Six Youths Take Case;
Make Get-Away In '38 Chevy Pick-up
Eyewitness Describes Axe Thieves

(Following is an eye-witness account of the Axe theft last night. Cecil Rospaw, Daily Reporter, who saw the burglars take the Axe, was the only witness beside Bill Steif, Cellar counterman and Daily night editor, who was on duty alone at the time)

"I was walking down to the Cellar to buy a pack of cigarettes," said Cecil Rospaw, an ex-G.I., "when I saw two men coming out of the Cellar and struggling with a large, bulky object.

"At the same time, I noticed a 1938 ton-and-a-half Chevrolet pickup parked at the curb. The two men put the object into the pickup and drove up to the Post Office, turning in the direction of Lagunita.

"Rushing into the Cellar, I found to my utter amazement that THE SPOT WHERE THE FAMOUS STANFORD AXE BELONGED WAS EMPTY. Meanwhile, Bill Steif, a Cellar counterman, was phoning the Palo Alto police.

"I then realized that the small group of fellows standing by the Cellar and near the pickup were participants in the Axe theft. One in the group, who appeared to be the leader, was about six feet tall, blond, and was wearing a red Stanford jacket.

"As he jumped into the pickup truck he said, 'We just want to borrow this for a gag.' But some of them--who I'm sure were in on the theft--took off on foot."

Stanford's Axe was stolen at 10:25 last night by six men.

The thieves came into the Cellar just before closing time. Only student-worker Bill Steif was there, forced into submission by threats of violence.

Steif described the husky robbers as "definitely of college age."

Steif's attempts to reach the phone were foiled by the six men's action.

The six took the entire case, loaded it into a black '38 Chevrolet one and one-half-ton pick-up truck and drove off.

Stanford and Palo Alto police are chasing the thieves. Radio notification went to all the police cars in the Bay Area and San Francisco.

Only other witness was Cecil Rospaw who saw the incident from across the street.

Possible routes according to the police were Bayshore Highway, Highway 101, or backroads. The latter are the best bet, said police, since the thieves would encounter only random patrol cars there.

All highways, roads, and bridges are being watched in efforts to render the theft as ineffective as last spring's when a brawny group of Bear football stars led by Roger Harding and Ted Kenfield bulled their way into the Cellar and wrested the Axe from its case.

Witness Steif and Rospaw believe this attempt to be a carefully planned job. The robbers picked the quietest hour and worked quickly and efficiently.

This marks the fifth theft of the Axe in its 47-year history. The score: Cal 4 (if it was Cal last night), Stanford 1.

It started in 1899 when U.C. rooters stole it at a baseball game in San Francisco. The Farm was not revenged until April 1930, when Indian raiders took it right out of Cal hands in front of the Berkeley bank where the Axe rested. The Bears brought it out only once a year for the Axe Rally. A minutely planned raid, involving tear gas and a squad of cars, recovered it for the Farm.

More recent were Cal's short-lived thefts in 1944 and '445. By agreement the Axe goes to the winner of the Big Game. Stanford and Cal administrations hold taking the Axe by other means illegal. Cal gridders Harding and Kenfield were suspended for their abortive attempt last year.


Yes, the Axe is gone and you're mad. But think it over before you get carried away and do anything in the spirit of revenge that will knock down Stanford's reputation for sensibility and fair play

In this crazy old world the story of the Axe can look pretty big one minute and pretty scrawny the next. We like it because it's the spirit of Stanford which shouts that we're a bunch of 5,000 different kinds of people unanimously strong for the Farm.

But keep cool. When we get the Axe back in its rightful resting place we want it there with no strings attached, no smears brought on by rash and perhaps incorrect reprisals.