Forbes Parkhill, Ace Reporter
Forbes feels like an old friend. As a young reporter for the Denver Post, he figures in Van Cise's Fighting The Underworld, he wrote major stories on the trial, may have written Lou's obituary, and in his declining years he wrote about Sam and Lou in Wildest of the West all critical sources. Parkhill's unique vantage point inside the story has to a great extent defined Lou's legacy second only to Van Cise.
He first became involved in the story when he received an anonymous call late one summer night in 1922, alerting him to a mysterious raid that would take place the next day. At first he thought the target might be the union activists of the I.W.W., but with some good old-fashioned leg work, and a few well-timed bluffs, he found himself standing, inexplicably, inside Denver's Universalist Church.
There, unbeknowst to the police department, Denver District Attorney Col. Philip S. Van Cise and his staff were busily processing dozens of Denver's con men, including Lou, who sat to the side, dejected and alone, apparently sensing that this time was different. Forbes was told to stay put until the arrests were complete, but he found an opportunity and phoned in the story. Unfortunately for young Parkhill, Van Cise caught wind of the breach, and persuaded the Post's owner to sit on the story.
Forbes was pissed. We know this, because many years later, in 1951, he wrote Wildest of the West, and said as much. The book is a quick read, recounting the careers and highlights of dozens of madames, gamblers, con men and other western archetypes, often pausing only briefly on each subject. Much of it consists of tidbits culled from old newspapers, including some we have come across in our own research.
But he did hold forth on several individuals, among them Soapy and the Blongers.
For one thing, he states that Lou was "king of the policy racket in Denver." He seems to be talking about 1890 or so, as he goes on to state that Ed Chase was then president of the Colorado Policy Association, and that twelve policy shops were listed in the city directory that year.
1890 is early in the Blonger boys' Denver career, when they were saloon owners, and still looking for that big payoff in the mining biz.
In his chapter on newspapermen, Parkhill tells us that with the introduction to Colorado of beets as a sugar crop (Lou had sugar beet acreage, by the way), Mexican laborers were not far behind, and with them came the exotic new drug, marijuana.
On one occasion, the police, having just arrested a man for selling the leafy substance, inexplicably left the evidence in the police reporters press room. A spirited debate soon began amongst the reporters as to the effects of the mysterious narcotic, with one of the newsies claiming that, while one joint left the user feeling good, a second would transform him into a raving maniac.
With the help of a colleague snoozing peacefully with his feet up on his typewriter, the newsmen decided to test this assertion. They closed the doors and windows, built a small fire on the floor, threw the pot on the flames, and left the room to await the results at a safe distance.
Alas, the man awoke coughing, stamped out the blaze, aired out the room, and went back to sleep.
According to Parkhill, Soapy started his career in Texas when he was taken by a circus grifter, and was so intrigued by the possibilities of the shell game and other swindles that he joined the crew.
In Leadville he refined his shell game, and developed the soap scam. Whether or not he invented the soap scam, he obviously made great use of it, and became well known for it.
He then brought the game to Denver, where Parkhill says Doc Baggs was a principal member of his crew. Baggs had been skinning suckers in Denver for years by that time, and Parkhill believed Baggs must have been pressured to work with Soapy, as Baggs considered it just as easy to take a man for $5000 as for $5. Parkhill names two Denvers circa 1888, the Soap and the California, though there may have been as many as a dozen. This bears checking into.
Parkhill further states that Soapy preferred high-volume tactics over the big score, and that it would be up to Lou to implement Doc's big store techniques on a large scale. (In 1888, the Blongers were just settling in to Denver, and would soon open a new club called the Elite.)
In 1890, silver was discovered in southwestern Colorado, and Creede was born. Soapy took control of the town's bunco operations shortly after moving his from Denver and opening the Orleans Club. It wasn't long before Soapy had a virtual lock on the town's civic affairs. (Some went so far as to describe his tenure as a dictatorship. Lou's obit indicates he was also an important presence in Creede, but we have no other indication of this.)
Creede's heyday was short, and soon Soapy moved his operations back to Denver.
Parkhill relates the story of a gunfight in which Smith and some members of his were involved. Cliff Sparks, once a steerer for Doc Baggs, was killed in the fighting. In the aftermath, his friend Tinhorn Bill Crooks supposedly bites a diamond stickpin from Sparks' breast as he pretends to be stricken with grief. This same feat is elsewhere attributed to Big Ed Burns, another soap member.
