"BURGLAR" SAVED AS POLICE COME. ~ Guest Mistaken by Roomers for Robber, Imprisoned in Guarded Closet.

December 26, 1909

Guest Mistaken by Roomers
for Robber, Imprisoned
in Guarded Closet.

"Come to 912 East Ninth street immediately," came a call late last night to police headquarters. "We've got a burglar locked in a closet."

The patrol wagon made a record run, but when it arrived only a crowd of badly frightened men and women roomers were found. There was no burglar.

"It was just one of the roomers," explained one of the crowd. "A man came out here tonight to visit a friend. He stepped out into the hall to look for a water cooler. The man had been drinking, and in his wandering through the dark halls stepped by mistake into a closet. A roomer, seeing the prowler, slipped up behind him and slammed the closet door."

The cry of "burglars" aroused the roomers. While the men rushed about in search of lodge swords and the women went for hat pins, one of the roomers stood guard with a revolver.

"Come out and I'll shoot," warned the guard in night robe, peering around his fortification, a chimney.

The prisoner took a drink. His courage restored, he shouted, "Help," thinking that he himself was the one being held up.


The cohorts of the besiegers were now ranged in solid phalanx in front of the closet. There were all sort and manner of weapons. The men felt the edges of their lodge swords, and the women jabbed at supposed burglars, their forms outlined on the wall. The man with the revolver formed the advance line of attack. The rear was brought up by a boarder with a battle ax, used at a masquerade ball in the '60s.

"Help, burglars," came more audibly from the closet.

The friend in a nearby room was attracted by the noise. He came to the hall armed with a .44, not knowing that his guest was in trouble. He lined up behind the rear guard.

"Help, I'm suffocating," came another cry from the closet, this time more insistent and appealing.


The roomer recognized the voice as that of his guest. The guard of nightie-clad roomers was called off. The guest with the jag was released.

A clanging of bells was heard in the front of the house. A squad of blue-coats came rushing in at the front door.

"Saved," cried the joyful man, emerging from his prison, mopping his brow.

"Stung," answered the chorus of nighties.

The police returned to headquarters empty-handed.