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POSTAL INSPECTORS: THE SILENT SERVICE
An Exhibit at the Smithsonian National Postal Museum
 
Smithsonian National Postal Museum
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Postal Crime
Silent but Effective
Surveyor-Inspector
Robbing the Mail
Burton the Bold
Public Enemy #1
The DeAutremonts
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Bombs in the Mail
You Solve the Case
Don't Be a Victim
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THE FIRST "PUBLIC ENEMY NUMBER ONE"





Wanted poster showing George 'Dutch' Anderson
Wanted poster showing George 'Dutch' Anderson

click to enlarge




Image:

Wanted poster showing George "Dutch" Anderson

 

Gerald Chapman, Charlie Loerber, and George “Dutch” Anderson robbed a U.S. mail truck in New York City on October 14, 1921. The trio netted over $2 million worth of goods from the robbery, making it the largest U.S. robbery of the time.

Postal inspectors arrested the trio in 1922. Loerber testified against his partners for a reduced sentence. Chapman and Anderson each received 25 years in a federal penitentiary for robbing the mail and assaulting a postal worker. They both escaped and returned to their lives of crime.

On October 12, 1924, New Britain, Connecticut, patrolman James Skelly was shot and fatally wounded while investigating a burglary. Gerald Chapman was identified as the killer. A Connecticut lawman named Chapman “Public Enemy Number One.” Reporters seized on the phrase and it began to appear in newspaper reports across the country.

Chapman was arrested for a final time on January 18, 1925 in Muncie, Indiana, and returned to Connecticut, where he was charged with murder. He was executed on April 26, 1926.

George Anderson was caught passing counterfeit money in Muskegon, Michigan on October 31, 1925. Anderson and Detective Charles Hammond, who had stopped Anderson for arrest, were killed in an exchange of gunfire when Anderson shot at Hammond.

Courtesy of the Ron J. Pry Historical Collection

 

Story of Gerald Chapman Song    

Gerald Chapmanís escapes and exploits captured the nationís attention. Among the popular culture items that celebrated Chapmanís criminal career was this 1923 song, Story of Gerald Chapman, written and sung by Carl Conner.

On loan from the Ron J. Pry Historical Collection

Image (right): 78 rpm record highlighting Chapman

78 rpm record highlighting Chapman
78 rpm record highlighting Chapman

click to enlarge
 
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Acknowledgements

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