Robbery in Colon!
From Abbott’s TOPS Magazine, February 1966; by Clarke Crandall:
”On the subject of writing, I’d like to give you an example of news reporting I consider most outstanding. According to the masthead, The Colon Express was established in 1886. a recent issue contained the report of an attempted robbery which tops anything I have ever read in print. Many of the items on page 4 of this September 29th copy will be old news to most of you. I was pleased to learn Colon will get road signs on highway M-66. It’s about time. Too bad Tim Clipfell only got a B rating in Rabbits at the fair. This doesn’t speak well of the Magic Capitol of the World. Try harder next year, Timmy.
An account of an attempted robbery at Ruth-Ann’s Woman’s and Girl’s Clothing Store took up the center page spread. It is a masterpiece of detailed and suspenseful writing. According to the report, Don Bidwell, the local policeman, checked the store’s doors at 4 a.m. and found all intact. The item continues, “Folks were moving around at 5:30 a.m.” We must assume the break-in was committed between these early morning hours. There isn’t much action in Colon at 5:30 a.m. Last year at that hour I was going home and the only ones I saw moving around were Bob Lewis searching the gutter for a dropped banjo pick, Duke Stern looking for his lost tube of mustache wax, Eddie Marlo trying to locate a lost break in his peeked-at deck and two bleary-eyed natives peering longingly thru the Lodge Hall bar room windows.
The man who broke into the clothing store is surely the hard luck burglar of all time. He broke a glass door and must have cut himself severely because the reporter says, “There was a large quantity of blood just inside the door and leading to the cash register, which was empty.” The unfortunate man, “pulled out several boxes of lingerie, looking for hidden cash.” This is an assumption on the part of the reporter. Perhaps he was a lingerie appraiser and wasn’t interested in money. Nevertheless, “He left bloody finger prints on the boxes.” That wasn’t neat, to say the least.
Let me finish the account in the reporter’s own words, exactly as printed in the paper. I consider it the most graphic description I’ve ever read in a news item anywhere: “He became nauseated – maybe from the sight of his own blood – and went out through the door again, leaving a trail of half-digested pizza (with mushrooms) all the way to Bartholomew’s on the corner. He apparently got away in a car. The State Police are investigating.”
Now that’s what I call reporting in depth. I wish I could write like that. The mushrooms were the real clue. Someday I may write a book called, “The Case of The Regurgitated Pizza.” I’m sure that anyone living in Colon, having read the article, will never again order pizza with mushrooms. I heard the culprit was apprehended and sentenced to six months of bicarbonate.”