Officer John Blank

Sgt Benjamin GrahamPolice Officer John Blank 

On this day in Baltimore Police History 12 Feb 1934 we lost our brother Police Officer John Blank to gunfire based on the following:

Policeman Shot to Death by 3 Burglars

Newspapers of the Times Reported - Feb 12, 1934; pg. 14

Patrolman John Blank Slain in an Effort to Block the Yeggs’ Escape

Safe blowers fleet with $1200 note

Victim, with another officer, called after blast was heard

Less than five minutes to midnight last  and the time for his relief from duty, patrolman John Blank, of the northeastern district, was shot and killed by three safe blowers making their escape from the plant of H. L. Carpel, Inc., mayonnaise manufacturer, in the 1400 block of N. Central Ave.

The policeman fell fatally wounded in an alley behind the plant as Patrolman William Atkinson, who had summoned Patrolman Blank to assist him, covered the front entrance to the building.

Death Instantaneous

Patrolman Blank’s death was instantaneous, according to the Physicians at St. Joseph’s Hospital. One bullet had taken effect. It struck the policeman in the temple.

Earlier this morning, officials in the mayonnaise company said $1200 – drawn from bank to meet a payroll today – was missing from the safe.

The policeman was called to the Carpel plant by a passerby, who heard the blast which toward the door from the strong box. The safes combination has been batted off with Sledges and the charge of explosives did the rest of the work.

Officers Reached Scene

Blank and Atkinson reached the scene about the same time. Blank ran around to the rear of the building and a taxicab driver, I. H. Berman, who was cruising on Oliver Street, said he saw the Patrolman and the three men meet at the entrance of the alley.

Then, Berman said, he saw two spurts of flame, heard the reports of the pistol shots and saw Patrolman Blank slump to the ground. Berman said, He could not tell which of the three burglars fired the shots,.

Yeggs’ Run into the Alley

As the policeman fell, according to Berman, two of the men ran into Oliver Street and then turned the corner at Eden. The other fled through the alley, just as Patrolman Atkinson, who also heard the shooting, came running to his colleague’s assistance.

He found Patrolman Blank, already dead, apparently, with his pistol clutched in his hand. It had not been fired.

Burglar Kit Found

Alongside his body was a bag of burglary tools.

The policeman said they did not believe that the burglar’s new they had been detected and ran unaware in the Patrolman Blank as he started up the alley toward the rear entrance of the plant.

Miss Ruth E. Schultz, 28, who lives at 1439 North Central Ave., next to the mayonnaise plant, reported to the police that she had heard a muffled blast at 11:45 PM and that the shots were fired approximately 10 minutes later.

Forced Garage Doors

An investigation revealed that the burglars had entered the building by forcing the doors of the garage which faces on Oliver Street and communicates with the manufacturing company’s building.

Armed with a meager description which the taxi driver, Berman, was able to furnace, a general search of the city was instituted by the foot patrolman and the radio cruisers. It was only a few minutes after Patrolman Blank had been shot that the report was flashed to the 14 cruisers in all parts of the city.

Appointed in 1922 Patrolman Blank, who was 45, was appointed to the force seven December – 1922. He was stationed during all of his service in the Northeastern District. He was married and lived at 132 South Clinton St.

He was a brother of Patrolman Adam blank of the Southwestern District.


Newspapers of the Times Reported - Feb 13, 1934; pg. 18

Suspect Held in Slaying of Policeman - Officers Reveal Hunt is on for two other’s in the Crime - Gloves believed to be Clue in Killing were found - Stains on Gloves indicate one of Blank’s Murderers may have been hurt

Northeastern District Police revealed shortly after midnight last, that they were holding a suspect in the shooting death of Patrolman John Blank and were speaking to others. They refused to reveal any names.

In revealing they were holding a suspect in connection with the killing they were careful not to reveal too much but did let on that they were seeking two other men in their hunt for these murderers.

The arrest was made at approximately 5:15 pm yesterday [12 February 1934], however police refused to divulge the names of any of these wanted men. Along with the tight lips on suspect information, police were also tight lipped on the circumstances under with which the first suspect was taken down. Neither would they say whether he was believed to have taken part in the crime, or if he was the actual trigger man.

Gloves Believed Clue

Earlier in the afternoon a pair of [blood] stained gray suede gloves, believed to have been dropped in the yard nearby St. Joseph Hospital by one of the three burglars/murders who shot the officer, after looting a safe of more than $1100 had been added to the list of clues helping police in their search.

