Paul Conner, “Rec Money FP”, 17 Jan 1956

comments 5

On Saturday, the fourteenth of January, 1956, many people throughout New Castle stopped to admire an unusual circular rainbow that hung around the sun above Lawrence County, a creation of the cold and frosty air. Fewer noticed Paul Conner as he drove south from Sharon through New Castle and onward, stopping at every department store and supermarket on the way to cash hundreds of dollars-worth of bad checks in the name of Joe Garrett.

Paul was heading for his home in Bellevue, in Allegheny County, but his trip was cut short when the manager of the Montgomery Ward store in Beaver Falls recognised him from a previous visit and called the police. He ran out of the shop but was chased and caught.

Paul waited in Beaver Falls jail while the various jurisdictions discussed where he should be dealt with first. New Castle won the argument, and he was taken there on the seventeenth of January. There is no further record of his case or of Paul himself.

Sources: New Castle News (14 Jan 1956, “Pa Newc Observes”; 17 Jan 1956, “Alleged Forger Taken To Sharon”; 18 Jan 1956, “Spurious Check Charge Placed Against Connor”).


  1. johnny says

    interesting story. i am betting that this wasn’t the first time this fellow pulled this stunt. look at how he closes his eyes almost always a sure sign of an experienced criminal.
    id and fingerprints weren’t as deadbang in terms of timing and comprehensive accuracy ie manual fingerprint pulls instead of a computerized search.

    • It seems to have been ridiculously easy to forge checks and rip stores off in general. I mean, RIDICULOUSLY easy. The only mystery is why more people weren’t doing it all the time. All you needed was a suit and tie, a clean shave and a plausible manner and people would hand over hundreds of dollars. Strange times, those olden days…

  2. Johnny says

    I bet when he posted bail and was told, ‘why yes, you can write a check’ he stifled a laugh before asking, ‘and who should i make this out to?’

    a dude like this probably went from hick town to hick town making his way through life one sketchy piece of paper at a time…

    • Here are “Count” Victor Lustig’s 10 Commandments for Con Men:

      1. Be a patient listener (it is this, not fast talking, that gets a con-man his coups).
      2. Never look bored.
      3. Wait for the other person to reveal any political opinions, then agree with them.
      4. Let the other person reveal religious views, then have the same ones.
      5. Hint at sex talk, but don’t follow it up unless the other fellow shows a strong interest.
      6. Never discuss illness, unless some special concern is shown.
      7. Never pry into a person’s personal circumstances (they’ll tell you all eventually).
      8. Never boast. Just let your importance be quietly obvious.
      9. Never be untidy.
      10. Never get drunk.

      Via Lists of Note:

  3. Johnny says

    Wise words to live by. I like the story of how he got $5k from Al Capone.

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