The transcribed documents below supplement our article on Giuseppe Masseria's 1913 burglary conviction. Click here to read the full article.
Indictment, April 21, 1913, Page 1
[Note: Page is divided into quarters]
- 6357 Barclay
April 21 1913
Bail fixed at
$5000 as to each defendant
the District Attorney
No 2. Salvatore Ruffino.
Bailed by Antonio Granatelli
No 3. Giuseppe Ruffino 6/23/13
Bailed by Antonio Sorge
2057 First Avenue
Cal. No. 10788
1 & 4 John Cardone, 233 B'way
2 & 3 F.G. Milligan Jr, 575 Fulton St, Bklyn
Filed 21 day of April, 1913.
Pleads, Not Guilty April 21/13
Burglary in the Third Degree,
(Sections 400, 404, Penal Law.)
CHARLES S. WHITMAN,
A TRUE BILL
Macomb G. Foster Foreman.
[Additional handwritten notes]
P. 1 APR 23 1913 CALL CAL.
P. 2 DEC 1 1913
P. 1 JAN 5 1914 CALL CAL.
MEMORANDUM OF EXHIBITS
Tools & Pictures
ladder & scaffold
The above is a correct list of all exhibits introduced
in evidence and for identification by the District Attorney
on the trial of above case.
Ass't Dist. Att'y.
Received: , 191 .
HENRY D. SAYER, Chief Clerk.
Indictment, April 21, 1913, Page 2
Form 96--'10 10
Court of General Sessions of the Peace
IN AND FOR THE COUNTY OF NEW YORK
The People of the State of New York
and Giuseppe Masseria
The Grand Jury of the County of New York, by this indictment, accuse Pietro Lagatutta, Salvatore Rufino, Giuseppe Rufino and Giuseppe Masseria
of the CRIME of BURGLARY IN THE THIRD DEGREE, committed as follows:
The said Pietro Lagatutta, Salvatore Rufino, Giuseppe Rufino and Giuseppe Masseria, all
late of the Borough of Manhattan of The City of New York, in the County of New York aforesaid, on the thirteenth day of April, in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred thirteen, at the Borough and County aforesaid, with force and arms, a certain building, to wit, the building of Percy W. Simpson, Edgar F. Simpson and Cassie A. Simpson, copartners in trade then and there doing business in and by the firm name and style of John Simpson there situate, feloniously and burglariously did break into and enter, with intent to commit some crime therein, to wit, with intent the goods, chattels and personal property of the said copartners in the said building then and there being, then and there feloniously and burglariously to steal, take and carry away, against the form of the statute in such case made and provided, and against the peace of the People of the State of New York and their dignity.
CHARLES S. WHITMAN,
DA Letter, March 26, 1915
153-13-12 (B) 60,000
N.Y. March 26th, 1915.
Mr. William J. Homer
Agent and Warden,
Comstock, New York.
In compliance with your request of recent date I beg to submit the following report:
together with Salvatore Rufino, Giuseppe Rufino and Giuseppe Masseria, was indicted April 21st, 1913, charged with burglary in the third degfree, and on the 23rd of May, after a trial, was convicted of said charge, being sentenced to State Prison for not less than two years and six months nor more than five years.
It appears that the prisoner, acting in concert with the others indicted with him, burgariously entered the building 164 Bowery, used as a pawn shop, by letting themselces down from the roof with a scaffled, and breaking a hole in the wall of the building, entered therein, and stole therefrom a revolver, being scared off before they could get any more property. When arrested the prisoner and his accomplices had changed their clothing in the prisoner's apartment, where the went clothing was found.
I have no recommendation to make in the premises.
Statements, April 19, 1913
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK
- against -
STATEMENTS MADE TO MR. BLEIER, Apr. 19, 1913.
