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Crime Spree Alarms Grants Pass in 1911

The Rogue River Courier newspaper reported a series of year-end holiday season crimes in Grants Pass in 1911.  Police responded by rounding up 27 hobos lingering near the railroad tracks.  

In one case, two postal workers were robbed at gunpoint just after receiving their monthly pay. The Courier questioned the round-up, speculating that hobos wouldn’t know when postal workers got paid.

In other incidents, a masked robber approached a man on Fourth Street, shoved a revolver in his face, and said, “Up with ‘em,” the newspaper reported.  After collecting $38, he told his victim to “beat it.” 

In another case, a tall, dirty man robbed a mail carrier near his home on C Street.  Later, a woman heard someone trying to break into her Sixth Street home about 11 p.m.  The unsuccessful intruder fled before the marshal arrived.  A few days later two masked men armed with a handgun robbed a grocery employee of his watch as he was walking home in Merlin.

Police found no evidence linking the hobos to the crimes.  They were released and told to get out of town.


Source: "Courier Business Office Wrecked." Rogue River Courier 22 Dec. 1911 [Grants Pass Oregon] : 1. Historic Oregon Newspapers. Web. 31 Oct. 2015. http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn96088281/1911-12-22/ed-1/seq-1/#date1=1846&index=16&date2=2013&words=CHRISTMAS+Christmas&searchType=advanced&sequence=0&lccn=sn96088281&proxdistance=5&rows=20&orte. 

Lynda Demsher has been editor of a small-town weekly newspaper, a radio reporter, a daily newspaper reporter and columnist for the Redding Record Searchlight, Redding California. She is a former teacher and contributed to various non-profit organizations in Redding in the realm of public relations, ads, marketing, grant writing and photography.