Come 1894, and there's trouble at City Hall. In an effort to clean up Denver's vice trade, reformist governor Davis H. Waite sought to replace some of Denver's police commissioners with his own appointees, and was willing to call in the state militia to enforce this action. Corrupt city officials, on the other hand, had no use for the governor's meddling, and barricaded themselves inside City Hall. Soapy Smith and his many armed minions were called in to assist, and together they successfully held the militia at bay.
And so, for the moment, Soapy was the hero of Denver. He was in tight with the boys at city hall and their cohorts in the sheriff's department and courts. But then, these were the same people corrupt cops and city politicians that Lou was working, wining, dining and enriching...
Next came the Hughes assault, April, 1895. Soapy and brother Bascomb went on a rampage, first accosting the chief of police (who covered for them), and then beating "Thomas" (Johnny, actually) Hughes, Ed Chase's partner.
Parkhill does not mention that, after the initial brawl, the brothers went to the Blonger's saloon, going inside to look for Sam, but were dissuaded from their unspecified mission by a cop interested in keeping the peace. It is noted that Lou was hiding behind them with a shotgun at the time, so it sounds like somebody dodged a bullet that night.
Bascomb was arrested for the assault, and Soapy would soon leave town in fear of prosecution.
Parkhill has him leaving town after the fracas (April '95), going to Texas, then Mexico where he tried to form a foreign legion under his own command and then returning to Denver, still in 1895, where he finds Lou in charge of the city's bunco game.
The date on the Hughes assault is from the news, so we'd be curious to date his Mexican exploits. That's a pretty short timeframe. We thought Soapy left town a little while after the Hughes assault, never to return.
According to Parkhill, Smith remained in Denver after his southwestern travels, paying Lou his 50%, until news of the Klondike gold rush in 1897. Then it was on to Skagway.
Parkhill, by the way, states that Lou had operated in New Orleans at one time, a claim not repeated elsewhere. Maybray's Millionaire's Club, however operated in Council Bluffs, Lou's Denver, and New Orleans, and Lou was implicated in that enterprise.
And what do Soapy Smith's descendants have to say about Parkhill's take on their ancestor?
"You can never believe most of what you read. For many years I have ran with false leads that led me wrong, all because an author made up information in order to look knowledgeable or fill blank pages. My father once told me, 'You hear a lie long enough, it becomes the truth.' I have found that in most history books there are always bits of valuable information, and loads of crap."
"Mr. Parkhill's, Wildest of the West, is no exception. While it is true that Soapy started his career in Texas, there is very little information. From letters, it can be seen that he had already formed a small, close-knit bunco that followed him to Denver. However, there is no evidence, other than here-say, that Soapy went to Leadville, Colorado, until later. There is also no evidence that the infamous Doc Baggs joined up with Soapy. In studying the contemporary Denver newspapers I found that Baggs was already at the end of his bunco career. He was too well known and constantly being watched by the long arm of the law. This is the same problem Soapy would have in Denver, a decade later. By 1885 Baggs was long gone from Denver and Soapy was just beginning to spread his con man wings."
[Parkhill's explanation of Baggs' willingness to shill for the soap con did appear a bit forced. Baggs was an elder statesman of con by this time and it's hard to imagine him taking the role of capper at this point in his career.]
"Parkhill stated in his book that there were two buncos working Denver in 1888. But according to the local newspapers of the day, there were as many as twelve separates. It was Soapy who consolidated many of these individuals into one powerful unit."
[Parkhill mentioned the Soap and California, though he didn't state categorically that these were the only two. I'd like to know about the others. Searches on "California" draw a blank.]
"It is true that Soapy used the high-volume tactic of separating cash from his victims. Before this period, the con men were using the hit and run tactic, obtaining as much cash as possible and running, perhaps not ever returning to Denver. Soapy obtained his proceeds in smaller amounts, using numerous swindles that were being performed on a daily basis all over the lower part of the city. At any given time there might be three to ten swindles going on at once. To Big Store operators, such as the Blonger's, this may have seemed like small potatoes, but in reality, Soapy had amassed three major empires during his lifetime using this method. He and his were also able to stay put in one place for a longer period of time, whereas before they had to move around from place to place."
