West Egg Police Reports
WEST EGG TIMES THURSDAY,SEPTEMBER 2, 1922
Bootleg Liquor: Meyer Wolfsheim, 57, of the 5200 block of Fifth Avenue, is currently under investigation for possession of alcoholic substances with intention of sale. Anonymous sources have reported estimates of approximately 300 liters of distilled liquor to be stored in Wolfsheim’s home and office. Wolfsheim is rumored to be part of a plan to channel Canadian-made liquor supplies to buyers throughout New York City and Long Island, involving a gross income of approximately $3 million. Further reports on the bootleg scandal to follow.
Bootleg Liquor: Jay Gatsby, 30, of the 400 block of West Egg, was placed under probation for suspicion of participating in a bootlegging scandal involving an underground pipeline to Canada. Gatsby and several others are now under strict police scrutiny for evidence of crime.
Squatting: B.F. Klipspringer, 32, was found squatting in the abandoned West Egg home of the late Jay Gatsby. Klipspringer is now freed on $20 bail and faces no further charges.
First-Degree Manslaughter, Suicide: Chester Wilson, 35, was found dead Friday on the 400 block of West Egg at the residence of Jay Gatsby. Wilson allegedly had first killed Jay Gatsby himself in the exterior of the home, and then proceeded to commit suicide himself.
Involuntary Manslaughter: A couple driving a yellow Rolls-Royce were observed Thursday in the New York City suburban areas participating in a hit-and-run manslaughter. Myrtle Wilson, 31, was killed in the crash involving the speeding car. Neither the car nor the driver have been found, however, police are following several promising leads.
Public Drunkenness: Eyesaac Optical, familiarly as “Owl Eyes,” was arrested Tuesday night in West Egg for public drunkenness. His blood alcohol level was judged to be approximately .16%. This is Optical’s seventh such offense. Optical was let off on a $100 bail without citation.
Drunk Driving: The chauffeur of Eyesaac Optical, a man by the name of Eyesaac Bloodshot, was arrested early Wednesday morning for driving under the influence of alcohol. Bloodshot reportedly drove his coupe directly into a ditch. This occurred after the entire steering wheel of the car had come off. Bloodshot was reportedly extremely confused and thought that the car had run out of gas. Bloodshot was taken to a hospital immediately to check for injuries, and charges for DUI were dropped due to insufficient evidence yesterday morning.
Reckless Driving: Jordan Baker, 28, was received a citation Friday on the Brooklyn Bridge while driving into the city. Police reported that Baker was seen either paying little attention to the road or taking on rage towards other drivers. When pulled over, Baker resisted police officials and denied her wrongdoings. She also lied about her license plate number and her experience with driving. Baker was cleared from her charges for undisclosed reasons yesterday morning.
The first two reports, explaining the bootlegging suspicions surrounding Gatsby and Wolfsheim, show the crimes that had to be committed by many in order for them to earn their fortune. Gatsby’s suspicious bootlegging activities are one of the major factors placing him in West Egg versus East Egg, and are the source of his disapproved “new money.” The “underground pipe-line to Canada” is referenced on page 97 as one of the many rumors circulating about Gatsby that cannot seem to be proven. These two reports also highlight the fact that although people like Gatsby and Wolfsheim were always suspected to be criminals, they were never caught, on account of being “a smart man,” (73) as Gatsby would say. Criminals in this era seemingly could get away with anything, and police seemed very ineffective.
The corruption of Klipspringer is detailed in the third police report, pertaining to his arrest for squatting in Gatsby’s home. As you can see, the police letting him off almost immediately shows their ineffectiveness with enforcing the law, and Klipspringer’s residence in Gatsby’s home shows his own innate corruption to exploit people like everyone else of the time period.
The fourth police report on Wilson’s murder of Gatsby and his following suicide uses a short explanation to explain such a tragic event, and therefore represent the small significance that the death of both of these men had on society. Although this seems to be the most tragic event on the page, it gets the least writing. This further emphasizes Wolfsheim’s belief that a person’s influence is best appreciated while they are alive, and when they are dead, they should be forgotten. This belief can perhaps translate into a general belief in society in the 1920s. Additionally, the explanation of both of the deaths of Gatsby and Wilson together in such a short paragraph shows that Gatsby and Wilson share a common trait in that they have few close and caring friends, and therefore die without much honor.
The fifth report, on the death of Myrtle Wilson, again depicts the simple way with which the carelessness of the rich is dealt. Very little evidence is known about such a violent crime, and the police seem to have very little involvement, as in the end, it was Wilson himself who found the suspect and dealt with the situation on his own terms.
The next two reports reflect the 1920s society’s obsession with partying and alcohol. Eyesaac Optical, also known as “Owl Eyes,” is known for his drunkenness in one of the party scenes, as is his chauffeur, who we interpreted to be fairly intoxicated by his confused and illogical response to his car being driven into a ditch. Also, notice their cheap bails and easy get-out-of-jail-free schemes. Somehow, none of these criminals are staying where they belong, which reflects how never once in The Great Gatsby do we see anyone be arrested for drinking, even though they all do.
Finally, the last police report elaborates on the infamous dishonesty of Jordan Baker. Not only is she a horrendous driver and lied in a golf match (detailed on pages 57-58), as well as in many other areas of her life, but she now also lied about things that she has legitimately done wrong. This seems to relate to many of the characters in the novel, who wish to get away with their carelessness and their wrongdoings through their money and their lies. And, of course, in this case, Jordan is successful about getting her way once again.
1920s Crime: http://doe.sd.gov/octa/ddn4learning/themeunits/1920s/crime.htm
Organized Crime in 1920s Chicago: http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/1768.html
San Francisco 1920s Police Perspective: http://www.sfmuseum.org/sfpd/sfpd3.html
History of the Chicago Police: http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/983.html
Effect of Prohibition on Alcohol-Related Arrests: http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/database/article_display.cfm?HHID=441
By: Michele Rudolph