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“Three Men Are Arrested,” Toronto Globe. November 6, 1918. Page 09.

Face Charges in Connection With Express Car Robbery

UNION BANK CASE, TOO

With the arrest of three men yesterday, the police say they have apprehended the persons implacted in the Canadian Express daylight train robbery, when $20,000 in money was stolen on October 23 last on a Grand Trunk train en route from Toronto to Buffalo, the express messengers in charge of the car being ‘held up’ by a bandit between the Union Station and Sunnyside. John Lett, alleged to be the man who robbed the messengers, is also charged with robbing the Church street branch of the Union Bank of Canada on May 2, and obtaining the sum of $1,200. His brother, Walter Lett, was arrested at a downtown hotel, and is held on a charge of conspiracy, and of receiving stolen goods. Early yesterday afternoon Gordon Dougall, 97 Spencer avenue, a clerk in the Grand Trunk ticket office at the Union Station, was also arrested on a charge of conspiracy.

Inspector John Miller of the Provincial Police, Detectives Mitchell, McConnell and Nichols, spent all Monday night searching for John Lett and his brother. Walter was arrested early Tuesday morning, but it was nearly 7 o’clock in the morning when they caught John Lett, who was wearing the uniform of a C Captain in the Canadian army, and had a revolver in his pocket. He made no resistance.

Three Charges of Robbery
Three charges of robbery, with violence, will face John Lett when he appears in Police Court this morning. He will be charged with holding up the two express messengers, George Williamson and William Wilson, and with stealing a motor car from Mr. H. S. Fergus in High Park, under threat of shooting, and with robbing the Union Bank of $1,200. The fourth charge against the prisoner is conspiracy. It is alleged by the police that Dougall, a chief clerk with the Grand Trunk for eight years, conspired with the two Letts to commit the train robbery.

Dougall was to have received a share of the money, the police state, but, owning to John Lett having to make a hurried exit from the city to avoid arrest, did not get his quota.

John Lett, according to the inspector, did the work of holding up the messengers alone, and hid the stolen money. It is charged that he handed over $1,000 to his brother, and, after leaving over $7,00 in a house in Parkdale, buried $9,000 in the residential section of High Park. After getting rid of the money, it is alleged John Lett commandeered Mr. Fergus’ car in High Park, at the point of a revolver, and drove to Midhurst, where the car was abandoned. From Midhurst Lett purchased a ticket to North Bay, and after riding on the line as far as McTier, got off and doubled back to a nearby town. Here he is said by the police to have put on the military uniform of his brother, Walter. He had been out of Toronto until Monday night. The police learned of his coming to the city, and a close lookout was kept for him. Walter Lett was an officer in the army, and went overseas with the 122nd battalion.

$3,100 is Recovered.
Three thousand one hundred dollars was recovered by the detectives yesterday after the arrests. One hundred dollars was found on the top of a boiler of a Methodist church in the west end of the city. Detectives spent yesterday afternoon searching for the remaining amount that was hidden in the High Park district. The police say that they are unable to find the exact spot where the money was placed, and are doubtful that it will ever be found by them. The bills were in small denominations, and it is feared that they have already been found.

John and Walter Lett are the sons of a Barrie family. Recently Walter has been conducting a small fruit farm near Jordan. They are both six feet in height. John is 32 years of age, and Walter 30. Dougall is also a tall, heavy-set man of 28 years of age. Frank Denton, K.C., has been retained to appear on behalf of John and Walter Lett.

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“Escaped from Burwash; Sent To Kingston,” Ottawa Standard. October 8, 1918.

Two Young Men Start Early on Downward Career.

Sentences of two years in Kingston penitentiary were meted out to two young men, Joseph Claro and Norman G. Williams, who pleaded guilty in Tuesday’s police court to escaping from Burwash Industrial Farm. The two seemed thoroughly repentant for their action, but the court thought that their chances for parole would be better at Kingston than at the institution they had just left.

