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If - 10 THE EVENING WORLD, WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 6, 1922. onMen's Most Dreaded Foe! 1 ra le ft- Fleeced by Five, J. F. Norfleet, Texas Farmer, Goes on Trail, Captures Three, As Mere Incident in Search Rounds Up Thirty -Five Others, and Will Not Quit Quest Until He "Gets" His Missing Two 1 To save himself, Spencer cried, "Stop thief!" and the crowd set upon Norfleet Spencer got away, but Norfleet swears he "will get him yet." By J. B. Day. CopnlfM, ISO Nw Tor Ertnlni World) by Pm PublUMni Company. FRANK NOItFLEET, Texan, email of sta ture, blue eyed and mild mannered, has three notches In the butt of his six-gun. But that doesn't pllshcd my mission," he declares. "I'm Just a Texas farmer, out to avenge a wrong that was done mo and my family. I've had pretty good luck so far, and I don't want to force my luck by boasting of my accomplish ments ns a detective" Norfleot'B life was the ordinary, more or less humdrum existence of thousands of fathers In Texas and nil over the United States until ono day In 1910, when ho left his farm nt Hnlo Centre, Tex., ohd went to Dallas for the dual purposo of selling a carload of mules and dickering for the pur chase of another farm. 'I wanted to get rid. of my farm." mean that ho has killed three men. It simply signifies three confidence men bunco steerors landed behind Jail bars, and thereby, as writing folks used to say, hangs this talo. Norfleet has a mission In life. It Is the rounding up of a band of five :"con" men who fleeced him to the he explained, "and I had my eyo on tune of $45,000 In Dallas, Tex., three anther place, nearor Dallas." . yoars ago. To date ho has bagged In Dallas a suave stranger, posing ( three of the particular gang he sot " n mul( buyer, struok -up an ac ', out to break up and has been Instru- Quittance with him. Ho Introduced mental In the Jailing of several dozen h,m,el R-eno Hamlin, and said ho others of their Ilk. Less than ten days ago. Denver. Col., tour!-' centre of the Whe he learned that Norfleet was llock.es. he ass'-tn le authorities In also lnt,nt on wiling his farm, ho In ' corralling thlrty-rUo of the most no. 'ormBd the unsuspecting farmer that Via Vin - l I . . torious sure-thing men In the country ""u "mla coming rrom Zdlnne The avenging hand of Norfleet reached four of J BJ . ' I the five "con men" the four shown at the right. I iBjtoJ V tmJWT. ! 'M I No. 1 , Joseph Furey, died in the penitentiary. No. I Jjjjp flsBisft I No. 3, W. B. Spencer, escaped by a ruse. No. 4, C. I ' ryy ' jFu.liByt Gcrber, is in prison. l td ofTcied mo one, but I refused, In- Charles Gcrber and E. .T. Ward too. Then It began to dawn on me forming him I was a member of his who posed ns olllcers of tlio cotton what a boob I hud been, fraternity and glad to be of scrvico "change, came to my hotel and dc- "I went homo and told '.Ma' Nor- t , .. manded tlio money back because, they fleet what had happened to me. I orotner. Bald T wns not u ()uly cIectC(1 lncmij2r t0m lcri too, that I was going to "'Hut yours was an extraordinary of tho exchange. I was for refusing, turn detectlvo and find the fellows service,' he Insisted. 'If you won't but Furey, when I asked his advice, who skinned mo, if It took tho bal- tako money thlr way lot mo DUt you told 1110 ,0 1160 diplomacy, fo I pro- anco of my life. And sho was ood ... 1 ...... I . . . . . ..... I . It.. . . . ....,.., .... ..1. . .