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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 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
A pair of nippers and a screw-driver goods. He pulls up at the curb with a are all the tools he needs. He
$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 loit to make a delivery, leaving the balance of $100 speedometer with perfectease 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 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
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
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
may clip off
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
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 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 com any could do nothing for sustained, the insurance company paid the them. Of course they had 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 212 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 $190.000, 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, laundry men, 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.
any other class of goods. It is constantly a
PHOTOGRAPH BY PILOT FILMS CORPORATION, NEW YORK
THE CARELESS SHOPPER TEMPTS CHILDREN TO CRIME “The habit among women of carrying money loosely is to blame for more theft than almost any other agent"
game of wits between the jeweler and the crook. The one knows that the other is after the diamonds, and he tries to safeguard against that gentleman's machinations. But the crook knows that there is a very great profit in jewelry, that one sale may net the merchant enough to pay his expenses for a long period—and he banks on this for a certain margin of risk that the dealer will take.
Four men drift casually into a jeweler's store on upper Third Avenue. The one to enter first engages the attention of the watchmaker in the window, dickering over the repairs to a cheap watch, another engages the shopkeeper's wife in a transaction over bric-à-brac at the other end of the store, while the third, a very distinguished-looking man, presently strolls in and asks to see
some unmounted diamonds. This game is trunk worth $20,000 away on the wagon of as old as the hills, yet the jeweler falls for it an expressman whom he did not know--and right along Sometimes, to inspire confi- never saw it again. Later it turned out that dence, the distinguished stranger is accom- the expressman specialized " in jewelry panied by a man, bare-headed and in his drummer's trunk may be worth from shirt-sleeves. The bare-headed man says to $ $30,000 to $50,000. It's worth taking pains the merchant, “ You know me—my shop's
The specialist will follow it from town four doors above." The jeweler doesn't to town, seeking for a chance to switch” know him, but the ruse works. The tray of checks in the baggage-room or “sneak" it diamonds is brought out and the distin- in a hotel. Not long ago a jewelry drumguished stranger picks up one of the beauties, mer left a grip with $7,000 worth of jewelry and even though the merchant's eyes never in it with the head porter of a hotel, while he leave his hands, so great is his art as a pres- went with another grip to meet buyers. tidigitator that he either substitutes a paste
When he came back it was gone. diamond or a genuine stone of inferior qual- And so the drummer has been warned ity or smaller weight. The latter is generally by the insurance companies never to leave the case, since paste is easily detected by an trunk in a baggage-room over night ; expert, and could not be successfully substi- always to see to it that it goes on the same tuted except under the most favorable con- train with its owner ; never to put a grip on ditions. This process is called “penny- the floor in a jewelry store while he is disweighting.”
playing valuables from another on the coun. The companies who insure jewelers con- ter or elsewhere. Above all things, he is stantly warn them never to take their warned against talking--talking shop to any eyes from a jewel in the hands of a cus- one but the men with whom he is sent to do tomer, and never to turn away from the tray
business. Talking is a fatal propensity in on the counter unless they have a mirror
any case. It leads to much crime. Here's behind them in which they can watch it. The an example: jeweler is particularly warned against putting A little shoemaker from Naples had loa tray of rings on the counter unless all the cated on the East Side of New York. Here rows are filled, since it is difficult to note a he had worked and saved from day to day missing ring from broken rows.
until he had accumulated a thousand dollars. Notwithstanding his experience and his With this he intended going back to Italy. warning, the jeweler will take a risk for the buying a little hillside farm, and being happy sake of the money there is in it. But his the rest of his life. But his great happiness most unreasonable negligence is where he made the little shoemaker garrulous. lle leaves his store unlighted at night, or locates told his plans to his assistant, a Sicilian. The his safe behind a partition, or puts his wallet assistant went to his boon companions, told of diamonds in his inside coat pocket and them of the shoemaker's savings, and the then, followed by the ** sneak," boards a little Neapolitan received a demand for the car, does the strap-hanging act, and leaves $1,000 under pain of death. The gang got his valuables unguarded.
