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Posts Tagged ‘housebreaker’

“Convict’s Thrilling Escape: Leaps From Fast Train,” Toronto Globe. November 25, 1918. Page 08.

Man With Bad Record in Toronto Fools County Constable and Flees Near Shannonville – Recaptured at Napanee

John Gowans, who was on his way to Kingston penitentiary, where he was to commence a second five-year sentence for housebreaking, escaped from the custody of County Constable Frank Brown near Shannonville on Saturday morning. Gowans made his escape by obtaining permission to go to a lavatory, and then by leaping from the window of the train after he had slammed the door upon Constable Brown.

Gowans was the housebreaker who entered the house of the widow of the late Dr. Fenton, and assaulted her when she endeavored to hold him until the arrival of police. He was later arrested, and only recently completed his sentence. Judge Winchester on Wednesday sentenced Gowans to five years’ imprisonment upon convictions registered against him for housebreaking in Parkdale.

The convict was recaptured at Napanee on Saturday just before midnight.

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“Housebreaker Got 3 Years In Kingston,” Sudbury Star. January 2, 1918. Page 08.

Narcisse Chartrand has Long Record – Brother Goes to Burwash.

Narcisse Chartrand, a housebreaker with a long record, was sentenced by Magistrate Stoddart Monday morning to three years in Kingston penitentiary. His brother, Wilfrid, and his partner in crime, was given one year at Burwash Industrial Farm. The pair broke into the residence of John Campbell, Coniston, on the 23rd inst., and stole goods to the value of $2,000. Narcisse Chatrand was sentenced on January 28th, 1913, to three months for theft, on June 4th of the same year twenty-five months in St. Vincent de Paul penitentiary for the theft of a horse; and on June 26, 1915, to six months in Montreal city jail for vagrancy and theft. His brother spent eight days in jail last year for the theft of an automobile. Both men’s records were obtained through the medium of the finger print system, which has proved a success in Sudbury and elsewhere. Both men stared as they received their sentences.

[AL: N.C. is typical of many of the young men sentenced to the penitentiary in the early 20th century. A persistent, or habitual, or incorrigible, criminal, by 1918 his ‘long record’ had already long put him under the attention of the police and crime-control agencies. His offences were for theft and vagrancy, crimes often connected to a search for money – with car or horse theft especially being considered a typical, and serious, part of youth criminality by the authorities and part of a culture of masculine thrill-seeking and status. In the 1915 sentence, N.C. was convicted on charges brought up by his own mother, and ‘given a stern lecture’ besides. In turn, ‘labourer’ was used in institutions for subjects with inconsistent, casual, or unskilled and temporary work – the inability to hold a steady job, often because of workplace conflicts, lack of training, or lack of interest, is typical of many young delinquents from the period. Finally, N.C.’s mobility – operating in Sudbury far from his regular Québec haunts – was becoming more regular as trains and cars made it easier to move between cities looking for work or other opportunities. Interestingly, despite the reputation incorrigible criminal youth had in the public eye, once in prison, he was not a persistent trouble-maker, having already learned the ‘ropes’ from prior convictions, was never disciplined, and was released early.]

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