Officers Capture Three Bandits

Just when you thought it was over, the newspaper articles just keep comin’.  I don’t know which newspaper published this, but it is dated February 27, 1930.  In any case, it’s the best account of the harrowing event so far …

1930 02 27 - Officers Gallagher and Lustman Capture 3 BanditsOfficers Gallagher and Lustman Capture Three Bandits After Chase


Trio, in Stolen Car Had Evaded Police of Union City and Outwitted North Bergen Officers




Great excitement prevailed in Ridgefield on Tuesday afternoon when Officer Gallagher and Officer Lustmann [sic] of the Ridgefield Police Department succeeded in capturing three men in a stolen car who had evaded the Union City, Boulevard and North Bergen Police.

The three young thugs were arraigned Wednesday afternoon in Part 2, Common Pleas Court, at Hackensack, before Judge Frederick W. Mattocks and plead guilty.  The three were immediately sentenced to 7 years each at Trenton.  They were relieved to thus plead, for if returned to New York, two would have received life sentences under the Baume’s law.

John Carroll of 356 East 139th street, New York City, Michael Toohey of 297 East 135th Street and William Stewart of 424 East 135th Street, New York City left a Hoboken speakeasy on Tuesday afternoon in a Peerless car, License number N.Y. 3C62-95, which they had stolen from 70th street and Third avenue in New York City.  They were speeding along on the Hudson Boulevard 1 and failed to stop on signal for Officer Roarty.

He gave chase and in North Bergen, the trio almost ran down Officer Erbeck whom they forced to the sidewalk.  He, also, gave chase and Officer Luke Sarcander of the Hudson County Police went after them.  The trio speeded down Dan Kelly’s Hill 2, followed by the officers.  They speeded through Shaler Boulevard and here the officers lost trace of them.

Officer Gallagher of the Ridgefield police stationed at the school crossing on Edgewater avenue and Shaler Boulevard, started after them in the Police Ford when the men in the car refused to stop to let two children cross.

The men zigzagged in and out of the Morsemere streets, several times forcing Gallagher to the sidewalk in his car.  At the intersection of Maple avenue and the State Highway, Officer Gallagher stopped a second to pick up Officer Lustmann [sic] who was doing duty there.  They chased the runaways up the state highway and when nearing Fort Lee, Officer Lustmann [sic] opened fire twice damaging their rear tires before they were brought to a halt.  The three surrendered then and were taken to the Ridgefield Police Department where the police officers from the other towns had already been inquiring after the speeding car.

The men and the stolen car were turned over to Detective Dawson of the Bergen County Prosecutor’s office.

When the three were arraigned, it was found that this was Carroll’s fourth offense, as he had been previously tried three times, once for stealing an automobile, once for assault and once for petty larceny.

It was Toohey’s third conviction and the second for Stewart who had previously been arrested for petty larceny.

The chase and capture thoroughly aroused the town and Officers Gallagher and Lustmann [sic] received the congratulations of many citizens for their display of courage.


All told, the entire chase probably took a little over 20 minutes, and Walter and Lustman’s part of it was probably only about 8 minutes.  This is what I was able to map out to determine where this chase occurred.  All the locations are approximations (that zig-zagging part through Morsemere is definitely an approximation):

Map of chase


  1. Per Wikipedia, now named John F. Kennedy Boulevard, commonly referred to as Boulevard East – the road that overlooks the Hudson River and the skyline of Manhattan
  2. Dan Kelly’s hill is an approximately 1-mile stretch of road that was named for an Irish teamster in the early 1900s.  Dan Kelly had the only team of draft horses large enough to pull heavy wagons to the top.  He charged fees that would be considered price gouging today

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