Camden 1927-1928

Here is another one of those forgotten stories that were front page news back in the day. I thought that this tale, in light of the Camden involvement of the murderers Muhammed and Malvo, was worth retelling.

 I've just discovered the story, and will be adding to it as I go through the microfilmed newspapers of the era. 

Phil Cohen
May 6, 2005  

Camden Courier-Post - January 25, 1928

Blue Marble Found After ‘Shot’ Knocks Officer Down at 4 A.M.
Four Private Cars Also Have Been Targets; Probers Are Baffled

Probing a mystery that sounds more like fantastic fiction than serious fact, police of Camden and officials of the Camden Bridge today were conducting a vigorous hunt for a “phantom sniper.”

After four vehicles had been fired upon during the last month on or near the Federal Street Bridge across Crescent Boulevard, a mysterious bullet or other missile penetrated the windshield of a Pennsylvania bus on the Camden Bridge and spurred authorities into action.

Then at 4:30 o’clock this morning, Bridge Policeman John J. Rodgers was twice fired upon on the span. The second time, he was struck between the shoulders, spun around and knocked down.

Blue Marble Found

The missile that struck him, found a few moments later, was a blue marble. It furnished the first clue to the “phantom sniper” that police have obtained. Apparently it was fired from a powerful slingshot or an air gun, so powerful in fact that it struck Rogers with almost bullet-like force although it must have been fired from a distance of nearly a hundred yards.

Police were unanimous in the opinion that the missile which penetrated the window of the bus on the span yesterday was no such marble, but a bullet. They added, however, that there was a possibility that it might have been a steel ball bearing discharged from an air gun or slingshot such as that which was used in sniping upon Rogers.

It was learned from an official source this afternoon that bridge police will question a15-year-old boy. It was said that he lives 150 feet of the spot where the gun was fired upon yesterday.

The boy and his father are said to occupy the third floor of a rooming house on North Fourth Street. Police have no evidence that this boy fired the shot or marble that struck Rogers, but they decided to question him on ownership of a rifle or slingshot.

Meanwhile it was revealed that still another incident in which the “phantom sniper” had appeared had taken place last night when a Philadelphia-Pennsauken bus was fired upon near the Federal Street Bridge.

At the same time bridge officials disclosed that police on the span have been bothered for the past three months by the fact that the sniper has been shooting out electric lights

Speculation and theorizing over the peculiar incidents ran riot among the police who are investigating them today. Although the slingshot or air gun theory was given considerable credence by Rogers’ extraordinary experience, other officers insisted that no instrument of this nature would discharge a bullet, ball bearing or other metal missile with sufficient force to bore through the windshields of buses and automobiles which have been fired on by the “phantom sniper.”

It was November 21 that the sniper- if he is the same who has now taken the Camden bridge as his basis of operations- first came into public notice. Former State Senator Albert S. Woodruff was fired upon from an automobile which his car was following across the Federal Street Bridge at the time.

Hear Report of Gun

On that occasion, however, the report of a gun was heard by Woodruff, whereas, in subsequent incidents, none of the near victims of the shots have heard any sound. This also strengthens the theory of the existence of air gun or other instrument more powerful than any known to police. If the missiles which have struck other automobiles were bullets, however, it is pointed out that they may have been fired from a rifle or revolver equipped with a silencer.

Since the Woodruff incident, a Riverton family has been fired upon, another automobile windshield has been penetrated, apparently by a bullet while crossing Federal Street bridge and on Sunday night, Mrs. A. D. Kohn, 319 Evans Street, Haddonfield, was cut by flying glass when her car was made the target of the sniper.

Rogers, the member of the Camden bridge police force who was struck by the blue marble early this morning; was standing on the bridge about 10 feet from the point at which the Pennjersey bus was hit by the sniper yesterday. As he leaned over to in­spect a portion of the roadway, some­thing whistled over his head and hit the railing. Hi straightened up and found on the steel railing, the spot at which the missile had struck. The paint had been chipped off and the metal dented as though by a bullet.

