Pat Crowe, the ex-convict who lectured in Hagerstown several years ago on the theme that “Crime Doesn’t Pay,” died Saturday in a New York hospital, aged 79.
Crowe, once sought in a nationwide hunt as the kidnaper of Edward J. Cudahy, Jr., son of the millionaire meat packer, in Nebraska in the late nineties, was taken to the Harlem Hospital last Thursday after a heart attack in his furnished room.
A man of many aliases, Crowe was one of the most colorful figures in American criminal history. Once the object of a manhunt with a price of $50,000 on his head, he later became a reformer and preached to sideshow crowds against the evils of crime.
Jewel thief, train-robber, kidnaper and burglar, Crowe first appeared in police records under the name of Frank Roberts in Chicago, on July 5, 1890, when he was sentenced to eight years in Joliet prison for robbery.
He sprang into notoriety in the kidnaping of meatpacking heir Cudahy in Omaha just before the turn of the century. A country-wide hue and cry went up for the capture of the perpetrator of the kidnaping. Posters throughout the nation screamed a then almost unheard of reward of $50,000 for his capture.
Despite intensity of the search, Crowe eluded capture. He finally surrendered voluntarily in Butte, Montana. Although he admitted the crime, Crowe was acquitted on December 18, 1900. Crowe and his confederate, Jim Callahan, received $25,000 ransom for the return of the 16-year-old Cudahy heir unharmed.
Crowe served time in many Mid-Western prisons, including a sentence in Missouri for train robbery. In 1906, after acquittal on a robbery charge, Crowe decided to mend his ways. He gave up his life as “an enemy of society,” as he dubbed himself, and only once after that was arrested for any offense. That was about nine years ago on a wintry day when, broke and hungry, he was arrested for begging. He went to jail for five days.
New York, October 31, 1938. — Police today closed an investigation into the death of Pat Crowe, 79, old-time desperado who became an evangelist. He died Saturday in Harlem hospital, apparently of heart disease.
Detectives said a fractured skull discovered in a post-mortem examination had been incurred when Crowe toppled over a banister and fell eight feet into a hallway during a heart seizure last week.
Source and From the Daily Mail, Hagerstown, Maryland. October 31, 1938.
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