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bag and if men would tuck their wads in cases where the amount is considerable it is their watch pockets or carry their wallets in almost invariably called for. But, nevertheside their waistcoats and wear guards on less, the public has been constantly giving their stickpins and watches. This is some opportunity to the salesmen to become thieves trouble, to be sure, but it's necessary. When at small risk. I urged upon a friend the other day the need The chance to steal where large amounts of caution, he said, " I'd rather spend the are negligently abandoned is not so great as money to buy a new coat than constantly where small change is overlooked. At one guard this one. It costs me time, vigilance, time or another, every one of us leaves a and anxiety, and keeps my mind from more nickel or a dime at the window of the ticketimportant things.” But that isn't negligence seller on the “Sub" or the " L.” There are —it's arithmetic !
many subways and elevated roads in the It's disgusting to see men and women in United States, and hundreds of ticket-sellers a great crowded shopping thoroughfare like at whose windows small change is neglected. Thirty-fourth Street fairly pushing their Yet I am told that such moneys are rarely valuables at you, wearing watches in outside turned in at the treasurer's offices. Probably pockets or on sleeves. To punish pickpockets they are absorbed in transit. To a man for taking property thus held out to them is with a big family and small wages a nickel like holding meat up to a dog and then kick counts ! ing him for grabbing at it; or it's like turning I know one man who became a thief just a lot of ravenous boys into a field of cherry from the start he got at a railway ticket trees with the ripe, luscious fruit hanging low window. People used to rush off, forgetting and begging to be plucked. The police are their change—only a nickel, perhaps, or a forever eradicating these pests—but the public dime, not worth going back for. At first he unconsciously is behind them—the pests, not used to call them back, he told me; then he the police !
saw how careless they were, and after a while It's a wonder that the matinée girl has not he didn't care. He got to pocketing their made a thief of every box office man in New change. But this wasn't getting it fast enough. York. She gets on line with the idea that He thought that, as they were so careless, he he's going to hold back the best seats on could“ put it over" on them right along, and her. She is angry and more or less hysterical he began to short-change them systematically when she reaches the window and is ready during rush hours. He got bolder and bolder to quarrel with the ticket-seller. Yes, as she in this, till complaints began to drift in. The feared, there's nothing left but the twelfth row. company set a watch and caught him. The After the usual argument, she grabs her ticket contributory negligence of the public had and leaves the window, mad to the roots of made a thief of this man. her hair-and the ticket-seller calls her back In every one of New York's seventy firstand gets his revenge.
" You've left your
class theaters, valuables are found every change, madam," he says sweetly, handing night, such as fur pieces, eye-glasses, chateher eight dollars or eighteen dollars—for girls laine bags, jewel-studded combs, and purses, of this class very often have big bills—and the latter often containing hundreds of dollars. she grabs it and turns away, angrier still at During a season of one hundred and twenty this added humiliation.
performances at the Metropolitan OperaOccasionally women stand gossiping with House no fewer than 728 articles of value one another while they hold up the line, and were found, ranging all the way from a set then move away, forgetting their change. of false teeth to an immensely valuable pearl Obviously a man who was crooked in the necklace. This number takes no account of box office could not last long, because the loss hundreds of handkerchiefs, single gloves, and of a considerable amount of change is quickly the like, but it does include one hundred noticed and easily traced.
and fifty pairs of valuable opera-glasses. But women are not the only offenders in The list for a single day is about as follows: this way. Men in their hurry are constantly diamond scarf-pin, gold eye-glasses, opera leaving change. A certain cigar company bag, black gloves, and the like. Under one having three hundred stores in Greater New scat was found a lady's bag containing a York reports a hundred cases a day of cus kimono, Lreakfast cap, comb and brush, bottomers abandoning amounts of change all the tle of whisky, and a box of cigarettes. In a way from twenty cents to twenty dollars. In seat in the gallery was a package containing
two cans of pork and beans and a baby's a plane that the chauffeur will not be discrimnursing-bottle. Occasionally a man's tall hat inated against because of his calling.” is found, and gold cigarette-cases are com- What a commentary on the status of a
Most of these articles, being found in vast army of skilled workmen—“discrimiboxes or chairs of subscribers, are easily nated against because of his calling." traced.
