Arrest of Francis 'Two Gun' Crowley

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

All for naught

Eighty-eight years ago today New York City was treated to a good old fashioned, though at the time modern, cops and robbers chase. At 1:00pm a truck containing Jacob Laux, VP of the Stutz Cigar Box Co. was riding in a truck along with a cash box containing the company's payroll of about $5200.

At the intersection of Broome and Columbia a car pulled up and three men jumped out. Two of them pointed pistols at the driver and told him to stop. The third man jumped into the truck with a crow bar and pried open the cash box and grabbed a sack containing the dough. The gunmen jumped back into their car and took off.

Laux ran to the nearest police station and reported the crime. Alarms went out to all bridge and tunnels. Back in them days each bridge and tunnel had stations with attendants. The Queensboro Bridge station called police officer Michael Neu in his booth and was giving him the details when he saw a speeding sedan approaching. “I think I’ve got them now.” He said and hung up the phone.

The bandits zipped by Neu at a breath taking 65mph and the officer jumped on the running board of a large touring car and told the driver to pursue the bandits. Both cars entered Long Island City and continued the chase. As they turned into Crescent street George Asher, a chauffeur for a police lieutenant, saw the chase and joined.

As the cars were racing through the streets Neu began firing at the bandits. The driver started to swerve to avoid being hit but ended up hitting a pile of sewer pipes and losing a tire. Sans rear wheel the bandits out flipped on its side and all the four occupants were thrown from the wreckage.

The driver and the guy riding shot gun got up and escaped through some empty lots. The two guys from the back seat ran in the opposite direction with Neu pursuing. One of them carried the loot and the other a pistol. He turned to fire at Neu who fired back until he was out of ammo.

In the meantime the Asher, the police chauffeur, drove around the lots and waited on the other side. Moments later the bandits came his way. The gunman fired his final shots at the chauffeur then tossed his gun aside. Asher then charged him and dropped him with a punch to the jaw. Neu closed in and got the yegg with the money pouch.

The two bandits were identified as Harry Cohen and Harry Walker and they went to the pokey without spilling the names of their confederates.