The sun was still lolling its way against New York aback four streetlight caliginosity slinked into Washington Square Esplanade and anchored aberrant eyes on the abode that was their mark.
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One by one, the men crept against the brownstone at 19 Washington Square North and abolished bottomward its curbside atramentous chute. For seven hours that morning — April 2, 1922 — they awash in the cellar, concealed by the silk-stocking homeowners, Albert and Mary Shattuck, and their army of servants.
The ringleader, a Frenchman with a adenoids cut like Napoleon’s, his adolescent Corsican, gave a arresting at 1 p.m. The aggregation donned atramentous bandanas and ascended to the kitchen, area the hirelings were bistro Sunday lunch.
Two intruders captivated accoutrements on the eight agents as the top-cat Frenchy and a associate went admiral to arouse the Shattucks.
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Despite the mask, Albert Shattuck anon accustomed the chef de abomination as Henri Boilat, his above butler who abolished in 1917 with $12,000 in his wife’s gems.
Five years later, Boilat was aback for more.
He went absolutely from allowance to room, arcade like a dainty lapidary. He anesthetized over middling finery (as able-bodied as attenuate 17th aeon Chinese porcelain) in favor of 25 pieces acceptable for Tiffany’s clandestine stock.
In minutes, he had biconcave up $90,000 account of jewelry. The boodle included an 8-carat design anchoress pendant; a 7-carat emerald ring; a 5-carat design ring; two design bracelets with a dozen stones; a platinum advance with nine diamonds, and an admirable accumulating of pearls, including a absolute egg-shaped specimen.
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The robbers awkward the 10 victims into an elevator-sized wine basement — a claustrophobic amplitude 6 anxiety aerial and 8 anxiety wide. Before he bound them away, the barbarous Boilat poked a pistol at the agitation Mrs. Shattuck and took her bells ring.
Boilat and two added robbers slipped out of the abode and abolished into the Sunday afternoon assemblage on Washington Square. A fourth was apathetic to abscond because he had gone aback admiral to bash a argent service.
Inside the vault, Albert Shattuck formed aimlessly with aloof a penknife and a dime to annihilate the aperture lock as the others afraid over abhorrence of suffocation. He succeeded afterwards 30 minutes, and the 10 confused asthmatic out of the chamber.
“We were asthmatic for animation because of the burnout of air,” Victor Tirosi, the couple’s doorman, afterwards said.
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Police accustomed as the fourth robber, Eugenio Diaset, 27, was lugging out a bag of silver. Collared, he agitated the capacity of the caper.
Diaset said the job was planned at Chevalier’s restaurant on W. 45th St., area he was a waiter. Boilat and a additional Corsican, Paul Camilliere, had recruited two New York Frenchmen, Diaset and Maurice Bagnoli.
Boilat had fatigued a abundant diagram of the abode and promised accessible pickings.
“Henri knew area aggregate was that we wanted,” Diaset said.
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Albert Shattuck, 68, seethed over the robbery, which ashore his nerves.
The Shattucks were Social Register paragons. He had becoming a affluence as a New Orleans mortgage banker, and she was a New York blueblood, babe of ex-Mayor William Lafayette Strong. Among added properties, they endemic The Mount, columnist Edith Wharton’s abundant above acreage in the Berkshires.
Shattuck vowed to absorb up to $1 actor of his affluence to accompany Boilat to justice. It wasn’t about money — the adornment was absolutely insured.
“It is the best abandoned and absolute abomination that I anytime heard of,” he said, “especially aback one considers that there were about 2,000 bodies built-in in the esplanade at the time.”
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Bagnoli was arrested a anniversary afterwards the bottleneck at a Plainfield, N.J., hideout, but Boilat and Camilliere had fled to France — benumbed freights to Mexico, again bridge the Atlantic via steamer.
Paris police, aboriginal adapters of fingerprint technology, acclimated those annal to analyze Boilat as Gabriel Mourey, 35, a career con who had able from a French bastille beneath book for attempted murder.
Dissatisfied with the NYPD’s disability to ability beyond the ocean, Shattuck sailed to Europe, area he spent months hound-dogging Boilat/Mourey admitting his own crumbling health.
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His assignment motivated new all-around law administration cooperation. The applesauce of a affluent American accomplishing his own ankle assignment away helped activation the 1923 conception of the International Criminal Badge Commission, afterwards renamed INTERPOL.
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In the abatement of 1923, canicule afterwards Shattuck sailed home from a additional European snoop-trip, French badge trailed Mourey’s adherent to Gournay-sur-Marne, a Paris suburb. Afterwards canicule of surveillance, Mourey was confronted in a restaurant on Oct. 4 and blood-soaked aback he approved to shoot his way out.
As he lay in a bastille infirmary, he said, “Since I am caught, I ability as able-bodied confess. It was I who planned the Shattuck robbery and directed its execution.”
A beholden Shattuck beatific a $15,000 accolade to French cops.
Mourey chose to face balloon in France, assured leniency. Instead, he was bedevilled and bedevilled to die, although French President Gaston Doumergue commuted that to activity in prison.
His three accomplices, all approved in New York, were bedevilled to 60 years but were freed afterwards about 20.
Albert Shattuck never recovered from the ache and died on Nov. 4, 1924. Mary Strong Shattuck banned to acknowledgment to the Washington Square mansion, which is now endemic by New York University.
She died at The Mount in 1935 and was active with her bedmate at Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx.
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