Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Prince Christian chases robbers

April 22, 1954

It doesn't pay to snatch purses in New York City, as two young men found out earlier today when they were chased on foot by a real "prince of the blood,: reports the New York Times.

The hero of the day is Prince Christian Oskar Ernst August Wilhelm Viktor Georg Heinrich of Hannover, the fourth child of the late Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, grandson of Kaiser Wilhelm II, great-grandson of Queen Victoria and younger brother of Queen Frederika of Greece.

The two young men, residents of the Bronx, grabbed a handbag from Mrs. Florence Ross, who was entering her home on Madison Avenue.  The robbers jumped into a waiting car and sped off.  After running a red light, they crashed into a taxi cab and began to run "westward" on 73rd Street.

Prince Christian had not known about the robbery when he stepped out of his cab at the entrance to his "bachelor apartment" at 42nd East 72nd Street.  As he paid his fare, he witnessed the accident.

He said: "I knew nothing about the theft then.  I thought the men were just hit-and-run drivers, whom I hate.  Nobody was hurt, but at the moment, the accident looked worse than it was. So, I said to my driver, 'Let's go after them.'"

Prince Christian began running after the culprit.  He had been a "distance runnier and a skier" at school in Germany.  Now 34 years old, he keeps in shape by running two miles every morning before breakfast.

He "pursued the fugitives" to Fifth Avenue, "vaulted the stone wall into Central Park," and continued his chase.

The pursuit ended at  Conservatory Lake, drained for the winter, at 79th Street.  It was at this point that the two men, "who evidently had neglected to run two miles every morning."  They collapsed to the ground and "surrendered without a struggle."

Neither man was armed, and they "meekly allowed" the 6'2" tall Prince Christian, "built like the stroke of a champion crew" to march them toward the park's 72nd Street gate. 

The prince's taxi driver and the police were waiting. Everyone went to the local precinct on East 67th Street.

The two men were charged with petit larceny, as Mrs. Ross's handbag contained only $2.00. 

The police thanked Prince Christian. He replied that this was a "small return for the kindness the police, the press, and all New York had shown his sister and her husband, King Paul," when they paid an official visit last year.

Prince Christian is learning "the shipping business" in New York.

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