Bay City Party Guest Confesses to Gem Theft, June 1926

Finger Print Expert Does Tactful Work in Getting Admissions from Woman Thief!

In this story we shall withhold the names of the actual actors for they are well-known people in Bay City, Michigan, and publicity of this sort is not particularly pleasant.

Of course, the name of Frank Anderson need not be withheld. Anderson is Superintendent of the Bureau of Identification at Bay City, and the hero in our little drama. By clever work and tactful handling of hysterical women, he managed to solve a jewel robbery without publicity, without scandal, without the necessity of branding with the criminal stigma a first offender who has learned a lesson she can never forget.

Anderson was summoned one day last February to the home of a prominent citizen whose wife had just been robbed of jewels valued at about $1,500. The woman, whom we shall call the Hostess, was naturally upset and almost hysterical over the loss of her gems. The situation was particularly delicate because there seemed no indication of a robber having entered the house, and so suspicion was fastened on the servants and the guests who had been attending a party before the robbery was discovered.

The clue to the burglar's identity lay in a single finger print found on the back of a hairbrush.

Naturally, the hostess did not wish to accuse any of her guests of such an act; yet she wished every possible step taken which would lead to the recovery of her jewels.

Anderson advised the troubled Hostess to give another party inviting the same guests. Ten people were invited according to his instructions. When refreshments were served, the glasses were carried in and out so that the detective could tell which guest had handled each tumbler.

The Hostess was shocked but Anderson was not surprised to find a finger print on one of the tumblers exactly like the finger print on the hairbrush.

Quietly after the party Anderson went to the house of the woman whose finger print had been found and asked her to allow him to take her prints.' He did not say why he wished to record them. This caused no end of a fuss, the woman immediately claiming he had insulted her and indulging in a fit of high-class hysterics. Quietly then Anderson told her of the finger prints on the hairbrush and their duplicates on the tumbler.

More tears were shed and much conversation took place. But finally a confession was given and the diamond and pearl jewelry turned over to Anderson who quietly returned them to their rightful owners.

Anderson is a great believer in working quietly, obtaining confessions without the stir and publicity that such cases usually involve. When the Western Union Telegraph Company's office was robbed recently, Anderson found a finger print on the cash box. Without making any disturbance he finger printed the office employees and found one of the messengers guilty. After talking to the manager and finding that the boy's duties never took him into the part of the office where the money was kept, Anderson had a long conversation with the boy and obtained a full confession.

1. "Party Guest Confesses to Gem Theft", Finger Print and Identification Magazine, Vol. 7, No. 12, June 1926, page 10.

This wiki article is locked. If you have additional information (or a correction) that you would like to share, please send us a note.

<< Archived Materials

What's New in Genealogy ... Today!
click to view original photo