Saturday, 4 October 2008

Robbery at Woolworths

I found the following interesting newspaper article when browsing through the New York State historical newspapers on the Fulton History website. The article was published in the Rochester, New York Democrat Chronicle on 11th December 1939.
Robbers Vainly 'Burn' Safe;
Containing $2,500 Receipts

Foiled after burning off the combination on a safe in the Woolworth store at 1785 Dewey Ave., safecrackers fled early yesterday morning, leaving behind more than $2,500 in cash locked in a strong box they were unable to open.

The three-inch thick steel built-in box with a small hole cut by an acetylene torch was still hot when the attempted robbery was discovered, shortly after nine o'clock, by Paul Cruwys, store manager. A few coins were scattered about the floor of the office but none of the currency was missing.

It took several store employees more than five hours to pry open the box to determine whether any of the bills had been taken. Many of the bills were burned from the heat of the torch flames. So intense was the heat that some of the silver wrapped in packages was melted together, Cruwys said.

The robbers gained admittance to the store's second floor office by cutting a wire screen over a skylight on the roof of the building and dropping to the office floor directly below. Once inside the office the men tacked cardboard, torn from boxes, over the windows and hung a strip of oilcloth over the door to prevent any light from showing outside.

As they worked, the yeggs[?] from time to time cooled off the red hot safe door and strong box with water from the fire extinguishers. One of the extinguishers was found to be empty and another nearly empty.

In their flight the men left behind two acetylene tanks, a bolt cutter, two wrecking bars, a jimmy, some rope, a hammer and two suits of overalls. Whether they were frightened away or gave up the job after failing to open the steel box containing the $2,500 was a question police and Detectives John Fleming and Charles Sweeney, assigned to the case by Capt. of Detectives Edward Collins, could not answer.

The store, which opened for business only a few months ago, is located near the Ridge Road intersection.
Roger Paul Cruwys was born on 28th October 1905 in Somerville, Middlesex, Massachusetts. He was the son of William Crawford Cruwys and Laura May Davy. His parents were both born in Prince Edward Island, Canada, but moved to America in 1892. Paul Cruwys died on 17th December 1966 in Wellsville, New York. He had two sons by his wife Elinor Mary Walsh (1909-1970).

No comments: