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 warning...