This Day in History: December 30th, 1920

This Day in History: December 30th, 1920

N.Y. POLICE WILL LET MILLTOWN BANK ROBBERS COME HERE

Local Charges to Come First in Long Series Made Against Chaffee and Bitzberger – May Wait Return of Judge Daly.


Milltown National Bank at Michelin Tire - 1924

Local authorities have been promised by the New York police, it was learned today, that unless a more serious crime than robbery is fastened on Jerome Chaffee and Harry Bitzberger, arrested in New York on Tuesday through the work of County Detective Ferd David of Middlesex, the men will be sent back here and will not be held for the many crimes charged against them there. Detective David said today that it was his belief, that Chaffee’s story that the Milltown robbery was his first “job” is the truth but that Bitzberger appears to have a bad record.

According to Chaffee’s story, which has been partially verified by Detective David, he came to New York in 1916 on his release from Fort Leavenworth military prison and endeavored to straight. He ran a pastry shop for a time and later became a chauffeur and held a responsible position. He was married early in 1919 and told his wife of his bad military record but promised to go straight.

A short time ago, however, he met Bitzberger, who had been a fellow convict at Leavenworth, and got him a room in the same house, not knowing what he was doing. It is believed that Bitszberger operated alone for a while and got Chaffee in only in time for the Milltown robbery.

To Be Held Tomorrow.

At yesterday’s arraignment of the men, the local detectives were unable to produce exemplified copies of the warrants, but they will have them ready tomorrow and the prisoners will then be committed for thirty days pending extradition.

As Judge Daly will not return until January 7 there will probably be no attempt to bring the men back before that time, but they will likely be indicted by the Grand Jury on that date and then brought back as soon as the extradition proceedings can be arranged.

Wanted In Westchester.

Police officials in Westchester County reported yesterday that Chaffee and Bitzberger were believed to be members of a band which has looted many homes in that county. Soon after Voorhees and Watson were arrested the fingerprint expert of White Plains said that the men’s finger marks revealed their connection with robberies there.

The police of New Rochelle were seeking Voorhees and Watson for burglaries there as a result of a confession by Arthur B. Clayton, recently sent to Sing Sing, who implicated them.

Fingerprints on a safe in Pelham Manor, robbed of Liberty bonds and jewelry valued at $5,000, were believed to be those of Chaffee and Bitzberger, it was said.

The men also are alleged to have participated in the robbery of $7,000 worth of clothing from the store of Charles Wellers at Peekskill and of $5,000 worth of liquors from the country home of Harold Stearns at Tarrytown. Several other suburban robberies are attributed to them.

Inspector Coughlin received word from Pittsburgh last night that Bitzberger’s real name was Lloyd Henry Bitzburger, and that he was the son of John P. Bitzburger, a wealthy plumber of Lancaster. Bitzberger appeared in Lancaster last October and soon afterward a bakery was robbed and $3,000 in Liberty bonds taken from a safe. On Nov. 11 Bitzberger was married at Harrisburg, and five days later the First National Bank at Landisville, six miles from Lancaster, was entered and between $100,000 and $150,000 in negotiable securities taken. Bitzberger disappeared on the day of the robbery.

It is believed that Bitzberger was not connected with the big Sleepy Hollow robbery, as he did not meet Voorhees and Watson until after that time, but he is thought to have operated with them in later Westchester robberies.

It was learned today that the automobile used by the gang in the Milltown robbery was purchased by Chaffee with money furnished Bitzberger by Voorhees and Watson.