Arvada Police News from 1959

 

In 1959, Arvada's population was about 19,000 people.  Front page news included such important things as a beard growing contest, the Arvada Harvest Festival, and any and all vehicle accidents, no matter how minor. 

Police activity was relatively minor, with occasional excitement.  Below are some of the highlights of police news from the front page of The Arvada Enterprise newspaper, which was published weekly.

January 1, 1959:  Two Youths Suspected of Phone Thefts

A series of local telephone booth robberies may have been solved by the Arvada police with the arrest early Sunday morning of two Denver youths in west Arvada.

Arvada police received a call around 3:00 Sunday morning that two youths were in the phone booth at the Wheat Ridge dairy at West 58th Avenue and Independence Street.  When police arrived they found the phone torn loose from the booth, but the youths were missing.

Arvada Police Sergeant Fred Wilson and Patrolman William Griffith stopped a car containing the two youths, one 16 and one 17, as it drove out of the Safeway lot onto Brooks drive.

Police are trying to link the pair with a series of five telephone booth robbers which occurred in Arvada on December 16 (1958).  Money was taken from the phones in all five of these thefts.

February 19, 1959:  14-Year-Old Robbery Suspect Pulls Gun on Arvada Police

Arvada Patrolman Robert Beghtol had a few anxious moments early Monday morning when a 14-year-old hoodlum aimed a .22 pistol at him and threatened to shoot him.

Beghtol, along with Police Sergeant Jack McGraw, was beginning to search the youth’s car when the boy, who lives in Denver, grabbed the gun from under the car’s dashboard, pointed it at Beghtol and stated, “that is far enough, brother.”  The boy quickly changed his mind, however, and handed the gun over to the policeman.

Earlier in the evening Beghtol had spotted the boy, along with Alvin Bachman, 19, of 5483 Sheridan boulevard, trying to get gasoline from the pumps of a service station at Webster street and West Fifty-seventh avenue.  When the two youths saw the police car approaching, they drove off.

Beghtol radioed a description of the car to the other Arvada patrol cars and Patrolman Dave Greeno stopped the youths a short time later.

They were taken to police headquarters for questioning. During questioning, the 14-year-old boy confessed to stealing 500 to 600 tires in the Lakewood and Wheat Ridge area.

Bachman has been in trouble with the local police before, having been involved in a local rape case. 

May 7, 1959:  Policeman is Badly Burned

Arvada Police Sergeant Fred I. Wilson is in St. Anthony hospital this week suffering first, second, and third degree burns over most of his body as the result of an explosion and flash fire at the Arvada Police headquarters early Monday morning.

Sgt. Wilson’s condition was reported as satisfactory Wednesday.

Reports of the accident indicate that Wilson was using gasoline to clean wax from the floor in the police offices.  Apparently the gasoline fumes were ignited by a pilot light on a water heater in the room, causing an explosion and fire.

Damage to the building and fixtures was estimated at $250.

Police Dispatcher Mrs. Joyce Johnson was at her desk in the front of the building at the time of the accident, but was uninjured.

June 25, 1959:  Policemen Chase Two Deer Out of Town After Meal on Roses

Three Arvada policemen went deer hunting early Thursday morning but came back empty-handed—succeeding only in running their quarry out of the city.

The hunt began shortly after midnight on Thursday when Paul Johnson of 8100 Grandview avenue, called police headquarters and complained that two deer were busy eating on his roses.

Assistant Chief of Police Doug Wilkie and Patrolmen E. H. Brentman and Ray Hansen answered the call and began stalking the animals.  They finally found the two deer at West Fifty-second avenue and Allison street, but could not capture them.

When last seen, the animals were heading south of Arvada in the vicinity of Fifty-second and Carr street as fast as their graceful legs could carry them.

August 27, 1959:  Cops Turn Mermaid:  Arvada Police Organize New Underwater Unit for Rescues

An underwater rescue unit has been formed by the Arvada police department under the direction of Assistant Chief of Police Gene D. Wilkie.

Five members of the department, besides Wilkie, comprise the unit.  Other members are Sergeant Fred Wilson and Patrol Officers Robert Beghtol, Dave Greeno, William Griffith, and Ray Hansen.

The Arvada Rotary club has purchased four oxygen tanks, two regulators, two masks, two sets of flippers, and depth gauge.  Wilkie stated that the unit is still in need of an air compressor and rubber suits to meet winter emergencies.

