Chicago Tribune

J. Harrington Tells of Systematic Shipments of Girls to Chicago Resorts.
More than Twenty-five Men in the Gang Are Now Under Surveillance

The existence and the location of the St. Louis headquarters of the white slavers who have been carrying on a systematic traffic in women between Chicago and the Missouri city, was learned yesterday by Attorney Clifford G. Roe in a confession from J. Harrington who, following his arrest, told of his own connection with the procuring of girls and implicated others.

Mr. Roe already has taken steps to get the help of the St. Louis police to apprehend the men who have been connected with the "underground railway" by means of which girls were lured into south side resorts. He declares twenty-five or more men have been engaged in this one gang of women traffickers.

From Harrington and from inmates of resorts Mr. Roe obtained evidence that the girls were brought directly to Chicago and place in the "Paris," 2102 Armour street; the "White City," 2102 Dearborn street, both owned by Maurice Van Bever; and other places in the south side red light district.

He learned also that Van Bever, who is now facing a charge of pandering, communicated with his agents in St. Louis under the names of Clark and Stanley.

Gang is Under Surveillance

Every avenue of communication between the Chicago and St. Louis agents and the resort keepers is under surveillance by men employed by Mr. Roe, and they will arrest anyone who attempts to receive or sent communication to the men concerned in the traffic.

It was discovered that the white slavers have headquarters in Columbus, O.; Memphis, Tenn.; and New York from which cities girls are sent to Chicago accompanied by agents of the resort owners.

According to the story told by former inmates of "the Paris," all the girls were compelled to purchase every stitch of wearing apparel through the owner and from the men designated by him. They declared Van Bever endeavored to keep the girls in the place always in debt, and then if they sought to leave would threaten to call for the police. One woman refused to be frightened, and a policeman was called. It is said he made her square her debt by saying he would take her to the police station if she refused again.

One Girl Escapes Captors

Harrington confessed that he and Dick Tyler, a sort of manager for Van Bever, enticed Frankie Grace, Grace Davis, and "Tootsie" Thomas from St. Louis last July. Frankie Grace discovered the character of "the Paris" and escaped the espionage of the keepers. She went to a friend she knew in Chicago and borrowed enough money to get back to St. Louis.

"We have complete knowledge of the working of the gang," said Mr. Roe. "The men in St. Louis rounded up the girls, getting them principally from restaurants, dance halls, and department stores. They scraped up an acquaintance with the young woman a poured into their ears the possibility of making high wages at the various lines of work in Chicago. When the girls indicated they would like to go to Chicago they were taken to the St. Louis headquarters of the ring and their introduced to ‘friends’ from Chicago, who know just where to find the jobs for them which they wanted.

"The women were placed on trains in care of the Chicago agents and brought directly to the resorts. After their arrival here they were not allowed outside of the resort unaccompanied for weeks.

"Tootsie Thomas is now facing a state charge of disorderly conduct. She was spirited about from resort to resort in the levee district before our police could find her. She was found hidden in a flat at Twentieth street and Wabash avenue. She is now out on bond, but is under surveillance."

Former Bartender Convicted.

"Mike" Hart, a former bartender at the "Paris" resort, who was convicted on a pandering charge before Judge Newcomer yesterday, testified that he had helped to bring several girls to Chicago resorts from St. Louis. He admitted that one of them was Mollie Hart, his wife, who was sentence to the bridewell ten days ago after conviction on a pandering charge.

Hart said he brought his wife to the "Paris" last April, and that Van Bever paid their car fare from St. Louis to Chicago. He asserted that although the single face between the two cities is only $5.80, the resort keeper charged them with $25 for railway fare, and they were compelled to pay him that amount. Hart was sentenced to ten months in the bridewell and to pay a fine of $300.


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