Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Eddie Cudahy and Pat Crowe

A Suspect Surfaces

Three days after the kidnapping, the World-Herald managed another scoop when it reported that police were eyeing a possible suspect--Pat Crowe, known to police from Chicago to the Ozarks. Cops got a tip from a crime cohort of Crowe who said he had listened to the former Omahan describe a kidnapping as his get-rich-quick fantasy.

Cops showed photos and sketches to witnesses at the livery stable and near the rented house. Each agreed that Pat Crowe was the man.

He was not easy to forget.

His personal carriage, dress and style set him apart from the hunched, rumpled and beleaguered immigrant masses trudging about Omaha.

Pat Crowe
Pat Crowe
Crowe was a physical specimen. He carried himself with erect posture. He was handsome, with a square jaw and fine features, except for a bent nose from a well-aimed punch or two. His dark eyes flashed and gleamed, like that of a romantic criminal type, as one writer put it. He wore fine clothes and favored well-trimmed but stylishly long hair.

Crowe was born in 1869 on a farm near Vail, Iowa, 60 miles northeast of Omaha. He moved to Omaha at age 16 and married Harriet (Hattie) Murphy in 1888, while still just 18. They had three children who died in infancy, and the couple drifted apart.

Crowe and a partner opened a butcher shop in South Omaha, but the business went under. Crowe blamed Cudahy Sr. for driving him out of business by opening a butcher shop that undercut his prices.

He swallowed his pride and went to work at the Cudahy shop but he was fired for stealing from the till. Crowe left the job muttering, Ill make you pay for this someday.

Crowe took a train to Chicago to buy equipment for a new butcher shop he planned in Davenport, Iowa. With $750 in his pocket, he stopped for adult company at a Windy City whorehouse, Swede Annies. After an all-night bacchanal, he awoke with a hangover and no money. He retaliated by robbing the brothel and its customers of some $7,000 in cash and jewels.

Police caught up with him while he was pawning the jewels. He shot and wounded a Chicago policeman, and was arrested, charged, tried, convicted and sentenced to six years in Joliet state prison.

Patrick Crowe in court
Patrick Crowe in court
Crowe wrote a sob-story letter to an Omaha senator, John Thurston, swearing that he was reformed and would never break a law again. Thurston called on Illinois officials to show mercy, and Gov. Joseph Fifer pardoned Crowe after 17 months.

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