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Williamsport Sunday Grit
21 July 1901

THE CASE OF ALVA FORCE
And Why Mother and Sweetheart Stand by Him
He's Opposed to Being Called "Jack the Ripper" - Former Salvation Army Girl in Love With Him

Special Dispatch to PENNSYLVANIA GRIT
Lock Haven, July 20.
Alva Force, who was taken through this city Wednesday from Philadelphia, where he was captured, to Emporium, where he is wanted for robbery and jail breaking, is a very muchly persecuted young man according to the minds of his mother, Mrs. Fannie Force, and his sweetheart, Miss Edna Bland, although the Lock haven police, through their experiences with Alva by reason of the numerous scrapes he has been in, consider him an exceedingly bad 'un for one of his years. Mrs. Force says that Alva is not half as bad as he is painted, and that his downward career is due to his hared for the name "Jack the Ripper", which greets him everywhere, and the sound of which makes him desperate. In a statement to the GRIT man, Mrs. Force says that "hereafter if any person calls Alva 'Jack the Ripper', or if any paper prints those words in connection with his name, I will make it warm for them, for that is not his name. He was called 'Jack' when a boy by his playmates, who added 'the Ripper' at the time so much was printed about London's Jack the Ripper." Although the Force home on East Bald Eagle street was closely surveiled it was reported and published that Alva had spent Sunday night there. On being questioned as to the correctness of this rumor, Mrs. Force delivered herself thusly: "I do not say that Alva was home, but some of the neighbors say they saw him climb over the back fence, and as the house was closely guarded all night, they can't see how he got out. Well, if they are so sure he was here and got away without the officers seeing him, it was indeed a mystery. He must of took wings and flew away like a fowl of the air." A most ardent admirer and supporter also of the muchly abused (?) Alva is his sweetheart, Edna Bland, a former pretty Salvation Army lassie, who was the admiration of the audience in Army hall, as she nightly mounted the platform and gave her "experiences." She is at present residing with Alva's mother. She says that she is Alva's intended bride and that as soon as he is acquitted of the charge of complicity in the Emporium robbery, of which both women feel confident, the merry wedding bells will ring. However, should Fate again turn against Alva, and he is given a dose in the pen, she says she "will stick to him and be a friend of his forever", because "he is a fine young man." To the Philadelphia officers Alva attributed his troubles to the enmity of several Lock Haven young men, who, he said, were jealous of his girl's attentions to him, and who were unsuccessful in their efforts to get her to "shake" him.