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.
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.
ARRAIGN ACCOMPLICES IN MILLTOWN BANK ROBBERY; TWO ADMIT PART IN CRIME
Chaffee and Bitzberger, Caught in New York, Confess Aiding Voorhees and Watson in Robbery- $13,000 of $27,000 Loot is Recovered-Men May Return Voluntarily.
Jerome B. Chaffee and Harry Bitzberger of New York, self-confessed accomplices of “Sailor” Voorhees and Walter Watson in the robbery of the First National Bank at Milltown, were arraigned this morning in the Fourth Branch Court in New York City and held pending extradition to this State. It is expected that they will not fight their return to New Jersey.
Bitzberger and Chaffee were held by Magistrate McQuade for 48 hours without bail pending extradition, on a charge of robbery. Prosecutor Stricker will immediately; take steps to extradite the men within the 48-hour limit. It will be necessary to prove that they were in this State at the time the robbery occurred.
Securities valued at $10,000 stolen from the Milltown bank were recovered this morning. in addition to $2,700 previously secured. The total amount stolen from the bank was $27,000, according to the police, although officials of the institution have repeatedly declared the loss had been insignificant. Bank officials said this morning they “did not care to give out any figures,” although in some quarters it is stated the bank’s loss ran as high as $80,000. Only about $16, 000 worth of the stolen securities were negotiable, according to the police. Chester J. Levine, who was driving the automobile in which Chaffee and Bitzberger were arrested, was held in $15,000 ball on a charge of disposing of the securitles.
The capture of the men in New York City late yesterday afternoon, after a battle in the street with New York detectives, revealed the fact that Chaffee and Bitzberger remained hidden in the Milltown bank building all the time that the posse of citizens was chasing and capturing Watson and Voorhees, and that after the latter had been taken away the other two men calmly walked out unmolested, no-body having thought to look to the bank building.
Detective Fred David of Prosecutor Stricker’s staff, who traced the men to their New York addresses and who furnished the New York police with the clue that resulted in the arrest of the men yesterday, said this morning that he expected to have the men back here within three or four days, and that in all probability their cases will be dis- posed of as quickly as were those of Voorhees and Watson.
Both prisoners, he said, are dishonorably discharged regular army soldiers, who have served terms at Fort Leavenworth military prison. The men did not serve during the war, he said
Ready to Go West.
Chaffee and Bitzberger, with their wives, were on the point of leaving New York for Pittsburg when they were captured yesterday afternoon. Information had been obtained by Detective’ David that they intended to leave last night, but the men started ahead of schedule, and it was in ‘their attempt at a getaway that they were recognized by a New York detective and arrested.
Bitzberger had been trailed by Detective David to a rooming house at 235 West 73rd Street, New York. There his trail had been lost, but his wife still retained a room in the house and the place has been watched ever since the robbery, with the help of New York detectives and Pinkerton men.
Yesterday afternoon the detectives saw a taxicab drive up to the door with Chaffee, his wife, and Bitzberger. The women entered the house and returned a few hours later carrying two heavy cases, and entered their machine with the suitcases. The car drove with the women, Chaffee walking behind.
Detectives John Lawless and Conrad Manning followed Chaffee. to the corner of Broadway and 2nd street, where the taxi had pulled up, and there they got in touch with several other detectives who were in the vicinity. Chaffee spoke to the women and then walked into a cigar store on the corner and entered a telephone booth. One of the detectives went nto the next booth and heard him Arranging to borrow $100.
A few minutes later a touring car driven by Levine, with Bitzberger a passenger, drove up to the Broadway curb. Chaffee signaled the other man and got into the car. At this point, the detectives jumped on the running board. Bitzberger struck out but was beaten with a blackjack and Chaffee, who went to his assistance, also was roughly handled.
Other detectives boarded the taxi containing the women. The latter screamed and attempted to jump from the car, but a drawn revolver cowed them. The arrest was made. in full sight of hundreds of people. passing along Broadway. The prisoners were then driven to the 28th Precinct police station on West 68th street, and later to Police Headquarters.
Admit Robbery Here.
Detective David was immediately notified, and he hurried to New York. On his arrival there the prisoners were subjected to a thorough grilling, and finally admitted their share in the Milltown robbery. It was suspected that the men might be the bandits who shot and killed Edwin Andrews, a New York Jeweler, in a bold daylight holdup in his store on December 16, but employees who were brought in were unable- to identify them.