JOHN E. SIMPSON, of 164 Bowery, states as follows:
That on the 12th day of April, 1913, I left premises 164 Bowery at about 5 o'clock. At that time I securely locked said premises, consisting of a three story building used and occupied to perform brokering purposes. I locked each and every door on the way out. At the time I locked the said premises four clerks were present, namely Frank Frolke, R. Johnstone, Geo. Finnegar and James Sullivan. The following day, Sunday, April 13., about 8:30 A.M., I was informed that my place had been broken into. I received this information from the Police of the 12th Precinct. I immediately left my residence, 51 Hamilton Place, and started to 164 Bowery, where I found the following:
I found the Police and Holmes in the building. I found that the rear wall had been broken into and saw the scaffolding that they had used for breaking into it from the rear of the building and the tools that they had used were in a basket in the rear of the store, inside of the building. I found a pistol missing. I went around
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to the station house when they took the tools around. The defendants were under arrest and in the station house. I left the place in the condition in which I found it.
LIEUTENANT J. J. WARD, of the 12th precinct, states as follows:
On Sunday morning, the 13th day of April, 1913, a friend man notified me that there had been a hole cut into the wall of Mr. Simpson's, a pawn broking shop at 164 Bowery. Right after that I left the station house and upon my arrival at 150 Elizabeth Street I met Officer James Reilly, who was stationed at the back of the building with orders not to let anybody out and three men came out, Masseria and the two Rufinos. Officer Reilly stopped them at the door of 150 Elizabeth Street. I then went into the building at 150 Elizabeth Street to go into the yard to get the Captain, who had been around the premises, to come back and interview these three men. He directed us to bring them into the station house. Upon entering this building on the ground floor of 150 Elizabeth Street I went into the apartment of Pietro Lagatutta, first floor rear. The three defendants claimed that they were in those apartments to both Officer Reilly and I. We searched the premises and under Lagatutta's bed we found a loaded revolver. We also found a quantity of wet clothing, consisting of a pair of pants, a coat, a shirt, cap and pair of gloves, and a mackintosh, some rope and a piece of board. There were rain coats on the Rufino brothers which were soiled with dust and dirt
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and we took them as evidence. The board was the same as that of which the scaffolding was made. We found two candles that were the mate of the one that was in Mr. Simpson's place. Lagatutta admitted that he hired the premises about two weeks previous. He also admitted the ownership of the gun. We took the prisoners to the station house. Detectives Saltalamachia and Panevio were detailed to the cells. They were the only four prisoners in the cells at that time.
OFFICER JAMES REILLY, attached to the 12th precinct, states as follows:
I was stationed in front of 150 Elizabeth Street about 8 o'clock on the morning of April 13th and got orders to let nobody in or out. The orders were given by Captain Kinsler. I was only there a short time when the defendant Masseria came from the building. I asked Masseria if he had lived in the building. He told me "No," he had not lived in the building. He had a package under his arm and we asked him what was in the package and he told us there was some bread in it. We asked him what he was going to do with it and he said he was going to throw it away and he threw it in the ash can. He said his friend gave him the bread and I asked where his friend lived and he said on the first floor. I asked him again if he lived in the building and he said "No," he lived in Forsythe Street. About a minute or so afterwards these other two defendants, the Rufino Brothers, came out. I asked them if they lived in the building and they said
- 4 -
"No", that they were in to see a friend. I asked them where their friend lived and they said on the first floor. I asked them where they lived and they said they lived in Brooklyn. I then went to the first floor apartment with Lieutenant Ward and found the other defendant, Lagatutta. We asked him if they were his apartments and he said "Yes." Lieutenant Ward and I then searched the apartments of the defendant Lagatutte and in a bedroom, under a mattress, we found a 38 calibre gun loaded with five shells. In another room we found wet clothes, a coat, pants, shirt and hat, a mackintosh and a pair of gloves, all streaked with mortar. By the first floor I mean the ground floor, or store floor. There is one other apartment on that floor, which is vacant. Lagatutta admitted that these other defendants were his friends.
MRS. MARIA VOLPE states as follows:
I am the janitor of premises 150 Elizabeth Street. On or about the 4th or 5th of April, 1913, I rented the rooms on the first floor to a big fellow, Lagatutta. He was alone. The apartment was on the ground floor, consisted of three rooms and the rent was twelve dollars. He paid a deposit of five dollars when he first rented the rooms and when he moved in he paid the balance. I only saw him a couple of time. The last time I saw him was on the 9th of the month in the morning. I never noticed any other people going into that apartment, the door was always closed. I didn't
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see anything being taken into the apartment or anything taken out. I did not hear any unusual noise in that apartment. I only saw everything upside down when the Police got in there. There were two beds, one in one room and one in the other, a table, a stove, gas range and dresser. At the time that the man hired the apartment I asked him if he had a family. He said "Oh! I got my mother." When the Police entered the apartment the next day, on the 14th of April, I saw the Police have a board in their hands in the rooms. It was a white board. The board was so long (indicating about three feet). The Police then asked me if these people had any work cellars downstairs and the Police then said that there were cellars dowmstairs with locks on. When the Police went to the cellar they opened the cellar and found a lot of tools in a barrel. They put the tools on the ground in the alleyway. There were all sorts of tools and hammers and wrenches and all sorts of tools.