- , .. . I. .. . n. chatter in an attempt lo hang onto and tell mo to go ahead." the money and yet avoid any scin- And "Ma" Norfleet has been run- blance of trouble. nng tho Texas farm ever slnco and "Ward nml Gcrber hccmcd to suc- tl)0 cumb to my argument. Hut they In sisted wio lensi i count uo was ueposit $20,000 to prove my bids. 1 jumped at In tho way of making some.' Ho then suggested that I play his tips on tlio cotton market and I sat down with him whilo lie deciphered several codo telegrams. Spencer, In meanwhile, had excused himself and dropped, temporarily, out of tho pic- the offer. I had to go homo to get tho turc. money and they demanded that "I found out later that 'Stetson leave the 68.000 in their hands wlill-i was, In reality, Joo Furey, one of tlio I made the trip. When I was about most notorious confidence men In tho to depait Spencer put in nn nppenr country, and that Spencer was ono ancr. Ho said he wanted to go to my of ills chief lieutenants, as was Ham- placo to get samples of tho soil for lln, tho pseudo mule buyer. testing, and I took him along. Tlio "Well, I went with Stetson to tho fuctH wero that ho had been detailed cotton board of trade. 1 also found by Furey to stick with me and sou out later that it wasn't a board of tllat 1 brought back that $20,000. trade at all, but nn office the gang "When 1 got back with the $20,000 had fixed up In that guise to put over ,IP' Kavo 1110 1,10 s.000 and r divided their stuff. On Stetson's tip, I won with "rcy. who had the greater part $800 that day oC " coming, becauso ho had put up "Tho following day I met Spencer the. major part of the money to win it. .! l,n tnl.l mn Thrmmsnn hn.l wlr,l Was tiding high and lofty riding he couldn't come to Dallas and that "Phoney" money seized by the Denver authorities in the spectacular clean-up raid. he, Spencer, was to handle the deal for my land. As a mntter of fact, there wasn't any Thompson. Ho was manufactured as a plausible means nf steering me to the hotel where had come down from Minneapolis to that other nlace. which would bo wallet and ho had looked over its con- i."U10y, or Stetson, was stopping and out In et mu,M 'or the Duluth market, nicer for my wlfo'and handler to good tents ho became suddenly conllden- getting mo Into Furey's hands for tlio schools for my son and daughter. The world sure looked rosy to me. I didn't know what these fellows wero cooking up for me. "Two days later I went to a big hotel with Spencer to seo If Thomp son had arrived. I sat down In the lobby while 3pencer went to tho desk, when hn nmt back ho contrived to gang of swindlers, which operated out 1 11 Introduce you," ho said, and j,0B!1 behind my chair, and when I of Omaha and Council Bluffs, Ia and thus' "although Norfleet did not sus- gtorted to get up, after ho told me was reputed to have realised approxl- Peet It at the time, was the ground- Thompson had not arrived. I felt mately 110.000,000 in five years "rk laid for a succession of ovonts eometi,ing behind mo In tho chair. xnrougn various swindling gamos. ...w. ion i-orneei jis.ooo poorer and tlal. Ho explained that he was In big clean-up. Dallas to play tlio cotton market and "They stared that the wallet contained among -the biggest slnglo clean-up of con- a!o11 ln a few days-one W. B. fldence men In the history of the na- """ccr wno a representative of lion with one exception. The excep- tho areea Land & Irrigation Company tlon was the breaking up. a score of "tta m uo" of sooa Toxas me with tho !SO0 winning and then they took mo fast. When next I saw Furey, ho asked ino other things his codo alphabet by u, taUo I)is IIlonpy an,i ,,iay his tips, which ho deciphered telegrams fiom because ho wanted to keep tindur the headqiiaiters of tils company In cover. Ho said I could play my own New Yotk Instructing him how to ''"K wlth if 1 wmu-d to. Anl. . ,., of courso, I wanted to. Who wouldn't? to a good, hard fall. My cupidity had been aroused, and when Furey sug gested that 1 get $25,000 more to add to what I already had and with it 'clean up enough to last mo half a dozen life times' I took bait nnd all. A mortgage on my farm got mo tho money, but Furey's 'coup' went wrong nml ho 'lost' tho entire kn- boodlc. Ho camo to my room, orylng like a child, threatening to commit struggling with tho Interest nnd pay ments on that $25,000 mortgage, while "I'a" Norfleet has trapsed here, there and everywhere