The women denied all knowledge of the robbery, and Levine was then put on the stand. He admitted that Bitzberger had asked him to dispose of some bonds, but claimed that he had refused to have anything to do with the matter. Later, however, he admitted that he had taken a package of bonds. said to be worth $10,000 and had given them to a friend to dispose of. He claimed he did not know this man’s name, but his identity was learned by the police
They left New York at 8 o’clock on the night of the robbery, he said, and drove to New Brunswick, reaching the Pennsylvania depot Just before 10. Bitzberger and Voorhees, he said, went up on the westbound platform, where they broke into a railroad tool box and stole a bar, a chisel and a hacksaw. He said that Bitzberger had a set of boring tools and a can of nitroglycerine or “soup” for blowing up the safe.
The party then went to Milltown, he said, where they entered the bank. Chaffee said that he remained outside, but finally the men came back and persuaded him to go and help them, and he and Bitzberger rifled the safe deposit boxes and handed out the, securities to Voorhees and Watson, who were waiting outside.
Explosive May Be Loose.
They were surprised while at work, he declared, and be heard. scrambling and shooting. He and Bitzberger simply remained inside the bank until the coast had cleared and then they slipped out. Chaffee said that they got lost and wandered all night, finally landing at Jamesburg, where they took an early morning train to New York. On leaving the bank, he said, they stumbled into the pond in the rear and got wet up to their waists.
He declared that he knew nothing about the whereabouts of the bonds, as Bitzberger had taken. charge of them.
The latter was then brought in. At first, he denied any implication in the robbery, but when he was confronted by Chaffee he broke down and confessed. At first, he denied that anything had been stolen, but when was shown the bonds which had been recovered he claimed that these were all that had been taken. Later he was prevailed upon to admit the theft of $27.000 worth.
Chaffee said he was willing to waive extradition. He said he was. 31 years old and was born in Springfield, Mo. His father was a well-to-do mining engineer, he said, but Chaffee ran away from home at an early age and drifted to San Francisco, where he enlisted in the regular army in 1910. He was sent to the Philippines, he said, and while there he struck an officer, for which he was sentenced to five years at Fort Leavenworth. He got out in 1916 and had been in New York ever since.
Bitzberger said he is the son of a Lancaster, Pa., junk dealer. He is 29 years old. He enlisted in the army at Washington, D. C., in 1910 and while in the service he shot at an officer in an attempt to kill him and was also given five years at Fort Leavenworth. He was released about a year ago, he said. He claimed to be a bond salesman employed by H. B. Green & Co. of Lancaster, Pa.
Trailed by Local Man.
The capture of the men resulted from some clever detective work on the part of the local authorities. Prosecutor Stricker took the care up with the utmost vigor and put Detective David on the case with instructions that no excuses would be accepted and that the men must be captured at any cost. He pushed the search hard throughout.
Detective David was not notified until nine o’clock of the morning of the robbery. As soon as Voorhees and Watson were ere brought in, however, he put them on them on the grill in reference to their accomplices. He was unable to get anything but the first names of these men for which were given as “Harry” and “Jerry” but Voorhees later admitted the men was also known as “Bitz”. He said he had met the other men at Gallagher’s cabaret on Seventh avenue near 48th street, New York, about a week before.
Taking the number of the abandoned car left by the robbers, Detective David went to New York and there learned that the license had been issued about a week earlier to Jerome Chaffee of 102 West 111th The name Jerome corresponded with the “Jerry” referred to by Voorhees. Going to this address, he found that Chaffee and his wife had a room there but that Mrs. Chaffee had been away all night but had returned early in the morning. taken an overcoat for her husband, and gone away.
David also learned that Chaffee had been very friendly with a man named Harry Bitzberger who had formerly roomed there but who had moved to 288 West 73rd street. ponded with both “Harry” and “Bits” On going there, he learned Chaffee and Bitzberger had come in early that morning in a bedraggled condition and that Chaffee had later bought Bitzberger a new suit. it was learned, they received a telephone call and both men and their wives disappeared. Watson had also roomed there with his wife and Mrs. Watson disappeared, too.
Mrs. Chaffee, It was learned, was secretary to a prominent New York business man. and she was trailed daily in the hopes of locating her husband, Detective George Furgeson of the 47th Precinct of New York was assigned to aid David in this work.
