Thief Decker's "Wife" Surrenders New York Sun April 28, 1894
She Had Pawned Some of His Plunder, but Says She Is an Innocent Victim.
At 5 o'clock yesterday afternoon a well dressed young woman called on Inspector McLaughlin at Police Headquarters and announced that she was Mrs. Anna H. Decker, common law wife of G. C. Decker of Manchester, N. J., who was arrested in St. Augustine, Fla., several weeks ago for various robberies and burglaries. She said that she had called to make a statement. She had become convinced that Decker was a thief and she wanted to clear herself of complicity. Also she knew now that a lot of property in her possession was stolen goods, and she desired to restore it to its owners. The Jersey police have got some of it.
Her maiden name, she said, was Annie Helene Vogt. She was born in Germany, and is 20 years old. She is a housekeeper now, she said, but before meeting Decker had been a governess. She has been here two years, she said, and when out of employment lived with a relative named Miller at 2,104 Second avenue. In the latter part of January last she advertised for a place. In answer, Decker called upon her at 2,104 Second avenue, said he was a married man, and wanted her to go to his home and take care of his four-year-old child. They set out immediately for Manchester. Arriving there they put up at the Central Hotel, where her companion registered them as "Dr. Decker and wife."
Decker, she said, confessed that he was not married, and that he had no child. He said he wanted a wife, not a governess. He promised to marry her after a while, and she remained. She says she has lived at the hotel ever since.
Decker, she said, had a number of patients in the town, and he made daily visits to them, driving a horse and light wagon. Several times, she said, he drove to Lakewood and remained overnight. After each of these visits she heard that a hotel at Lakewood had been robbed.
On March 2 he left Manchester, telling her that he was going South to look at a large orange grove he owned at St. Augustine. After his arrival in Florida he sent her several boxes of jewelry, dresses, and doctors' instruments.
Then she received a letter from him stating that he had been arrested for fighting, and to save himself from disgrace, had given his name as Pierce. In another letter he stated that the courts were not in session, and that it would take a great deal of money to employ lawyers to establish his innocence. He added, however, that he proposed to get away without the aid of the courts or legal advisers. He instructed her to take a pair of his shoes, which she would find in a closet of his room, to a shoemaker and have him make an opening in the sole of each one. In the soles he told her to put some fine saws, which she would find among his effects. She did as directed, and shipped the shoes on April 17 to Deeber, in care of his lawyer, Col. Frank Pope, at Jacksonville.
She acknowledged that about ten days ago she pawned some of the jewelry Decker sent her in a Bowery pawn shop for $40. This has been recovered by the police. The lot consisted of spoons, a gold watch, and several combs, gold mounted. She said she wished to be taken into custody and held until the authorities had satisfied themselves that she was innocent. Inspector McLaughlin ordered her to be held, and she was locked up in the Mercer street station.
Detective Sergeants O'Brien and McCauley were sent to seize the trunks containing the stolen property.
Decker, alias Pierce, alias Leslie, alias Clarke, alias Harrison, was arrested while trying to dispose of some railroad tickets, which, with about $1,500 in property and money, he had stolen from the room of a lady living at the Ponce de Leon Hotel. It was found out that he had committed robberies at other hotels and had robbed several doctors. A hundred skeleton keys of the finest workmanship were found on him.