Running Down Chicago Fire Bugs.
Six men are in custody, and the arrest of another has been ordered by the Chicago police in connection with the operations of an alleged arson ring which caused a property loss of $1,000,000 in the last year in that city. Three other men. including a former policeman, are being sought by the police in connection with the alleged conspiracy. Of the men under arrest, one is David Korshak, once a saloonkeeper and leader of the alleged arson ring, who is said to have set fire to 50 buildings in Chicago within a year. He was recently brought back to Chicago from Vancouver, B. C. The other prisoners are Charles Bloom, a merchant: Max Feilschmidt. a fire insurance adjuster: Isaac Schaeffler, a real estate dealer; Ellis Duboistein, a shirtwaist manufacturer, and Lazard Dreyfus, a wholesale clothing manufacturer. The man whose arrest has been ordered by Fire Attorney Sullivan, is said to be an official of the Northwestern Can Company, who is wanted for arson in connection with the fire at the company’s plant on May 26. The arrests were made by the police after Korshak had made a statement implicating a number of business men in the alleged arson conspiracy. It is expected that other arrests besides those indicated will be made before the investigation is concluded. Three barrels of gasoline are said to have been used in firing the plant of the Northwestern Can Company. While being brought back to Chicago from Vancouver, B. C., Korshak is said to have admitted to Detective Loftus that the official now wanted by the police asked him to set fire to the plant, and that Korshak wanted $5,000 for the job. The can company official is said to have refused to pay this amount, declaring that the price asked was more than the job was worth. Several weeks later the building was burned, and evidence of incendiarism is said to have been discovered by the police. Bloom, one of the men under arrest, is accused of having paid Korshak to set fire to his store on April 30. Bloom’s stock is said to have been insured for $12,000, while its actual value did not exceed $3,400. according to Korshak. Feilschmidt and Schaefner, the other prisoners, were, it is said, implicated in the alleged incendiary fire at the plant of the Northwestern Can Company. Ellis Duboistein, a shirtwaist maker, is said to have induced Korshak to set fire to his place of business on November 29, 1910. causing a loss of $15,000. The building was heavily insured. The police also are said to he looking for a relative and business associate of Bloom. Korshak fled from Chicago after he was charged with having set fire to the store of Leopold Dreyfus & Co., wholesale clothiers, June 3, this year, which resulted in a loss of $40,000. Both Leopold and Lazard Dreyfus, members of the firm, were arrested on suspicion immediately after the fire. Three days later Leopold Dreyfus made a statement implicating Korshak and then committed suicide. Lazar Dreyfus was held for conspiracy and the case against him is still pending. Korshak, in a statement made to the police, declared that 75 per cent, of all tires which have occurred in Chicago in the last five years were of incendiary origin, and were either the work of the proprietors of the buildings or of professional firebugs. He says there are more than 100 men in Chicago who make a geed living by setting fire to buildings to enable the owners to’ collect large sums of insurance, He says the firebug is usually paid a lump sum in advance, but that sometimes he works on commission, receiving a percentage of the insurance money. Korshak said that in all his fires he used jugs filled with gasoline, to which be set fire, with the result that flames rapidly spread to all parts of the structure. A dozen witnesses have identified Korshak as being in the vicinity of buildings damaged by incendiary fires, and the police have discovered several places where he purchased jugs of gasoline.