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Looking Back to January 1956: Police work overtime on prowler scare, teens jailed for vandalism 

Looking Back Paso Robles

This look back at Paso Robles history comes from local newspapers in the Paso Robles Area Historical Society collection. News for this column is selected with the assistance of Research Director Jan Cannon. Newspaper photography by GiGi Green.

Excerpts from the Thursday, January 12, 1956, Paso Robles Journal

Police working 12-hour shifts

Rumor piled on rumor of prowlers, molesters and “peeping Toms” in Paso Robles this week, as police continued working 12-hour shifts in an effort to catch whoever is doing the mischief.

Police denials of any reports of trouble were at wide variance with the common belief. One attempted assault, at least, has been reported by a woman. Other reports of prowlers certainly have been received, and have become greatly exaggerated as the stories have spread.

Here are facts:

George W. Seely, 32, for three days employed by a turkey ranch in the Pozo area, was apprehended by the California Highway Patrol near Salinas Wednesday night and was held in county jail on suspicion of attempted rape of a woman near Pozo. County officers said Seely had been in the county only three days before he went north and was found by CHP officer.

Paso Robles in 1956

Click here to read the full front page.

Nurses warned

Hospital nurses have been advised by officials not to go home unaccompanied, and further told they may have police escorts if they wish. One nursing home is providing its attendants with transportation during the current scare.

Telephone operators are leaving their porchlights on, and going home escorted by members of their families. A report that a telephone operator was accosted by a man at her doorway and frightened him away by screaming apparently has no basis in fact.

Another report that the family of a pastor of a church here had been annoyed by a prowler also had no basis in fact. A transient seeking food had come to his house, he said, but it was nothing uncommon and his family was neither annoyed nor alarmed.

Jungles cleared

Tramps and transients continued to have a hard time in northern San Luis Obispo county. The “jungles” along the river near Templeton and elsewhere have been vacated on orders of law enforcement officers.

A Paso Robles boy is in juvenile detention on suspicion of petty theft. Naturally, he’s been questioned about prowling, but denies any part in it.

Boys confess vandalism at Madden home

Two boys, 14 and 13 years old, have admitted causing damage amounting to about $500 at the James Madden home now under construction at the end of 17th Street west of the city, Constable Kenneth West reported this morning.

West, with Deputy Sheriff E.E. (Dick) Kleck and Capt. Orval Webber of the city police department questioned the boys several times and they admitted the destruction of the property Tuesday, it was said.

West said the boys told him they were “just playing” when they broke copper pipes and tubes, and hacked insulation material with a hatchet.

No complaint has been filed against the boys as yet, the constable said, but the information has been turned over to Casper Mandella, contractor for the home construction job.

Actually, the loss because of the boys’ activities is by a sub-contractor, West said.

The damage to the home was first reported over the New Year’s Day weekend, simultaneously with reports of vandalism and petty burglary at the Atascadero golf course and at a Santa Margarita gasoline station.

Read previous Looking Back articles

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About the author: Reporter Jackie Iddings

Jackie Iddings is a contributing reporter and photographer for the Paso Robles Daily News.