Felled By Marble

A moment, later, he had turned toward the south when he was struck between the shoulders by the marble. With such force did the little round object hit him that it wheeled him around as would a bullet and felled him. Although he wore a heavy overcoat, a leather jerkin and thick under­wear, the missile left a severe bruise at the spot where it struck him.

Back on his feet, Rogers saw the object which had hit him rolling away. He picked it up. It was the blue marble.

A house-to-house canvas of all dwellings in the neighborhood from the roofs or windows of which the missile might conceivably have been discharged was being conducted today by four bridge policemen. The search was begun after Joseph Costello, superintendent of the bridge, and Captain Alfred Souders, head of the bridge police, had conducted a conference attended by all the span officers.

Yesterday’s mysterious incident on the Camden bridge occurred as the Pennjersey bus bound for Pennsauken from Philadelphia with seven passen­gers aboard was rolling down the incline of the bridge towards the toll booths at 3:38 o’clock.

Five of the passengers were women and two were middle-aged men. The driver was Franklin Copeland, 29 years old, of 244 South Fifty-fourth Street, Philadelphia.

The bus passed George Clarke a bridge patrolman, at a point about 173 yards from the end of the incline, and perhaps 225 from the tollbooths. ­The policemen and the bus driver are well acquainted.

The driver waved, and the policeman, making a megaphone of his hands yelled “Howdy, Fats.”

Passengers In Uproar

The next instant Copeland heard a sudden buzz and then as if by magic a small hole appeared in the glass before his face. Tiny bits of glass fell upon him.

He yanked on the brakes. Passengers were half thrown from their seats and cried out to know what was wrong.

Clarke came running over. He saw the small hole at once, and instantly scanned the bridge walk to find the source. There was no one in sight but a little girl who strolled on.

The bus went on to Pennsauken and bridge patrolmen took up the mystery. Four patrolled the walks, scanning the skyline on either side to see from which houses a shot might have been fired. Others searched the roadbed, seeking the bullet.

City police were called. Detectives George Ward and Louis Shaw came and examined the skyline and searched one house. They found nothing.

Detectives at Odds

The bus came back and a minute examination of it and the hole in the windshield began. When it was over investigators were divided between two theories and completely mystified.

The hole, the detectives said, seemed to have been made by a steel jacketed .22 caliber bullet. Some bridge policemen said it might have been from a .25 caliber automatic and some said it could have been a .22.

Copeland declared he was positive that there was no automobile directly ahead of him on the bridge- that the nearest was past the curve. No pedestrian except the little girl was in sight.

According to the detectives, it is out of reason that the missile was fired from a house on the south side of the bridge. The glass would have splintered because of the angle from which the bullet would have entered, they declared.

Crank Suspected

That brought up the theory that the missile was fired from within the bus. Lieutenant Gregory Love, of the Bridge Police, suggested that a “crank” using a pistol equipped with a silencer might have fired the shot. A further search was made of the interior of the bus, and on the glass alongside the driver, near the partition at the back, was found a half-inch long scratch. No bullet or other missile was found.

The inside of the glass was chipped and the outside smooth. Generally, detectives said, a bullet will chip at the point of exit, not entrance.

Bridge Policemen John Batting, John Cox, John Curry, and Sergeant Michael Bachmeyer, aiding in the investigation, admitted themselves completely bewildered.

One Card Shy

Then the driver began looking among the cards signed by his passengers as witnesses. He was one card shy.

“Do you know?” he said slowly, “I don’t think that man gave me the card after all.”

When he found the card signed Mrs. Harriet Billingsley, 30 East Cedar Avenue, Merchantville he recalled that she had told him that a moment be­fore the bus stopped she thought she saw a flash on her right- the south side.   

Other women who gave their names were Eleanor Montgomery, 217 North Forty-seventh Street; Mrs. C. Schmidt and Mrs. T. Van Newkirk, both of 1110 North Twenty-sixth Street.

City Police Drop Probe

City Detectives George Ward and Louis Shaw said this afternoon that they would make no further investigation into the incident of the motor­bus on the Camden span yesterday. Both declared they were convinced that a shot was fired from inside the bus.

“We are convinced that no sniper fired the shot that went through the windshield”, Ward said. “We believe the shot was fired inside the bus”.