FRED A. FLEMING, of 406 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn, states as follows:
I am a clerk for the Union Tool & Supply Co. I sold an electric drill, No. 13244 DD 2 to Giuseppe Masseria, a short dark man, the man that I identified in the complaint bureau, on April 10th, 1913, and I saw that drill at Police Headquarters and identified it and further identified the key to that drill by file marks, which I can describe.
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WILLLAM M. HALEY, assigned to the Detective Bureau, states as follows:
On April 14, in the morning, Inspector Faurot brought to me a sledge hammer handle and asked me to determine whether there was any finger impressions upon it. I discovered the finger impressions by applying lamp black with a camel's hair brush and he asked me to compare it with the finger impressions of the men who had been arrested for the burglary of the Simpson Pawnshop. I determined that the impression was that of Lagatutta, one of the defendants. I still have the handle.
THOMAS C. GEORGE states as follows:
I am a salesman for Hammacher, Schlemmer & Co. On the 10th of April, 1913 I sold a pruning knife and some brass screws to a man. I could not identify the man.
OTTO GRUBE states as follows:
I am a salesman employed by Hammacher, Schlemmer & Co. On April 11, 1913 I sold a bill of goods to a man, or men. I have seen the four defendants that were arrested and I cannot say whether or not they were the purchasers. I could not positively identify the purchaser. I have since seen various tools at Police Headquarters, a pinch
- 7 -
bar, a double faced hammer, six long bolts, two cold chisels, one ten pound sledge hammer and two hammer handles. I have seen all of the goods. The pinch bar bears the initials of the company.
WALTER H. SCHEERER, of 46 Troy Avenue, Brooklyn, states as follows:
I am a clerk employed by Hammacher, Schlemmer & Co. On April 9, 1913, I sold to a man or men the bill of goods shown me. I have since seen the four defendants that have been arrested in this particular case and I cannot identify any of those men as having made that purchase. I could not identify the man who made the purchase. I have since seen about thirteen and a half pounds of Manila rope in Police Headquarters that was like the rope I sold. I have seen some hooks, No, O, I have seen some of the bolts described on this bill, I have seen a piece of a machine bit which was broken and the two Lane's pulleys. There are no marks on these goods so that I could positively say that they are the articles sold, except that they are identical with the articles sold by me.
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EMIL PANEVINO, temporarily assigned to the Detective Bureau at Police Headquarters, states as follows:
[Handwritten note: "31st Precinct"]
On the evening of the 13th of April, 1913, I was stationed in the cell of the 12th Precinct Station House at 205 Mulberry Street. At the time I was stationed in the cell there were but four prisoners there. I heard the following remarks in Italian:
"What was I to do, shoot?"
Then an answer came "Yes, you should have --- taken a chance."
I was stationed at a distance of about five or six feet from the cell where said remarks apparently came from. With me was Officer Saltalamachia, who, at the same time stood right beside me.
I also heard the following remarks:
"Four we were and four we are."
"We were to get diamonds --- "
"This is our fate."
ANGELO SALTALAMACHIA, temporarily assigned to the Detective Bureau at Police Headquarters, states as follows:
[Handwritten note: "15th Precinct"]
On the evening of the 13th of April, 1915, I was stationed in the cell of the 12th precinct Station House, at 205 Mulberry Street. At the time I was stationed in the cell there were but four prisoners there. I heard the following remarks in Italian:
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"What should I do; shoot ---"
The fellow said "Yes."
Then someone said:
"Four we were and four we are."
While in the prison I had to cough at intervals and whenever I had to cough I moved away from the cell.
