Roughly 100 years ago, the little Village of Rye was experiencing many changes that were not all for the better, as shown by the following excerpts from the archives of the Port Chester Journal...
Roughly 100 years ago, the little Village of Rye was experiencing many changes that were not all for the better, as shown by the following excerpts from the archives of the Port Chester Journal. They paint a picture that looks more like Dodge City or Tombstone.
February 10, 1905
When the first trolley car of the day entered Rye Village Thursday morning, the owner of an electrical establishment, Edward J. Pope, rose from his bed and sat down by his fireside. His wife, who had spent a sleepless night due to her husband’s imbibing of what the Indian properly calls “fire water,” soon became the victim of a violent attack by him.
He pursued his wife around the room and tried to grab her by the throat. She cleaned out the stove, firing pots and pans into the air as she struggled and beat her husband. He stormed out of the house and ran amok through the town until he was arrested and sent to the lockup.
May 6, 1909
A woman horse thief by the name of Gussie Smith, who stole a horse and trap from a livery stable in White Plains, was arrested at Rye Station. She was taken into custody when she alighted from the 8 o’clock train Thursday evening by Sergeant Tracy and Officer Byrnes and was escorted by them to the police station.
The prisoner is twenty-eight years old and has been deserted by her husband. The horse was a gray mare, and the trap had red running gear. Mrs. Smith had hired the outfit several weeks ago and failed to return it. She was taken to the White Plains jail last evening.
January 5, 1911
Friday morning Frederick Stalpa, a representative of the Ebling Brewery, swore out a warrant for the arrest of Donato Creaturo, charging him with grand larceny. It alleged that Creaturo had stolen certain fixtures belonging to the Ebling firm when he ran a saloon on Parson Street in Rye.
Chief of Police Balls took up the case, and went to find Creaturo at his new residence in Bridgeport. With the aid of a local detective he found Creaturo and escorted him by train back to Rye, where he was arraigned before Judge Edwards. Creaturo is considered a wealthy man, who owns a hotel near the Harrison border, which was raided last year as a disorderly place by the local authorities.
January 19, 1911
Sunday evening at 6:30 pm, three members of the Rye police made a very clever and well-fathomed catch in true hold-up style at the home of George Park on the Post Road near the Harrison boundary line. On a tip from Mr. Park’s gardener, they had been waiting to catch the thief, Austin Terrico, who had cut away considerable lead piping and copper from bathrooms in the unoccupied house.
Last night, Chief of Police Balls, accompanied by Sergeant Tracy and Officer Flaherty laid in wait at the mansion last night, expecting him to return for some of the copper and lead he had left behind. The officers hid and watched the man as he packed a feed bag with the loot. Just as the thief was about to step out the door, Officer Flaherty flashed his bulls-eye into his eyes and covered him with a gun.
Terrico, who has a criminal record, was arrested and taken by carriage to the police station. Mr. Park, whose mansion is one of the largest in the village was told of the arrest, and he highly complimented the officers. Damage caused to the plumbing is estimated to be $2,000.
May 18, 1911
Two horse thieves, David Cohen and Harry Balkousky, both of New York, were caught by Officer Flaherty as they were passing through the Village of Rye. When their rig was under the glare of a street lamp, Flaherty noticed that the driver’s actions were suspicious, and there was no light on the vehicle. He placed the men under arrest, and Chief Balls discovered over the telephone that a rig answering the one seized in Rye had been stolen in Bridgeport.
Balkousky admitted that the two men had taken a boat to Bridgeport and had stolen the horse and rig, which they were driving back to New York. They had driven through every village along the line without a light before being stopped in Rye.
August 25, 1911
“Second story” sneak thieves tried to enter the home of William F. Wallace on Milton Point Friday night while the family was at dinner, but they were frightened off by the butler who came out on the piazza. One of them jumped over the balcony rail and the other slid down the porch from the roof.
The butler went in the house to get his gun and running shoes and then went to the barn to summon the coachman, who grabbed an old shooting iron. Together they beat around the bushes and flushed one of the thieves, but he escaped onto Forest Avenue. After learning of the incident at a call box on the Post Road, Sergeant Tracy arrived at the Wallace home after the melodrama was over. However, as the newspaper noted, “he had the pleasure of riding the Indian over the plains of Milton by the light of the fading moon.”
You have to be impressed by the resourcefulness of the local police, as they carried out their jobs in a rapidly changing suburban village, surrounded by big bad cities. Now that technology has provided crime-solving innovations that can be used in methods like shooting incident reconstruction, local authorities must also keep up and invest in the necessary training to take advantage of these innovations.
Chief Balls communicates by telephone with other police forces and takes a train to Bridgeport to nab his man. Sergeant Tracy uses a call box and rides around the community on an Indian motorcycle, the first American-made motorcycle. Yet, while mastering all those modern tools, they still had to know how to catch horse thieves of both sexes.