Drop Down to Rosenshine's Like Santa Claus and Not a Burglar Alarm Sounded
Insurance Companies in Despair, as Doors, Windows, and Exits Were Wired to Catch Robbers
The best men in the Detective Bureau have been set on the trail of a band of burglars who escaped with $3,000 worth of ostrich plumes and bird of paradise feathers from the warerooms of Rosenshine Brothers, 57 and 59 East Eleventh Street, after they had gained an entrance to the store, which is heavily wired with burglar alarms, by coming down the chimney like Santa Claus. The burglars arrived, however, with empty packs and climbed out of the chimney again laden with good things.

The chimney place is in the roof of an added story of the ten-story building. Rosenshine Brothers occupy the basement and ground floor, have a storeroom on the tenth floor, and in the added story have a steam plant and a dyeing and a drying room. A sheet iron chimney some eighteen inches in diameter rises fifteen feet above the roof of the addition.

Each floor is wired thoroughly with burglar alarms, because the burglary insurance companies consider feather and fur works among the greatest risks which they are called on to take, and recently have declined to issue insurance unless burglar alarms are in use. Not only the doors and windows of the Rosenshine plant are wired, but the walls and ceilings are perfect networks of wires also. Once the place is closed for the night it is scarcely possible to move about in any of the rooms without setting off an alarm.

Apparently the burglars were well aware of this condition, for Vincenzo Verretti, chief dyer for Rosenshine Brothers, found when he went to work early Monday morning of last week, that doors and windows were closed as they had been left on Saturday afternoon, and there was nothing to indicate that thieves had been there until Verretti reached the drying room and found the $3,000 in feathers gone.

Verretti couldn't imagine how the burglars had entered till he went outside on the roof. There he found the big chimney lying on the roof. It had been removed from its position above the roof of the addition. It was evident then that the burglars had entered through the chimney opening, and that to reach this point they must have gained access to the roof of the Rosenshine building though one of the buildings which adjoin it.

The building to the east is a twelve-story structure, while the next adjoining on the west is about the same height as the Rosenshine building. From either of these buildings the burglars could have come. They climbed to the roof of the addition and cut the wire stays which held the big chimney in place. With the chimney displaced they had a fairly large opening in the roof through which they could slip into the drying room without fear of setting off a burglar alarm.

It is supposed that the burglars entered one of the adjoining buildings some time before closing time on Saturday and lay hidden there until every one had gone home. Then they got to the roof, from which they crossed to the Rosenshine building. If they followed this course in robbing the feather dealers, Verretti pointed out that the robbery could not have taken place much before Sunday evening, as the steam plant would not have permitted the removal of the upper part of the chimney nor the descent into the rooms by this means, until the last vestige of fire had died out. This would not be until Sunday morning, said Verretti, and then unless they dared risk working in the daytime the burglars must have waited till Sunday night, so that they could scarcely have been gone more than an hour or two when the first comers arrived for work Monday morning.

Since feathers are almost impossible to recognize neither the dealers, the burglary insurance company nor the police have much hope that the stolen goods will be recovered. A special effort is being made by the police, however, at the request of several burglary insurance companies, for with burglar alarms proved unavailing the companies see in the feather business a risk which is becoming too great for them to accept.

Related Biographies:

George Rosenshine


Mark Baber


Encyclopedia Titanica (2004) CHIMNEY BURGLARS ROB FEATHER STORE (New York Times, Wednesday 18th October 1911, ref: #3581, published 26 August 2004, generated 10th April 2021 08:21:52 PM); URL :