Blank was shot in the left temple as he attempted to block the escape of the robbers from the H. L. Carpel mayonnaise plant in the 1400 block N. Central Ave. According to Lieut. Elmer O’Grady, who is leading the hunt for the bandits, stains leading up the alley behind the plant indicate that one of the robbers was either injured when the safe was blown or suffered a lacerated hand from the recoil of an automatic pistol when he shot the patrolman.

Murder is Tracked

From information furnished by patrolman William Atkinson, who was guarding the front of the plant one blank was shot, police know that one of the robbers fled up the alley the Hoffman Street. It is believed that that Robber then ran up Hoffman Street to St. Joseph’s hospital, across the yard and dropped a stained glove where he scaled the Eden Street fence.

Corroboration of this theory was contained in information given police by Robert cropper, night engineer at the hospital. He told Lieut. Robert M James, who came to the hospital to investigate blank’s death, that shortly after midnight he noticed a man run across the yard and climb the eager Street fence.

Lieut. James, together with Sgt. Frederick Sullivan, trailed the footprints of the man, clearly visible in the fresh snow, depression Street, where it is thought the Robber caught a westbound streetcar. It is said that the man who was trailed was wearing new over shoes, the prints of which were the same as those found in the snow behind the plant.

Cabman Saw Shooting

According to Hesse H. Glick, a taxicab driver, who witnessed the shooting, two of the robbers ran down Oliver Street from the plant and disappeared around the corner into Eden Street, while the man who shot blank raced up the alley toward Hoffman Street.

Glick had been hailed by blank, who suspected something was wrong in the plant and wanted Glick to find another policeman, when Glick drove by the plant shortly before midnight Glick, however, was caring passengers and was told to drive on one. Returning to the plant within a few moments, he parked opposite the plants garage on Oliver Street just as two men emerged from the garage doors.

“As a hastened down Oliver Street,” Glick told police, “Blank stepped from the mouth of the alley just as they went by. They eventually saw him, because they shouted to the third man who had just emerged from the door, “lookout, Mac!” As a shouted, blank turned, pistol in hand, but just then there were two flashes of fire and blank fell to the ground.”

Neighborhood Searches

Atkinson, hearing the shots, ran to the back of the plant and found Blank lying in the mouth of the alley, apparently dead. Glick and Atkinson, in Glick’s cab, searched the neighborhood for the robbers, but found no trace of them and returned to the plant.

Glick’s description of the three men was:

The first two men were about 30 to 35 years of age and each was 5 feet 7 to 5’8” tall and weighed about 170 pounds. Both wore dark close. The third man [the one who shot Blank] is of the same description, except that he was better dressed and wore a brown overcoat and dark slouched hat and had a fair complexion.

Searching up the alley of the plant soon after the shooting, Atkinson found a brown canvas zipper bag containing numerous tools, including a heavy maul which police believe was used to beat the combination dial from the safe before inserting the explosives.

Police also reveal that the Hunt is on for two other men in the crime

The bag, which the Robber who shot Blank eventually dropped as he fled up the alley, also contained several electric batteries and a coil of wire.

Although the tools in the bag and safe were examined for fingerprints none were found, police said. Footprints on Oliver Street and in the alley revealed is that all three robbers were wearing new overshoes, with the trademark clearly discernible.

An autopsy was performed on Blank early yesterday to find the bullet which entered his brain. According to ballistics expert, the bullet was found to be a steel nose slaughtered which was fired from a .38-caliber pistol.

Three Detectives assigned to the case by Detective Capt. John H. Mintiens, of the Detective Bureau, busy yesterday and last night to all of the robbery. Sgt. Frederick. Hardbourn, Sgt. Benjamin Busky and Sgt. William Feehly, for the detectives assigned by Capt. Mintiens. Three plainclothes policeman, Sgt., Thomas O’Leary, Patrolman Edward Deal and William Atkinson were working on the case under the leadership of the tenant O’Grady. All are of the Northeastern District.

Descriptions of the three men involved in the robbery and sent to police departments other cities. Yesterday checking all know underworld hangouts.

As we take this time to remember Officer John Blank and thank him for his service and sacrifice. We his brothers and sisters of the Baltimore Police Department want him to know will not let him be forgotten. God Bless and rest in Peace.

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More details

End of Watch 12 February, 1934
City, St. 1400 blk North Central Ave.
Panel Number 11-W: 16
Cause of Death Gunfire
Weapon - Handgun
District Worked Northeastern


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