“There were two men in the bus at the time the bullet went through the glass. These men refused to give their names to the driver of the bus. Bridge police were on the job but I believe that it they had searched these two men they would have found a .25 revolver on one of them”.

“One of these men sat directly behind the driver. There are marks on the woodwork there to show where the man rubbed the revolver when he put it beside the driver’s face and fired the bullet through he glass.”

“ The glass was shattered on the inside which shows that the bullet was fired from the inside. If the bullet had entered from the outside the glass on the outside would have been shattered”, Ward said.

Members of the bridge police- former service men and experts on firearms- discredited the theory of the two city detectives. They declared that the city detectives were wrong in the matter of the shattered glass and that the conditions would be just the reverse.

Bridge Patrolman Crane, who was standing near the bus when the shot was fired, declared today that the driver of the bus asserted he heard no report of a pistol. If the pistol had been fired near his head, he naturally would have heard it, Crane said..

Camden Courier-Post - January 26, 1928

Mystery Baffles Police as No Bullet is Found Inside Shop
Bridge Police Probe of Double Shooting Fails to Solve Enigma

Camden’s “phantom sniper” has made his appearance in Cramer Hill.

Using the same mysterious method as that employed by the unknown gunner who has shot holes in the windshields of five automobiles and a motorbus in the last few weeks, someone yesterday fired a missile through the plate glass door at a store conducted by Gottlob Mayer, 868 North North Twenty-seventh Street.

It was the eighth time since early December that an incident of the same sport had become known and came close on the heels of a baffled investigation by Camden bridge police, one of whom was struck and knocked down by a blue marble apparently fired from a powerful compressed air gun.

Shooting the hole through Mayer’s door also closely followed in time and circumstances, the penetration of the windshield of a Philadelphia-Pennsauken bus by a bullet or other missile.

Although Bridge Policeman John J. Rogers found the blue marble which struck him early yesterday morning, investigators declare that the missile which bore a clean round hole through the heavy glass of the bus and store window must have been a bullet. The possibility that the compressed air gun which is believed to have been used in firing the marble at Rogers, might have been used to fire a steel ball bearing at the bus was one theory advanced yesterday. If this were the case, it was agreed by investigators, the air gun must be one more powerful than any known to police.

No Bullet Found In Store

Mystery in the latest incident that hit Mayer’s store is heightened by the fact that no bullet or other missile was found inside the store, although it was apparent that the shot or whatever it was entered from the outside. Similarly, an inspection of the motorbus which was fired upon on the Camden Bridge Tuesday disclosed no missile. In these two cases at least, authorities investigating the incidents have been faced with the additional problem of attempting to discover the nature of a missile which to all intents and purposes, disappears as though into thin air after striking. In none of the cases has any report as of a gun been heard.

Mayer did not report the incident to police and, although it occurred at 10 o’clock yesterday morning, it did not become known until today. Mayer explained that he had insurance on his plate glass, that he had no enemies and thus did not believe he was the intended target of the mysterious marksman, and that he had thought little of the incident until he read of the activities of the “phantom sniper” on the Camden Bridge.

The Mayer store is at the corner of Hayes Avenue and North Twenty-seventh Street, directly across from a Camden Fire Department station. Candy, newspapers, magazines and tobacco are dispensed at the shop, which also contains an ice cream parlor.

Heard Crash In Store

“I had been out in the store, waiting on six or seven children”, Mayer said today. “It wasn’t two minutes after the children left that this shot was fired. If it had come two minutes before it would have hit one of them because they were standing right near the door.

“When the shot- or whatever it was- was fired I was in the kitchen. I heard a crash and came out into the store. Nobody was in sight. I looked at the windows and then I found the little hole, like a bullet hole, through the glass of the door.”

The firemen at the firehouse across the street had seen or heard nothing. Neither had several persons who were passing and others in buildings nearby. A search of the interior of the store followed. Every inch of wall and floor space was gone over but there was no sign of a bullet or any other missile.

Bridge police, still investigating the activities of the sniper on the span, had no results of their inquiry to make public today. They admitted that more than 24 spent in investigation had brought them no nearer to a solution of the weird mystery than when they began. 

