May 5, 1908


Porch Climber Had Stolen Watches
on December 26, 1906, and
Buried Them in a To-
mato Can.

By a thorough search of police records Fred G. Bailey, secretary to the inspector of detectives, yesterday located the owners for most of the jewelry which was found Saturday night at Nineteenth and McGee streets. The valuables were found by John E. Linings, 317 East Nineteenth street, a boy who was digging for worms. It was all safely planted in an old rusty tin can which, according to the record, had been in the ground just one year, four months and two days when found. The can, which was delivered to Lieutenant Hammil at the Walnut street station, contained four gold watches, one gold cross, one gold cuff button, two brooches, one an old came; one gold and one enamel heart, and one string of three-strand gold beads.

Bailey began at January, 1906, and it was not until he reached December 26 of that year that his efforts were rewarded. On that night porch climbers entered the home of E. H. Stimson, 3145 Broadway, while the family was in the siting room below. The thief or thieves secured two ladies' gold watches, one an open face watch, with E. A. S. on the case in big letters, and the other marked "Emmett to Olive." They also got a long gold watch chain and five gold rings.

On the same evening the home of C. M. Gilbert, then living at 3129 Washington street, was entered, probably by the same "climbers" as it was in a similar manner. There three gold watches were stolen. One, an open face watch, had "1876" engraved on it and there was a long chain to it. Another was engraved "Annie B Gilbert" and the last was undescribed. The thief also got a black seal card case and $40 in cash.

The gold engraved cross, the cuff button, two brooches and two hearts have not yet been identified. Detective Ralph Trueman was sent out to locate the robbed families and tell them of their luck. He found Mr. Stimson still living at the same number but Mr. Gilbert, he said, had left the city. Neighbors said the family had moved to Ohio. They believed it was Dayton. Secretary Bailey will endeavor to locate Mr. Gilbert and make him happy.

Mr. Stimson, who is a real estate man, was very much pleased when told of the find. "I recall the night we were robbed," he said. "It was the night after Christmas and about 8 o'clock. The thieves climbed the front porch and ransacked the two front rooms. The watch marked 'E. A. S.' is the property of my daughter, Edith Aileen Stimson. She will be more pleased than anybody as she was broken hearted over her loss."

Many conjectures have been made as to how and why the can of jewelry was buried in the ground and especially why it was left there. Many police believe that the thief, after burying his loot, fell into the hands of the law and may now be doing time in some prison. Others think the man who put the can there must be dead.

It is not an unusual thing for burglars to bury plunder, especially watches and other jewelry which is easily identified. After it has been buried long enough for the police to cease to look for the lost valuables they can easily be dug up and either sold or pawned with less chance of detection. If the thief is in prison the police believe he would have some day returned and disposed of his loot.