Valentine’s Day is only ten days away and the sweet scent of roses mingled with perfume, chocolate and lust is in the air — except here at Deranged L.A. Crimes. I’m getting a whiff of cordite, mixed with jealousy, rage and madness. Ain’t love grand?
The dark side of love will be the topic of February’s posts and I’m going to kick off the month with the tale of a spurned lover and a special box of chocolates.
Twenty-two year old newlywed Evelyn Weeks of Huntington Park wasn’t particularly shocked when, on February 16, 1940, she read in a local newspaper that her former suitor, twenty-nine year old Louis Schostek had been busted by the Feds for sending her what he hoped would be her last Valentine’s Day gift ever, a box of poisoned chocolates.
It wasn’t the first time that Louis had sent his former flame a box of candy. He had tried to gift her with some special chocolates the previous Christmas, but he didn’t have her California address so he mailed the present to her parents, Mr. & Mrs. Frank Jasa, of St. Edwards, Nebraska–they returned the box unopened.
The Jasa’s were well aware of Louis’ obsession with Evelyn, and her fear of him. The couple had dated for two years before Evelyn ended the relationship. Louis wouldn’t throw down his torch and continued to pester his ex with letters that became increasingly threatening. When another box of chocolates arrived at the Jasa manse on February 6th with a note asking the couple to forward it to their daughter, they decided to investigate. Using the family dog as a guinea pig they fed the trusting canine a few of the candies–the poor thing immediately became violently ill. Fortunately the pooch survived and the Jasa’s, realizing that the candy had been tampered with, called the cops.
Once the local law realized that Louis had broken a federal statute by sending the poisoned chocolates through the U.S. mail they brought in the FBI.
The feds turned up at Schostek’s home in Oconee, Nebraska with a few questions for him. Schostek readily admitted to having sent Evelyn dozens of threatening letters and two boxes of poisoned chocolates. When FBI agents asked him why he’d done it, all Louis could say was:
“I don’t know why I did it. I guess I was out of my mind.”