GIUSEPPE CARAVETTA, attached to the Detective Bureau, states as follows:
On the morning of April 13 I was at the United Cigar Store, at Houston Street and the Bowery, when Officer Cornelius O'Neill came to the cigar store and inormed me that Lieutenant Ward wanted me in the 12th Precinct Station house forthwith. I went to the signal box at Houston Strect and the Bowery and I called up Lieutenant Ward and he, over the wire, told me to come to the station house because there was something doing.
When I entered the station house Lieutenant Ward informed me that Simpson's Pawn shop was entered. I immediately ran to Simpson's pawn shop through the rear. I entered through 150 Elizabeth Street. I went over a fence and saw the hole drilled in the rear of Simpson's, about 12 inches by 15 inches, with a blenket hanging over the hole. I then went down with a ladder and tried to make my entry through this hole, which I could not. The Holmes people were then notified and the Holmes people arrived they opened Simpson's pawn shop through the Bowery
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and I went in there in company with Captain Kinsler and other officers and found several burglars tools and a willow basket and a drinking glass alongside of the hold there with the tools. In the yard or alleyway there was a wooden step ladder and a scaffold made out of yellow pine. I them came out and seeing Lieutenant Ward and Officer Reilly with Lagatutta the informed me that they had three men in the station house and that Lagatutta was the fourth man, and I accompanied them to the station house. After the defendants were put in a cell I concealed myself in one of the cells and there overheard what appeared to be Masseria's voice telling the men "I came over to 150 Elizabeth Street to get you to give me a hand at my saloon at 204 Forsyth Street and I gave my name as Joe Masseria." Then I overheard also "We came there for the purpose of making up men to send to my father up the country." I also overheard "They found two pistols." Another man answered "No, they found one."
On the 14th day of April, in company with Detective Shevlin, Lieutenant Busby and Captain McKinney I went to the cellar of 150 Elizabeth Street and there we forced open a cellar with a hammer and found a barrel filled with a quantity of tools, a number of tools lying on the outside and two revolvers lying outside. We found a board in the room underneath the mattress of one of the beds in the rooms that Lagatutta claimed was his apartment and said board corresponded with the scaffold which was used
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for the purpose of drilling the hole in the wall. We also found a board in the cellar with the barrel of tools and the saw marks on it indicated that the two boards had been sawed apart. The boards were rounded on one end. There were also a number of blocks of spruce wood which had been apparently sawed from the wood used in making the ladder.
Statements, May 14, 1913
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK
- against -
PIETRO LAGATUTTA, et al.
ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY PRESS,
May 14, 1913.
CAPTAIN WILLIAM KINSLER, states as follows:
I was in the station house the night before. About 7:30 A.M., the lieutenant came to room and in consequence of what he said I got up. A person was there who gave us certain information and because of at I went out with Sergeant Pierce, Patrolman Smith and Patrolman Haydorn and we went to Elizabeth and Kenmore Streets where we met Patrolman James Reilly. I stationed Reilly and Smith in front of premises 150 Elizabeth street with instructions not to let anybody leave that building. That was about 20 minutes to 8 A.M. I sent Sergeant Pierce to cover front of Simpson's pawnshop at 164 Bowery. Patrolman Haydorn and myself entered a carriage manufacturer's place at the corner of Kenmore and Elizabeth streets and went to the top floor, opened a rear shutter, looked out and from there saw the hold in the wall at the rear of Simpson's pawnshop. I immediately went down to 150 Elizabeth street and there joined Haydorn, and five or ten minutes afterwards Detective Caravette came into the yard and joined Haydorn and myself.
