Harry Scott, “Stealing Auto”, 22 June 1926

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Harry Scott1

He said his name was Harry Roberts. He said it was Harry Scott. He said it was John Roberts. He came from Greensburg, or maybe Latrobe. He was sixteen years old, or something like it. He had been living in Dave’s junk yard on South Mill street for three months, or maybe four, when he was arrested.

The number written in ink on his photograph shows that he was the fourth person to be processed after the police started numbering their mug shots. They had started a collection of photographs of habitual offenders in 1917. A few years later, the cupboard in which they were kept was so full that it collapsed under their weight. The photographs were kept in stacks on the floor of the office of the chief of police until 1922, when they were moved to a custom-built display cabinet that everyone called the rogues gallery.

On a Sunday night in June, 1926, Harry—or John—stole a Ford from Cascade park and crashed it into a picket fence on Pennsylvania avenue, two miles west. He asked a garage to tow the car away and told the owners of the house that he’d return on Monday to pay for the damage.

On Monday morning, he stole another Ford from the park and drove back to Pennsylvania avenue. A constable and a justice of the peace were waiting for him when he got out of the car. He escaped on foot.

His description was issued to the police—a young man with a round type of face, wearing a dirty white shirt with a red stripe and a light brown slouch hat. A plainclothes detective at Cascade park picked him up on Tuesday night. He was wearing a white hat and, under a plain white shirt, the dirty white shirt with the red stripe. Twelve witnesses on Pennsylvania avenue identified him. He pled guilty and was held for the September term of court.

There is no further record of his life, whoever he was.

Sources: New Castle News (17 March 1917, “Police Establishing Local Rogues’ Gallery”; 7 Dec 1921, “New Rogues’ Gallery Is needed At Police Station”; 26 June 1922, “New Rogues Gallery At Police Station”; 23 June 1926, “Auto Thefts Are Now Cleared Up”).

1 Comment

  1. Mario E Perkins says

    All too familiar story in my life, kids on their own, turning to crime to eat, sleeping outside, kinda inevitable what the outcome will be, early death or prison, usually both.

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