‘Numbers’ Slips Just Ain’t They’re Only Timetables!

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Camden Courier-Post – June 20, 1933

Porter, Held for Papers Found in Possession, Convinces Jury ‘Evidence’ Is Only Data on ‘Choo-Choo’; Change Is ‘Tip’

Believe it or not, but slips such as those used by numbers lottery players and patrons are really not numbers slips at all — they are train schedules! At least, that was the contention of one Washington Nixon, of Philadelphia, a porter in Broad Street station.

Nixon so well presented his version of what the slips really are used for — at least the slips found in his possession — that a jury, out an hour, returned a verdict of not guilty yesterday afternoon before Judge Samuel M. Shay in Criminal Court.

Nixon was arrested in a raid at 1017 South Second Street last December 2. Besides number slips, $15 in pennies, nickels, and dimes was found in his possession, according to police testimony.

Nixon demanded a jury trial and then proceeded to explain to the jurors, holding several slips aloft, the real meaning of the slips found on him. One slip, marked 10 in a corner and bearing a list of other numbers, he explained, meant that trains bearing those numbers were due to arrive on track number 10. Likewise, two other slips, each marked 5 in the corner and bearing other numbers on it, which have always been regarded as nothing but numbers slips, also meant that trains bearing those numbers would arrive on that track. Unperturbed by the laughter of everybody in the courtroom, Nixon went on to explain that the slips were given to the porters dally by the conductors to let the porters know what trains to expect on the various tracks.

"How do you explain the small change found on you?" asked Assistant Prosecutor Rocco Palese.

"Oh, they were tips," said Nixon, “tips from the Army and Navy crowd — and what cheap tips they give!”

"The generals and the admirals didn’t tip so well last year, did they," interposed Palese.

"They didn’t tip so good last year," said Nixon.

Pauline Bowers, also arrested in the raid, faced Judge Shay without a jury. She pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 60 days in jail.


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