The Kidnapper

Patrick Crowe witness in Roach Divorce 3

Roach Divorce 3 continues this time with an infamous kidnapper as a witness!

Patrick Crow was a handsome man with a square jaw and fine features except for a crooked nose that he had from being hit.  He carried himself with an erect posture and dressed well.  He was the stereotypic romantic criminal. His problems with the Cudahy family began in South Omaha when Crowe at the age of 17 opened a Butcher Shop.  Cudahy opened a Butcher Shop near by that underpriced Crowe’s shop and drove it out of business.  He told all his friends that he would make Cudahy pay someday.  Crowe then went to work for the Cudahy Butcher Shop and was fired for stealing. 

He decided to open a new Butcher Shop in a different part of Omaha.  He took $750 and headed to Chicago to buy equipment.  He stopped at Swede Annie’s for some adult entertainment and woke up hung over with no money.  He stole from the brothel and the patrons to make up for it.  He was arrested, after a gun fight with the police, while he was in the process of pawning the jewelry he had stolen and was tried and convicted to six years in Joliet Prison.  He wrote a letter to the governor and was pardoned and released after 17 months.  This is just one of the more colorful examples of his life of crime.  He was known as both a train robber and a bank robber.  He also went under the alias of Frank Roberts. 

Pat Crowe was famous or rather infamous for the Cudahy kidnapping.  December 18, 1900, Pat Crowe kidnapped 16-year-old Eddie Cudahy.  Eddie’s father Edward Sr., was the wealthy owner of the Cudahy Packing Company in Omaha, NE.  Edward Sr.  Cudahy closed his plant and soon 7,000 people were searching for Eddie.  At 9:00 am he received a phone call asking him to search his front yard, where his coachman found the ransom note.  

Mr. Cudahy: We have kidnapped your child and demand $25,000 ($750,000.00 in today’s money) for his safe return. If you give us the money he will return as safe as when you last saw him, but if you refuse, we will put acid in his eyes and blind him… Get the money all in gold, 5, 10 and 20 (dollar) pieces… Get in your buggy alone on the night of December 19 at 7 o’clock p.m. Follow the paved road toward Fremont. When you come to a lantern…by the side of the road, place the money by the lantern and immediately turn your horse around and return home. Cudahy, you are up against it, and there is only one way out – give up the coin. Money, we want and money we will get. If you don’t give up…you can lead your boy blind the rest of your days. 

At 7:00 on the night of the 19th, Cudahy alone arrived at the lantern, which was located near the Little Papio Creek. He left the money along with a note in reply to the captors. He returned to the Cudahy mansion at 9:30 pm. Eddie Jr. returned home at 1:00 am, unharmed. 

Cudahy placed a $25,000.00 reward for the capture of Crowe and the city of Omaha doubled it.  Crowe led the police and the Pinkerton Detective Agency on a five-year pursuit.  During this time Crowe was reported to have been seen all over the United States and the world, and sent many letters to the police investigators. Thousands of Wanted Posters were sent out. 

In 1905 Crowe was arrested in Butte, Montana.  Crowe went on trial for Grand Larceny as there were no laws on the books for kidnapping of anyone over the age of 10.  On St. Patrick’s Day, 1906, after seventeen hours of deliberation, Crowe was found not guilty.

This crime became famous for a variety of reasons.  There were no laws on the books at that time dealing with kidnapping of people over the age of 10.  Immediately, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, and Illinois passed new laws against kidnapping including the death penalty.  The whole country also debated as to whether Cudahy senior should have paid the ransom, it was felt that it would encourage more kidnappings. 

Pat then took up the Burlesque circuit lecturing about his life of crime.  While that proved entertaining to the crowds for a little bit, the crowds soon thinned, and Crowe took to the bottle. 

Back to the divorce trial…

 Mary took the stand and gave a description of a trip that Freddie took Danvers, Illinois with Pat Crowe for a drink cure.  According to Mary the two were drunk most of the time. 

Pat Crowe, the renowned kidnapper was called to the stand.  The court room had to be quieted from the laughter when he announced his profession as a magazine writer.  Crowe admitted that he had been on the joy ride to Danvers and Peoria and was quickly dismissed. 

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