Jul 29, 2014
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Horse Thieves and Counterfeiters

A look into Wilton crime from over 100 years ago.

Horse Thieves and Counterfeiters

While far from being a hotbed of criminal activity, Wilton has never been free of criminal activity. These two quick anecdotes come from Robert Russell’s Wilton, Connecticut: Three Centuries of People, Places, and Progress which is available to purchase or rent at the . The information in this article comes from pages 356-57 of Russell's book.

According to Russell, on the morning of April 12, 1908, during Sunday services at Wilton’s Congregational Church, two men jumped into a horse and carriage stationed right behind the house of worship and took off in a trail of dust. Using a car (probably a Ford Model T), Norwalk police gave chase to the bucking thieves, but their pursuit proved fruitless. Apparently back then, the could issue bounties—Russell writes that they issued a $200 reward for the thieves’ arrest.

In 1909, a “gang of counterfeiters” migrated to 302 Belden Hill Road in Wilton from New York City after the Big Apple’s coppers began to inch in on their scheme. The ‘gang’ printed $5 bills and fifty-cent pieces, and apparently everything was kosher until one of their printing machines broke and “had to be taken back to the city for repairs,” where subsequently “the Secret Service tracked them back to Wilton and set up an observation post” across the street for two weeks before making an arrest. Seven men “were arrested without a fight,” according to Russell.

I’d pay to see an old-timey cop car chasing a horse-drawn carriage—and losing its trail—down Rte. 7; wouldn’t you?

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