YOUTH HELD HERE IS SEEN ‘FENCE’ IN CAR THEFT RING
Suspect Taken by Police Believed Connected With Group From Toledo
The “fence” for a ring of automobile thieves operating in this section of the country is believed to have been uncovered here by police in the arrest of Stanley Smith, 23, who on March 16, 1932, was paroled from Ohio penitentiary after serving time for forgery.
Charges of receiving, concealing and selling stolen automobiles have been placed against Smith, who used a barn on Park street in which to conceal and dismantle his machines. Numerous accessories for automobiles have also been found there.
Smith, it is believed, has been connected with a theft ring operating out of Toledo. None of nine automobiles recovered following Smith’s arrest was stolen in Findlay. It is presumed that any cars stolen by the ring of thieves here were taken to some other “fence” and disposed of.
Learned at Pen, He Says
It was indicated by Chief Larkins yesterday that Smith would be returned to the penitentiary as a parole violator.
Smith, according to his statement to police, said that during his incarceration in the “big house” he got the low-down on the automobile stealing and dismantling racket from a “lifer” who was his cell mate. When paroled, he told police he had planned to take up bank robbing as an occupation but later decided to go in for a “more legitimate” business such as stealing and dismantling and selling cars.
J. P. Rockenfield, special agent for the Automobile Protective and Information bureau of Chicago, stopped here yesterday to make an investigation of the case. Chief Larkins said Rockenfield commended his department on its effective work. He suspected Smith of being connected with a big mid-west ring. The automobiles recovered here are thought to have been stolen in neighboring states.
Smith’s automobile dealing aroused the suspicions of certain individuals who notified police and they in turned launched an investigation. Going to the barn on Park street, Chief Larkins and Sergeant Homer Johnston found the body and chassis of a machine, and automobile parts strewn all over the inside of the building. It was while they were looking the ground over that Smith appeared nearby and observing the officers he made a hasty retreat.
The police proceeded in hot pursuit and finally corralled Smith in an alley between East Lima and East Lincoln streets. This was last Monday. Smith explained that he was running because he “thought it was somebody else chasing him.”
Reticent at first, Smith later admitted his part in the automobile racket, but he refused to implicate any others, although he admitted to disposing of the cars to men he claimed he didn’t know after lifting the motors and installing new engines.
“Didn’t Know Men”
According to Smith’s story to authorities, these men he didn’t know would bring an automobile to his barn at night. He, then, would dismantle it, lifting the motor and removing identification numbers.
Later the men would return and take away with them the engine. Smith said he would in turn purchase another motor and install it. This, he felt, eliminated any possibility of the original owner tracing his stolen machine, and enabled him to furnish a bill of sale.
Five of the nine stolen machines were recovered in Findlay, one in Bluffton, one in Arcadia, one in Bairdstown and one in Toledo. Seven are Ford coaches, one is a Ford coupe and one is a Chevrolet coach. Three or four additional cars are expected by police to turn up shortly.
One of the machines, a Ford coach, has been identified and returned to its owner, Lester Nelson, of Toledo.
Smith told Chief Larkins that he had been in this racket for four or five months.
“Youth Held Here is Seen ‘Fence’ In Car Theft Ring,” Findlay Morning Republican (Findlay, Ohio), 11 Mar 1933, p 8 col 1.