Spanish-American War

Bungled Heist Of Silk Shipment Left Security Guard Dead

William Madden

MANCHESTER — Courant reporters 95 years ago figured prominently in the investigation of a bungled heist, playing a role that would be highly improbable today.

In the case of The Great Silk Robbery, the "Courant Men," as they were called in their own newspaper, had a personal stake.

The incident was an attempted robbery that went wrong from the start and ended in murder. The story's central figure was William Madden, a former Manchester cop who left that job for a more lucrative position protecting assets of the Cheney Brothers' sprawling silk manufactory in South Manchester.

Madden was on watch on Jan. 29, 1919, at 11 p.m. Railroad detectives had sent a...