Yet it is absolutely justified. There are A glance down the page of the book that probably seventy-five thousand of these men is kept by the custodian of these valuables in Greater New York, the majority of them would amaze one—almost nothing but gold, of good character, yet all more or less under gold, gold, diamonds, diamonds, diamonds ! the ban of suspicion because of the acts of a Surely, a fortune could be realized if the by no means small minority. attachés were dishonest. But, as a matter The negligence of the machine owner and of fact, fully 95 per cent of these valuables the public has developed the greatest definite are returned to their owners.
field of criminal operations ever known in At the Grand Central Station, through which America. Nor in any field has specialization from 35,000 to 40,000 persons enter the in crime developed the efficiency that it has city every day, two men are kept busy receiv- in this. So tempting is it, in fact, that many ing, classifying, and delivering articles aban- who were crooks before they entered it have doned in the trains. Among articles left in come in, and many have developed crookedthe trains of this company last year were sev
ness from the inside because of the opporeral pairs of crutches and a wooden leg. tunities found there. For sheer negligence, this puts the item of There are four classes of automobile crooks the abandoned false teeth in the Metropolitan —the chauffeur who robs his employer right into cold storage.
To such an extent are and left; the man who steals the machine; umbrellas abandoned that the custodian made the sneak thief who pilfers the accessories the remark that he could invariably tell by from the car; and the taxi driver who cheats looking over his book of receipts whether a us in the matter of fares, steals whatever certain day was rainy or fair from the num- belongings we may leave behind, often robs ber of umbrellas brought in.
drunken fares, and occasionally carries unOn the Jersey Central, which brings 20,000 protected women to lonesome places and passengers a day into New York, 5,000 arti- relieves them of all they've got. cles were left in car seats last year. There And this is all directly due to negligence ! were overcoats, dress suit cases, golf sticks, The owner is negligent, either directly in and several hats every day—which is very leaving unguarded a machine, or in retaining remarkable. Others left chickens, parrots, in his employ, as he too often does, a melons, muffs, mechanics’ kits, and in many chauffeur whom he knows to be dishonest cases shoes that the wearers had discarded or a drunkard or a dope fiend. to ease their feet and had walked away with- We wonder why an owner keeps a chauffeur out them, which was even more negligent whom he knows to be dishonest. It happens than leaving their hats. Most of these arti- usually with the first machine; then he (the cles betrayed the sex of their owners—the owner) becomes sophisticated. Usually he size of rubbers showed it without a doubt, has made a lot of money in some up-State but eye-glasses and umbrellas were of neuter town. The neighbors have machines. They gender. The commuter was indicated by are all regarded as expensive toys, yet an packages containing such things as bread, indispensable mark of social standing. Our butter, eggs, lard, pickles, and cans of bug friend's wife must keep up with the neighpowder.
bors. Very good. He gets a car.
He has At the lost and found department of the heard that other men have been grafted on, elevated road and subway in New York but this is a necessary evil, he concludes. an average of 40,000 abandoned articles are So he submits to it. This is where his neglitaken care of every year.
gence comes in. He doesn't take the trouble Recently the older chauffeurs of · New to determine that he needn't submit to it. York City organized under the name of The The chauffeur comes to him with good referGasoline Engineers’ Protective Association, ences and seems to fill every need. He keeps their purpose, according to a resolution the machine in first-class shape, makes good adopted, being to eliminate joy-riding and mileage, and avoids collisions. Immediately drunkenness and to put the profession on such he arrives, the chauffeur locates the repair
PHOTOGRAPH BY PILOT FILME CORPORATION, NEW YORK
THE CARELESS TRUCKMAN MAY EXPECT TO LOSE HIS GOODS The thief watches his opportunity to drive off with the truck while the truckman is delivering part of his lond.
people and the supply people and arranges ing a machine. A company would insure an with them for a “rake-off.” When the bills auto owned by Cornelius Vanderbilt or John come in, the owner grins and bears it. He is Claflin right up to the face value, where they willing to be “done." It's a mark of his would insure it for only half its value for some standing in the eyes of his chauffeur, as a man restaurant-keeper, bartender, or other person and a sport.