"Parkhill states that Bob Ford was camp boss of Creede when Soapy arrived there in 1892. This is a falsehood. Research shows that Ford worked pretty much alone. He had no, and could not possibly have run the town. He did not open up his first saloon there, until after the big fire in June of 1892, which was after many of the saloon and gambling operators, including Soapy, had already returned to Denver. Ford was shot just days after opening his tent saloon."
"Bat Masterson did not own a saloon in Creede. He did manage the Denver Exchange saloon and gambling hall for another firm, but he did not own interests in the place."
"The beating sustained onto Hughes by Soapy and his younger brother Bascomb, was highly publicized, so information regarding it is easy to find. Unfortunately Parkhill did not notice that the name was not Thomas Hughes, as he reported, but John Hughes. Soapy left Denver shortly thereafter, and only returned occasionally, and under the shadow of darkness. Soapy made several trips to St. Louis to see his family, Mexico, where he was involved in several swindles, and Dallas, Texas, where he was involved in an attempted murder plot of a rival boss. The Mexican adventure referred to by the modern Blonger's, that involved the Mexican president Diaz' actually took place earlier."
"It is highly doubted that Soapy paid any of the other crime bosses a percentage of his earnings. He did certainly pay the police a vast amount, but money can only do so much. Soapy was far too well known and open about his vocation. The police were openly in league with the soap, and the Rocky Mountain News broadcasted the fact weekly. In order to save their selves the police were forced to un-associate themselves with the soap, and then proceed to dismantle it. "
[Makes sense. I don't see Smith easily knuckling under to the Blongers, and that is Parkhill's assertion and yet the Klondike rush that finally lured him to Alaska didn't occur till 1897, so Soapy had to bide his time after the Hughes assault in 1895.]
"Jeff 'Soapy' Smith
great grandson of Jefferson Randolph ('Soapy') Smith
Thank you, Mr. Smith!
So what did newshound Parkhill write of the Blongers in the chapter devoted to them in Wildest of the West?
He begins by saying that "Soapy Smith was a piker compared with Lou Blonger." Smith went for the short con, and Lou preferred the big payoff. He further states that Jefferson ended up paying Lou protection a claim disputed by Jeff Smith after the Hughes assault made things hot for Soapy. I'm inclined to agree. Soapy wasn't the type to pay homage. And we was no piker, surely. Fate may have been cruel to Smith, but history was not. Surely the depth, vitality, and sheer longevity of his reputation give him bragging rights.
Parkhill goes on to state that Lou was in complete control of Denver from the late 1880s until 1922. This is a stretch. We have yet to find evidence of the Blongers exercising any real power until the mid 90s, after which their backstage machinations are occasionally referred to with some oblique remark. We are told they came into power around 1895, and that sounds right. I suspect, however, that they were a significant force in town prior to that rich gamblers and businessmen with close ties to city hall and the Denver constabulary.
Parkhill also mentions Lou's legendary direct line to the Chief, and insinuates this was the case for decades. Denver went through a lot of police chiefs in those three decades he probably got along with some better than others. On the other hand:
To maintain protection from the law Blonger contributed liberally to the campaign funds of both parties in municipal elections, and especially to the campaign funds of the candidates for district attorney. Key members of the police department, of the district attorney's staff, and even of the Denver office of the United States Department of Justice were on his payroll. His political influence was such that his hirelings were named to almost any offices he wished to control.
Parkhill describes Sam as a big man, and a hot-tempered bully. He mentions Sam's blue glasses, but seems unaware Sam had lost an eye in a gunfight, or so we are told. Lou is "short, round and affable," with drooping gray eyes and a bulbous nose.
Parkhill continues with a good description of the big store con, and how Van Cise came in to the picture with his election as DA, and his refusal to take Lou's graft.
At this point, Parkhill's narrative intersects Van Cise in Fighting the Underworld, describing the day of Lou's arrest from the reporter's viewpoint the cryptic, anonymous phone tip the night before, his dogged search for the secret operation, his eventual arrival at the First Universalist Church where the Blonger was being detained incommunicado, and his anger at having his exclusive being held back on the DA's orders.
Lou's right hand, Kid Duffy, had been with the Maybray in Council Bluffs, a said later to have been connected with Lou's Denver operation. Parkhill awkwardly describes how he interviewed Duff when he was released on bond, and in the course of ingratiating himself for the sake of the interview, agreeably agreed with Duff that an honest businessman just can't get an even break.
