Citizens For A Better Norwood

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Part I: Clue of the Killer’s CALLING CARD

Earlier today, Ward 2 Councilperson Steve Thornbury sent us a lengthy article that appeared in a 1945 issue of Real Detective magazine. The article is a riveting account of the only case of a Norwood police officer tragically killed in the line of duty. Sergeant Anthony H. Overberg lost his life on July 8, 1942, 69 years ago yesterday. One of our police officers gave Mr. Thornbury the article and other material related to the crime just this morning, and we want to thank him for getting this important piece of Norwood history to us quickly so we can know the story and honor Sergeant Overberg’s memory.

We plan to publish the entire article in 3-4 parts over the next several days.

Part I: Clue of the Killer’s CALLING CARD
PISTOL pressed against the holdup man’s belly Sergeant Anthony H. Overberg, of the Norwood, Ohio, police, snapped a command, "Lay that gun of yours on the counter-and make it fast!"

Facing Overberg, hands upraised, stood a surprised youth. A moment before he had started backing the drugstore's proprietor, Howard J. Lawson toward a rear room where the robber knew there was a safe. He hadn't figured that an armed policeman would be concealed there.

Overberg was only one of ten Norwood officers hidden that night July 8, 1942, in as many local establishments --lying in wait for the boasted return of a bold young thug who had been terrorizing merchants in the greater Cincinnati area.

The trap had been arranged by Chief of Police Charles Fritz at the urging of Mayor Allen C. Roudebush and business leaders, following visits of the bandit to Wester's and Hein's pharmacies on Section and Sherman avenues respectively.

On June 27, the thug had taunted Hein as he relieved the druggist's cash register of $200 receipts. "When you see your cops," he had said, "tell them this town's soft pickin's. I'll be around some more." Now on this July night, it seemed as if the egotistical youth had fallen victim to a snare of his own making.

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