April 11, 1930: Detective Work Solves Crime at Maimon Clothing Factory


By Margaret Leidy Harner from her book One Day at a Time: A Social History of Boyertown, PA.

April 11, 1930: When plant manager Nathan Reiff arrived for work at the Maimon Clothing Factory on South Franklin Street, he was greeted by hysterical female employees who were incoherently trying to tell him that their men’s top coats and suiting had been destroyed, sliced with sharp instruments and doused with acid.

Detective Paul Kleinspehn was immediately summoned to the factory and the employees were sent home. A window on the first floor was found open, and it was believed that the damage had been done while the night watchman was in the basement attending to the furnace.

The owner Benjamin Maimon, asked for police protection around the building to prevent any further disturbances. The police were working on the theory that the sabotage was an inside job. A month later, under police interrogation, manager Reiff confessed to shredding and throwing acid on the clothing and was charged with malicious mischief.

Harry Cohen, labor organizer and a member of the executive board of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of American from Philadelphia, was charged with conspiracy in the case and found guilty of having directed Reiff to destroy the merchandise. He was ordered to serve two years in jail, pay a fine of $500 and court costs, and make restitution to the amount of $2000. He avoided jail time by paying the entire bill of $2668.84.

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