Universal York

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Safe Crackers in Red Lion and Dallastown

One hundred and ten years ago an article on the front page of the Gazette starts out: “A gang of burglars raided the post offices at Dallastown and Red Lion sometime Monday night and succeeded in making a fairly good haul.”
The first robbery was in Red Lion. The article states: “About 12 o’clock that night [Monday] a number of residents in the vicinity of the post office were awakened by the noise of an explosion. A family named Spangler residing in the office building, on hearing the explosion made an investigation of every room but the post office, and finding everything all right, retired to bed. At Hildebrand’s hotel on the opposite side of the street the explosion awakened occupants of the house.”
It goes on to say that:

“[The next] morning when Postmaster Smith opened the office he discovered the cause of the explosion. The door of the safe had been blown open with dynamite and badly shattered.
After the Red Lion robbery, it is supposed the robbers walked to Dallastown. Between 1 and 2 o’clock several Dallastown residents heard an explosion, but it was not loud enough to cause much alarm. The robbery was not discovered until morning when the [post] office was opened. The robbers entered by forcing open the back door. The knob of the safe door was forced off and dynamite inserted. The cracks around the doors and windows were stuffed with tobacco to muffle the sound of the explosion and the safe was then cracked and rifled.”
The article also reports that there were tools stolen the same night from Shenberger’s blacksmith shop in Yoe, and surmises that those tools, including two chisels left behind at the scene in Dallastown were used in the burglaries.
Where else but in York County would burglars have muffled sound with tobacco?