'Phantom Gunner's" Latest Range

Still baffled by the weird circumstances under which five automobiles, a motorbus, and a Camden bridge policeman were fired upon by a “phantom sniper”, officials of the bridge today continued their search for the “ghost gunner.” The photograph shows above the scene of the two latest incidents in which the sniper has figured. At the point marked (1) a Philadelphia-Pennsauken bus was struck apparently by a bullet that bored a hole through the windshield on Tuesday. At the point marked (2) Bridge Policeman John J. Rogers was struck and knocked down yesterday by a blue marble, apparently fired from a powerful compressed air gun in the hands of the mysterious sniper. Rogers is shown in the inset.

Above is pictured the front of Gottlob Mayer’s Shop at Hayes Avenue and North Twenty-seventh Street, showing where a bullet-like missile penetrated the plate glass door only to disappear.  Patrolman Joseph Keefe is the officer standing beside the door. Mayer is shown in the inset.


868 North 27th Street - May 7, 2005
Click on Image to Enlarge

Camden Courier-Post - January 28, 1928

See Man Fleeing After Missile Crashes Through Window of Home
Crowded Merchantville Trolley Fired on But No Pellet is Found

Camden’s “phantom sniper” has been seen.

The man who had terrorized occupants of motorbuses, drivers of automobiles and residents of homes upon which he has fired during the last two months is no ghost, but a man of flesh and blood.

He is tall, fleet of foot, and he knows a man named “Louie” .

This at least is the description given to Camden police today by two young girls, who escaped the “ghost gunner’s” latest bullets this morning.

The girls were asleep in their bedroom, in the Centerville section, when the “sniper’s” shot sped through their window.

A short time before a bullet-like missile had crashed through the window of a Public Service trolley car, bringing the total number of occasions on which the “phantom” has appeared to 11.

The girls, through the window whose bedroom a bullet sped at 4:45 o’clock this morning are the Misses Redempta and Jean Napier, 25 and 20 years old respectively, daughter so Peter Napier, former Camden Prohibition agent, who is now in the south.

Jean, youngest of the sisters, is a former Camden High School student and widely known as a participant in amateur theatricals here and in Philadelphia.

That incident marked the tenth occasion on which the sniper has fired upon vehicles in Camden and the fourth attack he has made this week. He fired a bullet through the windshield of a Pennjersey bus on the Camden side of the Delaware River Bridge, struck a bridge policeman with a large marble fired from a slingshot or powerful air compression gun, and fired a shot through the store window of Gottlob Mayer, Twenty-seventh Street and Hayes Avenue as his activities for the week.

It was no “blue marble” such as that which struck Bridge Policeman John J. Rogers on the Camden bridge a few days ago that crashed through the Napier girls window. It was a leaden bullet. This latest appearance of the “ghost gunner” is notable for the fact that the bullet was found. Only in the first of the cases in which former State Senator Albert S. Woodruff was fired upon in his automobile has the bullet fired by the “phantom” been discovered afterward.

The bullet which entered the girls’ room was of .32 caliber. It penetrated the glass of the window, boring a hole about an inch in diameter. It struck a curtain at the window, which acted as a buffer and the bullet fell to the floor.

Aroused by the breaking glass, Redempta and Jean leaped from bed and ran to the window.

“We saw a man with a gun, standing across the street” the former said today. “He was looking up at our window. As we looked, he broke into a run. He reached the corner and I heard him say to another man: ‘It’s all right now, Louie.”

City Detective Frank Truax was assigned by Camden police to investigate the latest appearance of the “phantom sniper.” The leaden bullet found on the floor of the girl’s bedroom was turned over to him.

Meanwhile, several agencies began investigations of the “phantom’s” firing upon a trolley car this morning.

The mysterious shooting by the “ghost gunner” at the trolley car this morning, marked the tenth occasion which the “sniper” has fired upon vehicles and the fourth attack he has made this week. He fired a bullet through the windshield of a Pennjersey bus in the Camden side of the Delaware river bridge, struck a bridge policeman with a large marble fired from a slingshot or powerful air compression gun, and fired a shot through the store window of Gottlob Mayer, Twenty-seventh Street and Hayes Avenue as his activities for the week.

