March 26, 1909
ROOM AT 621 PENN STREET WHERE KING, THE COUNTERFEITER,
AND HIS WOMAN COMPANION WERE CAUGHT.
The operations of a gang of counterfeiters in Kansas City came to a sudden end yesterday with the arrest at Seventh and Penn streets by a United States secret service agent and city detectives of a man and woman giving their names as Charles King and Mary Cook., and the discovery of the apparatus used in making the spurious coin. Both admitted that bad dollars had been made for the past month.
For the past few weeks Charles A. Adams, United States secret service man in Kansas City, has received complaints of bad coins being circulated. He paid particular attention to the arrest of Daniel Kelly in Kansas City, Kas., March 19 for passing a bad dollar on William G. Smith, a grocer at 1700 North Third street. At the time of his arrest Kelly had three irregular coins in his possession. In police court Judge Sims fined Kelly $500 for vagrancy.
Adams, who visited Kelly in prison, says Kelly confessed making the coins and said his assistants were living at 621 Penn street in Kansas City, Mo.
Adams gave the facts to the police department and Andy O'Hare and Samuel Lowe, detectives, found that the couple were living in the basement of the brick house at the number which Kelly gave. Though the detectives watched the place last Sunday, nothing worth mentioning was discovered. The coins which the couple passed were good ones and could not excite suspicion.
Adams himself watched the house yesterday morning. About 10 o'clock the woman came out and got on a Roanoke car and at Southwest boulevard changed to the Rosedale line. The secret service man, of course, was following her. In Rosedale the woman alighted and entered a grocery store and asked if the clerk could change a dollar.
The clerk looked at the coin critically and returned it.
"It's no good," he said, and the woman hurried out.
She walked a short distance when she met a little girl.
"Have you the change for $1?" she asked.
The child shook her head, and she passed on. When Mrs. Cook came to the baker of Mrs. Florence Catley, 1142 Kansas City avenue, she entered and again attempted to pass one of the dollars and was again refused. Out on the sidewalk, Adams stopped the woman.
"You are under arrest," he said.
"Why, I didn't know that it was a bad coin," she protested. "It certainly looks like one, doesn't it?"
But she accompanied Adams up town and as they were walking up the front walk to the rooming house, Detectives O'Hare and Lwe came out with King. She broke down and in the presence of King told the whole story.
"It was all Kelly's fault," she sobbed. "We came here from Denver four weeks ago and there wasn't a job in sight that my husband could get. At last he fell in with Kelly, and then they began to make the bad dollars. But today is the first time that I tried to pass one of the coins. Last night we ate the last food in the house, and I had to do something. I went out and tried to pass one of the coins to keep from starving."
The man hung his head during the recital, and at her conclusion corroborated her statements. He said that they had heard of the arrest of Kelly in Kansas City, Kas., and destroyed the molds at once. In an old vault at 512 Broadway where several buildings have been torn down, he told the officers that they might find the broken pieces.
Following his instructions, the officers found five sets of plaster moulds, a quantity of tin and antimony, and a moulding pot. All the material was taken to the federal building and will be held as evidence. The prisoners were taken to police headquarters, where the woman was placed in the matron's room and the man in the holdover.
In the matron's room the Cook woman said that she had formerly lived in Kansas City. She said that she had purchased a home on the installment plan at 2044 Denver avenue, and had made six payments, until last December. She separated from her husband, Thomas Cook, about a year ago, she said, and went to Denver. There she met King, who was working for a gas company.
"We came back to Kansas City because times were hard," she said, as she wept, "but he couldn't get any work here, and he fell in with Kelly. I didn't know for some time that they were making the bad money. Today is the first time that I tried to pass one of the coins."
The couple will be turned over to the United States authorities today. None of the neighbors suspected anything wrong. The family of John Pulliam, who lived on the same floor in the basement, thought that the man and his wife were employed down town. Kelly and king, the woman said, generally made the coins at night. They were such poor imitations that it is doubtful if many were passed.