Thanks to Bowery Boys for pointing out this neighborhood article from exactly 100 years ago today. The Evening World Newspaper ran a story on March 31st, 1914 about the capture of a particularly candid robber who would mark homes in Bushwick and Williamsburg with red chalk on the doors to remember that they were easy targets. From the article:
Benjamin Bradle, a youth of eighteen, who said he had no home, informed Central Office Detectives Carroll and Shea to-day that some of the residents of those sections kept their houses so insecurely locked and their valuables so carelessly placed that he found it worth while to make a red chalk mark on the doors that he might pick them out a month or two later and rob them again. The information was obtained when Bradle was asked why he carried a stick of red chalk along with a bunch of forty or fifty keys. “I just make a mark in some place where the rain wouldn’t wash it off,” he explained. “In a month I’d return and get anything that was worth taking.” Bradle was arrested while pawning clothing and jewels valued at $200 and stolen from the home of Louis Kaplan. No. 382 Wallabouth street. He put up a fight, but the two “plain clothes” men were too much for him. He confessed to having robbed about forty flat-houses in the Eastern District.