Thursday, June 10, 2010

Nab 6 Box Car Thieves

This story was published by The Ypsilanti Record on Thursday, June 10, 1920.

Last Wednesday night one of the biggest criminal hauls was gathered in the drag net every pulled off in this county. For several weeks past a gang fo thieves has been operating along the Michigan Central from Chicago to Detroit in freight car robberies. They would evidently board the train somewhere up the line and when near Detroit would throw off goods selected by them, which would be hauled into Detroit by truck and dispensed to some fence who was acting for this gang.

The sheriff’s office at Ann Arbor was notified Wednesday night that an auto was being loaded south of Wiard’s crossing with merchandise, evidently the booty of the thieves. Deputy Sheriff Dick Elliott was notified to get on the job and see what was doing. Dick, with his customary speed, promptly responded to the call. When he arrived on the scene he took a little look around and was awarded by finding a box of handkerchiefs beside the track. He was joined by Detectives Ross O’Dell and Max Kualski, Michigan Central detectives of Detroit. The trio then made further search for stolen goods and found two rolls of walrus hides in an alfalfa field covered with weeds with a value of about $800. While they were searching an adjoining field in a small patch of woods they saw two men coming down the Michigan road. They were stopped and searched by the officers and two 38 revolvers were found. They were taken into custody and sent to Ann Arbor. They gave their names as Peter Zartorske and John Jaworske, and on being questioned gave up the story that they were part of the gang and implicated Wm. Winkler and Teddy Mankouski and told the officers where they could be found in Detroit.

Friday Deputy Sheriff Elliott went to Detroit, found his men and brought them back to Ann Arbor. They were questioned by the officers and it was learned that there were still more to come in the drag net. So the officers made another trip to Detroit and this time brought back Julius Crandell and Morris Kaufman. The latter proved to be the fence for the gang. His gang mates claimed that he bought and disposed of the goods; that at one time he paid them $120 for two bolts of woolen cloth that had a value of $1,000 and 32 sweaters for $40 that were well worth $250. Jawoski also told the officers where they cold find a bunch of sweaters that had been missed in the search and on going to the place 21 sweaters were found hidden under a stump.

The peculiar feature of these birds seemed to be in telling all they knew about the others and they seemed to be perfectly willing to ‘spill’ all they knew about the other fellow. While they were left alone in the jail they got into a quarrel among themselves and accused each other of being stick-up men, and it was brought out that they all had previous prison records.

Saturday they were taken before Justice Thomas and all waived examination. In the evening before Judge Sample they pleaded guilty and the judge lost no time in giving them their sentences.

John Jaworski, the leader of the gang, was given seven to 15 years at Jackson, with recommendation of seven years.

Peter Jartorski was sentenced to Jackson for six to 15 years, with a recommendation of six years.

Teddy Pinkouski drew the same sentence as Jartorski.

Morris Kaufman drew from two and a half to five years at Jackson, with a recommendation of four years.

Wm. Winkler and Julius Crandel each go to Ionia for from two to 15 years, with recommendation of two years.

Too much credit cannot be given our local officers in the capture of this gang. It has long been felt in this county that Sheriff Pack and his efficient deputies are the right men for the place and woe to the fellow who steps out into the open road of crime, as it is sure to be a short road in Washtenaw County.

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