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100 years ago in Spokane: Robbery victim defends accused boyfriend

Police were trying to unravel the truth behind the robbery of Sadie Griggs in the Rockwood district, though they already had arrested her boyfriend, The Spokesman-Review reported on May 5, 1918. (Spokesman-Review archives)
Police were trying to unravel the truth behind the robbery of Sadie Griggs in the Rockwood district, though they already had arrested her boyfriend, The Spokesman-Review reported on May 5, 1918. (Spokesman-Review archives)

Police were trying to unravel the truth behind the robbery of Sadie Griggs in the Rockwood district.

She told police she had gone to visit friends in Rockwood and that an unknown assailant had confronted her in the woods with a gun and relieved her of two diamond rings and her pocketbook.

However, her story changed when police arrested Charles Sonandris, 39, an Italian bootblack, in connection with the robbery. Sonandris insisted he was not her robber – he was her boyfriend.

When police confronted Griggs with this new information, she admitted that Sonandris was indeed her boyfriend, and she had been keeping company with him for three months. She said she had been out walking with Sonandris when another, unknown man confronted her and robbed her. She made up the story about being alone because she “did not want her friends to know she was associating with a man so much below her in social station.”

Sonandris told police a similar story. He went out walking with her in the Rockwood district and met a man who pointed a gun at them and told them to halt. She “threw the man her pocketbook and the highwayman then carried the woman into a nearby thicket.”

He did not raise an alarm, summon assistance, or try to protect her – despite the fact that he used to be a prizefighter in Chicago.

Police were clearly not buying his story. They arrested him on suspicious of being complicit in the robbery.

However, Griggs defended her boyfriend, saying that she asked him not to intervene or say anything because she did not want anyone to know she was out with him. She said she planned to marry him in the summer.


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