Van Cise later gave him a hard time about it he'd read the transcripts of their conversation, captured by a bug in Duff's office. And by bug I mean an unwieldy hidden microphone wired to 200 pounds of wet-cell batteries, connected by wires strung across the street to a stenographer dutifully transcribing in shorthand all that she hears.
After the trial, Van Cise laughed his head off about it when he showed Parkhill the transcript. Parkhill: "I still can't see the joke."
He mentions that he was scheduled as a witness for the prosecution, but that the twenty bunco men who made it to trial in Denver presented no rebuttal to the prosecution's case, claiming the case had not been proven, so why bother? Then, as the jury deliberated, they got drunk and brought in some hookers. Cojones. Points for trying, anyway.
Meanwhile, in the courtroom, drunken reporters staged a mock rape trial.
The jury deliberated four days. Lou died in prison six months later.
And Van Cise, conqueror of the underworld, was defeated in the next election as thanks for his opposition to the rising star of Colorado's KKK.
Here's Parkhill's big story:
Denver Post, August 25, 1922
34 HELD IN ROUNDUP OF 'BUNCO' MEN
$1,000,000 Ring Smashed Here
SECRET DRIVE HALTS NATION-WIDE PLOTS OF NOTORIOUS BAND
Church Used as Jail in Raid
INFAMOUS MEMBERS OF 'CRIME MONOPOLY' KNOWN FROM HERE TO FLORIDA HERDED INTO FASHIONABLE EDIFICE AS RANGERS AND VAN CISE HUNT FOR PALS
By FORBES PARKHILL.
Organized crime in Denver has been dealt its death blow!
Unknown to police, District Attorney Van Cise, assisted by Adjutant General Hamrock and eighteen State Rangers, Thursday and Friday arrested thirty-four men, alleged members of a $1,000,000 international confidence game ring.
Prisoners captured in a score of raids in prominent Denver hotels and business houses and on crowded downtown streets were spirited away to a temporary jail established in the First Universalist church, East Colfax avenue and Lafayette street, in the heart of the fashionable Capitol Hill district.
There they were held incommunicado, to prevent word of the raids being "tipped off" to the underworld.
The series of secret raids is the culmination of a campaign on the part of Van Cise lasting for more than a year. Fifteen thousand dollars was contributed by prominent Denver men and women to finance the cleanup of what is known as the notorious "Florida-Denver." This, formerly directed by Joe Furey, said to have been the world's cleverest confidence man, is reputed to have mulcted Denverites and tourists here of at least $1,500,000 in the last two years.
Co-operating with Van Cise in rounding up members of the was F. Frank Norfleet of Fort Worth, Texas, known as "the Nemesis of the confidence man." Norfleet, who has caused the arrest and conviction of fourteen confidence men thruout the United States in the last two years, has been in Denver for two weeks, posing as a wealthy "sucker," to gather evidence against the ring.
Among those arrested in the series of raids are:
A. W. Duff of 1019 Lincoln street.
Walter F. Byland, who is charged with check frauds in Texas aggregating $28,000 and who is out on bond after being arrested by federal authorities in Denver upon indictments returned by a federal grand jury in Texas.
Audley H. Potts, alias Charles Zeller, alias John Fox, alias Jack Hendricks, alias Martin Norris, said by authorities to be one of the cleverest confidence men in the country.
J. R. Farrell, who is said to be wanted in Los Angeles.
Riley W. Wilson, alias Louis Yancey, alias Charles Sootes, alias Charles Clark, alleged St. Louis "con" man.
Arthur Cooper of Little Rock, Ark.
James R. Sullivan, alias George Sullivan, alias Grove Sullivan of Santa Monica, Calif.
The raids were conducted from the Universalist church, where the prisoners were jailed, to prevent them being "tipped off" if they had been made thru regular channels, Van Cise says.
"Had either the city or the county jails been used to house these men, every crook in Denver would have known of the raids within five minutes," Van Cise said.
The success of the raids was largely due, Van Cise says, to the fact that one of the very first places raided was the "tip-off" headquarters of the at 929 Seventeenth street.
The "tip-off headquarters," he says, was conducted as an organized center for the dissemination of advance tips concerning intended arrests.
"TIP-OFF HEADQUARTERS" FIRST PLACE RAIDED.
