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Jax Daily Record Monday, Jan. 11, 201612:00 PM EST

50 years ago: Store employee with real gun: 1, robber with broken cap gun: 0

by: Max Marbut Associate Editor

A would-be robber armed with a broken toy pistol walked into a pharmacy and demanded to the proprietor, “let me have it.”

He got it.

Not the money, but a bullet in the back of the shoulder.

To make matters worse for the bumbling bandit, a police officer was standing right across the street, ready to cut off any attempted escape.

The tale of felonious frustration came out in Criminal Court as Robert Dunbar of 735 Lafayette St. was sentenced by Judge William Harvey to two years in the county jail on his plea of guilty to attempted robbery.

Assistant State Attorney William Tomlinson did not press a charge of aggravated assault against Dunbar for striking the pharmacy owner in the face with the broken cap gun.

Tomlinson said Leopen McIntosh was in his pharmacy at 809 Kings Road at about closing time when Dunbar came in, ostensibly to buy a bottle of mineral oil.

When Dunbar and McIntosh were at the cash register, Dunbar whipped out the toy pistol, demanded “let me have it,” and then hit McIntosh on the side of the face with the pistol, Tomlinson said.

Meanwhile, Edward Thurston was in the back of the store watching television, seated behind a counter where Dunbar couldn’t see him.

Thurston grabbed the pharmacist’s gun from the rear counter and fired one shot, which lodged in the back of Dunbar’s left shoulder, Tomlinson said.

Dunbar surrendered and was taken into custody by police Sgt. E. Hickson, who ran into the store from across the street when he heard the shot.

Dunbar told officers he found the toy pistol on the street and attempted the robbery because he had not worked in two weeks and his five children were hungry.

• Addressing the Civitan Club of Jacksonville, Circuit Judge William Durden said the quality of government and public officials in Duval County was a direct reflection of the county’s voters.

“Your government is your portrait. The picture you paint with the officials you shortly will elect will be your picture,” said Durden, presiding judge of the 4th Circuit. “You get the kind of government which you demand.

“This county has gotten the kind of law enforcement it wants,” he added. “In the past, you didn’t want law enforcement that would look at existing vice. You got it. When you want poor officials, you get them and then you and the community are tarred and feathered along with them.”

Durden praised the level of law enforcement brought about by Sheriff Dale Carson, saying good publicity about a community also reflects upon its residents.

“I feel that Duval County has finally been brought into the 20th century,” he said. “It’s now time for issues to be discussed honestly and forthrightly. Politicians should not promise better schools and better roads with no tax increases.

“You should call upon these people to discuss the issues intelligently. If it’s going to cost you money to elect a man to office, you should know it,” he said.

Citing statistics about operation of Circuit Court, Durden said 10,449 cases were filed with the court in 1965. The annual caseload was about 1,000 cases per judge, he said.

“Yet, this was the most current court in the United States in setting cases for trial,” said Durden. “After a case has matured through pleadings and is ready for trial, it is set for trial in four to eight weeks. In some states, it may take from three to five years to bring a case to trial.”

• Ad valorem taxes, educational support and aggressive economic development were the priorities in the 1966 program of work set forth by the Jacksonville Area Chamber of Commerce.

To implement the program, the chamber’s board of governors approved a $412,000 budget for the year, expanded from the 1965 budget of $267,000.

The organization also created a new Senior Advisory Council, comprising the six most recent immediate past presidents of the organization. They would advise the chamber’s Executive Committee.

Members of the council were Claude Yates, William Mills, C.W. Beaufort, Harry Kincaid, Charles Campbell and B.N. Nimnicht.

The work program also included regional trade centers, congressional action, clean air and water, armed services, chamber members’ viewpoints and membership support.

In the area of education, the program called the 1965-66 Duval County school budget “a realistic financial program with which to build our way back to quality education.”

Specific goals included supporting the Board of Public Instruction in rebuilding the school system, the new Duval/Nassau County Junior College, development of the Jacksonville Center for Continuing Education of the University of Florida and encouraging business support for Jacksonville University.

In terms of economic development, one goal was to establish trained and experienced selling teams to promote the area during trips to the industrial centers of the U.S.

The chamber also would conduct a direct-mail program aimed at selected industrial prospects and create a related advertising campaign.

Research projects necessary to provide the chamber’s Committee of 100 with information requested by potential new industries would be conducted.

“New jobs for Jacksonville is the primary target of the Committee of 100. We must and will provide them with the necessary tools and manpower to accelerate Jacksonville’s growth rate,” the program stated.

On the tax front, the chamber pledged to study the effect on real estate of the existing ad valorem levy. It also would identify alternative tax sources and the effects of levying them in lieu of or in conjunction with property taxes.

• Jacksonville was selected as one of three cities for a pilot program to explain the country’s space plans. The program would be conducted by NASA in conjunction with school officials.

The other two cities were Cheneyville, La., and New York City.

William H. Raines High School was chosen as Jacksonville’s space information center.

The project would include seven weekly meetings and a trip to Cape Kennedy. NASA personnel would attend the meetings to explain various aspects of the U.S. space program.

• Members of the Garden Club of Jacksonville appeared before the City Commission to renew their protest over bus benches.

They registered displeasure over the city’s policy concerning the benches and with the Jacksonville Junior Chamber of Commerce, which sponsored placement of the benches.

The city received $1 per bench per year for allowing marketing companies to put messages on the benches. The Jaycees got $2 per bench per year.

The Garden Club group was led by Mrs. Dekle Taylor, co-chair of the club’s Civic and Roadside Development Committee.

She cited one example of the bus bench advertising referring to a sausage product and quoted a slogan as saying the sausage was “tender as a mother’s love.”

Taylor said that kind of display made the city look like a comic strip.

“I don’t believe the city is interested in beautification,” she said.

Mrs. Gerard Franz also complained about the sausage advertising on the benches.

“I don’t understand why the Jaycees, which is such a wonderful organization, don’t want to beautify the city instead of making a few dollars,” she said.

Taylor said the 10-year, self-renewing contract the city had with a bus bench advertising agency would expire in February 1968, but the club wanted action before that date.

She said since the bus benches were used by some people, the club did not want them all eliminated.

The club made a request for the city to remove benches from non-bus areas; install the benches far enough back from the curb so as not to lead to accidents; ensure the benches were aligned parallel to traffic; the city buy the benches and paint them green; and for the commission to reply in a reasonable time.

Mayor Lou Ritter promised the matter would be taken up soon at a commission conference.

• Jacksonville restaurateur Mary Patti was named Restaurant Owner of the Year by the Florida Restaurant Association.

The co-owner of Patti’s Restaurants, she accepted the honor during a ceremony at the Thunderbird Restaurant, where more than 150 association members gathered for a joint meeting with the Jacksonville chapter.

Patti’s son, William, became immediate past president of the local chapter. He was succeeded at the ceremony by Gene Pritchett, owner of Pritchett’s Kitchen.

• The vice squad raided a home on Cleveland Road, arrested 14 people and confiscated a large quantity of beer and whiskey.

Jim and Francis Canaday of 6140 Cleveland Road were booked into county jail under $1,000 bond each on charges of violating state beverage laws by selling liquor without a license.

The other 12 people were booked on charges of drunk and disorderly conduct. Their bonds were set at $50 each.

Inside the house, officers found and seized 176 half-pints of assorted spirits, 248 cans of beer and $120 in cash.

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