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Caravetta climbed up onto a clothes pole, walked along the wall and looked down the areaway and at the same time Haydorn had gone through 148 Elizabeth street and had jumped onto the extension at Simpson's and called down to me that he saw a platform and a ladder at the bottom of the well at the rear of Simpson's. There was a cloth in the hole. When I went into the yard I observed an iron ladder hanging from the fire-escape at the rear of the premises of 150 Elizabeth street; that ladder went down to the yard proper. I went around to the front of Simpson's and then went to Elizabeth and Kenmore streets and went into the carriage factory and called up the Holmes Agency and asked them to send a man around to open Simpson's pawnshop. I went around to the Bowery and the two Holmes people opened the door and we went inside. Haydorn and Caravette were there and went in also. We searched the building from cellar to the roof and in the rear of the vault upstairs saw lying on the floor a wicker basket and tools. We found the tools now in the wicker basket on the floor just inside from the hole and the wicker basket was lying on the floor. Some one measured the hole. While in Simpson's, notified that were three men in the hall of 150 Elizabeth street. Officers Reilly and Smith had the men. I went around to 150 Elizabeth street and questioned these three men in the hall. They were the two Rufino's and Masseria. I asked the two brothers where they lived and they said in Brooklyn Asked them what they were doing here and they said, "Over here to see somebody; some friend." Asked Masseria where he lived and he said at 217 Forsythe street and that he was a saloon
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keeper. Told the officers to take the prisoners to the house and hold them, Lieutenant Ward, patrolman Reilly and I took the prisoners to the house; left Smith at the door of 150 Elizabeth street; went to the station house and came back about 10 or 15 minutes later. Reilly went back to the premises at 150 Elizabeth street and I went around to the front of Simpson's and was joined by Officer Rafsky. Ward came and notified me that they had another man and I went and saw him at 150 Elizabeth street. I asked him where he lived and he said at 96 East Houston street, living with his mother. I said, "What are you doing here?" He said, "I am living here; living here for two weeks." I asked him who he was living with and he said himself. I told the officer to take this fellow to the station house. I went around to Simpson's again and stayed there for about an hour or an hour and a half and then want back to the station house. While Lagatutta was in the hallway and betore he was sent to the station house, I went into the apartment occupied by Lagatutta with Lieutenant Ward and Lagatutta was brought the apartment also. The following officers were present: Lieutenant Ward, patrolman Reilly, Mike O'Brien and myself. A search of the premises was made. The premises consisted of three rooms; a kitchen and two bed rooms off the kitchen. There is only one entrance to the flat and that is from the hall. The premises being located at the extreme end of the hall and looking out into the yard where the pole is, and just a short distance from the entrance to the flat, there are stairs to the left; three or four stairs leading into the cellar. In the bed room almost opposite the entrance
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and to the right as you enter the mattress was on the springs but there was no bed clothing, and Lieutenant Ward and Officer Reilly found a gun in this room under the mattress in the bed and next to the spring. In the bed room to the left, as you enter, a short piece of lumber was found between the mattress and the springs. In the kitchen and to the left as you enter some wet clothing was found consisting of a pair of trousers, coat, mackintosh, shirt, cap and a pair of gloves, and mortar and dust of red brock was on them. We asked the housekeeper if she had a woodshed in the cellar and she said no. We walked down to the cellar, looked around and didn't see any. I then went to the station house. In the station house when the four defendants were being arraigned and in the presence of these other defendants, Lagatutta said that when he came to his apartment that morning he found the other three defendants there. He didn't know how they got in. He said he knew them but didn't know how they knew he had his rooms there.
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OFFICER CHARLES S. RAFSKY, of the 12th Precinct, states as follows:
On the dav in question I saw the Captain and officer Reilly go through Kenmore street and the Captain ordered me to stand in front of premises No. 150 Elizebeth street and not to let any one leave the premises. I stayed tnere as directed. I saw Lagatutta brought out by the Captain, Lieutenant Ward and Officer Reilly. I heard Officer Reilly ask Lagatutta why he had two apartments, one there and one in Houston street, and he said, "It is no crime to have two apartments. Supposing I want to bring in a piece of bum, that's my business." That was all the conversation I heard. In the station house I asked Lagatutta what his business was and he said a gentleman. I asked him why he hea that wet clothing there and he said he didn't know why. I told him to take off the shirt and it corresponded almost to the shirt now here and I told him to try that on, which he did.
