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Employe Of Store Arrested After Robbery Attempt

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Employe Of Store Arrested After Robbery Attempt

Thom McAn Shoe Manager Slugged But Effort Fails

Russell Cleavinger Will Face Charge Of Assault With Intent To Rob

Russell Cleavinger, 20 years old, 112 W. Jefferson St., the assistant manager of the Thom McAn shoe store at 215 S. Main St., was being held in jail here today by police on a charge of slugging the manager with a club in an unsuccessful attempt to rob the store.

The manager, Marlin Prindle, 29, of 1714 Abbott St., suffered a severe gash on the head but was released yesterday following treatment at St. Joseph's Mercy hospital.

Mr. Prindle was slugged when he investigated a noise in the back room of the store about 6:20 Saturday night while alone during Cleavinger's dinner hour. Although badly dazed and bleeding from his wound, he managed to stagger out into the street and call to Patrolman Henry Murray.

Light Unloosened

The manager had been unable to identify his assailant because, as police afterwards determined, the light bulb had been loosened in the socket and failed to turn on when Mr. Prindle snapped the switch as he entered the back room.

However, the officers were suspicious that it was an "inside job" for several reasons. A panel had been smashed in the back door, but the splinters were on the outside, indicating the blow had been struck from the inside; and the door paneling had not been smashed in such a manner as to have permitted an outsider to reach through and remove two safety bars.

Under questioning Cleavinger confessed that he had smashed the panel, unbarred and unlocked the back door and loosened the light bulb while Mr. Prindle was out for dinner. Upon the manager's return, Cleavinger, according to his confession, left for his own dinner, but re-entered the store through the alley door and made a noise to attract Mr. Prindle's attention.

Re-Enters Store

Cleavinger said he had planned to knock Mr. Prindle unconscious at loot the cash register, but when the latter staggered back through the store, he started to leave by the alley door. However, fearing he might be identified by two men he saw in the alley, he said he re-entered the store from the back room and later pretended he had returned through the front door to get his cigarets just as the attack occurred.

Cleavinger, who had worked at the store for four months, said he had planned the robbery, intending to make it appear as thought it was committed by a burglar, during the afternoon "because he had been hard pressed for money." He will be arraigned later on a charge of assault with intent to rob, Chief Norman E. Cook said.

Officers taking part in the investigation and quick solution of the attempted robbery were Chief Cook, Detective Sgt. Eugene J. Gehringer, Sgt. Sherman H. Mortenson, Detective Albert E. Heusel and Patrolmen Rolland J. Gainsley, Walter Schmid, Joseph Huizenga and Henry Murray. Mr. Prindle was taken to the hospital in the sheriff's ambulance.

FACE POSSIBLE 15-YEAR TERMS: Two house burglars, Ambrose Samuel DeHaven, 29 years old (left), and Raymond J. Nowicki, 23, (right), both of Pontiac, are shown at the police station Saturday night following their arrest when they became lost and returned to the scene of one of their confessed robberies. Both were armed but offered no resistance, although Nowicki later said they would have shot it out with Patrolman Rolland J. Gainsley had they seen him first. They burglary charges carry sentences of up to 15 years in prison.

ON THE RIGHT END OF THE GUN: Patrolman Rolland J. Gainsley felt a bit relieved when he had the old-fashioned but highly powerful .44 caliber revolver, which he is shown examining, in his own hands. Raymond J. Nowicki, a confessed house burglar who was arrested along with Ambrose Samuel DeHaven Saturday night by Officer Gainsley, later said he would have used the weapon if the patrolman had no got the