Two months earlier, on 9 June, someone had burgled his storeroom and taken about $50 in jewelry—more than $1,500 in today’s worth and a significant loss. On 6 July, the storeroom was entered through the cellar, but the thief may have been spooked and fled empty-handed, leaving a lit lantern outside the door.
Sometime between 10 and 11 p.m., Bittle’s neighbor, Joseph Wolf (1850-1911), and another man strolled past the storefront. The second fellow wore a dark slouch hat and dark clothing. Bittle was sure it was George Henry Koogle (1884-1958), son of well-known Captain Jacob Koogle (1841-1915), who had been in the store earlier that evening and who possessed a distinctive gait. Shortly after this, Bittle heard noises at the rear of the building, went there—finding no one—then remained awhile, keeping lookout. At about 12:15 a.m. he heard noises at the front of the building and quietly retraced his steps. Under the bright moonlight, he saw a figure half-crouched, fiddling with the door lock.
Click to read the full article by Ann Longmore-Etheridge at Your Dying Charlotte.