STABS ROBBER WITH HATPIN. ~ Melvina Gerard Puts Purse Snatcher to Flight and Makes Him Candidate for Surgical Treatment.

March 31, 1909

Melvina Gerard Puts Purse Snatcher
to Flight and Makes Him Can-
didate for Surgical Treatment.

The problem of coping with the purse snatcher has been solved by Miss Melvina Gerard, the proprietor of a women's tailoring establishment, who was walking from a Twelfth street car to her home at 2823 East Eleventh street late Saturday night. When a man who had followed her from the car attempted to snatch her purse she promptly began to stab him with her hat pin. The vanquished robber fled in dismay.

Miss Gerard worked late Saturday night and with her sister, Miss Ernestine Gerard, started home laden with purchases. A man who boarded the same car as the young women also alighted at Chestnut street. It was over two blocks to their home and not a person was in sight. The streets were poorly lighted and a purse snatcher could operate without much chance of being identified.

The women felt they were being followed, as the man made no attempt to pass them. Miss Ernestine Gerard slipped her purse out of sight under a package, but Miss Melvina made up her mind to cope with the footpad in a different manner should he attempt to snatch her purse. She pulled a long gold hat pin from her hat and waited. At the corner of Eleventh and Chestnut streets the man quickened his pace, and dodging between the two women made a grab for Miss Melvina's purse. He wasn't prepared for the reception in store for him.

As he grasped the purse, the hat pin was jabbed into his face and a moment later it came through his black derby hat. Clearly it was time to retreat, and it didn't take him long to come to this decision. But in his retreat he left his hat on the sidewalk. The sister had screamed for help and this accelerated his flight.

The women reached home with his hat which was turned over to the police department Sunday. At headquarters an examination showed that the hat pin had pierced the crown and it is believed the footpad must have been a candidate for a surgeon.

Miss Gerard was not inclined to talk very much on the subject last night. She didn't want the notoriety, she said.

"If every woman would draw a hat pin instead of screaming for help, there would be less purse snatching," she said. "I wasn't a bit frightened, and knew what I was doing. I must have struck him about four times."