Mrs. Julia Sweeney Attacked In Cellar Of V.F.W. Building


Police today spread a dragnet for a man who brutally assaulted and robbed Mrs. Julia Sweeney of Pleasant st., Canton, last night in the cellar of the Veterans of Foreign Wars headquarters on Railroad ave. About $20 in cash and a turquoise square stone ring was taken. Mrs. Sweeney is president of the Ladies Auxiliary of the V. F. W.

The unconscious woman was found just before 8 o’clock last night by Mrs. D’Espinoza of Canton, a member of the auxiliary, who went to the cellar to start a fire in the furnace. Another member, Mrs. Patrick Simons, called the police who summoned Dr. Thomas O’Toole. Mrs. Sweeney was found to be suffering from a hemorrhage of the left ear caused, the physician said, by a blunt instrument. After treatment at the hospital, the auxiliary official was permitted to return to her Canton home.

After regaining consciousness last night Mrs. Sweeney told Sergeant Nicholas Curran and Patrolman Henry Breen, she went to the headquarters at 7:30. A regular meeting of the organization was scheduled for 8 o’clock, and as the building was chilly, she said she went to the cellar to start a small fire in the furnace.

Just as she opened the furnace door a man confronted her and demanded the funds of the auxiliary. She said she didn’t have them with her and the man answered he knew she had taken the auxiliary funds with her after the last meeting. Mrs. Sweeney was carrying an envelope at the time.

The man seized the envelope and when she struggled to free herself, he held her by the hair and struck: her a terrific blow on the side of the head just below the left ear. She was knocked unconscious.

When discovered by Mrs. D’Espinoza, Mrs. Sweeney was lying on the cellar floor near the furnace. Missing were $16 in cash belonging to the auxiliary treasury, and $3.50 of her personal funds. A turquoise ring with a square cut stone was also taken by the robber.

Police sent out a teletype message to all state departments asking them to be on the look out for the rough-looking individual. His description was given as about 40 to 45 years of age, height 5 feet 10.

He was wearing a dirty red sweater, dark trousers, and a soft, much worn brown felt hat. He was badly in need of a shave police reported.

Police are speculating today as to the length of time the man had been in the building. From the significant assertion, he made to Mrs. Sweeney that he knew she carried the receipts of the auxiliary away at the last meeting, police are of the opinion he must have had considerable acquaintance with the premises and the operation of the Veteran organizations that use the building.

A week ago police were informed someone was prowling around the corridors of the headquarters. At that time Patrolman Francis Riley investigated and came upon a member of the auxiliary who had business in the place. A search of the building revealed no other person there, and the patrolman left a report at the station.

Besides the injured ear, Mrs. Sweeney had several scratches about the arms inflicted when she struggled with her assailant. Hospital authorities said that Mrs. Sweeney was treated last night and after a brief rest at the institution was taken to her Canton home. She is the mother of 10 children and has been an active member of the auxiliary and its president for the past year.

October 9, 1940- the Norwood Messenger