Jamaica Plain Crime Report for May 1, 1900

District 9 police officers. Courtesy Boston Public Library.  Download

District 9 police officers. Courtesy Boston Public Library. Download

James Dwyer, 21 years old, living with his parents at 6 Carlow St., Roxbury, was arrested yesterday afternoon by the police of the Jamaica Plain station after an exciting and highly amusing chase, in which a patrol wagon with several officers, a sergeant and near a dozen more officers, a doctor in his buggy and hundreds of citizens figured.

Jamaica Plain has not seen such excitement in years and but for the serious side of the affair it would have eclipsed the Fourth of July celebrations held in this vicinity.

It all happened about noon.  Patrolman Riley was standing with a young man, whom he had just placed under arrest as a suspect, at a patrol box on Washington St., near Green.  He had rung for the wagon and was standing there talking to his man, when two young men walked down the street and passed him.  As they did so he noticed that neither made any attempt to stop, and it was plainly evident that both purposely avoided looking at him or the man he was holding.  This aroused a suspicion in his mind.  Every officer in the Jamaica Plain district has been on the lookout recently for unknown men who might be suspected of wrong-doing.  The district has been invaded of late with a gang, and as a result there is a sort of terror among the residents.  Breaks have been so numerous that the police officials have become tired of entering on their books the complaints.

It appears that one house was broken into by breaking a pane of glass and forcing the catch.  When discovered it was found that the window and woodwork were covered with blood, and it is presumed that the man who had committed the break had cut himself in the attempt.

This was a slight clue, but the police took it up and tried to carry it to its end.  They have been on the close watch for any man who had a cut hand or wrist.

Patrolman Riley proved yesterday that he had remembered the instructions of his superiors.  As the two men passed him he noticed that one made a poor attempt to conceal from view his wrist by pulling it up into his coat sleeve.  This proved the man’s downfall and but for this slight movement on his part, he might now be enjoying freedom instead of occupying a cell at Station 9.

The men had not gone far when the patrol wagon drew up to the box.  One of the officers jumped off but before he had time to take Riley’s prisoner, Riley ordered the driver of the patrol to hustle down the street and get the two men who had passed.  "They are the men I want," yelled Riley.  "Never mind this man, but be sure you get them."

A Sensational Chase
The driver put the whip to the horse and drove at a mad pace down the street.  But the two men were not unaware of the proceeding and quick as a flash they separated.  This was a tough problem for the men in the patrol wagon, and while some jumped out to chase one of the men the driver continued after the other.

Just at this point the fun began, and it proved as exciting a cross-town run as the Marathon race, but was its superior in point of spectacular features.  Seeing the chase, a well-known Jamaica Plain physician, whose house has been broken into, tried to outdo the patrol wagon and whipped up his horse and started after one of the men.

Station 13 is but a short distance from the scene of the affair, and it so happened that the patrolmen were just after receiving their pay and a number of them were coming out of the house.  The clanging of the gong on the patrol wagon attracted their attention, and upon looking they saw the cause of the excitement.

Not to be outdone several of them joined the chase, headed by Sargt. McCausland.  They continued the run through yards and fields and with each hundred yards the chase was continued the crowd of followers increased.  The two fleeing men passed near the works of the Sturtevant Blower Company just as the employees were leaving for dinner, and without knowing why they did it several of them also joined in the hunt.

But there is a limit to all things and the limit was reached at Stony Brook.  The fleeing men reached the edge of the brook, and at this point one of them stopped and was placed under arrest.  The other, however, did not scare at the sight of water and boldly jumped in.

The swimmer was pretty well exhausted and at the other side of the brook was completely used up and an officer who had made a circuit of the brook ran up and grabbed him.  He was taken to Station 13 in the patrol wagon with the other prisoner.  The latter was later released as there was no charge on which to hold him.  But Dwyer was locked up on the charge of breaking and entering and later turned over to patrolmen Lynch and Rooney of Division 9, Roxbury.

