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Vitaly von Lange is one of the best detectives of the early 20th century. He could change into a woman when the business required it, or transform into a beggar in a shelter on a lousy mattress.
Old man Sinitsyn lived in Odessa on Khutorskaya Street in a small apartment. The neighbors knew him as a wealthy man and a curmudgeon: money is found, but he only loves not to spend it, but to make money. All the time the old man disappeared at the poultry market, where he traded. Once his house was robbed, but the criminals did not find the money and realized that Sinitsyn carried it with him. And at night the old man was killed. Already in the morning, Vitaly von Lange stood on the threshold of the deceased's house.
He found out from the granddaughter of the murdered man what things were missing, and decided to establish surveillance over the apartment of the "blatykain" (that is, the buyer of stolen goods) Dvoir Broyd, known for taking everything and never asking where the good came from (and usually this was done in order to do not accidentally sell stolen goods where it was stolen). To prevent the criminals from identifying him, the detective changed into a woman - a long skirt, a jacket and a huge headscarf, which also covered his lush mustache. A policeman in civilian clothes went with von Lange.
In the twilight, thieves approached the buyer's house - they talked about the famous burglar Petka Goldysh, who had gotten more than two hundred rubles from somewhere and who "had snatched the old poultry house." Von Lange immediately arrested both of them, and they gave out all the names they knew. Now it was necessary to find Petka. The next day, the detective dressed as a laborer and went to a low-standard restaurant, where thieves often squandered money. There he detained a visitor dressed in new clothes. Sense did not disappoint - it turned out to be Kuzka Dobriansky, one of the gang of murderers, whose name Lange learned the day before.
A good old police trick was used: “I know you, Dobriansky, from the words of Petka Goldysh, who confessed to the murder and pointed to you as a participant in this crime, stating that you even strangled the old man with your own belt, this one that I have in hand". Dobriansky immediately split: “Goldysh is lying! The belt is not mine, but his. " And he pointed to Petka as a murderer.
After that, it was a matter of technique to find Goldysh in the apartment of his uncle and his accomplices Vanka Nos and Vanka the pockmarked Halomidnik. A thief agent helped with the capture of Halomidnik: on his tip, the detective had to lie in the guise of a beggar at midnight with a revolver in his bosom on the stinking lousy mattresses of the flophouse. So in two days von Lange solved the murder and caught the whole gang.
The Sinitsyn case is one of many brilliantly solved by this detective. Lieutenant Vitaly Vladimirovich von Lange (1863−1918) is a nugget in his field. In 1887 he left the army and got a job in the Odessa police. Odessa then had the glory of the capital of the underworld. After many years of outstanding work, von Lange became the head of the Kharkov detective department and worked in Kharkov for several years. In the book "Underworld" in 1906, he spoke about the peculiarities of the criminal world, the tricks of criminals and, of course, about the capture of criminals.
The detective became famous even before he published this book (which for a long time was used only for official purposes, that is, it was not sold to the general public). They knew about him far beyond the borders of Odessa, in which he managed to solve more than three hundred crimes. Thanks to von Lange, thieves, robbers, cheaters, counterfeiters, forgers of documents and murderers ended up in prison. The peculiarity of his method is knowledge of the psychology, customs and specialization of criminals. Von Lange did not forget that every detective needs an agent network in the criminal world. This is how he solved the murder of Sinitsyn.
Robbery of a state councilor
Many robbers were operating in Kharkov at the beginning of the 20th century.Once they "surrounded" the apartment of State Councilor Fomenko, an inspector of the theological seminary. They stole a lot of things, about a thousand rubles. They even stole clothes and linen. The councilor's house was located near the Karpovsky Garden, through which the thieves probably left. What would an ordinary investigator do?
I would try to catch things from the "blatykains" (difficult and unpromising), I would question neighbors and passers-by in the garden. But von Lange decided to test his brilliant guess: “the stolen things, due to the large number of them, were placed in two large nodes, with which the intruders could easily be detained and, since Karpovsky Garden is located near the theft, they could bury the stolen somewhere and to sell them in parts to buyers, and therefore ordered the agents to inspect the entire garden in order to see if they would notice fresh earth anywhere."
And so it happened. A piece of land was found, apparently dug up quite recently. All things were there. Now it was necessary to wait for the thieves to grant their own arrest. In the evening, three police officers with revolvers sat around the cache - or rather, climbed onto the neighboring trees and hid in their crowns. At three o'clock in the morning, two men and a woman approached. The "police" rushed towards them. During the chase with a shootout, in which no one was hurt, the criminals were herded to a brick factory, where they were arrested. There were also several workers, one of whom the thieves managed to wound with a shot. For the criminals, it ended badly - "the workers of the plant here on the spot perpetrated lynching on them, beating them almost to death."
So the insight of the detective allowed him to catch two recidivist robbers Badulin and Umrikhin and put them in prison for 5 years.
In 1912, von Lange retired for health reasons. By that time, he did not see his right eye, wounded by one criminal. The detective had 25 years of impeccable and honest service behind him, and in his hands was a small pension.
In April 1918, Vitaly Vladimirovich waited out the turbulent time of the Civil War in the city of Berezovka, 80 km from Odessa, where God knows what was going on then. But the storm overtook him there too - the gangs of anarchists atamansha Marusya came, among whom there was enough of a criminal element. Looting, searches and other outrages began. Some of the bandits killed Vitaly von Lange. It is quite possible that the criminals recognized the famous detective, remembered how he put them with accomplices in the neighborhood, and took revenge.