Jim Kershner’s This day in history
From our archives, 100 years ago
A burglar who had a grudge against preachers was nabbed by Spokane police in a clever sting operation in 1910.
The burglar said he had once lost $1,000 when he invested in “Zion City,” a scheme run by a minister.
“Since then, I have had it in for ministers all over the United States,” said the burglar.
The man embarked on a crime spree in Seattle, Portland and Spokane.
He always targeted ministers at a time when he knew they would be in church. Spokane police noticed this pattern. They convinced the Spokane Daily Chronicle to run a fake story saying that a preacher named Dr. Grier would be participating in a church activity on a particular night. The story included the minister’s address.
The burglar saw the ad and took the bait. Detectives were waiting in the house.
“I never dreamed that the cops would get me,” the burglar said in a jailhouse interview. “I almost fainted when one of them says, ‘Stick ’em up, boss.’ ”
Police later found “endless quantities of plunder” in the burglar’s possession.
One valuable chalice, stolen from a Seattle minister, was included in the plunder.
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(From the Associated Press)