Much was made in Centerboro
at one time of my so-called "criminal career." Hah! In a pig's
eye! Compared to that wretch Freddy, I was a goody-two-shoes. As long as I'm clearing
the air about things and giving you some of the true history of Centerboro
and its denizens, I'd like to set the record straight on my "criminal career."
Here you will discover the entire extent of my "misdeeds" and
then the long chronology of Freddy's evil campaign of criminality. When you compare
the two records, it is very clear who really besmirched the community with evil.
It was not I. (And it was not Herb Garble, either, or any of a number of other
scapegoats.) It was that damned Freddy Bean!
Stealing in 1931: All
I took was a little cap pistol from the toy department at the Busy Bee. A real
federal case! Result: I was turned over to my parents for a good hiding.
Which I got. Within a year Freddy was involved in a serious case of burglary.
My character was essentially good from the start. I made mistakes.
Freddy's character was essentially corrupt. He committed crimes,
as you will see.
Speeding Ticket in 1939:
Herb and I were out for a last spin before leaving for boot camp to serve
our country. 43 m.p.h. in a 40 m.p.h. zone. Big Deal! Result: A
Arrested for Harassment
and Fraud in 1948: As I previously mentioned, this whole affair concerning
my acquisition of the Filmore lakeside hotel was a terrible injustice engineered
against me principally by Frederick Bean, Mrs. Filmore, C. Jimson Camphor, Minerva
Camphor, and, to a lesser extent, others. I bought that property fair and square
from Mrs. Filmore, but when she wanted to back out of the contract, I held her
to it. She got her friends to concoct the most ridiculous lies about how
I had obtained her signature on the deal. They said I had terrorized the staff
and clientele by haunting the old dump, drove everyone off, and then
made Mrs. Filmore an offer she couldnt refuse. Can you imagine
anyone believing such utter humbug? Well, the jury didnt, and I was completely
exonerated! Result: My good name got smeared even though I was innocent!
At one point before my arrest, I visited their campsite near Lakeside to plead
with them to lay off me. They actually attacked me with a frying pan and inflicted
a severe head injury upon me which bothers me now and then to this day. And when
I complained, what happened? Nothing! NOTHING! Their friend the sheriff believed
them that I had stumbled and fallen when attacking them! Hah!
Arrested for Burglary in
1955: Yes, I was guilty of this. I was strapped for cash and I stole
jewelry from several homes. Result: Because of my sincere remorse and diminished
mental capacity (I had been very depressed since the Filmore affair and suffering
from chronic headaches), I was given a short jail term and 5 years probation.
SeeIll admit when Ive done something wrong!
Charged with Violation of
Probation and Extortion in 1957: Completely fabricated charges! It
was Freddy and a number of his buddies who were behind the extortion racketthe
Otesaraga Protective Associationwho framed me and some retired New York
businessmen who were my friends and real estate associates. Result: My
cousin, the well-known Centerboro lawyer Dougal Anderson, had no trouble convincing
the jury I was blameless, and although I was totally innocent, my name got dragged
through the mud once again because of the spitefulness of that mean-spirited swine
Freddy. And there is absolutely nothing to report during the last forty years--well,
nothing except a recent incident where my throwing the frying pan through
a store window in the Oteseraga Country mall was caused by a lack of medications,
not by any criminal intent! (For an account of this incident, click
here.) You can check any city and county records you want, and
you'll see that I've kept my nose pretty clean. I made a few mistakes, paid
for them, put them behind me, and have been law-abiding for the vastly greater
part of my life. Not so with Freddy.
Part Two: Freddy's Misdeeds,
(And this is just the stuff I know about.)
Attempted Burglary (1932):
In the company of two known felons, he was at the scene of an attempted burglary
at the Centerboro bank. Result: As a minor, he should have been sent to
reform school, but he was turned over to his family. Big mistake! As the twig
is bent, so grows the tree! Spare the rod and spoil the child!
Looting and Resisting Arrest
(1937): It was during the flooding down in Snare Forks that he and a number
of his little friends were caught red-handed looting the Waterman, Dinkelstein
& Co. Department Store. Result: Again given over to his family. Not
their little Freddy! Oh, no! He must have just wandered in
while those other bad boys were stealing.
Theft (1940): While
some of us were serving our country, he was back in Centerboro stealing
his own Aunt Snedekers silver teapot and trying to pawn it. Result: Settled
by the family. Swept under the rug, I mean.