The motorman, George Washkruz, of 1114 Louis Street, and the passengers heard the bullet crash through the front window of the trolley car. A clean hole larger then pencil showed where the bullet had pierced the window. No report of a gun was heard and police believe the shot was fired by an English compressed air gun.

United States Commissioner Wynn Armstrong was a passenger on the trolley when the bullet tore through the window. He was on his way from his home in Merchantville to his of­fice at Third and Market Streets in Camden.

“A short time before,” Commissioner Armstrong said,” a coupe driven by a woman skidded and crashed into our trolley car as it was passing Morris Street. Naturally the passengers were excited about the accident. Luckily no one was injured.

“The car was proceeding again toward Camden when suddenly there was aloud “ping” and we saw the motorman jump. He stopped the car and looked at the window. There was a bullet hole in the window but we searched the car but were unable to find the bullet or where it had lodged after entering the car.

“We looked all around outside the car but was unable to see any person who might have fired the shot. We heard no report of a rifle or revolver accompanying the crash of the bullet.”

When Washkruz reached the Market Street ferries, he reported the occurrence to the police. Several policemen hurried to the scene and reached the neighborhood but found no trace of the sniper. As in nearly all the other cases the bullet was fired from a southerly direction.

“I didn’t know what happened.” Washkruz said. “I heard the bullet strike the window and I heard it sing as it passed by my head and go into the Interior of the car. I saw no one who might have fired the shot.’

George Rothery, manager of the southern division of the Public Service Transportation Company, said the company would start an investigation independent of that being made by the police in an effort to capture the sniper. The attack marks the first time a trolley car has been fired upon during the sniper’s reign of terror.

Captain of Detectives John Golden said police would start a campaign to capture the fiend who Is endangering the lives of citizens.

“We have received no report so far from the Public Service about the sniper’s activities this morning.” Captain Golden said,” but I will detail several plain clothes men immediately to run down this half-wit and take him into custody before he kills somebody.”

Chief of Police Linderman. of Merchantvllle, said he would make an investigation into the shooting..


January 28, 1928


Camden Courier-Post - January 30, 1928

Hole In Windshield Of Car But No Bullet Found
Camden Police Ordered to Keep Close Watch for 'Phantom' Gunner

 William Moll, Kimber Street

Camden Courier-Post - January 30, 1928

Camden Courier-Post - January 30, 1928

'Phantom' Gunner Also Blamed for Smashed Auto Light at Woodbury

Camden Courier-Post - February 4, 1928

Mystery Marks 16th Effort as Victim Gives Fake Address

With orders to “shoot on sight” issued to suburban police in their search for South Jersey’s “phantom sniper”, that mysterious individual today had a “phantom victim”.

At the Haddon heights police station is a piece of glass with the notation that it comes from the windshield of “Harry F. Cheeseman of Magnolia.” That was the name given by the man who drove up to the police station yesterday afternoon and gasped out a story of having been fired upon by the “ghostly gunner” who, on 15 previous occasions in the past three months has made targets of automobiles and windows.

But today, after the man had departed, a search failed to disclose any Harry Cheeseman who knew about the affair or, in fact, any Cheeseman at all whether in Magnolia or elsewhere.

For one thing, according to Magnolia post office records, there is no Harry F. Cheeseman who lives on the White Horse pike at Magnolia Road.

“No sir,” was this Cheeseman’s reply. “I’ve fallen into a well, been in a railroad wreck and gotten hit by an automobile but nobody ever shot at me. My car wasn’t out of the garage or myself out of the house yesterday. Here’s the car. You can see it wasn’t hit by any bullet.”

There indeed was the cart and it hadn’t been hit.

There is a Charles Cheeseman also in Magnolia, but he wasn’t the “phantom victim”. In Stratford, there is a Frank Cheeseman and a Warren Cheeseman but it wasn’t either of these two. The only Harry Cheeseman discovered in the county, in fact, is Harry M. Cheeseman of 3053 River Avenue, Camden, and he is not the “phantom victim,” doesn’t drive his car and wasn’t anywhere near Haddon Heights yesterday.

