This Day In Norwood History-April 18

KNIGHT HAWKS’ NEST GIVES UP RICH LOOT

Four Norwood Young Men Arrested and Two Admit Breaking Into Homes to Furnish Robbers’ Roost in Foxboro

SOME OF THE BOOTY RECOVERED FROM OLD FARMHOUSE IN FOXBORO

19 Apr 1929, Fri The Boston Globe

By JOHN J. DONOVAN

FOXBORO, April 18—Their home town being too citified for an organization with a fondness for the country, the “Knight Hawks of Norwood, originated and established Feb 8, 1927, Pres and Secretary Arthur L. Meyer, Treas Raymond V, Hartnett,’’ according to the club archives, rented a farmhouse on the old Boston post road here and moved in everything but a baby grand and beds, stolen from Sharon, Westwood and this town. They slept at home, and a radio and phonograph gave all the music desired.

A three-decker, one-gallon German beer stein, reported to the police as having been stolen from Sharon, contributed to the undoing of four “Knight Hawks.” They gave it too prominent a location in the dining room; it was seen by Chief Joseph Dean of this town and it led to a raid last night.

Partly-used stenographers’ notebooks furnished the clew to the identity of the Knight Hawks, for, in addition to the record of organization, they obligingly contained not only the address in Norwood, but the phone number of the “Pres and Sec.”

Find Them in Bed

Sometime before daylight this morning police swooped down on the homes of the lads in Norwood, took them out of bed and In the District Court at Franklin this morning they pleaded : guilty and were held in $1000 for the Grand Jury. And that Is not the end, for Westwood and Sharon police promise to bring additional complaints.

Meyer, who is 22 years old, was charged with breaking and entering in the night time, and Hartnett, the treasurer, was charged with receiving stolen property. George T. Mahoney, 19, of East Hoyle st, was charged with breaking and entering, and John G. Eppich, 24, was charged with receiving. According to the authorities, Meyer and Mahoney absolved the others of breaking and entering.

No Booty Sold

So far as the police have been able to learn, the young men did not sell any of the articles stolen from homes, among them that of Rev William E. Barton of this town, father of Bruce Barton, author and writer. Rev Mr Barton is at present enjoying a voyage to the Mediterranean.

From the Barton home were taken a very old grandfather’s clock, an ox-pensive Chinese rug (too big for any room in the house, so it was dumped in the ^goodshed), ah electric radio, large cone speaker, a large cabinet phonograph and several hundred records, as well as a little piece of exquisite Chinese carving, described on its back as a “Chinese Ancestral Tablet, Foo Chow.” Some small Oriental rugs from the Barton homo were used on the floor of the “den.”

The so-called archives or records of the club also contained the names of two Norwood young men, described as “honorary members.” Questioned by State Detective Michael Fleming and Chief William Sullivan, latter police chief of Norwood, the youths denied the “honor” conferred on them by the Knight Hawks.

Police Investigators admitted that they had not run into anything quite like the Knight Hawks in their years of experience. Here were young men paying rent of $25 a month since January for a farmhouse off the main road; robbing houses, borrowing trucks to carry the loot, yet selling none of it. At least the young men insist they did not sell anything.

Gave Away Fireplace Set

This afternoon Chief Dean received from a man a valuable fireplace set. The man told the police he had been at the “club” one day and the boys gave him the andirons, fire set and foot rail.

The “club” being without a fireplace, the lads possibly found they had no use for the “old brass” which appeared to have recently received considerable elbow work in the polishing line.

Judging by the collection of stuff in the clubhouse it was not the size or weight that prevented the young men putting a piano in the house, for she apparently meant nothing to them. In the living room was a large upholstered divan and side chairs. The divan was at least six feet long.