His first act was to put the "tip-off headquarters" out of business thereby enabling the officers to make the various arrests without advance information having been given out. Several alleged members of the were placed under arrest when they called at this place.
Another place raided early Thursday was the "Big Store," also know as the "Big Mob," at 309 American Bank and Trust company building. Adolph Duff and others were arrested at this place, which Van Cise says is the headquarters of the leaders of the ring.
The place has been conducted as a brokerage office.
A complete fake "stock exchange" was raided at 226 Denham Theater building. Here a quantity of money and "phony" telephones and telegraph instruments, false stock exchange quotation tickets, a large stock exchange blackboard and other paraphernalia were seized.
The first arrest was made at 7 o'clock Thursday morning. Van Cise, all his regular deputies, a number of special deputies sworn in for the occasion, a dozen prominent Denver business men who volunteered their aid, and fifteen Colorado Rangers commanded by Capt. O. L. Dennis, took part in the raids.
The Rangers had been called into Denver by Adjutant General Hamrock from various parts of the state Wednesday night. All except those guarding prisoners in the basement of the church-jail wore plain clothes.
"I have nothing but praise for the Rangers," said Van Cise Friday morning. "The Rangers are the most efficient body of men I have ever known. I would have been helpless without their aid."
Charges of conspiracy to commit a confidence game were filed against each of the men now under arrest, Van Cise announced.
STEERERS EMPLOYED ON COMMISSION BASIS.
Later other charges will be filed against individual prisoners as the circumstances of each case warrant.
Investigation which led to the raids disclosed that steerers were employed upon a commission basis to work the streets and hotel lobbies of Denver and other cities. All their net gains except 40 per cent were turned over to the organization, which in turn offered protection, tips and information to the steerers.
Those who took part in the raids were:
District Attorney Van Cise and the following regular deputies: L. D. Mowry, A. J. Reynolds, Roy O. Samson, Kenneth W. Robinson, Fred W. Sanborn and Bernard Gates.
Special Deputies Harold M. Webster, Oliver Toll and Herbert J. Wilkins.
Volunteer committee of citizens: William Loughridge, Paul Loughridge, Harold Healy, Christopher Cusack, Cass Herrington Jr., Dr. L. W. Linville, Brooks Johnson, W. W. Grant Jr., Robert G. Bosworth, George Cranmer, F. W. Hart, A. H. Wilson, George Kassler, W. D. Sanborn, Russell Jordan and J. C. Griffith of Boulder.
Rangers: Adjutant General P. J. Hamrock, Deputy Superintendent Paul P. Newlon, Capt. O. L. Dennis, Secretary Thomas Elkins, Sergeant Charles Scarbrough, Corp. L. M. Scherf, and Rangers F. H. Steffan, Robert E. Swingle, Robert M. Perry, C. J. Harrington, J. A. Chase, C. D. Donald, E. P. Bell, A. H. Oster, C. Arnbrecht, Otis Mathis, F. J. Soward and Claude J. Head.
PRISONERS ARE JAILED AT BRIGHTON AND GOLDEN
By 6 o'clock Thursday night twenty-nine prisoners had been captured. Van Cise, reluctant to place them in either the city of the county jail for fear the activities of the raiders would be "tipped off," divided them into two groups and sent them to the Adams county jail in Brighton and to the Jefferson county jail in Golden, to be held overnight. Neither jail was large enough to hold all the prisoners.
The prisoners were not booked at either jail and were kept under a heavy guard of rangers and deputies thruout the night.
Friday morning they were brought back to Denver.
Chief of Police Williams and Captain of Detectives Rinker inspected the prisoners at the church Friday morning to identify all possible from police records.
After the inspection by Chief Williams and Captain Rinker, the prisoners were taken to the city jail.
One of the prisoners made a desperate attempt to escape while being taken from the church-jail to the Jefferson county jail, but was recaptured.
At East Sixteenth avenue and Broadway he leaped from a moving automobile. He was caught by a ranger guard but put up a terrific fight, and was almost knocked unconscious before he was subdued.
With few exceptions, all the prisoners taken from the church Thursday evening to the Adams and Jefferson county jails were handcuffed in pairs. The prisoner who made the break for liberty was not handcuffed.
FEW AWARE THAT RAID WAS IN PROGRESS.
So thoroly had the whole affair been planned that, despite the number arrested and the number of officers taking part, not a dozen persons outside those actually involved knew what was afoot.