Whoever the “phantom victim” may have been, he submitted, to Police Chief John Lietenberger and Policeman John Shock, of Haddon heights, the drilled section of his windshield as evidence that he had been fired upon by the sniper.

Occurred On Pike

The attack occurred, he said, on the White Horse Pike within two blocks of Haddon Heights police headquarters. He was driving north on the pike near Green Street, he said, when he saw the glare of the headlights of an approaching car. As the car passed him, he told police, he heard a cracking sound. A bullet had entered the windshield an inch above his head and imbedded itself in the rear upholstery. The bullet, of .22 caliber, flattened itself against the metal inside the upholstery. It still bore the odor of powder, thus leading police to believe it had been fired from a revolver or rifle rather than a compressed air gun, the weapon suspected in some of the other snipings. The “phantom victim” said he had heard no report like that of a gun.

"I am satisfied this is no joke or prank of small boys.” Police Chief Lietenberger said after some of his men examined the course of the bullet. “There was terrific force behind that shot, and the only way to effect the capture of this person is to shoot him on sight if he is observed in the act”.

Just as the identity of the sixteenth victim of the “sniper” became lost, however, that of the fifteenth became known.  

Tells of Firing 

When he learned that neither Oaklyn nor Collingswood police had secured his name after he had reported a “sniper” attack, Thursday night, Harry Paro of 1032 Linwood Avenue, Collingswood, walked into Collingswood police headquarters last night and declared that he was the man who was fired upon along the White Horse Pike near Cuthbert road.

Paro stated that he was in a highly nervous state soon after the shooting and he hurried away from the scene after the investigation got underway. He said he offered his name to one policeman, whom he did not know, but that individual declared the shooting was not in Collingswood territory.

Just where the actual shooting took place is baffling local residents. Paro, who narrowly missed being struck by the bullet that passed through the windshield of his car, was accompanied by his wife and son. White Horse Pike and Cuthbert Road is the dividing line between Oaklyn and Haddon Township. A few feet away, the Audubon ­boundary line begins.  

Probe Wounding of Three  

Meanwhile, Camden detectives investigating new ang1es of the mystery surrounding the wounding of three men who were placed under arrest “on suspicion” yesterday when they told of having been shot by the “phantom sniper”.  

Convinced that John Henry, 19 years old, 319 Stevens Street, had been accidentally shot at the home of Louis Del Duca, 674 Fairview Street, police today released Del Duca and Frank Viguricco, of 414 Benson Street. Henry had told story of having been shot by the sniper while driving on the Black Horse Pike. He later admitted however that he had been handling a gun at Del Duca’s home and his tow companions corroborated the story. Detectives found the bullets on the floor in Del Duca’s home giving further corroboration to the story. Henry declared that be had told his weird tale of the “phantom sniper” because he did not wish the owner of the gun, who was not named, to know that he had had it.

George Zimmerman, of 2270 Mickle Street, burned as though by an explosion, is still in the Cooper Hospital under police guard, and officers also are holding John Connors, of Fifth and Grant Streets, who was similarly injured. Although the man declared they had been fired upon by the ”sniper”, detectives frankly refused to accept this story from the beginning. Hinting that they believed the men had been injured in some sort of explosion, details of which they did not wish to become known, the detectives sought to ascertain whether any safe blowing or hijacking “jobs” had been attempted in this vicinity early yesterday.

Today the sleuths were divided between two theories, neither of which is definite. It was indicated that one suspicion is that the men were injured in an explosion at Zimmerman’s home while preparing a charge of explosives. The other theory was furnished by an Audubon policeman who, early yesterday heard three shots fired in the vicinity of the Ringside Inn, on the Black Horse Pike, near Nicholson Road.

The Audubon policeman, Joseph Riegert, was “cutting across” on his way to Audubon police headquarters and was nearly a quarter of a mile away from the Ringside Inn when be heard three shots.

A lake and fields separated him from the source of the shots. He went on to headquarters and told his fellow policeman he thought “there’s been another shooting up at Ringside.”

Then Henry was brought to the West Jersey Homeopathic Hospital in Del Duca’s car with a .38 caliber bullet in his right leg. The story of a ‘‘phantom sniper” was told.

