A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

African-American Series: Manhunt, Year in County Jail for Petty Theft, 1933

At the height of the Great Depression, even a fistful of coins from a cash register warranted a manhunt and arrest. All the more so if the thief was a "burly negro." The article below appeared in the 14 July 1933 edition of The Matawan Journal.

Captured In Meadows After He Had Stolen About $8 from Hauser's Shoe Store, Keyport

A burly, six-foot Negro giving the name of William Brown and claiming he was from Greenville, Ind., was sentenced to 364 days in the Freehold county Jail last Friday morning when arraigned before Recorder Harry Bolte Jr. of Keyport, charged with stealing about $8 from Frank Hauser, a Keyport shoe merchant.

Brown entered the store of Mr. Hauser on Front Street shortly after 9 o'clock Friday morning, having just left the American Clothing Company's store where he had been begging. Mr. Hauser was standing on the street, a short distance from his store conversing with an acquaintance when he saw the Negro enter the building. Returning to the store, Mr. Hauser saw the man step away from the cash register with.his fists clenched. Upon being questioned as to why he was there and what he had in his hands, the Negro said he came into the store to ask for a dime. He denied that he had taken anything from the cash register. Mr. Hauser compelled the man to open his hands which held a dollar bill and about $7 in silver which was the amount of the money in the register. Mr. Hauser, who is of slight build, struck the Negro, who made a break for the door and ran down the street. Mr. Hauser rushed to the door and called for assistance. An alarm was broadcast and the Keyport police and State Troopers began a search for the colored man. He was traced to the meadows along the creek n the vicinity of the Maple Place bridge and after about an hour and a half search he was located by Police Captain George M. Mason and one of the troopers. The money was found on his person. The Negro was able
to keep himself concealed in the tall sedges and could watch the officers who were unable to locate him for some time.

Brown was fingerprinted by the troopers who stated they believe a check of the prisoner's record will reveal that he is wanted by police in other cities.


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