financed by tho Stato of Texas ln quest of I the men who "skinned" him. Ho went first to tho Dallus Police Department. They showed him rogues' gallery photos galore. Hu picked out tho men who had fleeced him nnd then set out on his hunt. Less than a month later ho located Gi'i-ljor nnd Ward in San Hcmardlno, ("al. Gcrber went to the penitentiary for ten years and Ward committed suicide wlillo awaiting transfer to tho "pen." Furey spent closo to $17,000 trying to keep out of Norfleet's way, but Norfleet got him and ho wns sentenced to servo twenty years In tho Texas penitentiary. Ho died there recently, and authorities at I.os Angeles, whoro he also was wanted for swindling, went to the trouble of having his body exhumed to mako sure It was that of l'uu-y and not another body palmed off as that of tho notorious "con" man. Norfleet got Hamlin, nlso. but ho was released on $20,000 bond, pend suicide, pleading witli me to shoot him i"K trial, and jumped the bond. Tne nnd acting, generally, like n heart- hclf-ccfistitutcd detective trailed broken man the best piece of acting Spencer to Montreal. Canada, and I ever witnessed, I'll confess. captured him in a crowd while he win "A few days later lie disappeared, watching a human spider climb tho When I. liko a muiderer returning to fnco of a building, but ho set up tho tho sceno of his crime, went to tho "stop, thief" cry that lias avaiieu vu emer- yeara ago, of tho Infamous Marbray farm land. "I won $08,000 nnd they paid it to intton rai-lmncc. I found it deserted, many resourceful crooks ln "When we wero leaving ho gave mo In cold cash I counted It. Hut I went to look for Spencer to coulldo gencies and It worked. Spencer a $100 bill as a reward and that night two of Furey's confederates my troubles in him, and he was gone, "Tho crowd set upon mo and Norfleet's quest for the men who changed the entire trend of his life. "bunked" him has taken him almost Spencer showed up and was intro to the ends of the earth and has been ducod, but he said he had another productive of situations the ordinary deal on and could not consider Nor man would hesitate to face. But Nor- fleet's 2.050-acre placo until the orig flttt's Is no ordinary mission and tnal deal either was consummated or Norfleet can acarcsly be classed as fell through. -ordinary." The great commonwealth "I milled around DiUas with Ham of Texas has taken cognizance of his lm and Spencer for several days " work with an appropriation of $11.- ,d Norfleet. "They treated me roy 000 to defray his travelling and other ally and had me believing they were expenses; has armed him with a com- regular fellows. mission as a deputy sheriff, and each "Spencer came to me finally and Governor who has succeeded to the said he was if to consider mv executive chair since he started on land. becaue the other deal had Ws man hunt has provided him with f.iien through. He said he had -i -d lequlsltlon papers for the men he Is his employer, Oarrett Thompson, at lmntlnr. Minneapolis, and had been tr. ' d not pose an a oneriocjc 'T reached back nnd found n nice, fat wallet. Thcro was a lot of money In It, nnd some papers, Including tho card of a fraternal order made out to "J. n. Stetson." I found Stetson was registered at the . hotel nnd Spencer and I went up to his room to return his wallet. He was surly ns tho mischief when ho answered my knock and when I asked him If ho had- lost anything he slammed the door In my face, mumbling something about damned, nosey newspaper men.' "I started back down the hall, with Spencer trailing, but had not reached the elevator when Stetson came after me, on the run. " 'I did lose a wallet,' he exclaimed. but I didn't know it until after you TV. A mass mm Mhar nit r t. " io iikjh over my i nnd get . d Jlolme. or a crag ivenneay, nor ooes ,ampM for an(ljBU, But wh8 he cnme t) ,he door ,.m orry , acteJ he, like that hero of romance, ICd- was gc' tg -ady to leave for l. the