Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Submariner Arrested in "Roarin' Twenties" Copper Theft

Los Angeles Times, July 14, 1923

Arrest Three as Navy Theft Ring Plotters

What is believed to have been a scheme to dispose of large quantities of material at Los Angeles Harbor naval base was checked yesterday by the arrest of three men. Walter Brooks and O.L. Martin were arrested by Detective Lieutenants Allen and Graf, and E.E. Reeder, chief petty officer on the submarine S-3, was arrested at Mare Island, San Francisco.

Detectives said that ten 100-foot lengths of ninety-one-strand copper wire already had been sold to the value of $4000, and that two 1500-pound propellers, taken from German submarines, had been removed for sale.

The investigation, which has been underway for several weeks, is said to have implicated several petty officers and other employees at the naval base. More arrests are expected.
The souvenir shown above sold for up to $400 on Ebay. The well-illustrated story of the UB 88, California's Lost Submarine is told here, excerpt:

UB 88 was one of six U-boats handed over to the United States by Great Britain after the surrender of the German High Seas Fleet. This small group of Uboats had a dual mission: educate the U. S. Navy about technological innovations achieved by the Imperial Navy in submarine development and serve as a publicity vehicle for the U. S. Government’s efforts to fund its war deficit through the issuance of Victory Bonds. ... Forty-five cities were visited, and over 400,000 visitors were shown through the boat. She was laid up for the next four months before being dismantled and decommissioned.

Submarines are always silent and strange.



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