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Saturday, October 19, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

100 years ago in Spokane: Judge throws the book at teen joyriders (aka car thieves); youths turn vacant lots into gardens for war effort

A judge sentenced Clement Colgan and Orrin Johanning to serve from one to 15 years in the state reformatory for car theft, The Spokesman-Review reported on May 30, 1917. (Spokesman-Review archives)
A judge sentenced Clement Colgan and Orrin Johanning to serve from one to 15 years in the state reformatory for car theft, The Spokesman-Review reported on May 30, 1917. (Spokesman-Review archives)

A Spokane judge was fed up with the number of autos stolen by young joyriders, and two teenage boys paid the price.

The judge sentenced Clement Colgan and Orrin Johanning to serve from one to 15 years in the state reformatory.

“Now, three or four automobiles are stolen daily here, and this thing is going to stop,” said the judge. “Boys seem to think that they can take automobiles and get off with a slight reprimand in juvenile court. We are going to give a punishment that fits the crime.”

The boys were convicted of stealing an auto from a Spokane garage and running it up to Green Bluff, where they left it in the woods.

They were in the process of breaking into another garage when nabbed. The prosecutor said the two boys had stolen half a dozen autos for joyrides. They had previously been arrested as juvenile delinquents.

From the gardening beat: Spokane kids were doing their part for the war effort right in their own backyards. A group called the Home Garden Committee reported that 2,400 youngsters were planting gardens under its supervision.

Every youngster was issued a garden accounting book, to keep a record of cost and profit, which would be submitted to their school principals in September.

Meanwhile, the Vacant Lot Committee reported that 800 vacant lots in Spokane were under cultivation .

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