Williamsburg headline 100 years ago today: ‘Robber Marks Houses With Red Chalk When He Finds Them Easy’

chalkrobber

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.

See the full article here.

- @joshmorrissey

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