A picture of the gazebo in Manor Park


Year in Review

The "Year in Review" interprets Larchmont history, year by year. Larchmonters speak for themselves through the news articles, pictures and official documents of the times. Larchmont Gazette's first year in review is 1922.


The Hip-Toters and Bootleggers

Raiding the Chicken Farm





The Larchmonter-Times, September 7, 1922

Large amount of stolen goods discovered when alleged chicken farm on Boston Post Road is raided. Three arrested.

People of Larchmont and Mamaroneck have for some time wondered about a handsome limousine car and chauffeur carrying a well-dressed, well groomed man about 50 years of age, to and from an old shack at 24 Boston Post Road, Mamaroneck, just over the Village line of Larchmont. They wondered the more because this well-dressed man appeared to make the shack his home, sharing it with a shabby rough-looking individual.

Last week they received a surprise and their curiosity was partly satisfied when Captain Decker, of the Weaver Street police, dexcended upon the shack with two railroad detectives, armed with a warrant. As a result, T. L. Avaunt, the well-dressed man, is held in $5,000 bail on a charge of first-degree grand larceny. His companion, who gives his name as Edward Grismer, is held for a violation of the Sullivan law, and the chauffeur is held as a material witness.

It is said that Avaunt was formerly a railroad detectives employed by the New York Central Lines. According to the police, Detective Fred J. Morgan and another detective, both of the New York Central Lines, came to Mamaroneck yesterday with a warrant issued by John J. Brady, Police Justice of Albany, charging Avaunt with first-degree grand larceny. The warrant was endorsed by Justice of the Peace Patrick H. Collins in Larchmont, and the detectives, guided by Captain Decker, went to the shack which is only a short distance from the Larchmont National Bank. People in the vicinity thought the place was a chicken farm, for the occupants had 300 chickens on the place which were attended by the chauffeur. This, the detectives say, was a "blind" to cover up the real operation.

When the detectives arrived at the shack they found nobody at home. They entered and found many packing cases apparently filled with goods of various kinds. There were cases of safety razors, fancy soups, linen, butcher implements, etc. The warrant charges larceny in the amount of $1,000, but the detectives declare that there were several thousand dollars worth of merchandise in the shack.

Searching the place, the detectives found, under a mattress, a fully loaded .44-caliber revolver and the belt containing 25 extra rounds of cartridges to fit the revolver. They say that Grismer arrived in the limousine and that the detectives hid inside the house until Grismer entered. He was surprised when he saw them. He admitted the revolver and ammunition found under the mattress belonged to him, they say, and he was arrested on a charge of violating the Sullivan law, for having a dangerous weapon in his possession without a license.

The chauffeur, who was waiting to take Grismer away again, was placed under arrest also.

A little later Avaunt arrived and entered, not suspecting anything. When he saw the detectives, he went to the bed, and quickly put his hand under the mattress but found nothing there. Then, the detectives say he grabbed a long carving life from the table, but one of the detectives leveled a revolver at him and commanded him to "Drop it." Avaunt dropped it.

The three prisoners were arraigned before Judge Collins who held Avaunt in $5,000 bail on the Albany warrant, and Avaunt was consigned to the county jail in default of bail, and turned over to the District Attorney. Grismer was held for examination on the Sullivan Law charge. The chauffeur was turned over to the Mamaroneck Police who are holding him as a material witness in the Avaunt case.

When Avaunt came into court he appeared to know his rights and some law. He told Judge Collins he could assure him that he was in a legitimate business, and warned him that he should "go carefully" in holding him.

"I will." said Judge Collins, "I will take no chances in letting you go."

According to the detectives who arrested the man, the complainant claims that Avaunt, while in the employ of the railroad, had taken numerous cases of merchandise which were sent by freight to Albany or were in freight cars at Albany, and shipped them to Grismer at Port Chester. It is believed by the detectives that Grismer shipped the cases to the shack in Mamaroneck, and that the chauffeur carried them in a truck to the place.

Avaunt and Grismer were taken to Albany this week, the latter having been held in $2,500 bail after a hearing in Mamaroneck. The chauffeur was allowed to go as there was nothing to indicate that he had any knowledge of what of Avaunt and Grismer were up to.

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