way I did. but I'm here on lm jnond Dantos, the Count of Montu Centre he received a wire, ostensibly portant business and the newspaper Crlfto, stand up before his audience from Thompson, saying thai .r lmv, Wfin pestering the life out of to index, one by one, on raised fingers son had seen called to El rio on me. I might havo known to look at the enemies he has brought to JustMe, business and would com. to lan,,, vmi ,hat you were not n newspaper Hla ploture has never appeared In a to personally Inspect my place ,. but 1 didn't stop to think tltwipaper or magartne -J was a happy boob," Norfleet -He took Spencer and me back to "And It won't until I've sceom- continued. "I hsd vi.loni of ,eitlne his room unfi afW : had returned ths ... Some of the thirty, five confidence men rounded up, with Norfleet's aid, by Denver police and held in church basement. Spencer got away," said Norfleet, re calling the Incident. "I haven't lsiS eyes on him since, but I'll get hlra yet and Hamlin, too." Tho pursuit of Furey lasted nearly, a year and took Norfloet to Cuba, Mexico, Kngland, Franco and Ger many nnd Into eighteen States of ttM United States. "Ho snarled at me like a caged lion the day they took him to the penitentiary." Norfleet declared "but I laughed at him. I figured I had It coming; that I could afford to laugh, ln splto of all tho money he caused me iu lose, min ail me gnei jib causoa my wife and family." In the pursuit, Norfleet used air planes, fast motor boata, automobiles. Ho trapped Furey twice only to see him slip out of his clutches, once by leaping, hand-cuffed, from a window of n speeding train and again by bribing two Deputy Sheriffs who had him ln custody. "When I got him the last time I took him back to Texas, myself," said Norfleet. "I fought a battle with Mix of his confederates on the way, when they tried to liberate him, and by grnco of God I camo out on top." Two weeks ngo Norfleet arrived In Denver In pursuit of his quest for Hamlin and Spencer. Ho had been ln tho Colorado metropolis less than two days when a prosperous looking stranger scraped an acquaintance with him. Norfleet "pegged" him as of tho genua "con" and played tho game until his suspicions had been confirmed. He then communicated with tho District Attorney, Philip t? Van CIso nnd that ofllcial almost hugged him, for he had been laboring nearly a year to round-up a coterie of clever swindlers who had been preying on summer visitors to Denver and nearby tourist resorts. He wan ln need of a man of Norfleet's accom plishments. Norfleet led on the "bunco steerer." who Introduced him to others. He located the headquarters or "tip-off joint" of tho gang and was taken sev eral times to a fake stock exchange In a downtown building, where the swindlers took their victims for the customary "cleaning." When the time was ripe he spoke tho word and lie round-up started. It netted thlityflvn prisoners and more glory for Norfleet, but "I'm not through yet." exclaimed the diminullvo Texan. "I'm not going homo for good until I get Hamlin und Spencer. They'ro around somewhere, nnd sooner or later I'll catch up with hem " The Denver tound-up was one of Uie most spectacular and extraor dinary in crlmo annals. Instead of being taken dlicet to jail ns they were arrested, tho prisoners were herded Into th basement of the First I nlvirsallst Church, In the heart of the city's most fashionable residence hst nt t. whoro they were held until the last man sought had been picked up. "If we had taken the first pick-up to Jail, word of our activities would certainly liavo drifted out, from one Mouii-o or another, and our plans would have been defeated," said Dis trict Attorney Van C'lse. I'lles of fake money, and rolls of reen goods" padded out with real money wc ie seized in the raid on the lake stock exchange, while the per sonal baggage nf the men taken Into custody contained numerous evl dences of the calling of Its owners. or?