Salesman's Car Near Scene Of Holdup, And License Number Sent To Cops

NEW ROCHELLE. N.Y., Feb. 11 (AP)-- It was all a mistake. Harry Slavin is dead, but it was an error.

The police bullet that drilled his brain in front of City Hall last night was fired because the policeman had been misinformed. For Harry Slavin was no robber; he was an innocent cloak-and-suit man from Brooklyn.

Whose fault it was, if anybody's, had not been determined early today, although, a technical charge of homicide had been placed against Detective Sergeant Gerhard Blume. Some authorities figured it might have been one of those human, tragic errors that nobody in particular can be blamed for.

On Wednesday Slavin, who was 39, and another salesman, went by auto to Hartford, Conn., on business. While they were there two men in an automobile stole a payroll. Slavin and his friend must have been in the vicinity, for somebody jotted down their number. Police broadcast an alarm for their car.

The number was flashed to New Rochelle. A patrolman had it in his mind when he passed a restaurant last night. Suddenly he grew tense. There, right in front of the place, was the car.

Slavin was inside eating. Keeping an eye on the door, the policeman phoned headquarters. Two plain clothes and other policemen dashed to the scene. As Slavin came out and approached the car, a plalnscloth man said: "You're wanted for a payroll holdup."

Slavin, perhaps because he feared the plainclothes man was no policeman, started to run. The policeman caught him and they wrestled in the street, Slavin coming out on top. Sergeant Blume, who had been shot by auto thieves 12 years ago, ran up.

"You'd better take it easy; we're cops," an assistant district attorney quoted him as saying. Slavin continued to struggle. Then, the authorities shot the salesman through the head.

Hartford police were told of the "capture." Surprised, they said they had caught the two payroll men Thursday afternoon and cancelled the alarm. New Rochelle police said the cancellation did not reach them.

It was all a mistake.

Hagerstown (Maryland) Daily Mail, February 11, 1933.