Special Reports

Shoplifting teens and racing robber in Richland 60 years ago

I've heard Richland residents, who lived in the town during the 40s and 50s, insist that the town was practically a paradise of peace and security. They tell of not locking their homes at night and never having to worry about crime. "Every resident was screened by the government," they say. While I'm sure Richland's security was top-notch, not every resident was always on their best behavior, as the following two stories will attest.

Seven teen-aged girls admit shoplifting spree

Published Dec. 23, 1954

By the Herald staff

Seven teen-aged Richland girls, operating in teams to steal upwards of 72 separate items over the past six months from 13 Tri-City and one Yakima store were arrested by police. They have admitted the shoplifting spree, police said.

The announcement was made after all the girls had been arrested in two separate raids.

The investigation still may implicate several other juvenile girls before it is complete, police said.

Their thefts, mainly of clothing, lingerie and costume jewelry have totaled, thus far, abut $391 in stolen goods, police said. They said the thefts were made from 12 Richland stores, one Kennewick store and one Yakima store.

The girls, one 13, two 14, two 15 and one 16-year-old worked in teams of not less than two and their favorite method of operation was for one to distract a clerk while the other one did the "lifting."

The seven girls had all been released to the custody of their parents for a hearing at the Benton-Franklin Juvenile home in the Kennewick Highlands.

According to police all of the girls were average or above in intelligence and come from normal homes. None would have been led to the thefts by poverty, they said.

They confused their parents apparently by trading off items that would not fit the girl shoplifter as well as trading off stolen items among their group.

Police pointed out that the case serves as a warming to parents to put closer observation on goods their children have that they didn't buy them.

Holdup man waving gun quits race

Published April 11, 1949By the Herald staff

An attempted holdup in North Richland early Sunday turned into a footrace, the patrol reported today.

Richard Grosley, proprietor of Tavern Number Two, the intended victim told this story.

He and Mrs. Grosley closed the tavern about 12:30 a.m. and drove to their trailer home at 624 G Avenue. As they started to get out of the car a masked man raised up from the back seat and pointed a pistol at Grosley.

Mrs. Grosley jumped out of the car and ran away screaming. The thug never said a word. Grosley, too, jumped out of the car and ran. The would-be holdup man pursued him silently, waiving his gun, but the tavern keeper outdistanced him.

Grosley said that when the thug saw he was being outrun the turned and headed toward the John Ball school. The tavern owner told the patrol the gunman wore a mask that looked like the kind children wear at Halloween.