Following the earlier 1905 report of a bicycle kidnapping, we now learn that there was a virtual crime wave of pilfered “wheels” that year, and all because too-trusting Santa Rosans didn’t lock up their ride.

Interesting is this aside: “This has long since become a matter of frequent comment among the policemen, newspapermen and others whose duties keep them abroad on the streets in the early morning hours.” It’s understandable that a cop or two would be on duty all night, but why would a newspaper in a farm town of 9,000 souls have someone prowling the dark streets? This wasn’t a city of all-night debauchery, like San Francisco. And what’s with counting up all the unlocked bikes? Is this another one of Editor Finley’s Queeg-like obsessions?


Hardly a Night Passes but What a Score of Bicycles Are Left Where They Can Be Purloined

Hardly a week passes but several reports are brought to police headquarters regarding missing bicycles. There is no doubt that in many instances the carelessness of the owners of the bicycles is responsible for the loss. There is hardly a night passes but what fifteen to twenty bicycles — one night recently twenty-four were counted — are left in racks, or leaning against sidewalks, buildings, and posts on Fourth and other streets. This has long since become a matter of frequent comment among the policemen, newspapermen and others whose duties keep them abroad on the streets in the early morning hours. It is a great wonder that more bicycles are not stolen. Thursday morning, about half past two o’clock, within two blocks on Fourth street, more than a dozen bicycles had been left by their owners in positions as described above. Owners of wheels should not forget that while hardly an instance can be given in which a Santa Rosa resident has been known to steal a bicycle, that at a this time of the year there are many strangers passing through town who would take a wheel, ride out of town either for “keeps” or to give trouble in finding it.

– Press Democrat, June 23, 1905

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Pet stuck up a tree? Don’t ask your friendly neighborhood cop for help — unless you want your little furry friend brought down with a bullet.

To be fair about it, raccoons aren’t exactly pets like Fido and Fluffy. They’re aggressive scavengers and famous for their taste for chickens, which were kept at the time by many Santa Rosa households for eggs and meat. (Disease, however, wasn’t an issue; there was no recorded case of raccoon rabies in California until 1936.) More’s the question why Officer Hankel showed such restraint when attacked by the dog that the owner couldn’t control.

Took Fancy to Policeman

A pet raccoon belonging to ex-Marshal Charles Holmes, kept at the home of his mother, Mrs. Annie M. Holmes, got loose Thursday and created considerable excitement. Mrs. Holmes appealed to the police, and Officer Hankel responded. All attempts to capture the animal were unavailing so the officer shot it.

It was a fine shot but only wounded the pet which dropped to the ground and retreated under the house for safety. Hankel then suggested that Mrs. Holmes release the bulldog to bring the prey from cover. She released the dog but the canine saw more sport in Hankel and drove him into the house where he was kept a prisoner until Mrs. Holmes could capture and chain the dog up again.

– Press Democrat, June 17, 1905


The pet ‘coon of Mrs. A. M. Holmes has been recaptured and the honor of Officer Hankel is vindicated. The animal escaped a couple of weeks ago and after all efforts to secure it had failed the officer was summoned. Failing in his efforts to capture the animal he took a shot at the creature which fell from its hiding place in the tree and took refuge under the house.

Hankel was confident he hit the animal but there are always those who feel sceptical of such stories. The ‘coon, however, returned Wednesday minus a front leg which was where the officer’s bullet had taken effect. The wound is healing and the animal will go through life minus one leg.

– Press Democrat, June 29, 1905

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Contributing to poor Mr. Hurst’s grump was knowledge that he’d probably be out of a job soon — by August, the new electric trolley was running down Fourth street and would replace his horse-drawn car.

Jailed for Annoying Street Car Driver

Ross Howe, a young fellow of hoodlum instincts, was yesterday sentenced to serve five days in the county jail by Recorder Bagley. He was convicted on the charge of using vulgar language last Sunday to A. H. Hurst, the crippled old man who drives the street car.

Charles Edwards, who is reported to hail from Petaluma and who is a fit comrade of Howe, also annoyed Mr. Hurst last Sunday whiled the driver was attending to his duties. The old man, exasperated beyond endurance, threw a rock at his tormentor and broke a pane of glass in a Fourth street store window. Edwards has been notified that unless he returns and pays for the damage, he will be prosecuted for malicious mischief. Recorder Bagley is determined that the usual practice of annoying the street car drivers shall be broken up with a few salutary fines and imprisonments.

– Santa Rosa Republican, April 5, 1905

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