The Bowens, an old couple who lived next door to the Clover Farm store on East Washington street, were awoken at almost two in the morning by the sound of someone prowling around outside. Mr Bowen went out with a flashlight to see what was going on while his wife called the police.
Samuel Webber and Frank Vanasco—two boys in the middle of their last year of high school—had broken into the store using a key that Samuel had stolen two weeks before. They had filled a sack with $40-worth of candy, cigarettes, gum and canned chicken when Mr Bowen’s flashlight shone in the front window. Frank ran out of the back door and drove off in his car. Samuel hid behind the candy counter before following Frank out the back and running to his house two blocks away.
Frank was caught when he circled back to try to find Samuel. Samuel was arrested in his home an hour later, after Frank gave the police his address. They pled guilty and were rewarded with a fine instead of jail. The following year, they both attended their graduation ceremony, where a local pastor delivered a commencement address entitled, “The Choices We Make”, in which he advised the boys—and the rest of the school—that certain choices in life have irrevocable consequences and that they should give thought to God before making them.
Frank joined the army and was sent to Korea. Samuel went to teachers college in Slippery Rock, joined the army when he graduated and spent a few years in an anti-aircraft unit outside Pittsburgh.
After the Korean war, Frank opened a nursing home in Mount Vernon and Samuel became a teacher in Butler County. There is no further record of their lives.Sources: New Castle News (22 Jan 1949, “Two Youths Held On Charges Of Entering Store”; 28 Jan 1949, “Plead Guilty To Burglary”; 31 May 1950, “Diplomas Are Presented To 506 Graduates”; 18 March 1952, “S-FC Venasco Sent To Camp Rucker, Ala”; 2 June 1955, “Webber Is Selected Anti-Aircraft Unit ‘Soldier Of The Week’”; 29 Nov 1960, “Mt Hermon”; 14 Jan 1963, “Mrs B Webber Services Tomorrow”; 15 Sep 1973, “Deaths Of The Day”).
Damn, the 3 C’s:
“They had filled a sack with $40-worth of Candy,Cigarettes, gum and Canned Chicken when Mr Bowen’s flashlight shone in the front window.”
Nice to see they straightened up and did kept their noses out of trouble.
Hey, just want to say as we get ready to end 2011 that your website is one of my favorite places. Thank you for all your hard work. It’s an amazing piece of Americana you got going here.
Thanks for that, Johnny – it’s good to know all the research and writing is paying off. And thanks for dropping by so often. I appreciate it. I’ve just published the 100th post, by the way. It’s about a boxer called Charlie Tilden – he coulda been a contender…