Then came Zimmerman and Connors into the Cooper Hospital and into the hands of the police.

Camden Courier-Post - February 4, 1928

But Yeggs Must Leave Gats at Home While Cops Practice
With Camden's new Desperado Eliminators

Wanted: Targets for Camden’s new desperado eliminators. Bandits, burglars, snipers and their ilk are requested by Chief of Police James E. Tatem to apply at police headquar­ters Monday morning at 10 o’clock, when a practice shooting party will be held.

Chief Tatem said today Camden’s bandit-chasing squad is “just rarin’ to go” with six new automatic rifles guaranteed to shoot full of holes the toughest bandit in less time than it takes to say “Aligoop.”

For the further enlightenment of the bandit fraternity, Chief Tatem announced detailed instructions on how to0 use the new carbines will be given this afternoon at 3 o’clock to bandit chasing police by Captain Arthur Colsey and Herman Engle, a representative of Stein Brothers, this city.

The rifles arrived at police headquarters yesterday afternoon. They will be distributed in each of the city’s three police districts in the campaign to rid the city of desperadoes.

The weapons can fire a magazine of 20 shots in a few seconds. They will be mounted in the three red bandit chasing coupes used by the district squad members. One of the coupes is now being used by Archie Reiss and Vernon Jones in South Camden, while two others are expected to be delivered within a few days, according to Chief of Police James E. Tatem. They will be assigned to Walter Smith and Joseph Carpani, First district detectives and Louis Schlam and Richard Donnelly in the East Camden district.

Swivel attachments make it possible to fire the guns from a fixed point in an automobile. Detached they may be fired from the shoulder. Besides firing a magazine of 20 shots without stopping, they can be adjusted to single fire, using .45 caliber cartridges.

Instruction in the adjustment and use of the weapons will be given today by a representative of the company that sold them- at $175 each— to the city.

Camden Courier-Post - February 6, 1928

Car of Former C.H.S. Athlete is Struck by Missile on Cooper Street
Siren Call Follows Mystery Firing in Suburb- Train's Phantom Found

Machine Gun Bullets Await "Phantom Sniper"

Camden's "Phantom Sniper" had best remain a "phantom" and avoid appearing in mortal form, for the Camden police have a new sort of weapon ready for him. Six machine guns, mounted in new bandit-chasing automobiles, have arrived and were placed in operation today by the police. The photograph shows Arthur Colsey holding one of the guns, at the right. In the background another officer is shown aiming the gun from one of the new "bandit-chasers". 





February 7, 1928

Vernon Jones


February 7, 1928

Camden Courier-Post - February 9, 1928
Screw Imbedded In Upholstery Believed Fired From Powerful Air Gun

Camden Courier-Post - February 9, 1928

South Jersey's "phantom sniper selected two prominent Camden County men as his nineteenth and twentieth targets last night and this morning. Above is the automobile in which Abe Fuhrman, jeweler, was riding yesterday when the "sniper" fired upon the car. In the foreground of the photo is shown Leon Fuhrman, son of the widely known jeweler, holding the small nickel-plated screw which was the "sniper's" missile on this occasion. At the right, above, is William H. Turnbull, prominent broker, whose Collingswood home was fired upon last night. Below is Mr. Fuhrman.

Camden Courier-Post - February 9, 1928
Police Search Proves Sniper 'Tip' Is Hoax
Watch Jasper St. House 4 Nights After Receiving Note- Detectives Flooded With Suggestions for Capture and Theories on "Ghost Bullets'

Continued from Page 1


February 9, 1928

Editorial Page


February 10, 1928

Ethan P. Wescott

Camden Courier-Post - February 11, 1928
Score Two More 'Ghost Gunner'

Within three hours yesterday afternoon, South jersey's "phantom sniper" scored two more "bullseyes" by shooting his mysterious missiles through the windshields of two motor trucks, both on South Broadway. In the left photograph, George Murphy is shown pointing to the hole which the :sniper" drilled in the heavy glass of his truck. Right is Nathan Brodsky, shown sitting in the vehicle he was driving when the "ghost gunner" fired upon him. In front of him, there is visible the hole in the windshield made by the "vanishing missile" which missed his head by inches.