This shirt here has short sleeves and I said, "That looks as though some hard working young fellow had been wearing that shirt;" and he said, "I am a hard working fellow. I am a loader." This was the conversation had in the station house. I asked him if he used that shirt before and he said he never used it in his life and that was the shirt that was found in the apartment. There were marks on the left shoulder of the shirt. The raincoat that was found in the premises had red dust on it. I asked one of the brothers, (Rufino) (the smaller one of the two brothers), what he was doing there after separating the four prisoners in the
- 6 -
station house, and how he came to get there, and he said he went over there to get some fellow to go to work. He told me that he received a postal card from some fellow that lived in Elizabeth street to go to work and he went over to get the fellow. I asked him to show me the postal card and he searched his pocket for it and then he said, "I don't know; it must be lost somewhere." I said, “Does your wife know that you left the house?" and he said, "You can go over there and find out." I said, "I suppose she will be looking for you?" and he said, "Certainly, she will." I asked the other fellow why he left and he said, "I came along with my brother." I said to Masseria, "What were you doing out so early in the morning?" and he said he was going to clean up some saloon for some fellow. I said, "On Sunday?" and he said, "Certainiy, what's the difference." I asked him when he was arrested the last time, and he said, “I was never arrested in my life."
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OFFICER JAMES REILLY, of the 12th Precinct, states as follows:
About 7:40 A.M. while standing in front of 150 Elizabeth street a short time with Officer Smith, the defendant Masseria came from the hallway. Officer Smith and I asked him if he lived in the building. He had a package in his hand; it was a bag and we asked him what he had in the package, and he told us he had some bread in the package which his friend had given him to throw away. We asked him where his friend lived and he said on the first floor. We asked him where he lived and he told us that he lived in Forsythe street. We then detained him. A short time afterwards, about two minutes, Salvatore Rufino came out. We asked him if he lived in the building and he said no, but that he was in there to see a friend. He told us that he lived in Brooklyn and then the other brother came out about a minute or so afterwards and he told us the same thing that he went to see a friend. I asked him where his friend lived and he said on the first floor. Masseria was dressed and had a collar and tie on and his clothing seemed to be dry. The two brothers had mackintoshes on. They were not wet but there was brick dust on them. A short time after that, Lieutenant Ward and Captain Kinsler came around from the Bowery. Officer Smith and I told the Captain that these three men came from the building. The Captain then questioned them. Lieutenant Ward, the Captain and I then took the three defendants to the station house. When I got to the station house Captain Kinsler ordered me to go back to the
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premises at 150 Elizabeth street to see if there wasn't another man in the building. I went back. On the first floor I found the defendant Lagatutta in the building. Nobody was with him at that time. I just opened the door and walked right in and found him sitting in a chair with his hat and coat on in the kitchen. I told him that the Captain wanted to see him. He asked me what the Captain wanted and I told him that he wanted to speak to him. He said, "All right, officer. Will you wait until I give the key to the janitor?" On the way down, at the foot of the stairs, I met Lieutenant Ward and he said, "That's the fellow we want." I said, "Hold him here until I get the key of the apartment." In the meantime the Captain and Officer O'Brien came. In the adjoining room we found a revolver in the bed. I asked Lagatutta if that was his revolver and he said it was. It was fully loaded. To the room on the left was the bed with some clothes there. I asked him if those were his apartments and he said they were, but his right home was at 96 East Houston street. I asked him why he kept those apartments and he said so that he could bring a piece of bum when he wanted. I saw wet cloths in the kitchen. I heard the conversation had about the clothes. I took him to the station house with Lieutenant Ward and Lieutenant Ward had the revolver. When I got to the atation house the other three defendants were in the back room. I think they were all brought before the desk and I heard the Captain speak to them. The Captain asked them where they lived.
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OFFICER JOHN SMITH, of the 12th Precinct, corroborates Officer James Reilly.
Officer Frederick Zwirz, of the Detective Division, made the photographs of the finger prints of the defendants, and also on the handle of the sledge hammer, and enlarged the small impressions. I looked up the records of the four prisoners to find if they had any records. The impressions of Masseria had previously been in our gallery. Masseria had a burglary charge against him and he was on a suspended sentence. In the case of the other defendants, no records were found.
(See Simpson's people about the glass which was found directly besides the hole on the inside.)
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FREDERICK A. FLEMING, employed by the Union Tool & Supply Co., of 103 Chamber Street, states as follows:
On Thursday, noon this defendant Masseria came into the office and bought a drill from me. I asked him where it was going to be used and he said on the East Side for some contracting business. He said he had a smaller drill and he could stop it with his hand. He tried the one he bought but could not stop it. He paid me $68 for it. He gave me seven ten-dollar bills and he still had a substantial roll of bills in his hand.