First Use of Telegram to Capture a Murderer

About the first use of a cablegram to capture a murderer.

UNUSUAL FIRSTS

THE FIRST USE OF A CABLEGRAM TO CAPTURE A MURDERER

In April, 1885, Hugh Brooks, the son of a prosperous English merchant, registered at the elegant Southern Hotel in St. Louis, Mo. While staying there, he became a good friend of C. Arthur Preller, a wealthy compatriot. A few days after Brooks left St. Louis for New Zealand, police discovered Preller's body stuffed inside a trunk in his hotel room. Suspecting Brooks, Police Chief Larry Harrigan sent a 133-word wire costing $400 to the U.S. consul in Auckland. When Brooks arrived there, officials seized him and returned him to the U.S. in irons. Lawyers at the trial proved that Brooks, despite his family background, had little money, and had killed Preller in order to steal $600 from him. Brooks was hanged at the St. Louis Four Courts Jail in 1888, but before he died, he quipped, "America was certainly not the land of opportunity for me."

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