Late one Monday night in 1945, James Aeschbacher stole a car from a garage on Beckford street. The police found him in the car about a mile away a few hours later. The battered face in his mug shot suggests he resisted arrest.
The following year, James stole a car in Midland, near Pittsburgh. Two days later, he drove it to Butler, fifty miles away, to meet a friend. The friend suggested that they pick up a girl he knew who lived just outside town. As James parked the car in the driveway of the girl’s house, he heard someone yell, “Dad, that’s our car.” The girl’s father came out of the house. It was, indeed, his car. He had last seen it a couple of days earlier, outside the steel plant in Midland where he worked during the week. James had somehow contrived to deliver the car to the house of the man he had stolen it from. The odds against such a coincidence are too high to imagine; the luck involved is diabolical. James fled in the direction of New Castle, getting as far as Portersville before he was arrested. He got 18 months in the federal penitentiary.
James got married in 1949, just before his thirtieth birthday. Sometime later, he moved to California. He died in Sacramento in 1991, at the age of seventy-one.
Sources: New Castle News, 3 April 1945, “Held On Auto Charge”; Salem News (30 November 1946, “E Liverpool Man Gets Prison Term In Car Theft”; 13 December 1949, “Marriage Licenses”); East Liverpool Evening Review, 8 August 1977, “Deaths, Funerals”.