It was also learned that Levine had been very intimate with Bitzberger and he was carefully watched by the detectives
The habits of the two men who were sought were well-known to the police, and every place where they were likely to go was notified to be on the lookout.
After their arrest yesterday Chaffee and Bitzberger said that they went to the Hotel Belleclaire at Broadway and 78th street after leaving the 73rd street address, registering respectively as Rogers and Bates, but after two days went to the Orleans Hotel on 80th street, registering as Rogers and Edwards
Prosecutor Stricker and Detective David have been in close touch with the case ever since the robbery and David has been in New York every night. Detective William Fitzpatrick of this county also gave considerable aid.
An overcoat, wet to the waist, and a pair of socks covered with mud were found in Chaffee’s room together with a notebook on which were bloody fingerprints, caused by Chaffee when he cut his hand in the robbery.
It is expected that the men will be brought back here within a few days. They are suspected by the New York police, however, of a number of robberies in Westchester County and they may be held there. Bitzberger is said to have a bad record.
Bitzberger said he had picked out the Milltown Bank while on a tour looking for possible places to rob. He also declared that it had been planned to attempt to seize the Michelin factory payroll.
Advisory Commission Recommends That City and Borough Get Together- Pollution of Lawrence Brook New Brunswick’s Greatest Danger.
Co-operation with Milltown on the basis of a bargain by which that borough may obtain a water supply from this city in return for its establishing a sewage disposal plant to prevent contamination of Lawrence Brook, is the fundamental plan proposed for the purification of the city water supply proposed by the Advisory Water Commission to Common Council last night.
A filtration plant is also recommended, but as a matter of secondary importance “The necessity does not depend,” says the report. “upon present conditions at Milltown, for that situation must be changed in any event. But that (pollution) being eliminated, a suitable filter will not only tend to protect the water from sporadic or possible contamination elsewhere, but will remove vegetable matter which now causes objectionable color, odor, and sometimes taste.”
The commission as side issues recommends the raising of the dam at Weston’s Mills three feet to increase the reserve supply and also the reformation of rates by which Highland Park is supplied, that borough actually getting water cheaper than the inhabitants of New Brunswick.
The commission, which was appointed on April 17 last, consists of Former Mayor Drury W. Cooper Eugene P Darrow, William H. Benedict, Alfred A. Titsworth, Frederick C. Schneider and Alfred S March
The commission visited Council in a body last evening, and the report was presented by its president, Mr. Cooper, who expressed the thanks of the members for the honor conferred upon them, also for Council’s support in the matter of appropriations for necessary expenses, of which, he said. a balance would be returned to the city.
“Our recommendations,” said Mr. Cooper, “do not entail the expenditure of any great amount. We have not sought ideal conditions, but simply to advise the city to under- take just such work as is actually necessary
“The report lays particular emphasis upon conditions at Milltown. which are not due to any fault or intention on the part of Milltown, nor to any inattention on the part of the officials of New Brunswick, but to the ordinary growth of the neighboring community. We hope that means will be found, acceptable to all parties, so that the matter can be attended to with the least possible expense and trouble”
Milltown Mayor Willing.
On motion of Mr. Ridgeway the report was received and referred to the Finance Committee.
The report in its opening reviews the history of the commission and says that co-operation by Milltown was invited, but that the commission did not feel justified in waiting longer than it had for such co-operation. Continuing the report says:
Possible Sources of Supply.
“Aside from the present source of supply, we have Investigated the Raritan river and the driving of artesian wells. The river, while furnishing an abundant supply, is harder in quality of water than Lawrence Brook, besides containing a greater percentage of mineral matter, and showing higher color: in addition, it is open to the same objection raised against the present supply: Danger of pollution from settlements above us
“Repeated attempts have been made in this vicinity by private users to drive artesian wells, but the results are far from encouraging
“On the other hand, the city now enjoys water of admirable softness. supplied by a system that has been enlarged as the city has grown, and drawn from a water shed having much less density of population than the Raritan valley; there is an investment of more than $150,000 in the present pumping station and its mains to the reservoir, which would be lost if the supply were changed.
