BURGLARIES ALARM RIVERDALE RESIDENTS
For Months Thieves Have Been Robbing Houses Successfully.
Several Have Been Entered More Than Once and Dogs Are of No Use--
Mark Twain Will Welcome Them.
Residents of Riverdale-on-Hudson, just within the city limits, have become very much exercised over a series of burglaries remarkable for their boldness and dramatic incident which have been perpetrated there in the last eight months. Capt. Creeden of the King's Bridge Police Station has confessed his inability to cope with the situation, as the thieves have repeated their visits to some of the homes of the wealthy residents, so for several nights a large force of Central Office detectives sent there to help him have been prowling about the lonely countryside in all sorts of disguises, but so far with little result. Among those who have been robbed are:
W. W. Appleton, head of the well-known publishing firm; Gen. Alexander Webb, Robert C. Martin, Mrs. Frederick Drake, Gen. William Smith, retired Paymaster of the United States Army; Darwin G. Kingsley, Third Vice President of the New York Life Insurance Company; George D. Eldridge, Edmund D. Randolph, Giovanni P. Morosini, Frederick Goodrich, Frederick C. Harriet, husband of Clara Morris, the actress; the Rev. J. Wintrop Hegeman, pastor of Christ's Episcopal Church at Riverdale; Livingston Crosby, and George D. McGill.
Gen. Webb was the first to suffer, about eight months ago. Then $1,000 worth of silverware was taken. Again last Sunday morning thieves forces an entrance through the kitchen and stole articles of the same sort worth about $350. They disturbed Gen. Webb, and his movements frightened them away. Dogs have been of no service, and it is believed the animals have been drugged.
The Appleton home, a big Colonial mansion, was protected by a big dog, but he made no outcry when the robbers entered and carried off two landscapes in oil, which they cut from their frames, and other booty. The pictures were worth about $1,000, but the robbers left several pictures worth $20,000 hanging on the walls.
Robert Mastin met the two robbers in his dining room, about three weeks ago, while investigating a suspicious noise in the dead of night. One levelled a revolver at him, while the other jumped from the window. Then the first backed to the window.
"I hope we haven't disturbed any one. Good night," he said, and jumped after the other. Goods worth $600 were missed next morning.
Three attempts have been made to rob Mr. Morosini's home in as many weeks, but tampering with the door turns on a perfect flood of electric light about the house and grounds, and this has baffled the robbers. Mr. Morosini happened to light up the place with this apparatus a few nights ago and found the yard filled with a number of men in strange disguises. Before the old soldier and banker opened fire, however, they explained that they were detectives.
George W. Gill has arranged a stack of tin cans, frying pans, and other resonant things at his house, with wires strung in different directions, and one of which will bring the heap down with a crash if it be touched even lightly. Once it has fallen and portably saved the house from spoliation.
At the Randolph house the burglars played billiards and stole $400. The Eldridge family lost $500. Somewhat more than this was taken from Miss Morris's home, but the loss to her was heavier, for it included many rich souvenirs which she and her husband had collected in all parts of the world. Shots were fired at the robbers at the Drake house.
Samuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain) lives in Riverdale. He has not yet been robbed.
Mark Twain, when seen at the Appleton resident, had this to say:
"If I were the burglars I should feel very much hurt that my confidence in the persons who occupy the handsome residences should be so abused. Any decent burglar is entitled to a return for his pains. He should not be deceived.
"It is unfair to deceive him by putting plateware where he can get it, when it is known that the poor man comes for the genuine article. A burglar, like any one else, has got to make a living. I believe it unkind to discourage him in his peculiar efforts, especially when you consider that he many have a family to support.
"I have not yet had the honor of a call, but certainly, if they do visit me and give me timely notice, I will welcome them with more consideration.
"The last time they called upon me at my home in Hartford, they taxed me for luncheon, but I feel sure that they were not satisfied with the brand of wine in my icebox, for, while we have advanced in other lines, we have neglected to cultivate a becoming taste for wine, and I was very sorry that they were unable to get any better than poor claret.
"If they will only let me know when they intend honoring me, I shall see that they have a full assortment of good wines, and full cupboard, and I shall also tie my dog, so that he will not disturb their efforts or repose, and plated ware will not be palmed off on them."
Vague stories of a naphtha launch loaded with silver seen putting out from shore; of a robber's cave on the west shore of the river, and of two men with a person in women's clothing, but who walks like a man, and who are seen at midnight; are told by the villagers, but are of little help to police.
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