Denver Times, July 1, 1901
ARMSTRONG WILL PROSECUTE
Blonger, Head of Bunco Gang, Will Be Prosecuted.
"Lou" Blonger, the recognized leader of the gang of bunco men who fleece their victims at the Good block, thought he would be immune from arrest if he returned to G. Ritter the $250 he secured from him Saturday morning. Chief Armstrong, however, sent for Blonger and ordered his arrest, Ritter swearing out the complaint before Justice Hynes.
Ritter and his traveling companion, F. Bruckner, left the city yesterday afternoon, and the principal witness against Blonger will be Chief Armstrong, whose testimony will be what Ritter told him in the presence of Blonger.
Ritter, who is said to be a millionaire and proprietor of the Astor house at Tien-Tsin, China, is traveling the globe with Bruckner.
About a half dozen of Blonger's set are under bonds to appear at the county court on the charge of vagrancy. They were merely arrested by the county officials to prevent Chief Armstrong from running them out of town.
Denver Times, July 14, 1901
BLONGER IN A STEW
Crack Bunco Man Will Be Rearrested Tomorrow.
HE WORKED A BRITISHER
But the Traveler Had "Brawses" on His Trunk and Sped Along After Blonger Had Been Made to Cough Up.
A new complaint will be filed tomorrow by the district attorney against Lou Blonger, the head of a coterie of confidence [men?]. Blonger was arrested last week on a complaint signed by George Ritter, who charged him with enticing him into a brace poker game and swindling him out of $300. Justice Rice was aroused from his slumbers at 2 o'clock by Ritter and an officer, and a warrant secured for Blonger.
Ritter is an English tourist on his way around the world. His ticket was limited and his baggage all "brassed," so he would not linger in Denver to prosecute. He is now on his way to China and Chief Armstrong is the only prosecuting witness to be relied upon. Armstrong made Blonger return the money to Ritter, but Blonger claimed that Ritter lost the money on a hand which he dealt himself. Ritter admitted this. Blonger claimed that the Englishman lost about $8, then helped himself to a hand which he thought was a "cinch." He had no more money, but sent a messenger to his hotel for a roll. While they waited for the cash Blonger and Ritter each held on to his respective hand, the other players having dropped out. When the cash was in the center, of course Blonger had the winning hand.
Assistant District Attorney Sanborn found that the complaint drawn in the middle of the night was defective, and asked that the case against Blonger be continued. Chief Armstrong will tomorrow have the district attorney draw a new complaint.
"I am not sure that we can convict Blonger without Ritter," said District Attorney Lindsley yesterday. "But I shall not allow him to get off on a legal technicality. It is up to Chief Armstrong now, for his is the only evidence upon which we can depend. If that is strong enough, Blonger will be convicted. The case will not be dropped, but pushed for what it is worth, although I am doubtful about it because the man who was buncoed is not here to testify. He left town two days before the case was even presented to me."
Denver Republican, July 17, 1901
"LOU" BLONGER IS WHITEWASHED
Bunco Man Who Returned His Victim's Money Discharged.
"Insufficient Evidence to convict," is the reason advanced by the police and district attorney's office for the discharge of "Lou" Blonger, who was tried yesterday in Magistrate Rice's court on a charge of obtaining money fraudulently by means of a confidence game.
When the case was called yesterday forenoon Blonger was in court smiling contentedly. Deputy District Attorney Sanborn called Captain of Detectives Michael Delaney to the stand to testify to statements George Ritter, who was Blonger's victim had made charging Blonger with robbing him. Delaney's evasive and evident unwilling testimony satisfactorily whitewashed Blonger and gave him a character for philanthropy which the district attorney passively accepted.
What the Evidence Showed.
When the court had finished taking testimony the only conclusion Magistrate Rice could come to was that Ritter and Blonger played a little game poker and that at the termination of the game Ritter had lost $275. Delaney testified that Ritter had told him that the cards were dealt by him and when he looked at his hand he saw it was a good one. He accordingly sent a friend to the St. James hotel to raise all the money he could borrow to bet on the hand. The cards were turned face down on the table, and when the friend returned with the money the bet was made. Of course Blonger had the better hand.
The events leading up to the card game were not introduced nor was there any attempt to have them brought in. Chief of Police Armstrong, who had loudly stated that he would be present and testify against Blonger was conspicuously absent. No mention was made of the chance meeting between Ritter and the confederates of Blonger and the admission to the room in the Good block by means of the peculiar raps on the door. Another inconsistency that remained unexplained was Blonger's arrest and the return of the money to Ritter. The whole proceeding was a studious effort to whitewash Blonger and give him a character and license to continue to prey on unsuspecting travelers.
The claims of the police department, from the president of the fire and police board down to the latest appointee to the force, that determined efforts are being made to clean the city of the preying classes are all swept away when confronted with the facts as they exist. Less than a week ago President Adams of the board gave out the statement that the county court and its forces were interfering with the police.
Adams Ignorant or Worse.
"As fast as the police arrest these bunco men," said Mr. Adams, "they turn them over to the county court, which releases them on bond. We are then powerless to drive them from the city, as they are compelled to remain here for trial."
This statement of President Adams shows a woeful ignorance of the true conditions of affairs or else, and worse, that he made a deliberate attempt to fool people and at the same time shift responsibility from his own to innocent shoulders. The five alleged bunco men to whom Mr. Adams had referred are only a small part of the crooks that are now working in town. They were arrested last May and released on Bond, bu subsequently were ordered out of town by Chief Armstrong. According to Armstrong, they went. Monday District Attorney Lindsley appeared in the county court and had the cases set for hearing on the next Friday. Yesterday he was told by Chief of Police Armstrong that he need not bother about these men, as they had left town. Mr. Lindsley then communicated with Mr. Adams and wanted to know what disposition of the cases was desired.
"If you want them brought back and tried," said Mr. Lindsley, "I will send after them and fetch them here."
Bond-Jumping on Order.
Mr. Adams referred the district attorney to Chief of Police Armstrong, telling him to do whatever circumstances recommended. Armstrong decided it to be the better plan to have the cases against the men nollied (sic) this will be done. The fact that the men were out on $300 bonds each, and that their bondsman is personally liable for $1,500, is lost sight of by the district attorney, who intimated that since Armstrong had told the men to leave town, and they went, the bondsman was thus relieved of all responsibility.
The transactions show a painful state of confusion and lack of harmony between the different offices to which are entrusted the detection and punishment of criminals.