Search America's historic newspaper pages from 1789-1924 or use the U.S. Newspaper Directory to find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present. Chronicling America is sponsored jointly by the
National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress. external link Learn more
Image provided by: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL
Newspaper Page Text
NEW YORK DISTRICT ATTORNEY SAYS WM. J.:'
BURNS SHOULD BE TRIED AS CRIMINAL
The Burns detective agency uses
a burglar's jimmy, sneaks around
nights like any common burglar and
breaks into places like any hungry
mug of a porch climber, says Dis't
Att'y Swann of N. Y.
Arid, because oMts criminal meth
ods, William J. Burns, as responsible
head and participant, ought to be in
dicted and tried as a criminal, ac
cording to Swann's announcement.
BUrns and his son, Sherman, rent
ed a room in the Equitable bldg., in
. New York and painted a sign on the
"door: "Belgian Relief Fund." The
sign looked kind-hearted, honest and
neutral. But it was a false alarm.
The Thompson senatorial commit
tee hearing has shown that the real
reason Burns went into the "Bel
gian Relief" business was because he
wanted to get an office nexttdoor to
a couple of lawyers, Seymour & Sey
mour, and heaf"and see everything
the Seymour brothers did. There
isn't any keen amazing Sherlock
Holmes headwork in the way Burns
went after what Jie wanted. , It was
more a strong-arm job. t ,
Bartless Smith, maker and seller
of dictaphones and "telephone taps,"
told the'committee he sold Burns 73
dictaphones and one tap. He testi
fied he went with W. J. and Sherman
Burns and one "Jimmy" Lynch.
They took him to a room in the
Equitable bldg. marked "Belgian Re
9 lief Fund" on tile door. Inside the
office, where pennies and nickels for
the Belgiuni orphans were welcomed,
theyshowed him a small hole drilled
in the wall next to the Seymour &
Seymour office. Smith had his tools
" along and showed 'em how to make
a real hole clean through. Smith
also told how he was let in by the
Burns men into the Seymour & Sey
zaouiwiffice where he Installed- dicta
phone and tested it All this between .
midnight and daybreak burglars'
The next night Smith again went
with the two Burnses and Lynch
he testified, and this time tried to
bore anoffier hole through the wall,
but ran into a steel girder and quit
for the night .While his augers
were all getting splintered trying to
eat through the steel girder, William
J. Burns went inio the Seymour
office, opened one of the desks,
searched the drawers and carefully
took out papers and looked 'em over,
ran Smith's story. He heard Burns
dictating to Jimmy Lynch the names
and figures found on sheets in a desk.
And he understood from their talk
that Miss Murray, a Burns stenog
rapher, had been listening during the
day and taken a notebookful on what
the Seymour brothers were talking
during tjie day.
Charles Kalb, electrician Equitable
bldg.,. told how he had installed two
dictaphone in the Seymour office
for the Burns agency. He didn't like
to testify. It looks as though Burns
was afraid of getting" 'the double
cross from Bartless Smith and had
Kalb come in and do the job over.
"Readjusting" was what Kalb called
it He hid a receiver in an electric
light fixture and ran wires inside
along .with electric light wires, so
nothing looked suspicious. Also,
under orders from W. J. Burns, he
changed the combination on the lock
of the "Belgian Relief Fund's" door.
Frederick Seymour has. signed a
complaint against alleged criminal
acts of W. J. Burns. Dis't Att'y
Swann says he's going to jam W. J.
through to Sing Sing. So with W. J.
Burns under attack in New York,
and Guy Biddinger, one of the best
pets the Burns' agency used to have,
under indictment for bribery and con
games in Chicago, these aren't the
glory days fer -Burns.