“From these considerations (which have been greatly amplified in the commission’s investigations) It is clear that, unless serious objection be raised, regarding either limitation of present supply or unavoidable pollution, the city should not change either to river or to driven wells,
“The city’s supply is drawn from the lowest of a series of five ponds, the highest of which lies on the south side of the Pennsylvania Railroad’s main line, a little more than a mile east of Monmouth Junction. The storage capacities of these ponds, as now dammed, are given in the following table:
Pond No. 1 . . . . . . . . . . . 26,542,000
Davison’s Pond . . . . . . . 10,557,000
Parson’s Pond. . . . . . . . 39.455,000
Milltown Pond . . . . . . . 9.765,000
Weston’s Mill Pond. . . 130.399,000
Total . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .226.718.000
“From this it will be seen that, of the total stored by dams now built on the watershed, more than one- half is in our own pond: secondly, that, although it is the lowest of the series, its storage capacity is only equal to about 5 days maximum production of the entire shed, or cording to the estimates of the State Board: furthermore, that our pond holds less than 50 days’ supply at the present rate of consumption-in other words, that the amount actually stored behind the present dam would last the city a little over a month If the flow into it should stop.
“We are clearly of the opinion that the capacity of the city’s storage should be substantially increased by one of the plans that will be discussed presently.
Character of the Water.
“As stated above, the water is of unusual and most desirable softness, and so is especially adapted to domestic and factory uses. It teems with organic life, both animal and vegetable Something like 15 species of alga and other forms of vegetable growth have been identified. From the changes incident to the life and growth of these organisms arise the color, odor and taste which at times reach a point where they are very objectionable and deleterious
“Color, odor, and taste are chiefly. the results of decaying vegetation On the average there is very small mineral content.
“These objections, while serious enough to require attention, are of far less importance than the matter now to be considered.
“Were it not for Milltown and the dangerous and intolerable nuisances there, our citizens need have no special anxiety as to the contamination of their water supply
“The conditions at Milltown are these:
Superficial examination shows a number of pipes leading from the Michelin factory to or into the water and a free discharge of more or less offensive fluid from them.
Analysis of Samples.
The report then tells of analysis of duplicate sets of samples taken on June 7 last, one set being submitted to the State Board of Health at Trenton, the other to Prof North and Mr. Doryland, of Rutgers
Present Conditions Are Dangerous.
“The only safeguards that New Brunswick has at present from an epidemic of any communicable disease affecting the Intestinal tract- typhoid and typhus, for example, that may exist in Milltown are, first. the two miles or so of flow down the city’s pond; second, such rough and ready means as are now employed at the pump house to purify the water before drinking it. But these means are Inadequate.
Thus, with reference to treatment of water by calcium hypochlorite, where the water is not filtered, there may be minute particles of matter enclosing bacteria which are not affected by the chemical, besides, there is always danger of incomplete mixture of hypochlorite with the water in any scheme of application. We believe that this means of treating our water should be continued pending the permanent improvements referred to.
Likewise, the two mile now in our pond, although sluggish and thereby increasing the tendency to self purification by exposure to air and sun- light and by sedimentation, is insufficient, according to experience, to eliminate colon or typhoid bacteria. It is understood that in the case of the typhoid epidemic Scranton, Pa. the bacilli were carried a greater distance than that, while a recent writer cites a similar epidemic that caused 69 deaths out or a total of 1.067 typhoid cases, which was traced to sewage from towns and mills dumped into the water supply at various points the nearest of which was only about eight miles away”
The boiling of water is, of course, efficient, but as it makes it unpalatable in many mouths, imposes an easily shirked duty upon those who are either indifferent or already over-burdened with household cares, and distributes among all the inhabitants a duty or an essentially public nature, this safeguard is least of al to be relied on.
“The question naturally arises. why should Milltown be permitted to pollute our water supply and thus constantly menace the health of New Brunswick? Apparently, the only answer is, that what is everybody’s business is nobody’s business.
“Ample authority to Institute suitable action to suppress such nuisances was given the Board of Water Commissioners by the statute under which the City acquired the property and franchises of the New Brunswick Water Company, which company by the statutes of 1859 and subsequent years had been clothed with very extensive and valuable powers to establish and acquire water-rights in Middlesex and Somerset Counties.
“Although, by some recent legislation, the State Board of Health is given the power to initiate and enforce action to prevent or stop pollution of the potable water within the State, nevertheless the health of the city should not be jeopardized because of the laxity or inaction of any State authorities.
“The prime requisite to any scheme of betterment is the total elimination of pollution by sewage at Milltown in our judgment, this can be accomplished only by the erection and maintenance by Milltown of a sewage disposal plant, located at some point outside the water-shed of Lawrence Brook.