Reckless Endangerment (1941):
While some of us were overseas shooting at the enemy (he got a draft deferment
because of his weight), he stole his fathers shotgun, and while fooling
around with it with some of his friends, grazed himself in the left shoulder.
Result: A good talking-to by Judge Nathan Willey. Thats all
! Someone could have been killed!
Malicious Mischief (1942):
While some of us were fighting in the worlds second big suicide attempt,
he took a Mr. Golchers hot air balloon for a joyride. Result: Another
appearance before Judge Willey and another lecture. Charges dropped.
Assault (1943): Accosted
Mrs. Underdunk in front of the Busy Bee; pushed her down and attempted to bite
her because she wouldnt donate her iron lawn deer to his scrap drive pile
for the war effort, as though he really cared. He just wanted the Scrap Drive
Contest prize. Result: He was actually arrested this time, but acquitted
on a technicality. I mean, come on !
Theft (1943): Everyone
knew he was the one behind the disappearance of Mrs. Underdunks iron deer
which was given to her by her beloved late husband Humphrey. Result: Because
the evidence was scanty and circumstantial, he was never brought inbut everyone
knew who had stolen the deer. It was so obvious.
Theft (1944): Stole
a coin collection from Jimson Camphors estate and framed the caretakers,
the Winches. Result: Camphor, Freddys long-time friend, couldnt
believe Freddy would steal from him, so he fired the Winches, who were
very nice people, and hired Freddy as his caretaker. People just did not catch
on about Freddy. Camphor, even as befuddled as he was most of the time, should
have seen what a conniving miscreant Freddy was!
Harassment (1945): Took
a dislike to the neighboring Witherspoon family and played malicious pranks on
them. Result: They filed charges, but later dropped them. I think they
were afraid of Freddy and his cohorts.
Unlawful Imprisonment (1946):
Held a Mrs. Guffin, a pet store owner in Tallmanville, prisoner in her own home
while he and his friends ate her out of house and home, ran up huge telephone
bills, and set all her stock free. Result: She refused to press charges.
Everybody knew she was too afraid.
Theft (1946): Stole
the proceeds from an illegal betting operation run by a Mr. Bleech in Yares
Corners. Results: Go ahead. Just guess. Right! The story got around,
but no complaint was ever filed against Freddy for obvious reasons.
Stole a billfold from Albert Funderburke, a professional magician performing as
"Zingo," who had been staging shows in town. Result: No charges
filed. Some of Freddys friends were seen talking to Zingo just
before he got on a bus out of town.
I saw this with my own eyes! I was there in the Busy Bee when the manager made
him empty his pockets. I wrote everything down right afterward before I forgot.
There were three neckties, a harmonica, four candy bars, and a bottle of hair
tonic. He did it just for fun, knowing full well he was going to be caught--and
not even caring. Result: After a private conference in the managers
office, he walked away. I wonder why?
Assault (1948): He incited
Minerva Camphor to hit me on the head with a heavy, cast iron frying pan when
I visited their campsite to talk with them about that Filmore Hotel business.
Result: Not even arrested, though I immediately filed a complaint.
They said I was non compos mentis after tripping and hitting my head on
a log during my visit. Not true! I know the difference between a log and
a frying pan.
Robbery (1949): He obtained (i.e.,
stole) $5000 of his own fathers money out of the Centerboro Bank
under false pretenses. Results: Although his father William made no complaint,
the bank did, and Freddy was arrested (finally) and prosecuted (finally).
Unfortunately, the charges were dismissed on some silly technicality. So near
and yet so far! What would your father have done if you stole $5000 from
Practicing Medicine Without
a License (1948 and again in 1956): Assumed the identity of a Dr. Hopper.
Result: Not even arrested. I dont know many details of this one,
but wouldn't impersonating a doctor have been a felony? I wonder how many phony
prescriptions he wrote.
Assault (1950): Threw
a noxious substance directly into the face of one Cal Flint, an owner of a nearby
dude ranch, over some personal feud. Result: Flint said hed settle
the matter privately with Freddy, but soon rode off into the sunset, so to speak.
Malicious Mischief and Assault
With a Deadly Weapon (1951): Involved in widespread vandalism and destruction
of property on neighboring farms. Also shot at Elihu P. Margarine, the owner of
a beautiful neighboring country estate. Result: All these activities occurred
at night and the identities of these criminals could never be proven, but the
word got around. Everyone knew who was involved, but the legal system was helpless
to bring Freddy and his cronies to justice.
