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Opinion >  Column

100 years ago in Spokane: The teenage suspect in several high-profile thefts opened up to a reporter

UPDATED: Thu., Feb. 18, 2021

 (Spokane Daily Chronicle archives )
(Spokane Daily Chronicle archives )

Young Elliot Michener (sometimes spelled Mitchener), the suspect in several high-profile thefts, talked to a reporter by phone from the Newport jail and said, “I just want to go back to Coeur d’Alene and stay with my father.”

That was looking increasingly unlikely, since he was facing charges of stealing $14,000 worth of securities from his father. He was also facing possible charges in New York for stealing $4,200 from a former employer.

The 14- or 15-year-old (reports varied on his actual age) told a Spokane Daily Chronicle reporter he definitely did not want to go back to New York to face charges there.

“I want to stay in the West,” he said.

Nor did he want to go to the Idaho Industrial School for Boys, as Idaho authorities were threatening.

His preferences were probably beside the point, since the courts had already given him one chance to stay with his father and learn to “go straight.” He responded by stealing the bonds from his father and attempting to flee.

He admitted to the reporter that he came to Spokane after stealing the securities from his father’s trunk. He cashed a $50 bond in the Ground Gripper Shoe Store. Then he headed toward the border, but was apprehended in Northport.

Authorities were sending him back to Coeur d’Alene and the likelihood of reform school.

From the Wobbly beat: Eight Wobblies were sentenced to 60 days each for selling the Industrial Worker newspaper on the streets of Spokane.

The judge said that the State Supreme Court had ruled the Industrial Workers of the World to be an “outlaw organization” and that he interpreted this to mean that papers cannot be legally sold in the state.

The Wobblies were appealing.

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