Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Boy Bandit is in the toils of the police

This story was published by The Daily Ypsilanti Press on Wednesday, July 21, 1920.

Don Smith, boy bandit, is in the lockup in the city hall awaiting the arrival of officers from Lansing to take him back to the state industrial school for boys.

He celebrated his arrival in Ypsilanti by rummaging Lee N. Brown’s house while the family was away to its summer cottage, Sunday, hiding the loor in an asparagus patch lut Oak Street way.

Tuesday noon, Chief Connors got a call from Mrs. Hearl on East Cross Street, complaining that a boy was firing a revolver at her. Suspicioning (sic) who it was he started there immediately, but the boy got sight of him and “ran like a deer,” with the chief in pursuit. Corralling him at last the boy bandit threatened Connors with his revolver, but he had run out of cartridges.

Connors took him in his machine and started for the city hall; when coming down the Cross Street hill there was a threatened mix up of machines, and, taking advantage of the situation, the boy broke away and disappeared.

Tuesday night a tip was given the police that Don would be found at Frank Whitman’s on Oak Street. Going there the boy was found asleep, and as soon as he was dressed he was taken to the lockup.

In the meantime efforts had been made to locate the articles taken from the Brown residence. Some of it was found, but there is more hidden either in the asparagus patch or somewhere near there.

Don is said to be thoroughly bad. Chief Connors arrested him once before, and officers from Pontiac came and got him. Then he was sent to the industrial school at Lansing, but a couple of weeks ago he got away from there.

Tuesday the boy carried a 32 caliber revolver, and last night there was unearthed from under his bed a belt of cartridges. A wrist watch was found on him, belonging to the Brown stolen stuff. Another watch is still missing.

A vigorous search is being made for the hiding place of the rest of the loot.

Last spring the boy slept at nights in the Prospect Park shed.

Here is a second account of the case from The Ypsilanti Record of Thursday, July 22, 1920.

Pontiac Boy Bandit Held

Don Smith, age 14, was arrested late Tuesday night by Chief Connors and Officer Laidlaw at the home of Frank Whitman. Young Smith recently was arrested here by Chief Connors for Pontiac officers, where he was wanted for the larceny of nearly $200. He was sent from Pontiac to the reform school at Lansing, and he escaped from that institution about two weeks ago. An officer from the institution was here looking for Smith and told officers here to arrest Smith when they saw him should he return.

Tuesday afternoon Chief Connors received a call from Mrs. Tim Hearl of East Cross Street, to the effect that a boy had shot at her with a revolver. The chief jumped into his car hurriedly and drove to the scene within a few minutes. Smith saw him coming and started to run. The chief can run a bit himself and the chase began around a barn. While going around a corner of the barn the officer was surprised to see Smith with a revolver pointing it directly at him. Connors did not stop for this and caught the boy bandit and took him to his automobile.

On account of the age of the lad Chief Connors did not handcuff him. Going back down East Cross Street the chief drove his car with one hand and held the prisoner with the other. Smith was fighting all the way and when the officer was a collision with another automobile could only be avoided by releasing his hold temporarily on Smith the lad opened the door and ran. Several onlookers took up the chase but Smith escaped for the time being.

He is the robber that broke into Attorney Lee N. Brown’s residence o Oak Street and stole a revolver, two watches and an opera glass, in addition to a number of other articles. The revolver and watches have been recovered by the police. Some of the articles were hid in some high grass in Prospect Park by Smith. The lad stated that he would never go back to the reform school and the officers believe he will try to make good his threat. Word was wired to the reform school Wednesday that Smith was in jail here.