The Gentleman Thief Feathers His Nest

vonfalkenstein1Let us now turn our attention to the male weaverbird, who craft intricate nests to attract a female by stitching and knotting grasses together.  Less industrious and ethical is our friend, the starling, who will sometimes steal the nest of another bird for mating.
And then, there’s one Fred W. Von Falkenstein, an insurance broker formerly of Butte, Montana, who put the starlings to shame by stealing over $60,000 worth of home furnishings for his Alhambra love nest.  Von Falkenstein was betrothed to a Miss Anne Marshall, also of Butte, who was soon to come to Alhambra so they could be wed.  However, it was not to be.

Von Falkenstein was apprehended after he came to have a peek at 223 S. McCadden Place, a home that had recently gone on the market.  There, he met real estate salesman H.H. Morgan, who did not get Fred’s name, but found him suspicious enough to jot down his license plate number as he drove away.  When the house was later burgled, Morgan vonfalkenstein2handed the number over to police who confiscated between 6 and 8 carloads of stolen goods from Von Falkenstein’s home at 619 Meridian Avenue.  Found among the items were Oriental rugs, solid silver home accessories, a radio cabinet, and a French salon painting valued at approximately $5000 that he’d lifted from the art gallery at the Ambassador Hotel.

Though Von Falkenstein worked with an accomplice, Robert Donaldson of 1928 Crenshaw, he acted alone in the art theft and said it was easy.  He simply walked into the empty gallery, cut the canvas out of its frame, rolled it up, and walked out of the Ambassador without drawing any attention.

In addition to the art theft, Von Falkenstein also pled guilty to two more home burglaries, and was sentenced to 2 terms of 1 to 15 years at San Quentin.  And so it was that our love bird turned jailbird.