Even tho arrests were made in all parts of Denver, in the principal hotels and on the most crowded downtown streets, the police were ignorant of the activities of Van Cise's deputies and the rangers, and few others suspected that more than a single arrest was being made.
In one instance, where a deputy and a ranger came upon two alleged "con" men while the latter were dividing a roll of bills totaling $1,400, the prisoners broke and fled down Seventeenth street. They were recaptured before they had gone more than a few yards. The sight of the two fleeing men, each with a handful of currency, failed to arouse more than passing comment, so quickly were they spirited into an automobile and whisked away. None of the persons who witnessed this capture reported it to the police.
MAN IS LOCKED IN CLOSET THREE HOURS.
Deputy Kenneth Robinson arrested one man in a prominent downtown hotel, but the man's companion was not in the place when the arrest was made Thursday morning. Robinson handcuffed his prisoner and locked him in a closet in the man's own room and then waited three hours for the arrival of his pal, who also was arrested.
The utmost secrecy surrounded the incarceration of the prisoners in the church-jail. Altho deputies and rangers were entering the church with prisoners at all hours of the day and night, only to leave a few moments later on a new raid, none of the neighbors living in the fashionable Capitol hill homes and apartments adjoining the church even suspected that anything unusual was in progress.
The offices were forbidden to approach the Lafayette street or Colfax avenue fronts of the church-jail. As each group of deputies and rangers would make an arrest, they would drive to the alley in the rear of the church. There the prisoners would be quickly unloaded and the car would drive on and halt at some spot within a block or two of the church.
The prisoners, with an officer in front and rear, would be taken down the narrow walk to the basement entrance of the church. The basement door was barred and was opened only to those who gave three knocks at intervals.
TWO MARCHED TO CHURCH AT GUN POINT.
Two prisoners who had put up resistance when arrested again attempted to resist when they reached the church. One was streaming with blood from a cut behind the ear and another cut on the right hand. These two were marched into the church at the points of drawn pistols in the hands of their captors.
"Take me to the chief," demanded one of the prisoners as he was admitted to the church-jail. "I demand to see the chief right away. This is sure a ---- of a note."
After being admitted thru the basement entrance, the prisoners were taken to the pastor's study on the first floor. There their names, ages, addresses and complete description were taken, and they were compelled to undergo a minute search. All their valuables were taken and were placed in canvas sacks, each sack labeled with the name of the prisoner.
At the booking desk were Deputy District Attorney Harold Webster, Special Deputies Harold Healy and William Loughridge, Ranger Secretary Tom Elkins and Ranger Sergeant Charles Scarbrough.
PRISONERS' SHOES ARE SEARCHED.
Sergeant Scarbrough searched the prisoners from head to toe, requiring each to remove his shoes, and in certain cases where a prisoner was suspected of concealing papers or drugs, other articles of clothing.
Most of the prisoners gave aliases when asked for their names.
"If you name is Bob Williams, how does it happen that your belt buckle bears the initials 'J. S. R.?'" was a typical question of Sergeant Scarbrough, after examining the clothing of the prisoner.
"Oh, that happened this way," would come the glib reply in almost every instance. "I had a very dear friend who died suddenly and his wife gave me his belt as a memento."
One or two of the prisoners adopted a sullen attitude, and refused to give their names. Many of them had railroad tickets in their pockets. Almost without exception they would say they were expecting to leave Denver immediately for Omaha, Salt Lake City or Chicago.
PRISONERS AMAZED AT TYPE OF "JAIL."
The examination of the prisoners made an extraordinary picture - a scene unlike anything that has ever taken place in a pastor's study before. The prisoners, sullen, defiant, or laughing as they stood between their armed guards, glanced curiously about the study, which was filled with tobacco smoke, and whose walls were covered with tracts, bookcases and religious pictures.
"This is the funniest --- --- jail I ever saw," exclaimed one man, who, like most of the others, did not realize he had been brought to a church.
Above the desk where the prisoners were booked hangs the first psalm, printed in huge red and black letters. Many of the prisoners stared long at the Scripture passages, which began:
"Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly nor standeth in the way of sinners nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
"But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in His law doth he meditate day and night.
"For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous; but the way of the ungodly shall perish."
UNDERGO EXAMINATION IN KINDERGARTEN ROOMS.
