Sand Hill City

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Keyword:  Kammeraad

From:  “Grand Haven – Day by Day” project

 By Bob Beaton     March 10, 2009


   Last night’s electrical storm was the severest known here for several years.  Several houses and trees in the city and vicinity were struck but no one was injured.  The storm seemed to be the severest over lower Columbus street, two adjacent residences being struck within two minutes of each other.  The first bolt went down the chimney of Mrs. Ringleberg, knocking down the chimney, plaster, window sashes, and stove but in no wise injuring the family, there being ten persons in the house at the time.  Hardly two minutes had elapsed when there came another blinding flash striking the house next to Ringleberg’s occupied by the two families of Len Kammeraad and P. VerBerkmoes.  The bolt went down the chimney but did no other damage than tumbling over the stove.  The families in the vicinity were badly frightened, several ladies fainting.  The residence of Julius Seaman on Monroe street was also struck about the same time doing considerable damage but injuring no one.



   Len Kammeraad has recovered the horse which he lost some weeks ago.  The animal has been running loose in the woods and is now very wild.



   John Loch, H. Rogers and L. Kammeraad were never suspected of being illegal fishermen but they came very near being arrested for that offence yesterday.  These three gentlemen were looking over some celery land upon the river when they were suddenly surprised by Deputy game warden Thos. Hammond, who was in a dusk boat.  Hammond they claimed flourished a revolver and demanded that they should come in the boat wit them as they were his prisoners.  They were surprised not knowing what offense they had committed.  The cause of it all was a net in the river near where they stood.  Hammond thought they had placed it there and probably thought he had made an important capture.  After much talking the matter was patched up.



   Last Sunday Deputy Game Warden Thos. Hammond attempted to arrest L. Kammeraad, John Lock and H. Rogers on Roossien’s celery island thinking they were fish law violators.  Deputy Hammond became excited while the three Grand Haven men were trying to explain and pulled his revolver on them.  Complaint was made against Mr. Hammond and today he was fined $5 and costs by Justice Pagelson for pointing a revolver at the trio.



    Deputy Game Warden Hammond yesterday arrested L. Kammeraad, A. Rogers and J. Lock charged with illegal fishing.  Brought before Justice Kay of Spring Lake, they gave bail in the sum of $200 each to appear for examination Tuesday next.



   The case of the People vs. Len Kammeraad, John Lock and Henry Rogers for illegal fishing which was tried in Spring Lake yesterday resulted in a disagreement.  The jury is said to have stood five for acquittal and one for conviction.




John Verhoeks and Henry Sickman Arrested.

   Roosien’s grocery store at the corner of Fulton and Seventh streets was burglarized early this morning and the supposed burglars are now behind bars in the county jail.  The suspects are John Verhoeks and Henry Sickman, both well-known in Grand Haven.

   The tale of the burglary is as follows:  Early this morning, Len Kammeraad, who resides in the rooms above Roosien’s store, heard a noise.  He suspected something wrong and looked out of his window.  He was not mistaken, for very soon the noise of falling glass reached his ear from the store below.  Burglars were at work at the front door of the store, which faces Fulton St.  After the noise, nothing was heard from below for about fifteen minutes, the thieves evidently waiting to see if anybody had heard the noise they had created.  They again went to work and the noise of falling glass was again heard by Mr. Kammeraad and shortly after he heard somebody go in the store.  Kammeraad was now on his guard.  He knew it would be foolhardy to run down the stairs while the burglars were in the store and would be attended by no little personal risk.  Instead he did the wisest thing possible and that was to wait until the burglars left the store.  He kept watch of the street and after a little heard the thieves leaving.  It was not dark this morning and Mr. Kammeraad could see their forms very plainly as they left the building.  There were two of them and they seemed to have the stolen booty wrapped up in a bag or blanket.  Mr. Kammeraad watched them as they went north up Seventh street towards the Corn Planter Factory.  They were going at a dog trot.