Young in Crime
Norman Williams is but 20 years of age. He was sentenced at Toronto to serve a term for the theft of an automobile. On the 24th of September he escaped from custody and when caught was taken back with just a warning. On October 4th, he escaped again in company of Joseph Claro, alias Joseph Cleroux. This man has a bad record, with a previous term at the penitentiary, time in local jails and a reform school, and a lengthy sentence at Burwash ahead before his elopment. He and Williams escaped from the Industrial Farm, made their way along the rail line, evading the guards searching for them, and absconding with a motor car in Copper Cliff….
[damage in original]
….consecutively with the sentences they were serving.

‘Notwithstanding your youthfulness you are dangerous characters to be at large, and if I send you to Kingston Penitentiary I think they will be able to help you there,’ Magistrate Askwith declared.

Their recapture Tuesday afternoon was effected by Inspector Joliet and his squad after an exciting chase through New Edinburgh. Shots were fired by the detectives.

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“Receiver Jailed In Car Theft Case,” Montreal Star. July 21, 1938. Page 20.

Companion Who Had Ridden With Other Released By Court

Charles Larkin, 24, was sentenced to 10 months in prison for receiving a stolen automobile, while John Goodson, 23, who had ridden around with Larkin in the automobile, co-accused of the crime, was allowed his freedom when it was proved before the court that he was unaware of the fact that the machine had been stolen.

Detectives, testifying, said that the automobile was the property of Elmer Ferguson. Figures on the license plates had been changed in an ingenious manner and it was some time before the accused was caught, they said.

Mr. Ferguson’s licence plate’s numbers are 64-836. The court was filled with amazement when the plates were produced and the 6s on either end looked looked like perfect 8s.

The defence and Yvon Sabourin, Crown prosecutor, questioned Goodson before Judge Guerin, brought out the fact that he had fine credentials. He had been friends with Larkin for about 10 years and had often ridden around in cars with him.

‘There was nothing in this particular case to make me suspicious,’ Goodson said. ‘Larkin was a garage mechanic and told me he had got the car from a man who did not use it very much and did not mind Larkin driving it about.’

Mr. Sabourin told the court he believed that there was no case against the accused.

‘You have been lucky once,’ Judge Guerin said. ‘Don’t try that luck twice. Inquire before you enter a car from now on.’

‘I will,’ Goodson said.

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“Three Years in Kingston For Daniel Gerome,” Hamilton Spectator. July 9, 1918. Page 01.

Man Who Wielded Knife Must Also Pay $500 

Another Foreign Stabbing Affray Aired In Court

Bicycle Thief Given Term in Local Jail

Three years in Kingston penitentiary and a fine of five hundred dollars was the sentence handed out by Judge Gauld to-day to Daniel Gerome, who stabbed M. Gaspar. Two hundred dollars of the fine will go to the injured man.

IN passing sentence his honor pointed out the seriousness of the offence, and also observed that the depletions of the police force by the M.S.A. might tend to cause individuals to take the law more in their own hands.

If the fine is not paid two more years will be tacked on to the sentence.

R. J. McKenna was the prisoner’s solicitor.

CASE ADJOURNED
Anthony Ponsoni and Umbuti Scaccki were charged with assaulting Roceo Celesto.

Colesto claimed one of the prisoners met him in a store on Sherman avenue and challenged him to a fight.

The man stood with clenched hands in his pockets, and then Celesto decided to get in the first wallop. When the trio got outside the two men, he alleged, attacked him. One of them three a stone, which knocked him down, and the other jumped on him and slashed him with a razer. Celesto showed the court various wounds about the head and neck, alleged to have been inflicted in this manner.

Miss Annie Otto, a nurse at the city hospital, who attended Celesto, testified that if the cuts about the head had been a little deeper the patient might have died.

The case was adjourned until this afternoon at 2 o’clock.

M. J. O’Reilly, K.C., is acting for the prisoners.

THREE MONTHS
Although Harry Case pleaded not guilty to the charge of stealing a bicycle from Charles Lovett on June 14, and insisted he bought the wheel for $8, his horror sentenced him to three months in jail. Constable McLean laid the charge. C. W. Bell represented the prisoner.

