The Week’s Contribution to the Records of Juvenile Depravity

Two bad boys, whose exact identity has not been established at the present writing, engaged in the rather dangerous sport of horse stealing in Norwood last Monday night, coolly taking possession of a horse and buggy which Louis Thompson, Jr., of Westwood had left standing for a few minutes in front of Holton’s drug store.

A couple of citizens saw the boys get into the buggy, and asked them what they were doing and where they were going. The boys answered with an insulting remark and drove off. The horse and buggy were subsequently recovered by Edwin E. Hartshorn. The boys also stole a valuable violin, which was in the buggy and afterwards disposed of it to a Norwood man for a couple of dollars. The violin is said to be a real Stradivarius and to be worth not less than $100, probably a great deal more. It has been recovered from its purchaser.

The boys are said to have been not more than fifteen, rather poorly dressed and tough in manners and appearance. Chief of Police Rhoads is making a strong effort to apprehend them and they will probably be caught. While it is quite probable that their action was intended as a piece of boyish mischief, it is of a serious nature, embracing grounds for accusations of horse stealing, cruelty to animals and larceny of a violin. Many will be glad to know that the young rascals are not of Norwood extraction. They hail, some say, from South Walpole or Foxboro. Others think they come from Jamaica Plain. Mr. Thompson is considerably worried over the hard treatment of the horse. The poor animal was more than twenty years old and is much beloved by the family.

Two young desperadoes were captured by officer Creed last Wednesday afternoon, just after they had stolen a horse and carriage. They were.driving about Islington and had attempted to sell the rig to a pedler. Assistant Superintendent Edward Sheehan of the Norfolk Central division of the Old Colony street railway saw much that was suspicious in the actions and appearance of the boys. On his confiscation of the horse and carriage the boys showed great fright and ran away.

Mr. Sheehan took the horse and vehicle to Creed’s stable in Norwood, and Officer Creed started out in pursuit of the boys whom he found and arrested in Norwood. On being taken to the police station they gave their names ages and residences as Felix Fontain, age 14, of 29 Crawford Street, Woonsocket, R. I., and Frank Dougan, age 12, of 336 Front Street of the same city. They admitted stealing the horse and said they got it in Boston. An owner was not readily found for it. It is not at all certain, at the present writing, that these are the same boys who stole the buggy from Louis Thompson. The boys in that case were thought to be older. These Woonsocket boys are of such tender years that their depravity even for bad juveniles is looked upon as a little remarkable. The Norwood authorities will probe both these horse-stealing cases to the bottom and endeavor to ascertain the exact facts.

It seems to be now definitely settled in the minds of the authorities that the Woonsocket boys are not the lads who stole Louis Thompson’s horse, buggy and violin last Monday evening, and it is thought by some that the thefts in that case may have been committed by boys living in Norwood or near it, who are keeping themselves in hiding until the present flurry is over. Fontain and Dougan, the Woonsocket boys, pleaded guilty in the court at Dedham, Thursday. Inspector Hurley of Cambridge came out here Thursday and took possession of the horse and carriage. It is now believed to be the stolen property of Wilbur N. Rice of Somerville, a real estate man. The theft was a very bold one. He had gone into the Middlesex registry building in Cambridge for a few moments. When he returned to the street the horse and carriage he had left there was gone. He valued the horse and carriage at $600. The boys came up for examination and sentence this (Friday) morning.

(All articles originally published in the Norwood Messenger)

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