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Blog: A Trio of Robberies

Were the robberies related or were they an "outstanding coincidence?"

An article in the Nov. 7, 1946, edition of The Times newspaper reported a disturbing trio of robberies on the Peninsula.

To start with, burglars took more than $2,000 from the recently-opened Lester's Market on Morse Boulevard in San Carlos. Not only did they take the money, but they also took the whole safe!

Lester's was not the only target of thieves. Sadler Supply Company in Redwood City lost $560, but the burglars left the safe on the premises. Several days before, at a South San Francisco housing project, a safe was blown up, but only $24 was taken.

Police investigating Lester's robbery blamed the owners, who had attached the store's side door with a "flimsy metal hasp." Additionally, San Carlos police officer George Seely theorized that because there were no drag marks at the scene at Lester's, there must have been at least two men involved in carrying the safe, and they were familiar with the layout of the store.

An irate spokesman for Lester's did not toe the party line and told the newspaper: "A fine thing. We build a $60,000 store building of the best possible construction and then fasten the door with a piece of 10-cent hardware." He asked for increased police surveillance until the door could be reattached and bars could be welded onto the windows.

The robbery of Sadler Supply in Redwood City at 1550 El Camino Real showed that the thieves entered a rear door after climbing over a back fence. Inexplicably, the safe was unlocked, so the burglars didn't need to remove the safe itself. Expensive drills and tools were also stolen.

Despite the small amount of money stolen, the FBI assisted South San Francisco police with the robbery of the housing project. In that instance, a sledgehammer, drill and (apparently) nitroglycerin were used to open the safe - which is a lot of work for $24. Fortunately, the bulk of the day's money had already gone into a night bank depository.

The newspaper highlighted the ongoing investigation, saying: "no fingerprints were discovered at the San Carlos or South San Francisco robberies and officers are still making an examination of the Redwood City safe."

San Carlos Police Lt. Stanley Wood pointed out that while there was no proof that the crimes were related, it would be "an outstanding coincidence if they were not."

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