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American Government Special Collections Reference Desk


The New York Times
December 12, 1909

Philadelphian is Wounded Seriously and Youthful "Bad Man" is Arrested.

PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 11.—A masked man held up William G. Supplee's motor car in the shadow of the railroad bridge at Wayne Junction early this morning, and shot John Magowan, manager for the Supplee Dairies.  Robert Matthews, who, although little more than a youth, is known as a "bad man," was arrested.  He protested his innocence, but his criminal record and the fact that his appearance tallies with the description given by the men who were held up go far to make the police think that they have arrested the right man.

In the motor car were Mr. Supplee, Roland Morris, lawyer and Secretary of the Contemporary Club; Magowan, and Harry Bridge, the chauffeur.  Magowan is seriously wounded.  He was shot in the abdomen.

The bandit boarded a Wayne Avenue car a square or so above the scene of the shooting.  Evidently he had thought of robbing the conductor.  He apparently changed his plans when he saw the motor car behind him, leaped to the ground directly in the shadow of the bridge, and walked to the middle of the street as the motor advanced.  Because he was in the way the motor slackened its speed and the bandit fell directly in the way of the acetylene lights.  Bridge brought the machine to a sudden halt and cried:

"Why, that fellow has a mask on."

Then, according to Mr. Morris, Mr. Supplee alighted, followed by Mr. Morris and Magowan.

"What are you wearing that mask for?" demanded Mr. Supplee.  The man did not reply.  Mr. Supplee stepped forward, and the bandit thrust his hand into his pocket.  Bridge leaped from the car, and he and Mr. Morris jumped at the man, who fired through the pocket of his coat.  The bullet missed those nearest, but struck Mr. Magowan.

Mr. Morris, Mr. Supplee, and Bridge fell upon the little bandit, but he was more than master of the situation.  In the wild confusion following Mr. Supplee struck out blindly and throttled Bridge instead of the bandit.  The man struggled to his feet, shook himself loose from Mr. Morris's grasp, and ran off.

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