But after he has had one or of uncertain responsibility. two machines he learns to audit bills care The majority of cars are stolen in the dayfully and so changes drivers frequently, for time in front of the big cafés in crowded disthese gentlemen will not stay with men who tricts. There is nothing easier for a man are - mean " about expenses.
dressed as a chauffeur than to step into an So easy has this game become that if a unguarded machine and pull out. But it chauffeur were a good sport he wouldn't take takes a mechanician familiar with the makes the graft!
of all machines to do this with anything like the The chauffeur himself by his criminal negli- necessary assurance. On the other hand, gence becomes a promoter of crime in others. accessories that are stolen are taken from the He does things with the machine that no cars at night. The reasons for this are obviold-fashioned coachman would have dreamed ous : any one clipping a chain from an extra of doing with his employer's rig. Joy-riding tire or unscrewing a magneto would be inwas carried to such an outrageous extent stantly caught. that partial reforms were brought about. The man who steals the car drives to a Many garage managers were warned not to regular “ fence,” where they at once proceed let the cars go out without orders from the to change its appearance. The body, its most owners. This restricted the chauffeur's op distinguishing feature, if a limousine, is exportunities somewhat. Obviously he could changed for a touring, or vice versa, for the not use the machine while his owner was chassis will take any kind of a top. Then making a call, for he didn't know at what the factory number, stamped in the bed of moment he might r turn. But the definite the engine, is chiseled out and all other hours of the theater and opera gave him a marks of identification removed. chance. From the rising to the falling of So negligent are we that we do not take the curtain is “ his " time. He picks up the trouble to inform ourselves as to the girls or meets some that he knows and proper fares a taxi driver should charge, whisks away up Jerome Avenue or some and even when we know he is robbing us where else where numerous cafés and com we are too cowardly or too indifferent to probination dance halls or cabarets obtain. He test, or we haven't the time or are too lazy to leaves the machine outside at the mercy of have him take us to the police station to settle whoever happens by. These cars are strung the matter. Of course he knows this and along for blocks, unguarded for a couple of banks on it. And yet we complain of crooks hours at least. And the sneak thief, knowing being in the business of driving taxis ! the negligence of the grafting chauffeur, pro Most amazing negligence is commonly ceeds himself to prey upon the thief " higher shown by the truckman who hauls bale up.” A pair of nippers and a screw-driver goods. He pulls up at the curb with a are all the tools he needs. He may clip off $10,000 load of silks, and, picking up a packtires worth anywhere from $50 to $150, or age worth $50 or $100, goes up to some unscrew and appropriate a $125 magneto or a loft to make a delivery, leaving the balance of $100 speedometer with perfect ease and safety, his valuable cargo to take care of itself. It is and carry them off to his own waiting car and no coincidence that the thief is on the spot then to the fences, where he disposes of them when the driver leaves his truck unprotected. for fully sixty per cent of their face value. This crook who specializes in silk and other
There are about forty companies in New bale goods was near the warerooms when the York who write insurance on automobiles, and goods were loaded onto the truck and has folthey lose an average of eight machines a year lowed them like a sleuth until the opportunity each. The insurance policy covers theft of
He is dressed like an ordinary trucknachine, fire, transportation, and pilferage of man. He watches the driver mount the tires, tools, and other accessories, in amounts stairs until he is out of sight, then he calmly of over $25, and where the theft has been comes out of the building, casts away his done by others than those employed by the cigarette, mounts the truck in the most nonowner. The moral risk is everything in insur chalant manner in the world, and drives away
either to the fence or to meet his pal who may structures on Fourth Avenue ; instead of being be lurking in some by-street with an auto. on the ground floor, they may be on the tenth
Understand, a very large majority of the or fifteenth. This fact has opened up possigreat wholesale houses do not own their own bilities to the ingenious crook. The merhorses and wagons, but contract their carry- chant's door opens and in comes a man wearing business out to truckmen. Where such ing a regular expressman's cap. “ Anything business is heavy enough, the truckman for Adams or the American ?” he asks. prints the merchant's name on a certain num They deliver three bales of silk to him. ber of his vehicles, which is a good adver He takes it away, and that's the last they hear tisement.
