Look Back: Police face mishaps, mystery

New Replaces Old as City Police Servant

An “old” 1936 model Plymouth sedan which has completed 70,000 miles of faithful day and night service in the police department probably will be replaced today by a new 1937 model Plymouth deluxe 4-door sedan, recently purchased by the city, it was disclosed last evening at police headquarters.

The old sedan which is being “retired” from service as a police cruiser, met its successor yesterday, at the municipal garage, where mechanics performed a double “operation,” it was reported. The operation consisted mainly of removing the police radio receiving set from the old cruiser and transferring it to the new machine.

The city, it was said, received “trade in value” which was applied as part payment for the new cruiser car.

Two other automobiles, a 1937 model Ford sedan, and a 1932 model Dodge sedan, will remain in service temporarily, it was understood.

The older of the two latter mentioned machines is regarded as old standby in the department, and has not been placed on the retirement list despite the fact it has been a patient in the auto hospitals upon numerous occasions.


Man Falls From Roof — Thinks He Fell Into River

Roy Brown, aged about 25, who gave his address as Birch River, W.Va., was taken to Camden Clark Memorial Hospital for treatment and then to the city lockup after he fell from the roof of the Salvation Army headquarters shortly after midnight Sunday morning.

Brown, “dazed and drunk,” according to officers, suffered a nasty laceration on the top of his head, and was booked on charges of drunkenness and investigation.

Arresting officers said they did not learn the defendant’s reason for having climbed upon the roof, but believe he had intended to enter an upstairs window of the building.

Police learned that a girl who was sitting and reading in an upstairs room heard a noise and looked out the window to find “a man” (Brown) staring at her. The girl told police Brown “probably became scared” when she looked at him and turned around to run and fell from the roof to the ground, 15 or 20 feet below.

The defendant, who apparently had been out in Saturday night’s heavy rains, said he was unable to understand why he was being held by police.

“I must have fell in the river!” he insisted, as he gingerly felt his scalp wound.

Several times he made unintelligible remarks to the effect:

“You guys are full of prunes if you think you’re gonna pin a murder wrap on me. I’m an innocent man.” Once he removed his shirt, indicating that he would welcome a fight. Police ignored the challenge.

Police frequently reminded him he wasn’t being charged with murder, but their words failed to register upon the consciousness of the defendant.

The Parkersburg News

Sept. 11, 1937


Shadow Active Again Friday

The elusive night prowling “shadow,” whom police have sought for weeks, was active again early Friday morning when residents reported a prowler at several homes in the vicinity of Quincy street. Cruiser car operators were summoned to 835 Quincy street where prowlers were seen to attempt to pilfer cars. It was also reported that an attempt had been made to steal a parked truck. Within a few minutes police were called to an apartment at Thirteenth and One-Half streets where a prowler was seen.

A prowler was also reported near the St. Joseph’s hospital nurses; home recently.

Whether the “shadow,” the notorious shoeless terrorizer was the same person in each case, police were unable to say.

The Parkersburg News

May 7, 1938


The tale of “the Shadow” will continue …


Bob Enoch is president of the Wood County Historical and Preservation Society. If you have comments or questions about Look Back items, please contact him at: roberteenoch@gmail.com, or by mail at WCHPS, PO Box 565, Parkersburg, WV 26102.


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