The Saint Paul Globe from Saint Paul, Minnesota on January 11, 1903 · Page 19
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January 11, 1903

The Saint Paul Globe from Saint Paul, Minnesota · Page 19

Saint Paul, Minnesota
Issue Date:
Sunday, January 11, 1903
Page 19
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Page 19 article text (OCR)

I OUSG-BREAKING as prac- Hticed by the man behind the mask and the bull's eye of the present day has devel. oped into a criminal art, so skillful and accomplished haa become the midnight prowler. Between the men of this class and the police department there is a pace which ceases only when the latter has been successful in placing the former behind prison bars. The house-breaker, during his days of liberty, and while he is serving time for some burglary for that matter, is constantly looking about for the n«xt place he intends to enter, and plan- nlng how this work may be best accomplished. This he calls "framing up a lay." The first thing a criminal of this class does upon entering a city is to seek the haunts of his partners in crime, where he lays around for a while till he learns whether or not his presence in the city is known by any of the detectives or whether there is any danger of his being arrested. In his own words, the burglar lays low till he is sure he has not been "rapped to" by a "bull," and there is no risk of landing in the "boobie hatch." The police, however, are often successful in apprehending a criminal while he HOW THE BURGLAR GETS INTO YOUR HOUSE Is engaged in "framing: Tip his lay." These men are usually "picked up" on the charge of being suspicious characters, and held until their actions have been carefully investigated, or they have «iven a good account of themselves. Arrests of this nature have, no doubt, averted an unknown number of carefully planned burglaries. That class of criminals who do housebreaking is recognized by the police department as among the most desperate and cunning men It has to deal with. Their methods of work are few and usually of such a nature as to afford but little clue to the detective who is called upon the scer?e of the burglar's operations a few moments alter the criminal's hasty flight. It has been estimated by the police department that In 75 per cent, of the cases of house-breaking entrance 13 secured by the way of the windows, and 15 per cent, through doors. The remaining 10 per cent, is divided between basement windows and entrances and coal holes, though cases of a burglar securing entrance to a house in this manner are so few as to be worth scarcely any consideration. Windows offer a burglgj the easiest entrance to a house because they offer the least resistance. Another reason is that there are more of them than anything else that could afford a burglar a means of entrance. When a burglar approaches the house he intends to enter he first tries all the -windows. If they are fastened he next makes an examination of all the doors and the cellar windows. Then if he finds all these securely fastoned he goes back to the windows, selecting one which is in a room in that part of the house best suited for him to effect his entrance. % The house-breaker's methods of enter- Ing a dwelling«.by the way of a window are very simple and few in number. Perhaps the most common way in •which the burglar effects his entrance through a window is accomplished by means of a putty knife. Everyone is familiar with . the shape, size and thinness of the blade of a knife of this kind, therefore no description is necessary. To convert it to a useful tool for his criminal purposes the burglar simply cuts an oblong piece out of the end of the blade, equal in width to the width of the blade and equal in length to the width of the sash. With such a tool the house-breaker Is enabled to slip the thin blade between the sash and unspring the catch on the window without much difficulty. But once in a while the burglar meets with a window lock that defies his putty knife tool. Mr. Burglar, however, does not despair. He is a man of keen resources. A hairpin, generally credited as being a woman's thing of general utility, may serve his purpose. By bending It Into a hook, inserting It between the sashes, and a few dexterous twists, the catch is made to yield. Again if the house-breaker should fail to gain entrance by the hairpin route, he breaks the glass as close to the window catch as possible by a light, smart blow. Then he removes the pieces of shattered glass and unlocks the window by inserting a wire hook through the aperture. Burglars have also entered houses by removing an entire pane of glass from a window, having scraped away all the putty. Instances of this kind, however, are exceedingly rare, for the modern burglar values every moment and is a fast workman. In 50 ocr cent, of the cases where bur- glars have entered houses through win- • dows the police say no tools are neces- \ sary. The windows are left unlocked ; through carelessness and all there is to be done is to throw up the sash and enter. Especially is this true during the hot : nights of the summer months, when homes are at the mercy of the housebreaker because every window is thrown up that every breath of air that stirs may be felt. Entrances are also secured through windows by means of a "jimmy," which is used to force the catch. Many people feel secure with thetr doors locked and the keys left in the lock, but such an obstacle is no difficulty to the modern burglar. By means of a pair of "outsiders" he is enabled to enter by way of the door as easily and almost as quickly as if he had the key himself. A pair of "outsiders" is one of the most useful tools of a Burglar's kit. This instrument has almost every appearance of a woman's curling iron. It consists of two pieces of steel moulded in the shape of a spoon, and at the end of which there is a small file. The two pieces of spoonshaped steel are fastened together in the center by a spring and the other ends are set in wooden handles. This makes the tool very closely resemble a curling iron. This instrument is used by a burglar who worlis on the outside of a door which is locked on the inside aijd the key turned and left in the lock. By simply inserting his pair of "outsiders" in the keyhole the burglar is enabled to grasp the key and turn it in the lock. This tool is a favorite with hotel thieves. Doors are also opened by means of slender skeleton keys, but since the advent of the "outsiders" these old-time instruments are steadily passing out of use. "Jimmies" are also used in forcing doors, especially in the case of inside bolts. Another method of securing entrance through a door when it is locked by inside bolts is by boring a circle of holes in the door panel, knocking out that part of the panel inside the circle, and unbolting the lock by inserting the hand through the aperture. The police say, however, that an entrance- effected in this manner is usually the work of novices. Cellar windows are easily disposed of by kicking them in. These are very frequently forgotten by the Inmates of the house, and more frequently left unlocked. Detectives declare that there is not a house in the city but what any skilled house-breaker could enter without very great efforts on his part. In the lockers of the detectives' room at the police headquarters station may ba found many of t-he queer tools used by burglars in house-breaking. These tools are of all shapes and sizes, the result of the wonderful ingenuity of men, who. Instead of employing their skill in honest work, preferred to use it in devising implements for criminal purposes. In this remarkable Collection of criminals' tools Is every implement used by the burglar—rings full of slender skeleton keys, numerous pairs of "outsiders," Jimmies, drills, hammers and wedgea. There are also a number of queer little packages containing a piece of hard soap, a phial of nitroglycerin, a few ounces of dynamite, a fuse—part of a eafecracker's outfit. The modem house-breaker keeps abreast of the times as much aa the most active men engaged in honest pursuits, and no one is quicker than he to utilize an invention for his own advantage. A very noticeable instance of this is th« disappearance of .the old-time "bull's eye" lantern, which was brought about by the introduction of electricity" for lighting purposes. Instead of the clumsy oil dark lantern, the burglar of today carries an electrical affair which is tubular in shape, having a storage battery in one end and a small" Incandescent globe in the other, and protected by a bulls eye lens. The lantern is so small that it can easily be carried in the pocket. The light is made by pressing a ring placed on top of the tube which . connects the poles of the battery and produce* a beam at brilliant lU*M. : • * ■'•■■•' -' ' i*' •' • flWyjßHßjKj * .« • " ' ; • ."» ' '"••"" »■""•'..■* * SB&SwVI&S?^* " *"' '' ' ""' "•"•■• ■' "' "" '"' "' 4KIFuB B^kkl^'^ -■' v> i^'*^VV^.»r ?»:*'''V^^ ■'• «•*■*'» Twin J»> ■» wL '*" j? " . * ■ " ■ •■' ■

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