. Although burglary is generally not a violent crime, he said, the potential for it always exists.
Although the bureau's figures show a decrease in the number of aggravated assaults -- from 53 in 1984 to 41 in 1985, for a drop of 22.6 percent -- Mecklenburg said there's been a two-year increase since 1983, which he termed "a low year."
He said reports of aggravated assault have increased in the two years, mainly because of public awareness of the need to report domestic violence. Previously, he said, police handled domestic complaints as civil matters, rather than criminal offenses, unless there was serious injury or use of a weapon.
But since the advent of a tougher spouse-abuse law, police have undergone intensive training in handling domestic complaints, Mecklenburg said.
"We now make an arrest if the party signs a (complaint), and we refer it to the prosecutor. And that continues to increase," he said.
Of the remaining crime categories in the bureau reports, robbery increased from 34 to 41, a 20.6-percent increase. (A crime where force is used -- such as a purse-snatching, with the victim pushed to the ground -- is classified as robbery, Mecklenburg said.)
24:39-40 LOVE, MONEY CREATE MURDER MYSTERY
LAKEWOOD SUN POST -- July 20, 1989
Through the years, Lakewood has been a comparatively quiet community. However, a murder here, 70 years ago this week, became known as one of the most celebrated crimes in American history.
It had the dark dimensions of a dime novel -- an evil plot, bloody violence and a long, undaunted search for the perpetrators. Furthermore, it was ballyhooed as the only case on record where a grandmother, daughter and granddaughter all were indicted for murder.
The victim was Dan Kaber, a wealthy 46-year-old publisher who had been paralyzed for a long time. He was stabbed 24 times in an upstairs sickroom in his mansion on Lake Avenue just west of Cove, shortly before midnight on July 18, 1919.
HIS MALE NURSE, who heard Kaber's screams, found him covered with blood. When police arrived, Kaber repeatedly told them, "My wife ordered this done."
Wife Eva Kaber had gone to Cedar Point two days earlier to visit a friend, but there were two other members of the family in the house at the time -- Eva's mother, Mary Brickel, and the victim's stepdaughter, Marian McArdle, 19. Both of these women denied seeing or hearing any intruder.
The weapon, a dagger made from a file, was found in the room, and it was discovered that silverware was missing from a downstairs buffet.
Dan Kaber died the next day in Lakewood Hospital. A postmortem revealed that he had enough arsenic in his body to kill 20 men.
When police bogged down on the case after months of investigation, the murdered man's father, old Moses Kaber, was so determined to find the assassins that he sought the help of the Pinkerton Detective Agency.
In 1921, nearly two years after Kaber's death, one of the Pinkerton operatives, who had befriended Brickel, reported hearing the mother say, while being protective of her innocent son Charles, "If they try to put it on Charlie, I'll tell all I know."
THE REMARK LED newly elected County Prosecutor Edward C. Stanton to request that Brickel and Charles come to his office.
Charles was asked in first. Then, as the youth was being ushered out and the mother was being brought in, Stanton, putting into play a ploy, called out, "Throw him in jail. He's the one who did it all right."
The deceptive strategy paid off. Hearing and believing Stanton's bluff, Brickel immediately declared that it was her daughter, Eva, who planned the murder.
Brickel confessed that she herself had left the side door open for the murderers and that Marian had pried open the buffet drawer with an ice pick to make it look like a burglary.
As the plot unfolded, police learned that initially Eva Kaber had obtained arsenic from a woman named Emma Colavito to put into her husband's soup. When that failed to kill him, Mrs. Kaber arranged through Colavito to hire two assassins, Salvatore Cala and Vittorio Pisselli, for $5,000.
MONEY AND PASSIONATE love for a New York City man combined to form Mrs. Kaber's motive. Found guilty on July 17, 1921, she was sentenced to life imprisonment in Marysville Reformatory for Women, where her unruliness earned her the title of "Ohio's Worst Prisoner." She died there several years later.
Cala was given a life term in the Ohio State Penitentiary. Mary Brickel and Marian McArdle were freed.
Cala's accomplice, Pissella, fled to Italy, but was captured by two Cleveland detectives who had been provided funds by Moses Kaber to go abroad and catch the culprit. Pissella got 20 years of hard labor.
Colavito, oddly enough, was acquitted in the Kaber scandal. However, in 1924, she got her just desserts, as they say in sermonizing circles, when she was sentenced to life imprisonment for furnishing arsenic to kill sombody else in another murder case.