Man, Robbed, Left in Road by Kidnappers

Kidnap Suspect Premo Fioravanti: One of three South Camden youths who is accused of kidnapping and robbing Byron P. Cobb.

Camden Courier-Post – June 5, 1933

Byron P. Cobb, 62, the “Sun Doctor,” was kidnapped by three men early yesterday, beaten and robbed of $4700 before, being tossed from a moving automobile in Farnham Park.

Detectives found him in a subconscious condition laying in the middle of River Drive, after a motorist had heard his moans and notified police.

Three South Camden youths, arrested for a motor violation at about the time Cobb was found; later were identified by the awning manufacturer as the ones who kidnapped and robbed him. They are Primo Fioravanti, 20, of 435 Division Street; Anthony Scanalvilli, 20, of 326 Division Street, and John Piliere, 19, of 1130 South 3rd Street.

All are being held on charges of kidnapping, atrocious assault and battery and highway robbery. They will be given a hearing today in police court. Later a charge of larceny of an automobile was placed against them.

Cobb, who for many years operated an awning manufacturing shop at Fifth and Royden Streets, told police he met the three who robbed him in a restaurant near Broadway and Kaighn Avenue. He said he bought them food and in return they offered to take him to his home in their automobile. This was shortly before 2 a.m.

He said two of the men were dressed in brown suits and the third wore a “greenish blue suit.” All wore light hats.

As soon as he entered the machine, Cobb told Detectives George Zeitz and Leon Branch, who found him in the park, someone hit him over the head.

Two of the men then went through his clothing and took the $4700 from his pockets. He told police, that he drew the money from his bank yesterday and intended to pay off a mortgage on a property today.

The men held Cobb, he told police, until they reached Farnham Park, where he was tossed out of the machine as the driver slowed up.

A few minutes after 2 a. m., William P. Tyler, of 1493 Greenwood Avenue, driving past the park, heard someone shout “murder” several times. He hurried to a telephone and called police headquarters.

Found In Roadway

Detectives Zeitz and Branch searched the section where Tyler had heard the shouts. Then they drove down through River Drive, where they discovered Cobb lying in the middle of the roadway.

The injured man was taken to Cooper Hospital where he was revived, and then to detective headquarters.

Meanwhile Motorcycle Patrolmen George Getley and Earl Stopfer stopped a car at Mt. Ephraim and Ferry Avenues, which had aroused their suspicions as it sped down Mt. Ephraim Avenue.

Piliere was driving the machine and could not produce either a registration card or driver’s license. He said he had borrowed the car from a man he knew as “Pete.”

The car was claimed yesterday by Pietro Tocco, 35, of 717 South Fourth Street. He told Zeitz and Branch the car had been stolen from in front of his home “sometime around 2 a. m.” yesterday.

Piliere and his pals were taken to police headquarters where the former was booked on a motor-vehicle charge. When police found two pieces of rubber hose in the rear of the machine, all three were taken to detective headquarters.

There Cobb identified them as the three who had robbed him. He pointed out Fioravanti, the only one with a previous police record, as the man who hit him on the head.

Police held all three without bail for the hearing before Judge Pancoast.

At the Cobb home yesterday, Mrs. Byron P. Cobb said she knew nothing about the holdup. She said Cobb “appeared to have a headache when he got up,” but failed to mention anything was wrong and left the house before her return from church.

All of the suspects deny the robbery, They said they took a friend to his home in Woodlynne and were en route to their homes in Camden. when arrested.

Piliere told Detectives Zeitz and Branch that he “borrowed the car from his uncle,” whom he only knew as “Pete.”


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