Archive for Friday, September 21, 2012

100 years ago: Lawrence merchant mistaken for burglar after breaking into his own store

September 21, 2012


From the Lawrence Daily Journal-World for Sept. 21, 1912:

"Breaking through a back window and crawling through the broken pane is not a very ceremonious way for a business man to enter his establishment and the fact that one Lawrence merchant did so this morning cast suspicion upon him and for a time he was threatened with bodily violence by two heavily armed protectors of the peace and dignity of the community. This morning shortly after 6 o'clock a call came into the police station and an excited voice informed that department that a prominent business house was in process of being burglarized. The informant had seen the robber break a window in the rear of the building and crawl to the inside. He was even now inside preparing to blow the safe and if the officers hurried they would catch him in the very act.

"It was time for action. Charley Prentice seized a shotgun from its corner in the office while Sam Hefflin slipped an extra box of ammunition for his big 44 into his pocket and the two were soon off burglar hunting. Hefflin took the alley and planted his artillery where it would do the most good should the villain attempt to escape by the rear of the building. Prentice advanced from the front and with his trusty weapon ready for instant action made known the presence of the law by rattling the front door and calling upon the thief to surrender.

"By this time the person within was aware of the fact that there was something doing and began to bestir himself. To the rear he discovered the muzzle of a big revolver while both barrels of Prentice's machine gun were frowning upon him from the front. The 'burglar' was trapped and decided to surrender immediately, but imagine the surprise of the officers when they discovered that the 'thief' was none other than the owner of the store himself.

"It was time for explanations and the frightened proprietor soon recovered sufficiently to explain that he had closed up his store last night and left his keys inside. The night lock shut off his return from the front and he was obliged to break his way in this morning. However, his first attempt at breaking into a store had been a decided failure and it is quite certain that this man will never attempt it again."


Sarah St. John 5 years, 9 months ago

They never did say -- I guess he was a well-liked man, a Pillar of Society, or maybe just a heavy advertiser, and they didn't want to embarrass him. :-)

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