Woman in a Gang of Safe Robbers

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Philadelphia Inquirer – January 7, 1905

It Is Believed That a Female Accompanied Thieves Who Wrecked a Big Safe in a Grain Elevator on the Outskirts of Gloucester

GLOUCESTER CITY, N.J., Jan 6—It is believed a woman accompanied a gang of safe robbers to this section early this morning when they blew open the safe in the office of the Gloucester Grain and Dairy Feed Company’s building, on Broadway near the toll gate. After the discovery of the robbery footprints, evidently those of a woman, were found in the snow. Chief of Police Marple, of this city, is thoroughly convinced that a female accompanied the gang and that she stood on guard while the men worked on the big safe.

The thieves came up the pike from Westville, where they gained entrance to the wheelwright shop of Henry Stanley by prying open the front door, but nothing thus far has been missed. They also gained entrance to a tool house of a section gang on the West Jersey and Seashore Railroad, above Stanley’s place, where they secured a big wrench, chisel and wharf spike, and then proceeded to the elevator of the grain plant, which is owned by Stitley & Son, of Camden.

Spike and Nitro-Glycerine

The front door was pried open with the spike and then the office door was similarly opened. The safe wrecked was in a corner of the building. Efforts were at first made to force off the combination and failing in this the thieves drilled a hole to the right of the lock and nitro-glycerine was poured in. The explosion tore the door off the hinges and broke the packing into bits. The windows were shattered and everything in the office was more or less damaged by the explosion. Nothing was touched in the safe except the cash drawer, which contained $84.41, which the thieves took. The books and several valuable papers were not touched. The cash register, which was on top of the safe, was knocked on the floor, but it was not broken, as it is always left open at night and there was no money in it. It was first thought that the work was done by amateurs, but the police are now inclined to believe that it was the work of professionals.

Robbery Discovered

Although the report of the explosion was heard by many residents the robbery was not known until after 6 o’clock, when John Schultz, a driver, discovered that the building had been entered and he at once notified Thomas Rea, the foreman, who sounded an alarm.

The robbers left by the way of a back door and the foot prints plainly showed that there was a woman in the gang. A freight train passed here shortly afterwards and stopped, and it is believed the robbers made their escape on this.

Mrs. Anone Letzgus, who lives directly across the street from the grain elevator, said that she was awakened by the explosion shortly after 2 o’clock and although she looked out her window she could see no one, and after waiting for a half hour returned to her bed. Several other persons heard the report.


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