The police have been training for the past several weeks in swimming and conditioning.  With the arrival of the skin diving gear last week, each man has had about four to five hours of underwater training.

The unit will be available to meet all underwater emergencies that might arise in the Arvada area.

Note:  Arvada Police Department's first line-of-duty death was one of the members of the Dive Team.  Officer Robert Beghtol, age 26, drowned in Lake Arbor in July, 1961 during a training exercise.  See the Fallen Officer Memorial Page at http://arvadapd.org/about-arvadapd/fallen-officers-memorial-page/

 

September 24, 1959:  Chief is No Match:  13-Year-Old Burglary Suspect Gives Police Merry Chase

A 13-year-old Arvada boy, suspect of committing several local robberies, led Arvada police on a merry chase last Thursday afternoon before being captured.

The boy had been picked up at the Arvada junior high school Thursday morning for questioning about an apartment house robbery. 

At noon the interrogating officers went to lunch and left the youth in the car of the radio dispatcher.  The boy asked to go to the bathroom and was given permission. However, instead of going to the bathroom, the youth fled out the back door of the police station.

He was finally reported to police trying to enter a house at 6220 Wadsworth boulevard.  Chief of Police Leonard Smith answered the call, but the youth soon outran the officer.  Smith then called for assistance and area was combed by police officers.

The boy was finally captured along Ralston creek, just west of Pierce street.

After further questioning, it was discovered that the boy was on probation from the Denver juvenile courts.  He had been involved in a shoplifting case at the Lakeside Shopping center and admitted taking some $50 from the pocketbooks of his parents in a three-month period.

The youth was turned over to the custody of his mother pending further action on the case by Denver court officials.

September 24, 1959:  Arvada Police Get Two New Chevrolets

The Arvada police received two new 1959 Chevrolets this week.

The two vehicles, one a station wagon, will replace two older cars of the department and maintain the four-car patrol services of the department.

The station wagon will be used as a patrol car, being driven by the Sergeant or officer in charge of each shift.  It will also be fitted out as an emergency vehicle and ambulance.

The new cars were purchased from the Craig Chevrolet company of Arvada.

December 10, 1959:  Jewelry Store Pane Broken by Robbers

Arvada police Wednesday were investigating an act of burglary at the Bob Moline Jewelry store, 5648 Wadsworth boulevard.  The larceny was committed sometime between 11:15 p.m. Tuesday night and 7:32 a.m.; the following morning.

A portion of the side window near the entrance was broken, apparently with some blunt instrument, making a hole large enough for someone to reach into the window and remove objects of jewelry on display.

Moline stated all that was missing was a lady’s watch in a case.  Twelve other watches in the window were untouched.

The broken window was discovered at 7:32 a.m. by Maurice Johnson, local real estate and insurance dealer, as he walked by the building.

Arvada police sergeant Fred Wilson and patrolman Dave Greeno investigated the scene, reporting no fingerprints were discovered.

December 10, 1959:  Seven Persons Injured in Two Auto Accidents Over Weekend

Seven person were injured, one seriously, in two separate accidents near Arvada over the weekend.  Three of the seven were hospitalized and the others treated by a local doctor and released, after being involved in accidents that left both cars totally demolished.

The first of the accidents occurred about 12:55 a.m. Sunday morning.  A car, driven by Andres Rendon, 20, 662 South Meade street, left Highway 72 as he was rounding a curve 100 feet west of Miller street.  The vehicle struck and broke off two highway guard posts, went over a six foot embankment, turned over two and a fourth times, traveling a distance of 283 feet after leaving the road.

Rendon and his passenger, David D. Romero, 20, Denver, were thrown clear of the car.  The driver suffered a fractured right leg, lacerations, and dislocated left ankle.  Romero’s injuries included a double fracture of the left leg and head lacerations.

Arvada police sergeant Fred Wilson investigated the accident.  The men were taken to St. Anthony and Mercy hospitals.

The second accident, similar in nature, happened about 9:20 pm Sunday on Oberon road.  Six persons were in the car being driven by Robert Francis Blair, 19, 5044 Alcott street.

According to R. Roy Hansen, Arvada patrolman who investigated, Blair was traveling south on Oberon road at an excessive rate of speed.  He lost control of the car which swung to the right, skidded for 150 feet prior to going over a ten foot embankment.  The car rolled over, injuring five of the six passengers.