From the pastor's study the prisoners were taken upstairs to the kindergarten Sunday school rooms on the second floor. There, amid tiny red chairs, blackboards, a sandpile and mottoes lettered by the smallest of the Sunday school children they were submitted to a searching examination by District Attorney Van Cise.
There Deputy District Attorney Roy Samson compared the prisoners with rogue's gallery photographs from Leavenworth and other places.
In one corner, among the little red chairs, were piled papers and paraphernalia seized in the various raids.
In one case was a "phony" telephone and a fake telegraph instrument. This case contained numerous documents used in various swindling, wire-tapping and confidence games. There were several bonding forms, one printed upon the stationery of a large Denver bank, setting forth that the holder was bonded in some particular bank for $100,000.
These forms are usually "accidentally" dropped where the "sucker" can find them, thus learning, as he supposes, that the smooth-tongued gentleman expecting to sell him oil stock is a man of great responsibility.
LETTERHEADS OF PROMINENT BANKS AMONG PARAPHERNALIA.
There were many record sips of the "International Exchange," and numerous letterheads of prominent banks and other business houses in Denver and elsewhere, used, Van Cise says, for the "con" men to write themselves letters of recommendation and indorsement.
There also was a large stock listing bulletin board, with quotations of various stocks chalked upon it.
In one lot, seized from one man, were twelve bundles of currency which, according to their wrappers, totaled $135,000. The money is genuine, but the bundles in each case consist of a packet of ninety-eight dollar bills, with a $100 bill on top and another on the bottom, leading the "sucker" to believe the packet is made up altogether of $100 bills. Most of these packets were labeled "$20,000." In actual money there was about $1,500 in all these packets.
After their examination by Van Cise and comparison with rogue's gallery photographs, the prisoners were taken back to the church basement.
There they were led to a large assembly room. A space had been roped off in the center, leaving about four feet between the edges of the roped area and the walls. The prisoners were permitted to sit on the assembly room chairs, or to walk or lounge about, so long as they kept within the roped area.
VAN CISE ANNOUNCES NAMES OF PRISONERS.
District Attorney Van Cise Friday afternoon announced that the following persons had been arrested in the two-day raid:
Tip Belcher, Grow Sullivan, Leonard Rogers, George Walker, T. J. Brady, Ed C. Loftus, Robert Williams, G. C. Bailey, Robert Nash, John Ellison, John J. Grady, Wm. Dougherty, Peter Jones, W. L. Straub, Thomas Beech, Lewis Muschnick, Walter Byland, G. Williams, Robert G. Davis, A. H. Potts, Roy Farrell, John D. Berry, Arthur Cooper, William Jones, Roy Coine, Frank Jones, J. W. Reed, Harry Jones, A. W. Duff, John Clark, A. R. Smith, E. S. King.
Criminal informations charging conspiracy have been prepared by Deputy Prosecutor K. W. Robinson, and will be filed in the west side court Friday afternoon, according to that official.
"We are going to insist upon bonds of $25,000 in each case," said Robinson. "Of all offenders, the confidence man has the foremost reputation as a bond jumper. We have a man in this very bunch who recently left $50,000 bail behind."
The prisoners will be arraigned before Judge Warren A. Haggott Saturday morning, according to present plans. The court will be asked by the district attorney to fix the bond at the amount set forth by Robinson.
NOTE: Lou Blonger was one of the first arrested in the day-long raids of August 24, 1922, but his name did not appear in the Denver Post's story the next day. Why? As Philip Van Cise mentioned in his book, Fighting the Underworld, Blonger was a friend of Post co-publisher Harry Tammen, who ordered Blonger's name withheld.
Van Cise (p. 213) gives the following account given by reporter Forbes Parkhill:
Unlike [co-publisher Fred] Bonfils, Tammen would occasionally chat with reporters in the Post editorial rooms. The Saturday night following the raids, he sat on my typewriter desk and talked at length about the case. I mentioned that I thought it odd Blonger's name had been suppressed at first.
Tammen said: "Yes, that was done by my orders, because Lou was one of my best friends. I hated like hell to use his name, but the story became so big we couldn't possibly hold it out any longer. You know, son, Lou taught me the most valuable thing I ever knew. He taught me how to catch a sucker."
A moment later, he added: "I caught one." He jerked his thumb toward Bonfils's office and finished: "I've still got him."