George Smith shot at his friend Roland Thompson with a .35 caliber rifle, in 1961. According to the Observer-Tribune, Smith and Thompson were driving on Fox Chase Road when the car became stuck in a snowbank near Old Chester Road. Smith threatened to kill Thompson if he failed to extricate the vehicle. Thompson knocked the weapon down as two shots “exploded from the weapon,” missing him. Smith continued shooting at Thompson as he ran toward Old Chester Road. Patrolman Everett Pierson and Chief Edward Straight arrived on the scene later to find Smith waiting on the snowbank for Thompson. It was not the first complaint against Smith. Police previously confiscated 30 rifles and shotguns from his house after he wielded a 20-gauge shotgun at his wife.
Police Chief Edward M. Strait announced that this week in 1960 would be known as Burglary Prevention Week in Chester Township, as proclaimed by Mayor William Conover. Chester joined a statewide effort by Gov. Robert B. Meyner to educate citizens on how they could help reduce burglary losses. According to the Observer-Tribune, the value of stolen property in 1959 was approximately $68 million. An extensive list of crime-prevention tips was provided in the article.
Continuing last week’s story, in 1937, Eugene Vliet, the seventh defendant to be arraigned before Judge William R. Lucas on the statutory offense in Chester Borough, pleaded not guilty. The 36-year-old clerk of Chester Township was identified by the 13-year old boy in the case, as were nine other men. The boy identified Vliet as the man who took him for a ride on December 18th, 1936 and as the man who committed the offense in Hacklebarney State Park on the same date. The youth further identified three boys from the C.C.C. camp in Hackettstown, and claimed that the recruits were also guilty of the statutory offense. All of the men indicated by the boy were brought before a Grand Jury the following May. Source: Mendham-Chester Tribune.
Eight residents of Chester Borough and Chester Township were arrested on a serious statutory charge in 1937. They were arraigned before Justice of the Peace William R. Lucas in Dover, and five of the eight made $2,500 bail. Those arrested were Albert Cramer, LeRoy Landon, Stephen Messier, Radford Barkman, Reginald Rinehart, Albert Winkler, Eugene Vliet, and a minor boy (the victim). Source: Mendham-Chester Tribune.
In 1938, the two young killers of Chester storekeeper Gilbert Y. Hopler received life imprisonment at hard labor in the state penitentiary. The trial was described in vivid and dramatic fashion on the front and back covers of The Mendham-Chester Tribune.