Thursday, July 21, 2011

Today -100: July 21, 1911: Of PI/clown/fake burglars

I read this story only by chance. I was skimming the page and the word “clown” caught my eye: Frank Wacrous of Newark, a wire-drawer, stole $3,200 worth of platinum from the vault of the refining firm where he worked. He snuck it out in his underwear (not all at once)(is that 80 ounces of platinum in your underwear, or are you just happy to see me?), then picked a fight with his boss so he’d be fired before the theft was noticed. He moved to Coatesville, PA, where, naturally, he used his riches to set up a sideshow. A private detective infiltrated the sideshow by taking a job as a clown and wormed his way into Wacrous’s confidence, convincing him that he was not only a clown but also a burglar. Wacrous then brought him into a scheme to shoot the night watchmen at the refining plant and blow up the vault (presumably after robbing it, but the article doesn’t say). At this point the private dick brought in the cops and Wacrous and two accomplices were arrested.

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