Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Holdup Men Menace Bel-Air Hotel Guests

April 13, 1947
Bel Air

A pair of snazzy robbers in sports coats, shades and gloves shook down the Bel-Air Hotel's lobby at gunpoint yesterday morning, divesting the hotel and five guests of nearly $2400 in cash.

The theft began when the two men crossed the hotel's bridged moat and accosted bellhop Charles Berg, showing their weapons and demanding to see the manager. The pair vaulted the counter and held employees hostage as they ransacked the office. While stuffing the $1500 take from the till into a laundry sack, the shorter of the men sighed to his associate, "Well, Joe, this haul isn't a very hot deal."

They then turned their attention to the guests in the lobby, relieving Richard L. Casselman (of 15905 Chase Street, San Fernando) of $18, B. Charles Gould (650 Ocean Ave., Brooklyn) of $250, Paul Payette (414 St. James Place, Montreal) of $540, Davis H. Hannah ( 11024 Strathmore Street) of $40 and Charles Carroll (231 N. Oxford Street) of $20.

Bellhop Berg told police that he recognized at least one of men, and the hotel guests said they would be able to indentify their assailants.

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