In the present are your Commisions recommended to following plan as
Adequate to meet all present conditions, and future requirements, so far as they are now foreseen:
“1. That the pollution by sewage at Milltown be eliminated by persuading or encouraging, that Borough to erect a sewage disposal plant outside the water-shed.
“2. When that is done, we recommend that the dam at Weston’s Millpond be ramed 7 foot in height. This will increase the storage capacity of the pond from 120,000,000 gallons to 200,000,000 gallons approximately, Because of the step banks this would not materially widen the pond or overflow adjacent lands. The advantage of this will be not merely in the increased available — which in seasons as dry as that of 10 would be immensely valuable to the city but, regulating the flow of the stream will give greater opportunity for sedimentation, and consequent self-purification of the water.
It is estimated that the cost of the work necessary for the additional height of dam and retaining walls the sides of the pond will not exceed fifteen thousand dollars $15,000, or fall below thirteen thousand dollars $13,000.
“3. The necessity of filtration does not depend, in our judgment, upon the present conditions at Milltown, for that situation must be changed in any event. A filtration plant should not be relied upon to safeguard against manifest pollution. But, that being eliminated, a suitable filter will not only tend to protect the water from sporadic or possible. contamination elsewhere, but will remove vegetable matter which now causes objectionable color, odor and sometimes taste,
“4. In the event that sewage at Milltown cannot be dealt with as heretofore recommended because of legal obstacles not apparent from our Investigations, or because those charged with the duty of acting fail to protect the city’s interests, there is no safe recourse for the city except to acquire land and build a large storage reservoir at Parsons Pond, and pipe from there to our present pumping station. Provisional plans and estimates were made for such a scheme some 30 years ago by the late Dr. George H. Cook and having reviewed his plans and figures (which are filed herewith, we are of opinion that his estimate of maximum storage capacity of 1,640, 000,000 gallons and of probable cost of $347,000, including cost of land, dam and piping, are fair and just now.
“But this plan is open to patent objections; among them these: It saddles upon the city an expense that Is avoidable if pollution at Milltown be eliminated; it does not avoid the necessity of filtering in order to rid the water of odor, color and taste: and it reduces the drainage area by more than 25 per cent and that means a lowering in that proportion of the average daily flow available for our uses, in dry seasons.
“Such a storage reservoir may, in years to come, be necessitated by large increase In population, as an auxiliary to Weston’s Pond: but no such necessity now exists, in our Judgment.
“5. Contain matters of relatively minor importance claim attention. The city has the right to assess and collect water taxes on all lands fronting on lines of pipe, whether or not the owners use the supply. We understand that this power has not been exercised in the practice of the Water Department.
“The city at present delivers water to the neighboring Borough of Highland Park at less net rates than in our own city. We have examined the contract, executed about two years ago, and find that, upon its face it provides for equal rates in both places; but Highland Park taxes our city for the value of the piping system that is laid there, so that the Borough has a preference despite the facts that our citizens own the plant, and that the average distance of delivery in Highland Park greatly exceeds the average distance of delivery to our own townspeople. We can find little to commend in the terms of the Highland Park contract: In case of threatened famine. this city should have a preference In the use of its own water, but that is specifically excluded: no lien is given against property in the Borough for unpaid water rates, so that the city’s ability to collect seems to depend entirely upon the willingness of the users there to remit; and apparently no right is given our Board to charge property there that abuts our lines unless the owners connect with them. We strongly recommend that, if possible, this contract be rescinded, or reformed, in order to give New Brunswick its due.
“It is believed by the members of this Commission that, with the improvements in plant that we have recommended, the Borough of Milltown may agree to take water from our plant. For obvious reasons, It has no present interest In doing s But if that Borough will remove its sewage from the watershed, Its suspicions of the purity of the supply will be gone; and, it if then becomes a customer of our water department, the individual and collective interest there in avoiding pollution, will be as great a sin this city.
“Without making a specific recommendation on this point, we leave it to the good judgment and self-interest of both communities to determine whether co-operation is not the best course. Having examined the physical conditions, we are satisfied. that a workable scheme is entirely feasible
Respectfully submitted, DRURY W. COOPER, Pres, EUGENE P. DARROW WILLIAM H. BENEDICT, ALFRED A. TITSWORTH, FREDERICK C. SCHNEIDER, ALFRED S. MARCH, Sec. November, 1911.