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American Government Special Collections Reference Desk


The New York Times
April 20, 1914

Captor Battles with W. A. Johnson, Arrested on a Charge of Stealing $2,500.


Stenographer Alleged to Have Kept Money Given Him by Rug Importer to Purchase Car.

After a desperate fight in an automobile, in which the car was almost wrecked, William A. Johnson of 143 West 128th Street was arrested last night on a charge of having stolen $2,500 from his employer, Vartan A. Jimishin, a rug importer, of 345 Fourth Avenue.  The police alleged the money was given him to buy an automobile for Jimishin, and instead he bought a second-hand car for himself.

Johnson went to work as a stenographer for the importer a few months ago, and when his employer, two weeks ago, said he intended to buy an automobile, the stenographer said he had formerly been employed by an automobile company.  The compliant alleged Johnson said he could get a $3,500 car for $2,500, but explained that it was a private arrangement and he would have to handle the matter.

Jimishin said he have the stenographer $190 to pay on the car, and on Saturday went with him to the office of the automobile company at Sixty-second Street and Broadway.  He gave Johnson, he said, 2,310 to pay for the car.

When they arrived at the office Jimishin told the police Johnson told him to wait outside.  With James Scullen, another employee, the importer watched Johnson in the salesroom talking to the salesman for more than an hour.  Finally Johnson rode out in an automobile which evidently was not new.  He stopped outside and explained to Jimishin that the car he was to get was at Sixty-Eighth Street and Broadway, and he was going there.  He said he would be back in a few minutes, and drove away.

Jimishin and Scullen waited two hours and when Johnson did not return they went into the salesroom and discovered that Johnson had purchased a second-hand car, in which he had left, paying $1,800 for it.  Jimishin notified the police.

Scullen knew Johnson had friends in East Eighty-second street, and watched there yesterday for him.  After he had been there all day and was about to give up the search, he heard the "honk honk" of a motor horn and saw Johnson approaching along Eighty-second Street.  The autoist stopped in front of a house and stepped out.  Scullen grabbed him and there was a sharp fight, which ended in Scullen forcing Johnson into the car and ordering him to drive to the East Eighty-eighth Street Police Station.

Johnson drove east on Eighty-second Street, and to Avenue A, and then turned north.  Scullen was not sure of the direction in which the police station lay, but at Eighty-seventh Street he told Johnson to drive west.  He said. Johnson put on full speed and told him he would drive where he wanted to.  Scullen tried to stop the machine, and Johnson fought with him.  For a block the car dashed along with the men fighting, until Scullen stopped it.  Johnson leaped from the machine and tried to get away, but Scullen held him, and both men fell to the ground.

For several minutes the men fought in the centre of an ever-increasing crowd.  Finally Detective McGann of the West Forty-seventh Street station, who had been looking for Johnson, arrived.  He arrested Johnson and took him to the West Forty-seventh Street station.  Later the police searched Johnson's home, where, they said, they found $500 under a piano.  He had $150 when arrested.

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