Tales from the Morgue

Many might argue with the old adage that "Crime doesn't pay," but this thief probably agrees that it doesn't.

He was caught pilfering money from a cash register and other thefts. He was sentenced to a total of $60 or 30 days in jail. Since he had resorted to stealing, one may assume he had no money for the fine.

From the Arizona Daily Star, Thursday, Oct. 11, 1951:

Sneak Thief Captured After Raid on Stores; Gets $60 or 30 days

LeRoy Pete McCarthy, 56-year-old transient, found himself ticketed for $60 in fines or a lengthy stay in city jail yesterday following his conviction on four counts of lawbreaking.

McCarthy stepped into the S. H. Kress store at 97 East Congress street, then slipped behind a counter to rifle a cash register, city police said.

Hermine Bermudez, a clerk, gasped and went into action. She grabbed a handful of bills from McCarthy's clutch and screamed for help.

McCarthy ran out the door.

City police apprehended the aging transient as he emerged from Woolworth's store a short distance away. He was carrying a fountain pen, several ball point pens, sun glasses, two billfolds, a belt and buckle and a cheap ring.

Just of the Peace James M. Howsare listened to testimony from witnesses, then read McCarthy's sentence.

A charge of possession of stolen property brought $25 or 10 days. Larceny charges doubled the account, another $25 or 10 days. For being drunk and being a vagrant McCarthy received $10 or 10 days on each count.

$60 was a lot more money back in 1951 than it is today. We're betting he went for the "three hots and a cot."

Johanna Eubank is an online content producer for the Arizona Daily Star and tucson.com. Contact her at jeubank@tucson.com

About Tales from the Morgue: The "morgue," is what those in the newspaper business call the archives. Before digital archives, the morgue was a room full of clippings and other files of old newspapers.