   The thieves were not out of the building many minutes before Kammeraad hastened across the street to Henry VandenBerg’s home.  Mr. VandenBerg was awakened and appraised of what had taken place, and he lit his lantern and started out with Kammeraad.  It so happened that Night Watchman Peter Cook was coming down Fulton St. on his beat at the time and became one of the searching party.  The tracks were plainly traced north from the store, on Seventh St.  At Boyink’s alley the tracks turned off to the left and led through the back yard straight to Henry Sickman’s house.  The house is on Jackson St. next to Peterson’s grocery.  It was decided that one of the party should inform the sheriff, and the others guard the house to see that no one left it.  VandenBerg started on a run to the jail.  He awakened the sheriff, and they hastened to the house which is five or six blocks away.  The sheriff took careful survey of the premise and went to the door.  It was two o’clock in the morning.  The sheriff rapped and demanded admittance.  The voice of Sickman was heard asking him to wait several minutes, until he could get his clothes on.  As the TRIBUNE stated some days ago, sheriff Keppel does not mince matters, and when those few minutes were up, and the door not yet opened, the officer kicked it open in an unceremonious manner.

   Just before the door was opened VandenBerg caught a whiff of what he thought was burning leather and rubber.  A roaring fire was noticed in the stove when the officers entered.  Sickman was standing near thee stove and was dressed, and to all appearances had been for some time.  The smell directed the officers to the stove.  The stove door was opened and the fuel which consisted of shoes and rubbers were pulled out and water thrown into the fire.  It looked strange and Sickman was asked why he had such an expensive fire.  He stated that he was burning up some old shoes.

   Verhoeks was discovered sitting on a bed.  Both he and Sickman were placed under arrest and night watchman Cook escorted them to jail.  Sheriff Keppel and Mr. VandenBerg then searched the house.  It was evident that all haste had been made to burn the shoes, &c. in the stove.  A hanging lamp had been thrown in the stove, that it’s oil might hasten the blaze.  It is surmised that this was done when the supposed burglars had found out that they were detected.  In the garret the floor was said to have been literally covered with chicken feathers.

   The Roossien’s do not know their exact loss.  Several pairs of shoes, rubbers, lumbermen’s socks and also a quantity of tobacco is missing.  The cash drawers were not touched.

   Admittance was gained to the store by prying open the front door.  The jar caused the breaking of one of the glasses in the door, frightening the thieves, but they picked up courage after several minutes and returned, little knowing that they were heard.

   Much credit is due Officer Cook and VandenBerg, the sheriff and also Mr. Kammeraad for his watchfulness.  They did not stop at examining the store but followed up the supposed thieves tracks, and the result is, the two men have a very serious charge to answer.

   The burglary and arrest has occasioned a great deal of excitement and it is hoped that future developments will decide who the thieves are, and they should be vigorously prosecuted.  A man who will enter a building for the purpose of burglary has murder in his heart, and society is better rid of a snob.

   Sickman and Verhoeks were brought before Judge Pagelson this afternoon.  They waived examination and were bound over to circuit court, under the heavy bail of $1000 each, which they were unable to furnish and they will remain in jail.  The court room was packed with people when they were brought up.



Circuit Court.

   The case of the People vs. Henry Sickman and John Verhoeks was nolle prossed, because of a defect in the papers.  Both were immediately re-arrested and the papers corrected.  The error lay in the cause in the papers which read:  “Entering and burglarizing a shop connected with dwelling.”  The dwelling rooms above Roossien’s store occupied by Len Kammeraad are not connected with the store, but instead the stair way leads outside to the street below.  This technical error was fatal and the case thrown out.

   Prisoners Verhoeks and Sickman were brought before Justice Pagelson, corrected papers made out, and they were both bound over to circuit court.  Prosecutor Visscher, and W. I. Lillie, attorney for the prisoners had a little tilt over the fixing of the bail.  The prosecutor did not think $2000 bail for each man too excessive for a case so serious.  Mr. Lillie thought $1000 enough.  Judge Pagelson split the difference and fixed the bail at $1500 each.  It was not furnished and the prisoners will have to remain in jail until the March term of court.  The present bail is $500 more for each prisoner than it was at first.



   The examination of John Verhoeks and Henry Sickman charged with burglary, is being held in Justice Pagelson’s court today.  All day the court room has been crowded with interested spectators.  Three witnesses, Henrick Roosien, Len Kammeraad and Peter Cook, gave testimony.  Mr. Kammeraad is one of the most important witness in the case.  He saw the burglars leave the store on the early morning of the robbery from his apartment windows, in the rooms above the store.  Mr. Kammeraad was slowly questioned, as to following the burglars tracks and where they led.  W. I. Lillie is looking after the interests of the prisoners and Prosecutor Vischer of the People.

   The examination of Verhoeks and Sickman was this afternoon adjourned to January