POLICEMAN IS ARRESTED FOR GRAND LARCENY
William Lauthen, Late of San Antonio, Jailed Following Story to Police That Lauthen Had Offered Him "Hush Money"; Hunt Accomplices.
Policeman William Lauthen was arrested yesterday and locked up at the county jail on the charge of grand larceny. The county attorney prepared the complaint against the policeman yesterday afternoon, but the investigation being made by the police and the sheriff's office is still in progress.
Lauthen had been a member of the police force for the last six weeks, coming from San Antonio, Texas, where he is said to have been an officer for 15 years. He had excellent recommendations. He is a man of splendid physique, being over six feet tall and well-proportioned. He is a man of about forty years of age and is married.
Lauthen is charged with the theft of three new trunks from the Van Noys Interstate News Company, which operates on Southern Pacific trains. The theft is alleged to have occurred Sunday morning after the arrival of Southern Pacific train No. 4. Lauthen was patrolling the depot beat.
Driver Tendered Bribe.
The police are said to have been informed of the alleged theft by an auto-express driver, who told the police that Lauthen approached him with a tender of forty dollars, as coming from the alleged accomplice of the officer, as his fee for hauling the trunks, which officers believe contained whiskey.
The theory upon which the police are conducting their investigation is, according to the chief of police, that Lauthen and the unknown man who is said to have posed as a United States officer, were importing liquor into the state, using the wooden trunks used by news butchers to keep their stocks of periodicals and other wares.
Story Partially Confirmed.
The story of the express driver was confirmed to the extent that the trunks were unloaded on the ground a short distance from the extension of South Sixth avenue, at the point where the cut-off connects that highway with the mission road. The ground at the place indicated by the driver, showed the tracks of the casters of the trunks and other marks which might have been made by the dumping of the trunks from the express wagon.
Afterward, according to the information given to the police, the trunks were taken to a house on South Fifth avenue, but a search of the house and premises failed to discover them.
According to Lauthen's story, the trunks were claimed by a man who said he was a United States officer, but he did not investigate to ascertain if the man's pretensions of authority were genuine or false. He witnesses the loading of the trunks onto the wagon and did not investigate to see what they contained.
According to the story of the man who "tipped off" the police, Lauthen offered him forty dollars, which he said had been given to him by the "United states officer" for his work in hauling the trunks from the station.
The officers are looking for the man who represented himself to be an officer, and for several others suspected of knowledge of the alleged theft.
Manager Ned H. Nieukirk, of the Van Noys News Company, is assisting the officers in their investigation.