“Sailor” Voorhees Is Captured With Watson In Daring Attempt to Rob Milltown Bank; Knocked Unconscious by Bullet; Two Escape
Force Way Into Vault But Abandon $3,000 in Silver When Surprised by Posse
Local Man Charged with Long Series of Crimes Captured by Posse – Bandits Fail to Get Bank Loot – Planned to Rob Post Office.
Frank “Sailor” Voorhees of this city, sought for nearly two years by the police of New Brunswick and a dozen other cities, was captured last night with a companion. Walter Watson. of Melrose, Mass., in an attempt to rob the First National Bank of Milltown. Two other men who were with them managed to escape.
Voorhees and Watson, who first gave his name as Clifford Jackson of New York, were captured after a top chase by a posse of citizens hastily gathered by Mayor Christian Kuthlthau of Milltown after Herman Willenbrock, a nightwatchman at the Michelin Tire Co. plant, had reported the robbers at work. In attempting to scale the wall in front of the bank, Voorhees was struck a glancing blow in the head by a bullet and was knocked unconscious. He was seized as he fell to the ground and Watson was captured at the same time. The two other men escaped through the rear of the bank property along Lawrence brook and eluded their pursuers there.
The robbery occurred at about midnight last night. Shortly after even o’clock an automobile, without lights, and said to contain four men and a woman, was seen proceeding along Main street, Milltown, in the direction of the bank. The car was seen by a group of young men in front of the Michelin Community House, but little attention was paid to it. The car turned into John street and stopped there.
Some time later when Night Watchman Herman Willenbrock was making his rounds of the Michelin plant the bank being located in one of Michelin buildings he saw a man standing in a doorway opposite the bank. As Willenbrock passed the man whistled, and Willenbrock saw another man inside.
Posse Called Out.
Instead of attacking the men. Willenbrock at once informed Head watchman Charles Beecher. The latter got in touch with Mayor Christian Kuhlthau of Milltown, who immediately went to the bank, gathering a posse of about forty men, armed with rifles, shotguns and revolvers, on the way. So quick were they that they reached the bank within ten minutes after the alarm was given.
The robbers apparently had not, paid much attention to the watchman, for they were still in the bank when the posse approached. The posse closed in from all sides in an attempt to surround the robbers, but their eagerness to get Voorhees and Watson the other men eluded them.
Voorhees was picked up and caried into the bank office. Dr. Riva was immediately summoned, but before he completed his examination of the man Voorhees came to and was able to sit up. Both prisoners were brought to New Brunswick and were lodged in the county jail.
County Detective John Ferguson was summoned from New Brunswick and began an investigation of the case at once.
The car which the men had used was found on John street and was seized and brought to New Brunswick by Detective Ferguson and Superintendent Robert Matlack of the Russell Playing Card Co. No trace could be found of the woman said to have been with the party and Voorhees and his companion denied that any woman had been with them.
Broke Into Vault.
It was found that the robbers had forced an entrance into the bank by wrenching a bar from a rear window and that they then dug a hole about a foot square through the brick wall of the bank vault, but. they were unable to force the safe inside the vault in which most of the money was contained.
A bag containing $3,000 to silver was found in the yard in the rear of the bank, apparently handed out by one of the men but abandoned when they were surprised.
All the safe deposit boxes in the vault had been opened and their contents scattered around, but it was impossible for bank officials to say whether anything had been taken from these or not, and it was reported that $2,400 in Liberty Bonds had been secured. Bank officials said that nothing else had been taken and they were not sure whether these bonds were secured or not.
A man was said to have been seen loitering around the post office last night. He also declared that it had been planned to take the loot to Trenton by automobile and then go back to New York by train.
Long Wanted Here.
Voorhees has long been a thorn in the sides of police and county officials here and has been suspected of being the ringleader in half a dozen holdups and robberies. He is wanted by the county detectives for the two Wolfson robberies, the attempt to rob Tepper Brothers, the holdup of the Hanover Shoe Store, and robberies of Houghton and Strauss, S. Spitz, Stewart and Clayton, in New Brunswick, the local Y. M. C. A. and Sol Rubenstein’s at Perth Amboy.
He is also wanted in New Bedford, Mass., where he broke Jail on July 30 last, New Rochelle, Peekskill and White Plains, N. Y., and Elizabeth and Plainfield in this State. Watson is also wanted in New Bedford.
The men have been in New York for some time, they said, and Voorhees declared this morning that on one occasion he escaped from a house there just as County Detective. Fred David entered.
Detective David has taken up the chase of the two men who escaped end hopes to have them in custody shortly. He refused to talk in reference to the statements made by the men.
It is not known yet whether Voorhees and Watson were implicated in the Stillman and Woolworth robberies, but these are being carefully investigated.
Alfred S. Puerschner, warden of the county jail, took no chances on letting his prisoner escape and he remained on guard himself all night, at the jail. Special precautions are being taken to safeguard the prisoners.