Published in The New York Times, December 28, 1898
GREEK BANDIT ACCLIMATED
Sarantos Said to be Plying His Vocation in This City
5,000 FRANCS, DEAD OR ALIVE
Price Placed in His Head by Greek Government –
Arrested Here for Robbing Sailor.
Michael Ferrando, who is charged with having decoyed a Greek sailor, Nicholas Zoutzouble, of 382 Water Street, to his room, at 139 East Thirteenth Street, last Thursday and there beaten him into insensibility and robbed him, was identified yesterday in Yorkville Police Court as the ferocious Greek brigand Soteros de Sarantos, for whom the Greek Government has offered 5,000f., dead or alive. He was recognized by George Zegouras, a collector of ferns and wild flowers, who lives at 111 West Sixteenth Street.
Ferrando, or Sarantos, is over six feet high, of herculean proportions and tremendous strength. He is known to all his friends as “The Big Greek.” He has been in this country for many months, and has, it is said been recognized by many Greeks, but they stood so much in awe of his fierce prowess that they were afraid to disclose his identity to the authorities.
Detectives Jackson and O’Connor of the East Fifth Street Station arrested the Greek for the robbery of the sailor. When Zoutzouble recovered consciousness after having been knocked senseless by a revolver in the hands of Ferrando, he found that his diamond ring, $5 in money, and his watch were gone. He complained to the police, and intimated that Ferrando was a brigand. The detectives went prepared for a hard fight, but Sarantos submitted to arrest without much trouble.
Just before the breaking out of the Graeco-Turkish war, according to the witnesses in the police court, a band of desperate brigands under the leadership of Sarantos infested the southern portion of Greece. The outlaws imprisoned wealthy residents of the country and travelers, and held them for ransom. Many English and other tourists suffered at the hands of the outlaws. The bandits became so bold that the Greek Government sent a detail of soldiers to aid the police in suppressing them. The outlaws and the authorities came into conflict, and a Captain of police and five soldiers were killed by the outlaws. The Greek Government then offered a reward for the capture of Sarantos, dead or alive.
Ferrando denies emphatically that he is Sarantos, and declares that the identification is a plot on the part of his enemies to get rid of him.
Nicolas Zoutzouble, the sailor, with his head swathed in bandages, told the Magistrate of the assault and robbery. After having gone over the incident, he pointed to Ferrando and said:
“That man is a counterfeiter, and I can prove it. Send a couple of officers with me to Jersey City, and I will show them where the counterfeit money is being made.”
Zegouras was the next witness. He said that Ferrando was, like himself, a fern collector. He was positive that Ferrando was Sarantos, the Greek brigand, and said he was known as such to all the Greeks in the city. They were afraid to testify against him. Zegouras said that some time ago he and a companion were in the woods near Canaan, Conn., gathering ferns, when they came across Ferrando, similarly engaged. Ferrando drew a revolver and fired several shots at them. Zegouras said that he had received a letter from his father, in Naupaktos, Greece, stating that Ferrando was Sarantos and giving an accurate description of Ferrando. He said, furthermore, that he knew personally that Ferrando was Sarrantos. He said he would communicate further with his father and get more details. The testimony of Zegouras made quite an impression on the Court.
Demos Cancollis, a lawyer’s clerk, also stated positively that Ferrando was Sarantos. Cancollis said that some time ago Ferrando was in a restaurant at 23 Roosevelt Steet, and began to smash some things. He expostulated and Ferrando chased him five blocks with a stiletto. At this point Ferrando declared that Cancollis had served two years in Sing Sing for forgery. When Magistrate Kudlich asking if this was true, Cancollis said: “I decline to answer.” Magistrate Kudlich dismissed Cancollis from the stand.
A number of other witnesses identified Ferrando as Sarantos, the brigand, both by descriptions from home and by personal acquaintance. Ferrando denied emphatically all the allegations, including the charges made by the sailor.
Magistrate Kudlich held Ferrando for trial in $1,000 bail for the assault on the sailor, and instructed Detectives O’Connor and Jackson to lay the matter before the Greek consul, Demetrius N. Botassi.
When Ferrando was arrested he wrote a letter in Greek to Adjy Neivo, at 50 West Fourteenth Street. He asked Detectives Jackson and O’Connor to deliver the letter. Believing that they might obtain some useful information from the communication, the detectives held it, and had it translated yesterday. In the letter Ferrando says, among other things:
They have got me at last, and I am in one of the most desperate scrapes that I ever got into. I want you to come to court and testify that you were there. Swear, and lie, lie, lie. Tell the Court that this man attempted an assault upon me. That, I think, will get me out of it.
The detectives could not find Neivo at the address given. They visited the Greek Consul, at 35 South William Street, yesterday afternoon, and asked him if he knew that the bandit on whose head his Government and set a price was in this country. The Consul said that he had known the fact for several months, but could take no action, as his Government had given him no instructions in the matter. He said there was a treaty between Greece and the United States under which Ferrando could be extradited, but that it would be useless to take advantage of it, because the prisoner would have to be sent to Greece via France and Italy, and would be a free man as soon as he set foot in either of those countries. He congratulated the detectives on their capture, saying: “You have captured a dangerous man.”
The detectives visit the Greek quarter and talked with many of the Greeks there concerning Ferrando. They nearly all declared that he was the noted bandit. It is believed by the police that Ferrando had an accomplice in crime in this city, and that his name is Demetri. They are looking for him.
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