Isidore Fink was shot dead at 10:30 PM on March 9, 1929, in the back room of the Fifth Avenue Laundry (which he owned) at 4 East 132nd Street in New York City. The police were alerted by a neighbor, Mrs. Locklan Smith, who had heard screaming and the sounds of a struggle. When the officers arrived, they found that the doors to the room in which Fink lay were locked, and so they gained entry by lifting a small boy into the room through a transom window.

Fink had been shot twice in the chest and once through the left hand, which showed powder burns. No gun was found in the room. There was money in Fink’s pocket and in the cash register.

At first police theorized that whoever shot Fink, who always bolted the laundry doors when he worked at night, had climbed through the transom window. But the window was small, as was the boy who was hoisted through it; and the question of why an escaping murderer should climb through a small window instead of leaving by the door seemed unanswerable.

A second theory was that Fink had been shot from the hallway through the transom, but the powder burns on Fink’s body showed that he had been shot from close range. More than two years after the crime, New York Police Commissioner Edward P. Mulrooney called the murder an “insoluble mystery.”

 

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