Stoves had been installed, coal and portable oil, while In the kitchen vas a large four-burner cabinet oil range, as large as any upright piano. The boys had another set of furniture of wicker and in the den was a desk and comfortable wicker chairs. Other than a small buffet, a small mounted trout, a deer head and a few fruit lithographs they had not proceeded far in furnishing the dining room.

They did quite job in the parlor with comfortable stuffed furniture, grandfather’s clock in the corner, radio, two loudspeakers and a phonograph. Someone locked the antique clock so they did not hear its tick, but there were three other elocks, comfortably large in size. One was a bronze affair which hung in a closet, a mahogany mantel clock and an old-fashioned kitchen or store wall type.

The house was wired for electricity and to give the right effect there were several styles of electric lamps.

Silver and linen was contributed by Mrs Benjamin Aronson of Sharon, who identified it as well as other articles today. Samuel Pearlman of Beach st, Sharon, unwittingly supplied the brass fireplace set returned today, as well as other articles. Charles Leonard of Westwood is another who will find in the loot articles taken from his home two weeks ago.

Somewhere the lads collected boxes of tools, electrical equipment, a gasoline torch, nails, paint and hardware of various kinds. According to the authorities, they were painting the white inside trim of the “club” and had polish to keep the furniture looking well.

There were some cans of rust remover and judging by the water-covered cellar floor they would have soon needed it.

Probably acquired for the purpose of keeping the club records up to date waa a typewriter, cover and all, but it did not bear evidence of having had any recent use. That with a sectional bookcase filled with late fiction and two California pennants, one of University of California, helped to give the “den” a homey appearance.

Trout streams in the vicinity apparently were going to be raided, for there was considerable fishing gear

For some time Chief Dean had noticed a speedy roadster in town occasionally and had learned that the roadster was seen to drive to a small farm on the old post road owned by Samuel Kovich. Today the chiet learned the house had been rented from Kovich by the Knighthawks for $25 a month. On Palm Sunday Chief Dean went to the house, but was refused admittance.

Chief Dean had no knowledge of a break in tha Barton home, but he did receive information a few days ago from Chief John B. Kennedy of Sharon that the Aronson home had been robbed. Chief Kennedy sent along a list of articles stolen, among them the man-sized beer stein. Chief Dean went to the farm yesterday and found it unoccupied. Peering through a window he saw what he believed to be the Sharon stein.

The stein led to further investigation and, entering the house, he found among other things the electric radio. Taking the numbers of the set, he was able to trace it and to his amazement learned it was the property of Rev William E. Barton, and then learned for the first time that the Barton home, which was closed, had been robbed.

Late last night he communicated with State Detective Michael F. Fleming, in charge of investigation work for Dist Atty Winfield Wllbar In Norfolk County.

Find Notebooks

Mr Fleming reached here about midnight and a short search unearthed the note book containing the name of the club and its officers.

There was a second notebook of the same kind, on which was carefully written in Ink, “Personal book of Art L. Meyer, 106 Chapel st, Norwood, Mass,” and the latest telephone number.

Chief Kennedy of Sharon was notified to come and look things over and he quickly Identified from description, property of Benjamin Aronson and Samuel Pearlman of Beach st, Sharon. The chief was accompanied by patrolman Ernest Lenhart of Sharon.

Fleming, Dean, Kennedy and Lenhart drove to the Norwood Police Headquarters, where Chief William Sullivan awaited them. Chief Sullivan called in patrolmen John Lee, Henry Breen and Charles Donnell and the entire party visited the home of Meyer and Hartnett and then went to the homes of Mahoney and Eppich.

The lads arrested, with one exception, have no police record. One lad, while a student, made the mistake when cutting a page from an encyclopedia, of picking one that was out of print and very valuable. Replacement costing about $100 brought about a satisfactory settlement with the court at Dedham.

Assuming that the boys are truthful In that they sold nothing they stole; paid rent for the house, and borrowed a Norwood truck to carry the loot, students of crime are afforded an Interesting condition to explain—and not a single liquor bottle in the place.

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