A Madman Breaks Spaulding & Co.'s Window and Grabs a Silver Pitcher
Chicago, Ill., Nov. 19. While the crowds of shoppers were making their way along State St. yesterday afternoon a wild eyed man detached himself from the throng at State St. and Jackson Boulevard and, walking over to the large show window to the right of the street entrance to Spaulding & Co.'s jewelry store, proceeded to gain access to the wares displayed by breaking the glass with the butt of a huge revolver. The sight of the weapon caused a panic in the crowd, but the would-be robber kept at his work until the plate gave way. Then, seizing a large silver pitcher, he ran toward the Jackson Boulevard crossing. But his moments of freedom were numbered. Louis Alrutz, the firm's doorman, and Martin Douce, an ex-policeman, who is now acting as a porter for the firm, were witnesses of the theft and managed to capture the man before he could mix with the crowd and make his escape.
At the station the prisoner gave the name of Thomas Smith and the place of his birth as New Jersey. He had come to Chicago, according to his statement, only a few hours before the commission of the act. Upon being searched by the officers at the station, he was found to have upon his person the sum of $175 in cash, railroad tickets from Chicago to San Francisco, to Kansas City and to St. Louis, and a commutation ticket upon one of the suburban railroads in the last named city. He is of average height, of blonde complexion, and wears the garments and has the general appearance of a workingman in comfortable circumstances. When asked for his motive in committing the act of burglary, Smith said that he was ordered by pursuing spirits to shoot, stab and destroy. These, he added, were ever near him and persistently whispered into his ears. Upon receiving this information the lieutenant at the station left an order for the city physician to examine the prisoner for his sanity.
The display of silverware so rudely disturbed by Smith was removed and a new glass quickly put into place. With the arrival of workman upon the scene the crowd that had gathered dispersed. Within the store there had been but little tumult. The whole affair had passed so quickly and so quietly that but a few knew of it until it was all over. As the pitcher was recovered there was no loss other than the plate glass window.
Source: The Jewelers' Circular and Horological Review - 23rd November 1898