Camden Courier-Post - February 11, 1928
Police Following Slender Clue of Tan auto Seen in Two Attacks Yesterday
"Look Out!" Cries Passenger But No One Is seen, Expert Tells of Fast Air Gun

Camden Courier-Post - February 13, 1928
Police Letter Written by His Enemy, Downtown Youth Insists
Courier Reporter Locates Most Sought By Police At Jasper Street Home
John Golden - Samuel Johnson - Kaighn Avenue

Camden Courier-Post - February 13, 1928
Grant Street - Mickle Street

Camden Courier-Post - February 14, 1928
Boy, Air Rifle Terrorize School
BB Shot Cracks Window and Pandemonium Reigns After Second Pellet Hit
County, City Police Divided On Sniper; Westmont has Scare

John Golden - Harry Newton - George Ward


February 16, 1928

Camden Courier-Post - February 17, 1928

Above: The Thomas Dudley School
as seen from looking southeast from High Street
February 1, 2004

Left: Miss Laura Pittenger


Camden Courier-Post - February 20, 1928

Camden Courier-Post - February 21, 1928
Bernard Bertman - William Callahan - William Rogers - Andrew Truman
Haddon Avenue -
Newton Avenue -North 10th Street
The Ghost Sniper

Camden Courier-Post - February 22, 1928
Crashes Glass of Barber Shop at No. 210- Two Boys Escape Missile
Joseph Caputi - Paul Draper
Market Street
The Ghost Sniper

Camden Courier-Post - February 23, 1928
Editorial Page


Of this much we are sure-the Phantom Sniper, whose activities have attracted attention far beyond the boundaries of Camden cannot indefinitely go on, challenging the public, and escape the consequences of his illegal actions.

Twenty-five times he has hit his mark.

Are they shots from a gun with a mysterious kind of bullet which can penetrate glass and then disappear?

Do they come from a slingshot or an air-gun!

Time after time, the glass of a windshield or a window has been penetrated, has passed into a car or a room-and still, no one has been badly hurt or killed.

Here, there, arid everywhere, the Sniper bobs up.

Whether he is a madman or a frolicker remains to be seen.

Some say-we have heard it, principally from women- that it is only an advertising scheme, something to attract attention and produce preliminary attention.

So far, the one clue established is that the Ghostly Gunner seems to travel in a tan colored car.

The one outstanding fact is that if he is crazy he should be isolated, if he is a criminal he should be in a cell-and if the whole affair is an advertising scheme, it has caused so much terror in homes in Camden and its environs that no one can ever be expected to look with friendly eyes on those who would play such a trick.

Camden Courier-Post - February 23, 1928

Gloucester Home Also Fired On By Mysterious Gunman

Reports of three more shootings credited to the phantom sniper bought the mysterious gunman's score close to the 50-mark today.

Louis Ware, who is known as the "Asparagus King of South Jersey," at midnight last night discovered a hole the size of a pencil in the rear window of his touring car when he reached the White Horse Pike, Atco, after driving over the Camden bridge from Philadelphia.

He told county detectives and taco police he had heard no gun report, had found no missile and did not know where, when, or how the shooting occurred.

Isaac Marks, 409 Market street Gloucester, reported to Police Chief Charles J. Van Meter, of that city today that someone had fired through he glass pane in a rear door of his home at 4:00 PM yesterday. Marks had left his 14-year old grandson, Robert R. Dwyer, alone in the house, he told police, and when he returned late in the evening the boy told him of hearing a crash of glass and finding a hole in the pane.

During an investigation Van Meter found a small b.b. shot inside the house.

At noon today the sniper fired a missile through the windshield of a P.RT. bus at Park Avenue and Dill Terrace, Pennsauken.

The missile struck the glass almost directly in front of Frank Hefferson, the operator. Hefferson stopped his bus and jumped out but failed to see who might have fired the shot. A search of the bus failed to produce any missile. The hole in the windshield was large enough to admit the passage of a marble. There were no passengers on the bus when the windshield was broken.

Camden Courier-Post - February 24, 1928
Police Declare Defendants Broke Windshields With Slingshots
Phantom Escapes Posse After Exciting Chase Through Town