The Cop Killer Arrested At The Polo Grounds Because He Loved Baseball
In 1926, A New York Giants fan was arrested on Opening Day after a string of serious crimes
Opening Day in baseball is a magical time of year. The first official baseball game of the season promises coming warmer weather and months of action from America’s Pastime. The special day is so sacred that it has proven hard to stay away from by some people, including Paul Emmanuel Hilton, a cop killer taken into custody while attending Opening Day at the old Polo Grounds in 1926.
The Giants opened the 1926 season on April 13th against their rival, the Brooklyn Dodgers. With a final score of 3–0, the Giants fell in large part due to Dodgers’ outfielder Zach Wheats’ three hits and a walk, and pitcher Jesse Petty’s complete game one-hit shutout (a sixth-inning double by Frankie Frisch was the only hit he yielded). It was a disappointing start to a disappointing year for New York, as the Giants finished 74–77 in fifth place.
Despite the heroics of Petty and Wheat, some of the hottest action that day took place in the stands. It was reported that detectives made a big arrest moments prior to the start of the game.
Just as he was about to get his ticket punched, detectives took 26-year-old Hilton into custody. Identified as the “radio burglar,” who had been eluding authorities for the previous several months after a number of break-ins was finally in custody. The prisoner had a record and few known local ties. He was believed to have roamed from boarding house to boarding house throughout the Bowery.
The arrest was not executed easily. The desperate man pulled a gun and was about to fire at detectives when they got the best of him by beating him with blackjacks.
When the police got to interrogate Hilton, they found their man willing to sing like a canary. In addition to 29 house burglaries he admitted committing, ion which he absconded with 14 radios, jewelry, silverware and a variety of other belongings, he also copped to by far his most significant crimes. He told police that he had shot patrolman Jacob Biegel on February 26th; patrolmen Arthur Kenny and Frank Donolly on March 25th; and detective Charles McCarthy on April 6th. All…