The break for which Dwyer was arrested was committed about 1:30 yesterday morning in the liquor store of Henry Nolte, 2056 Washington St., Roxbury.  At least three men were concerned in the affair and two are now under arrest.  Dwyer and Joseph H. McCourt, who was taken in the store at the time of the break by patrolman Lynch.  

Yesterday morning Lynch turned into Washington St. from Nawn St. and as he looked up  Washington St. saw a man disappear around the corner of  Eustis St., but a short distance away.  He started after him and as he passed the store of Mr. Nolte, saw a man on the inside.  He stopped and tried the front door, which was securely locked.  He then went around to the side door and this was also found to be fastened.  Then patrolman Lynch passed around to the rear of the building and saw that a window was open.  He climbed in and made for the form he had seen behind the counter.

There was a grapple, in which the officer won out.  He floored his man and was just placing the twisters on his wrist, when he heard a crash and quick as a flash he saw a man dive headlong through the large plate glass window in the front of the store.

Lynch fired two shots, but neither took effect and the man ran through Sterling St. toward Shawmut Ave. and was lost to view.  The sound of the shots attracted the attention of patrolman Rooney and he came to the assistance of his brother officer and then went looking for the man who had escaped.  The jump through the window was a daring one, the man carrying away with him nearly the entire pane of glass.

The man who was caught by Lynch was sent to Station 9, where he gave the name of Joseph H. McCourt.  Examination proved that the men had tapped the till and taken $4.99, leaving one cent.  

McCourt appeared in the Roxbury District Court yesterday morning and pleaded not guilty to a charge of breaking and entering.  He was placed under $1000 bonds for trial Saturday.  Dwyer will be arraigned this morning.  He denies that he was implicated in the affair.  His hands and wrists are cut and his shirt is spattered with blood.

The police claim that both men have prison records.  McCourt, it is said, was released from prison March 30, and Dwyer is said to be out of Concord Reformatory but little more than a month.  

A Lively Time in Roslindale

There was an exciting chase after two housebreakers in Roslindale yesterday afternoon.  One had entered the house of William L. Lovejoy, 40 Ashland St., but was frightened away before he had secured any property.

Fred G. Child, who resides in the neighborhood, saw two men prowling about the premises.  Presently the smaller of the two climbed a trellis, and opened a window on the first floor of the house and entered the building.  

Then Child started across the street toward the larger man, who was keeping watch.  Upon seeing Child he whistled to his companion, who immediately made his exit from the house by opening the front door, and both men ran toward Washington St.

Child hurried to the Station, at the corner of Washington and Ashland Sts., and notified officer Chadwick, and both started in pursuit of the fleeing men.  One of the latter continued running down Washington St. toward Forest Hills, while the other went across the meadowland toward Mt. Hope.  

Officer Chadwick called upon two bicyclists, Charles Lannon and Charles Tibbets, to pursue the man who was running down Washington St. while he started on a cross-country run after the other.  Chadwick tried hard to overtake his man, but was unsuccessful, losing sight of him after he reached Florence St.

The bicyclists obeyed the officer’s orders and started after the man fleeing down Washington St.  When the latter saw that Lannon was overtaking him he left the street and ran across the fields on the east side of Washington St.  Lannon kept on to Forest Hills and notified officer Schlehuber, and both started back toward Roslindale.

When Lannon rode away the housebreaker returned to the street and got onto a wagon that was passing and lay down in it.  His action was observed by Tibbets, who was wheeling leisurely along, and when he saw his friend Lannon and Schlehuber approaching he increased his speed, shot ahead of the wagon and informed the officer that his man was in it.  The burglar discovered the officer some distance ahead of the wagon, and jumping to the street tried to make his escape through a yard, but he was overhauled by the officer before he had gone any distance.

At the Station House he said his name was Vincent and that he lived at 23 Keyes St., Jamaica Plain.  

Later he was identified by Mr.Child and admitted his guilt.

This article originally appeared in the Boston Daily Globe on May 2, 1900.