Safecracker Escapes from Mt. Holly Jail

The photo shows jail wall surrounding Burlington County jail which "Eddie" Adamski (Inset) scaled early. yesterday to escape. "Eddie" filed away the bars of his cell, climbed down a blanket rope and scaled the wall, which at this point is 25 feet high. He reached the ground by way of the roof of the sheriff's house next door.

Camden Courier-Post – June 19, 1933

Prize Prisoner Held Secretly Seven Weeks Saws Way Out

Guarded Rigidly, Segregated From Others, Accused of Two Robberies

Slips Through Hole ‘Too Tiny for Any Man’

Drops to Yard by ‘Rope’ of Sheets; Saw Horse Helps Him Over Wall

“Eddie” Adamski, most notorious of local gangland’s safecrackers, has escaped from a Mt. Holly jail.

He was in solitary confinement, allegedly under special guard and allowed no visitors other than his sister. He sawed away the bars of his cell early yesterday and fled hours before his disappearance was discovered.

The famed “Jimmy Valentine” of Camden-Philadelphia mobsters was a mystery prisoner at Mt. Holly. In February Adamski, alias Harry Burns, was sent to State Prison for a three-year term by Judge Samuel M. Shay, following conviction on a gun-toting charge. Several weeks ago Judge Shay issued a secret writ ordering his appearance in the local court and the sentence was suspended and Adamski turned over to Burlington county authorities.

Ellis H. Parker, chief of the Burlington county detectives, said yesterday Adamski was being held on two robbery cases—one at the home of Circuit Court Judge V. Claude Palmer, Moorestown, and the second at the home of Kirkland Marter, Burlington. Parker declares Adamski was indicted on both robbery charges by the Burlington county grand jury last week. The indictments were among the 45 impounded by the court and not made public, Parker said.

Adamski was tn the south wing of the jail, in a cell block known to inmates as “murderers’ stir.” Forty other prisoners were in the north wing of the jail. The wardens office separates the two wings, with the prisoners exercise yard, surrounded by a 30-foot wall, in the rear.

At 11 p. m. Saturday Deputy Warden Atwood Wright and Lovando Pond, a special assistant only recently hired by Sheriff George N. Wimer. visited the south wing and “put the prisoner to bed.”

That is the last seen of Adamski by jail officials.

At 7 a. m. yesterday, one of the two jail attaches—Wimer refuses to reveal which—went to Adamski’s cell with his breakfast.

His cell was empty.

Three bars had been neatly sawed away from the lone window, leaving a space 13 by 7 inches, hardly enough for anyone to squeeze through.

Helpful Saw Horse

Attached to one of the remaining bars was Adamski’s bed clothing, knotted together and stretching to within a few feet of the ground, 20 feet below. While his fellow prisoners had been asleep—and the guards apparently busy elsewhere—Adamski had filed the bars, made his rope of bed clothing and fled.

But even then he was not free.

He had to get out of the jail yard. A saw horse placed against the wall of the yard at the sheriff’s house, where Wimer has his offices and a deputy sheriff lives, showed where Adamski had made his final bid for freedom. The wall at this point is slightly lower than around the rest of the yard.

Prisoners Grilled

It is believed that “Eddie” climbed the wall, and then used the roof of an outhouse adjoining the rear of the sheriff’s office, to reach the ground.

As soon as his disappearance was discovered, Parker, at his summer home in Brant Beach, was summoned, as were Sheriff Wimer and Prosecutor Howard Eastwood. All of the prisoners in the north wing were questioned, but little information gathered from them. Eastwood then questioned both Wright and Pond. Deputy Warden Benjamin F. Farner, who was off duty and asleep in the sheriff’s apartment, also was questioned.

No one could tell how Adamski came by he saws. His last visitor and the only one he has been allowed since put in the jail was his sister, who talked with him last Friday.

Rigidly Guarded

A deputy warden stood by her side during the conversation and she was not allowed within arm length of the prisoner. Only once in the last seven weeks has Adamski been allowed in the yard for exercise. And on that occasion two guards watched his every move. No explanation of the care in guarding the prisoner was advanced by Burlington authorities other than their claim that he was “a tough guy and very tricky.”

Parker sent flyers to every police department in the east immediately following notification that his prisoner had escaped. His two secretaries, Mrs. Anna Bading and Mrs. Anna Lippincott, and Detectives Clifford Cain and Clinton Zeller, worked throughout the day on the case. State police under Corporal Jarvis Wood, of the Columbus barracks, also assisted in notifying other departments.

Adamski is said to be wearing a brown suit, with a light hat. He is five feet, ten inches tall and weighs about 160 pounds.

Gang’s Lone Survivor

Adamski is the lone survivor of a gang of 12 men, known to Philadelphia police as the “Seventh and Parrish streets mob.” His delicate sandpapered fingertips have opened a thousand safes without the aid of knowing the combination, police said. He has been arrested scores of times and spent much of his 28 years in jail.

His last arrest was when Camden Detectives Benjamin Simon and Edwin Mills led a raid on a Gloucester cafe, where Adamski and two others, suspects in the $150,000 bond robbery of the George K. Bartle home in Philadelphia, were.

Adamski pulled a pistol from’ his pocket and was about to “shoot his way out” when the weapon was knocked from his hands by Simon and Mills.

Parker Sends for Him

The two arrested with Adamski, Adam Szewezak and Solomon Lutz, were turned over to Philadelphia authorities. Szewezak was convicted in the bond job and is serving a 15 year term in Eastern Penitentiary. Lutz was sentenced to a year in Moyamensing for another robbery. Adamski was given three years in New Jersey state prison on the weapon charge by Judge Shay.

After Adamski’s imprisonment there, Parker learned of his connection with numerous Burlington county robberies and sought to have him brought to Mt. Holly to answer for these crimes.

Special Guard Denied

Parker said he had recovered part of the loot of the Palmer-Marter home on information he received from Adamski. He said he “had enough on him to send him a way for 15 years.” Parker denied knowledge of a special guard over Adamski. Sheriff Wimer also denied the guard. He said Pond had been hired recently “to fill in when the regular men went on their vacations.” He has been “learning the ropes” at the jail in preparation for the other men’s absence.

Philadelphia detectives were assigned last night to “old haunts” of Adamski in the hope that, penniless, he would return there.

Authorities were puzzled how he got the saw. He filed through three bars, each an inch and three-quarters thick.

Did He Go Through Hole!

Wimer belleves the saw was concealed in his shoe when he was brought to prison. At Trenton this was denied. Prison officials there said they were certain nothing was concealed on his person when he was turned over to Burlington authorities.

Parker, too, was skeptical about Adamski’s escape through the hole in the window bars.” I can’t see,” Chief Parker said, “how any man could get through such a small hole. But Adamski must have done so because he’s sure enough gone.”


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