Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Babcock Store and Oil Station Robbed

This story was published by The Daily Ypsilanti Press on Monday, November 13, 1922. Two weekend robberies, neither furnishing any tangible clues to work on, are occupying the attention of local police today following a holdup at the Standard Oil station, corner of Ellis (now Washtenaw) and Washington streets last night, and a robbery at the Babcock store on River street during the preceding night, besides the robbery of Parkview Pharmacy and tool houses next door. Police were not notified of these occurrences. The robbery at the oil station, which netted the thugs a little over $49, occurred last evening at about nine o’clock. Two armed men entered the station and while one covered the attendant, Earl Smith, with his revolver, the other rifled the cash drawer and then turned attention to the safe. Before the men were able to gain access to the safe, however, Frank Price, of Pontiac, chanced to entered the station. The two men coolly walked out of the station carrying their guns and went east on Ellis to where their car was parked near Huron street. Mr. Price, who was driving a Cadillac, followed the men saw them get into their car and drive north on Huron. Realizing they were being followed they stopped just beyond the city hall and one man got out of the machine apparently waiting for Mr. Price to come up to him while the other drove around onto Cross street. Thinking they were intending to take his car away Mr. Price turned on Emmet street and drove back to Cross, but was unable to pick up their trail as the car had disappeared in the rain and fog. Neither Mr. Price nor Mr. Smith both of whom immediately went to the police station, where able tell what make of car the thugs were driving. Mr. Smith was of the opinion that it was a Buick roadster, but Mr. Price thought it was a Ford. Chief Connors states that it was practically impossible to see any distance because of the rain and for that reason neither man was able to get the license number. Mr. Smith was unable to give even an adequate description of the men. Neither were masked, and he told Chief Connors he had never seen them before, but could give no details as to their clothing or appearance. He stated that one wore an overcoat. Chief Connors at once telephoned to Detroit, Ann Arbor and Jackson police, but due to lack of information, states that he has little hope of apprehending the robbers. This morning Mr. McLane, general manager of the Standard Oil station, located in Ann Arbor, went over the situation with Chief Connors and checked up on the money lost. In the safe there was over $100. Attendants do not have a key to these safes, however, so it was necessary for the thugs to open it without the key. It was while they were working at the combination that Mr. Price drove up and frightened them away. Sunday morning when Fred Babcock went to his store on River street, he found that the front window had been carefully taken out by digging away the putty and that about $40 worth of tobacco and cigars taken. The thief had removed the glass without breaking it and left it beside the door. Nothing was taken except the tobacco. Police have no clues to work on in this case as it is not even known what time during the night the robbery was committed. Chief Connors does not think that it was done by any Ypsilanti person and is also of the opinion that the oil station was robbed by members of a well organized gang which are robbing oil stations all over the country. The same night that the Babcock store was entered thieves attempted to break into the Parkview Pharmacy on East Michigan. First the tool house next door belonging to Scott & Scott, architects, who are erecting the three new stores for Mrs. Mary Campbell, was broken into and a chisel, hammer and crowbar taken. These tools were left beside the back door of the drug store after the thieves had apparently been frightened away. The Parkview Pharmacy has been robbed three times before and some time ago an iron clad door was procured, which has an iron bar across the top and a pad lock. The bar had been knocked down, and the door pried open about half an inch but the thieves did not gain access. Police were not notified of this attempted robbery George Binder, one of the proprietors, is of the opinion that the same person or persons who robbed the Babcock store tried to enter his store but were frightened away.

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