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A PROMPT AND PLUCKY ARREST.

Constable Gray last night met an opportunity, of which he made the best possible use. While on duty in Vogel street at about twelve o'clock he heard footsteps in the office of Messrs James Gibson and Co., carters and fuel merchants, opposite the Mutual Agency Company's premises. His suspicions wesje further aroused by seeing a small glimmer of a light, lasting for a second or two, through the window facing the street. The constable examined the front of the premises, and, finding everything intact, he made a move to the rear and climbed over a picket fence into a yard, from which he could make close observation, and cut off the retreat of any person who might be inaide on unlawful business. From his look-out he could see that one of the windows at the back was partly open, and he also heard persons speaking in an undertone. A moment afterI wards he saw a man come to this window, apparently surveying the surroundings, The constable kept out of sight and as still as a mouse till the man had passed through the window ; and then promptly rushed him, knocked him down, and had the handcuffs on his wrists in the twinkling of an eye. The second act of the drama followed without an interval, for no sooner was the first man secured than his companion smashed through the window fronting on to Vogel street, and ran for his life. Constable Gray wisely acted on the proverb that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, and marched off his prisoner to the police station. The moment that he was under lock and key ConstablejGray piloted Sergeantmajor Bevin and Sergeant Geerin to the entered office, where they found everything upside down. The front window was shivered to atoms by the haßty escape of the prisoner's mate ; there was one pane of glass out of the lower half of the back window, through which it was evident the marauders had thrust their hands so as to break the fastening and thus permit of an entrance; the safe was thrown face downwards on the floor, and its iron back torn to pieces; a crowbar, hammer, and chisel were lying alongside the safe; a till in the adjoining room had been forced open; and the whole place had evidently been ransacked. Mr Gibson was sent for,' and attention was at once turned to the question of the safety of the cash-box, in which, as it happened, there was a considerable sum of money. Owing to the knocking about the safe had been subjected to, Mr Gibson was unable to open the bottom drawer, which held the cash-oox, and it was found necessary to Bend for Mr W. Mills, locksmith. Upon getting the box out it was found that the thieves had not got at it, but a little more work with the tools at their service would have enabled them to secure the prize they were apparently after, which consisted of notes, gold, silver, and cheques to the amount of L 75 5s lid. Further examination revealed the loss of 2s from the till, and it was on the charge of breaking and entering the office and stealing this sum that prisoner and another man were brought before the Police Cqurt this morning, as narrated below. The offence with which they are charged differs from the more serious one. of burglary, in that there was no one residing on the entered premises. Constable Gray, whose discretion and promptitude in the discharge of his duty will op appreciated at a high value by all law-abiding citizens, is a stalwart man in the prime of life, and an old member of the force under Inspector Weldon's charge. The man he caught seems to be a powerful young customer, and one that it was no light feat to overpower. He gave his name as Samuel Fraser, He is believed to be a native of Dunedin, recently returned from Melbourne, to which city he went about a twelvemonth ago. The crowbar found in the office was one of the kind usually used for quarrying.

BEFORE THE MAGISTRATE,

As referred to above, the police have since arrested another man on a charge of being concerned in this affair. He is called John Henderson. Fraser and he were placed in the dock at the Police Court this morning, and jointly charged with breaking and entering the office of Messrs J. Gibson and Co., and stealing therefrom the sum of 2s.

Mr Gallaway appeared for Fraser. Sergeant-major Bevin briefly narrated the facts as recorded above, and added that it was not supposed that the tools used were brought from Melbourne. They appeared rather to have' been picked up here. The stonemason's hammer had the name of "G. Mann " marked on it. The other prisoner was only arrested this morning. On the information disclosed he (the ser-geant-major) would ask for a remand until Saturday, as the police had not as yet been able to go into the case fully. His Worship (to Mr Gallaway): You make no objection ? Mr Gallaway: No, your Worship; but I do not see why the arresting constable should not give his evidence. His Worship: Is there any objection to that course being adopted ? Sergeant-major Bevin: We have no objection—the constable is here; but it might necessitate your Worship sitting again on Saturday. Mr Gallaway: Oh, yes; very well. His Worship: lam much obliged to you for reminding me. I have a Court somewhere else on that day. Mr Galloway: As to bail, your Worship. His Worship: Are the men known ? Sergeant-major Bevin: Yes ; and I would ask your Worship not to allow bail at this time, for we have other cases of a similar nature, and I don't know all the particulars yet. Mr Galloway objected to that remark; and although Mr Bevin had said that the men were known to the police it could not be said that they were " known V ia'the ordinary police Sense of the word. Fraser was a man of very respectable connections, and there was nothing against him. Besides, Mr Bevin's statement was not supported, and was not evidence.

His Worship: I scarcely think I ought to grant bail. Mr Gallaway : Not if a sufficient amount is offered ? *

His Worship: Not for so short a time. It is within the discretion of the Magistrate to refuse.

MrGdlaway: Yes, but in my experience it never is refused" if reasonable security is forthcoming. His Worship: Oh! yes, it is. Mr Gallaway meant that it never ought to be refused, because it was the right of every man under English law when remanded before evidence was before the Court. For all that His Worship knew this might all be a mistake. His Worship might, of course, fix the bail at any height he thought necessary. His Worship: The position is this: if you object to a remand without evidence, I will take evidence, and if that is done the men will not have an opportunity of being tried this session, for I oannot sit on Saturday, and the trial of the case will have to stand over for another three'months.

Mr Gallaway: I see that, your Worship; but if you will, not allow "bail the Justices will not. Yon may fix ft as high a rate as you think ptoper. Fraser could be bailed by respectable people, and it is always open for the police to refuse the bail offered if they are not satisfied..

His Worship: No, I will not allow it. The prisoners were then removed in custody. i

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD18891003.2.18

Bibliographic details

A PROMPT AND PLUCKY ARREST., Issue 8028, 3 October 1889

Word Count
1,276

A PROMPT AND PLUCKY ARREST. Issue 8028, 3 October 1889

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