of it. The clerk has neglected to look out It used to be that these trucking con of the window to see whether an " Adams " tractors could insure not only their rigs or an “ American ” wagon is at the curb. against theft, but the goods they were hand. Probably from that height he couldn't tell ling as well. The insurance companies at anyway, and he certainly won't go all the way the same time would insure the merchant down stairs to investigate. Besides, they are against loss and thus collect a double pre- insured !—that's why he won't take the trouble. mium. To get even with the company whose The crook knows this, and banks on it. rates were pretty high the truckman hired a But insurance doesn't always protect. cheap class of drivers, many of whom were A house that had lost goods to a fake themselves thieves or stood in with the expressman called up the insurance company " specialists.” This practice resulted in so and wanted to know what they were going to many losses of goods from trucks that the do about it. The secretary of the company companies refused to insure contracting truck- investigated and then told the manager of men against the loss of goods carried by them, the house that as they had not delivered the but continued to insure the merchant against goods to a common carrier, as per agreement, the loss of such goods. When a loss was the insurance company could do nothing for sustained, the insurance company paid the them. Of course they had no recourse merchant and then fell back on the truckman, against the express company, since these who was responsible for the goods as a com were not responsible for the crooks who mon carrier. This action on the part of the masqueraded as their employees. insurance companies naturally made the con The other day a friend of mine negotiated tractor less negligent in the matter of men he for the renting of a furnished house. engaged as drivers. But even so, the theft Said the lady of the house, who krew my of rigs through the neglect of truckmen con friend well, “ We leave everything as you see tinued and grew to such an extent, and so it—linen, silverware, and all.” many losses were sustained by the insurance " But," protested my friend, who knew companies, that they advanced the rates in a the silverware to be very valuable, “ I don't short time from 272 to 7 per cent, practically care to take the responsibility of this silver. a prohibitive figure. One great trucking You can take it away.” concern in New York has 700 rigs. It is fair ** Don't worry," said the lady. to assume that an average value is $700. Of My friend looked at her in astonishment, course single rigs may be much less, but and she explained. “We used to worry double rigs with splendid horses are worth about it. We used to take it upstairs every much more than twice $700. Obviously, then, night and lock it up in the safe; but we don't it would cost this company 7 per cent on any more. We just leave it right here. You $490,000, or $34,300 a year, to insure its see, we've had it insured against burglary !" equipment. Small owners, however, such as Another curious result of insurance is this : grocers, laundrymen, and the like, having only. The companies have taken to offering a one or two rigs, continue to insure, even at reward of $300 for the recovery of stolen this high rate.
automobiles insured by them, and there is no No doubt being covered by insurance pro doubt that many machines are stolen for no motes negligence and more. For instance, other purpose than to obtain this. some years ago dealers in silks and linens Diamonds are the goal of the most ambiand other valuable fabrics used to occupy tious crooks. These bring the greatest ground floor spaces on Greene Street or price, are the most portable, and can be disMercer Street--a regular colony of them. posed of at nearer to their real value than Now they have moved to the sky-scraping any other class of goods. It is constantly a