the money, and the cobbler continues to work Jewelers take great chances in displaying and save with the hillside farm ten years immensely valuable stocks in windows with just the thickness of a glass between the An officer of a fidelity company told me precious stones and the thief. In fact, from the other day that he estimated that sixty the 15th of September last to the 5th of per cent of the defalcations by cashiers, January—the great holiday gift season-a clerks, and others in positions of trust are regular epidemic of window smashing occurred due to the negligent methods of those who in Chicago. The crooks would simply employ them. The bank that doesn't require steal a car, one of them being an expert frequent accountings from its clerks issues driver ; then, when the police were out of the an invitation to “help yourself," and is quite way, would dash up to a window, smash it, as guilty as the thief. grab the loot, make a getaway, and then The negligent business house allows a clerk abandon the car.
to sign checks, or it doesn't insist upon freJewelers have sustained heavy losses quent balancing of the books, or it allows the through the negligence of drummers. For same man both to send out bills and receive instance, on one occasion such a one sent his payment, or there is an absence of audits-
all of which the bookkeeper knows and retained in his position, and within two years takes chances.
was found to be $7,500 short—another case Expert accountants claim that if employ- of rank negligence ! ers did their duty towards their clerks their In respect to carelessness of employers, a criminal careers would be checked in their criminal court judge said to me a short time incipiency and their defalcations reduced to a ago : “ There is scarcely a day passes when minimum. There is a false idea that bond- a case does not come before me in which the ing a man necessarily protects his employer. complaining witness is not more deserving of The idea of a firm in bonding an employee punishment than the defendant." is principally to get the benefit of the inves- An example of the rankest negligence is tigation of the man by the insurance com- that of the well-to-do man who gets drunk pany and of the subsequent supervision of and reduces himself to a helpless mass. He him. But the bond itself is small protection. not only becomes a burden to the police, but For instance, a bank in a small Massachu- is easy prey for the jackals of society who setts town had its cashier bonded for $20,000, prey upon just such persons. He either and in the course of a few years he got away curries favor with strangers or he frequents with $600,000. In this case the previous the resorts where denizens of the underworld investigation may have been all right, but the hang out subsequent supervision was not effective. The thief who specializes in drunks is perIn fact, the man was getting a salary of not haps the most loathsome crook of all, but more than $2,000 a year and was living at he is not the meanest. The meanest one the rate of $25,000. All his neighbors re- is he who trades on the gullibility and neglimembered this—once he was caught. The gence of people of small means, such as negligence here lay not only with the clergymen, school-teachers, and the general board of directors but with the community. run of depositors in savings banks. One If, once the man had begun to splurge, some would scarcely expect to find carelessness one had put a flea in the ear of the directors, among people who have had to sweat blood that particular town would have been half a for the pennies they save, yet it is there to an million dollars the richer.
inconceivable degree. The crook knows it, There is a notorious lack of vigilance in the and he victimizes them through the medium management of charitable and fraternal socie- of fake oil or mining stocks and the like. The ties and building , loan associations, since in curious thing is, they fall for his play again and these the treasurers are always personally again.
again. He offers his stock at a few cents a known to everybody. I is a common thing, share, and the people take the gambler's chance when an officer of such an organization goes that some day one of these long shots will wrong, to find that the auditing committee turn out a winner. They can't realize that has been notoriously lax in its methods. In it's absolutely a brace game.
Nor will they many cases no one even takes the trouble to take warning. As a matter of fact, a good call at the banks occasionally to see if the many of the great savings banks have inbalances are as stated.
vited their depositors to confer with their A few months ago the treasurer of a build- officers before making any investments, and ing loan association in a town just outside of this with no other motive than to save them Boston was found to be $5,000 short in his from loss through just this kind of swinaccounts, which was just the amount of his dling But it is doubtful if this avails much. bond. The officers wrote on to the fidelity Cowardice no less than negligence is responcompany ; stated that they had examined their sible for the continued existence of the hightreasurer's books, but could not find how the
wayman. As a matter of fact, that gentleshortage had occurred; believed the man to be man is a great bluff. In case one is held all right, and asked the company to continue up by a highwayman the best thing is to on his bond. But this was refused, on the resist him. If you do, in ninety-eight cases ground that the man was either dishonest or out of a hundred he'll run away. Always so lax in his methods that the result would be remember that this man wants your money the same, so far as the insurance company and not your blood. It is of the greatest was concerned. So they paid the loss on the importance to him that he avoid violence. bond and let it go at that. Notwithstanding He may use his gun to threaten, and if he this refusal and warning, the treasurer got discharges it, it is only to intimidate. Shooting another bonding company to insure him, was will create an alarm which the thief dreads