Saturday, January 07, 2006

Genealogy Findings: "Gerber Kidnapped, Robbed"

[Note: I can't spell. I just realized I'd originally spelled "genealogy" wrong. It's corrected now.]

For those of you that don't know, I've been interested in genealogy for quite some time now. I'm primarily researching into the McAnall line on my dad's side of the family and the Gerber line on my mom's side of the family. Here's an interesting story that I came across about my great uncle Carl Gerber from Tuesday, September 11, 1934, when he was kidnapped and robbed of $509.19, which I calculated to be equivalent to around $5,500 nowadays. Also, this article in particular comes from the Septer 12, 1934 edition of the Akron Beacon Journal, 26 pages long and costing a whopping 3 cents...

Above Text: "Familiarity with Akron News Agency office routine enabled an ex-employe, who quit only a week ago, to know that Carl W. Gerber, its proprietor, would take the day's receipts from his safe and start for First-Central Trust Co. at 1:30 p. m. Tuesday. Gerber was kidnapped by the former worker and a confederate outside the office, robbed of $509.19, driven in his own auto toward Kent, then put out of the car."

[Now, on to the rest of this page 2 story which had headlined the front pages of the afternoon/evening editions for papers the day before. Yes, in case you didn't know, there were morning and afternoon/evening editions of newspapers back then. One front page headline read "2 GUNMEN KIDNAP, ROB CARL GERBER."]

Former Employe, Companion, Kidnap News Dealer, Steal $509

Back at his Akron News Agency office after being kidnapped in Akron's downtown business district, robbed of $509.19, and put out of his own car just outside of Kent, Carl W. Gerber, Wednesday, recounted the half-hour's earnest but futile pleading with a former trusted employe to realize "what a fool you are making of yourself."

Police short-wave radio stations over Ohio and neighboring states Wednesday at regular intervals were broadcasting toneless, staccato descriptions of the ex-employe, of a companion, and the tan Chevrolet coupe in which the highwayman executed the holdup late Tuesday afternoon.

Gerber, proprietor of the news agency at 282 E. Exchange st., was pinioned between the two bandits at 1:30 p. m. Tuesday as he entered the auto to make the daily trip to First-Central Trust Co. with deposits.

Step on Car

One man stepped on each running board, he told police. The former employe, who quit only a week ago on his own accord with the explanation he was going to Florida, did the talking then.

There was only a brief: "Shove over to the middle," Gerber told police. The other man took the wheel and started the car.

The auto immediately was headed out through Bettes Corners, to Tallmadge, then down route 261 toward Kent. Within a mile and one-half of that city, one of the highwaymen, Gerber did not recall which, said: "Here is a good place to let him out."

They stopped, let him step from the car, then speeded on. With the gasoline tank half-filled, Gerber believed they were able to travel a hundred miles before stopping for more fuel.

Pleads With Bandit

Gerber said he pleaded with the former news agency worker throughout the entire trip to realize his folly, telling him constantly that "you can't get away with it. You are sure to go to the penitentiary." The man only looked ahead, watching the road, saying nothing. He kept the gun prodded in Gerber's ribs all the time, however.

Employes of the news agency noticed the pair enter Gerber's auto, commented that it was peculiar, but knowing the one former associate let the topic drop. Later, when he failed to return, they called the bank and found Gerber had not been there.

About the same time, around 3 p. m., Gerber called Kent police and detailed the holup. He had been picked up, finally, by Harry Herman, special policeman at the Akron waterworks, as he neared Kent on foot.

That's it for now. I'm pretty sure the guys were caught and Carl got his car back, but I can't find any newspaper clipping or notes from relatives on that right now (perhaps I was simply told by word of mouth and forgot to write it down).

Pretty exciting stuff though, eh?


At 1/07/2006 06:12:00 PM, Blogger Brad said...


At 1/09/2006 07:47:00 AM, Anonymous Sarah Jane said...

Interesting project!

I wanted to say thanks for your comments on my last entry. A lot of people interpret things very much at face value, and I appreciate your willingness to go beyond that and actually think about the implications. I'm really glad I "met" you. ;)



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