Attempt to Defraud the U.
S. Government (1952): This was a slick operation involving the sale of a defective
bombsight to the military. He blamed it all on his Uncle Benjamin, already well-known
as an eccentric, shall we say. It was a very messy legal and family
affair. Result: Benjamin Bean went to the Oteseraga County Custodial Asylum
once again for a rest, and there was a big falling out between Freddy and
his long-suffering mother and father.
Robbery (1952?): Held
up Herb Garble's Wienermobile in Lakeville, terrorized the driver, and made off
with the cashbox. Result: This crime went unreported until revealed to
me by Priscilla Belette in 2010. (See account here.)
I cannot help but wonder how many other of Freddy's crimes are unknown to this
Conspiracy and Fraud (1953):
He and a known thief and con man, Ed Bismuth, burned down the old Grimby place
Bismuth had just moved into for the insurance money. He and Bismuth also sold
tickets for a Dream Spaceship Vacation to some of Centerboros
older and more senile residents. Result: Bismuth was arrested, prosecuted,
and served time. He did not implicate Freddy, so Freddy got off scot free again.
People say Bismuth was too afraid of Freddy to squeal on him. No doubt! Most of
Freddy's victims and accomplices were.
Attempted Burglary (1954):
He and one of his buddies, Red Mike, broke into Herb Garbles
house. He was captured by Herb and held in the cellar until the authorities arrived.
However, he must have convinced Herb to let him go, because Herb never
followed through with charges. Result: Nothing. See the pattern here?
Unlawful Detention and Assault
(1955): Locked up the Kurtzes in their own cellar and tormented them with
wasps. Result: Not even arrested. I dont know why, but I can
Breaking and Entering (1955):
At the von Snarll mansion in Rochester, NY. Result: Not even arrested.
Again, I dont know all the details, but I was the one who called the police
when I overheard him and one of his confederates discussing the deal over lunch
at the Centerboro Hotel.
Burglary (1955): Emptied
my safe of my priceless heirloom jewelry while I was at an appointment with Doc
Wintersip. Result: Not even arrested. And I know it was Freddy!
He was getting back at me for phoning the police about his breaking and entering
Aggravated Assault (1955):
Pushed me down a flight of stairs at a party at Mrs. Winfield Churchs.
Result: Once again, not even arrested. He and Mrs. Church claimed
I went upstairs to use the bathroom, missed a step in the dark coming back downstairs,
and landed right on my head. They said I was knocked unconscious and suffered
a concussion. Baloney! He was trying to finish me off out of pure vengefulness.
Treason (1957): Others
might not dare, but thats what I call it. Sure there were
foreign spies all over the place trying to get at the flying saucer plans. But
Freddy was right in the midst of it. He had a copy of the plans and did his best
to sell them off to the highest bidder. Result: Somehow the plans were
saved and Freddy got let off the hook again because there wasnt enough evidence
to charge himbut everyone knew of his complicity and the tongues really
Extortion, Vandalism, Criminal
Trespassing, and Theft (1958): All part of the Otesaraga Protection racket
(previously mentioned) which was run by Freddy and a bunch of his pals to grab
protection money from the honest merchants and property owners of Centerboro and
the surrounding area. Result: Of coursenot even arrested.
They managed to get my friends framed and sent to the penitentiary, but I was
cleared by a jury of my peers.
Cruelty to Animals (1958):
Sprayed a bull with perfume; bit a snake and tied it in knots. Can you believe
it? Weird, right? Result: Naturallynot even arrested. By this
time, people began to believe that Freddy had come unhinged, and they treated
this last known of his offenses against decency and the law as a mental aberration
and just kind of stayed out of his way. Shortly after this, he mysteriously disappeared.
He was about thirty-eight years old.
Freddy should have
spent several years in the penits obvious, isnt it? Yet
he got off clean as a whistle almost all the time. A slap on the wrist here, a
talking to there...what did that amount to? NOTHING! He slipped like a
greased pig through the hands of the law while I suffered the unjust consequences
of his vile persecution and Centerboro and his family suffered the effects of
his criminal mentality. At least following his disappearance things calmed down
in Centerboro, and life returned to a relative state of normality. All this criminal
activity was soft-pedaled in the Freddy series, of course. I did once addresss
this very issue at a meeting of the Ladies' Literary Society of Centerboro. A
copy of that address may be found here.