SUSPENDED AND REMANDED
T. A. Cutss, a mechanic in the Royal Air Force, who was accused of stealing a car, was allowed to go suspended setence. Pte. William Smith, who was arrested along with him on the same charge, was again remanded for sentence. Smith, it appears, was the instigator of the act. He asked Cutts to go for a ride with him, it was stated.

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“Parents Weep As Sons Sentenced,” Montreal Star. January 19, 1937. Page 03.

Young Men Admit Robbing Stores and Are Sent To Penitentiary

While their parents huddled weeping in the courtroom, two youths, 18 and 19 years of age, were each sentenced to penitentiary terms totaling 15 years, by Judge Tetreau in the arraignment court today. The prisoners were Rolland Gascon, 18, 5147 Clark street, and Lucien Trembley, 19, 4560 Berri street, both with previous records, who police claim headed a gang which committed burglaries on a wholesale scale in the north end of the city.

Both had pleaded guilty to five charges involving burglaries, automobile thefts and receiving stolen goods when arraigned last week. They were sentenced to serve three years for each offence – the terms to run concurrently. Four other youths who admitted being members of ‘the gang’ will be sentenced by Judge Tetreau tomorrow.

Stores Robbed
The thefts committed were all in stores in the north-east section on Rachel street, Marie Anne street, and Villeneuve street east. Sergeant Detectives Dell-’Aniello and Longpre rounded up the other prisoners after Gascon had fallen into the hands of police while driving a stolen car on January 10.

Before passing sentence Judge Tetreau expressed sympathy for the parents of the youths who, he said, were good respectable people, now suffering from circumstances which had apparently been beyond their control. ‘Gascon, especially, had every opportunity and has only himself to blame for the position in which he now finds himself,’ he said.

The Judge then drew attention to the fact that neither of the prisoners were first offenders, nor had they only committed one theft. ‘They banded together to go in for burglaries on a wholesale scale and now are called to pay the consequences. Heavy penalties are the only means of ending the epidemic of burglaries which are now occurring in the city,’ Judge Tetreau declared.

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“Port
Credit: Thief Leaves Car On Rails Two Trains Demolish It,” Toronto
Star
.
December 21, 1939. Page 08.

Stolen from Hotel,
Shattered Wreck at Port Credit Yields No Clue

DRIVER
ESCAPES

Port Credit, Dec. 21 – A thief stole a car in
New Toronto early today and abandoned it on a C.N.R. level crossing
at Shaw Drive. The car was struck in a quick succession by two
fast-moving freight trains and was completely demolished. Wreckage
was strewn along the track for half a mile.

Owned by John
Neilson Jr., Fifth St., New Toronto, the car was stolen from near a
hotel where Neilson worked. Investigating, police could find no trace
of the driver, nor could they find any license plates. Skid marks
indicated the driver may have skidded and swerved to avoid a moving
train, but the crew of the first train claim the car was left
abandoned, with no lights, on the right-of-way.

Pieces of
wreckage were strewn along the track for nearly half a mile east of
the crossing and some distance west.

The owner knew
nothing of the accident until police informed him early this
morning.

Neilson said he had left the car parked at the
rear of the hotel. The locks on the doors had recently been broken
and he was unable to lock it.

Chief Constable Sidney
Belford of Toronto township was assisted in the investigation by
Chief Telfer Wilson of Port Credit and C.N.R. police from Mimico.
Skid marks indicated the driver had attempted to stop and had swerved
over a ditch on the tracks just east of the crossing. The car was
struck by a west-bound train, and apparently carried some distance
west of the crossing and thrown to the south track, where an east
bound train hit.

Police could find no trace of clothing or anything to show that
the car was occupied at the time of the collision.

Police
Look For Bodies But Find Only Wreckage

Police expected to
find one or more bodies when they rushed to the C.N.R. level crossing
just east of Port Credit early today and found bits of wreckage like
this strewn for half a mile along the tracks. They discovered the car
was owned by John Neilson of New Toronto, and was stolen in New
Toronto last night. Police believed the thief either had a queer
sense of humor and parked the car on crossing deliberatey or skidded
on to the tracks and had time to jump to safety before a westbound
train reduced it to wreckage. What was left was thrown on the south
tracks and caught up later by an eastbound locomotive. No trace of
the driver has been found.

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