Born in 1920 he was one of three men convicted of armed robbery in west Palm Beach, Florida
in 1943. By 1950 he had expanding his criminal repertoire by hypnotizing Mrs. Gladys Williams as part of his “psychogenic health” program in Oregon and swindled her out of $7,500. In Los Angeles, Long posed as a swami and psychiatrist under the names of Mana Roma, Nana Rona, and Carleton Chandler Worth.
In 1952 Sidney was arrested for “Child Stealing” in Arizona, when he eloped with a 16 year old California girl. Long’s photograph, appearing in the newspapers, led to a disastrous series of events. Mrs. Florence Riggi, an ex-girlfriend of Long’s, noticed that an elaborate ring on his hand in the photo matched a ring missing from her apartment. Police seized the ring, valued at $5,000 and held a hearing to determine the rightful owner. Riggi testified that her mother had given her the ring and her mother confirmed this. Sidney swore that his late mother had given him the ring. Other testimony conflicted with Long’s and the judge ruled for Mrs. Riggi and commented that Long’s testimony was “some of the most deliberate perjury I have ever heard.”
When police arrested Long for perjury they found an automatic pistol in a nightstand, so he received another charge for owning a gun as a felon. Long bailed himself out and then disappeared. He was arrested in 1954 for armed robbery of a supermarket in Reno.
When not engaged in larceny, Long worked as a salesman. His persuasive skills made him a top salesperson and he won numerous awards and trips for his skills. But the lure of the dishonest dollar proved too strong for him.
In the early 1960s police in San Francisco were baffled by a series of lucrative robberies of the homes of wealthy people in Sea Cliff and Pacific Heights. In January 1963, a maid stumbled across the answer. Trucking executive Thomas Dwyer and his wife, who were attending the Bing Crosby Golf Tournament at Pebble Beach, asked their maid to pick up the mail from their Pacific Heights mansion. The maid found the front door latched by an inside chain and a small hole drilled through the door. She called police who found Long (now posing as Richard Lewis,) and his wife Patricia York inside. They also found jewelry, furs and clothes packed for removal. Miss York’s purse contained an 18 inch brace, putty knife, screwdriver, razor tipped knife, two pieces of wire, hat pin, and strips of celluloid. The couple was arrested and released on $1365 bail and then disappeared. The address they gave was false.
But the felonious pair had reckoned without the sharp eyed denizens of Pacifica. Robert Fetzer and his wife spotted the pair’s picture in the newspaper, recognized them as his next door neighbors, and called police. Even before the arrests, the Longs had attracted the suspicion of their sagacious neighbor. “I rather resented the fact that they took very little care of their grounds. Once in a while I would even water their flower patches,” said Mrs. Fetzer. Locals also noticed that they were exceptionally well dressed when they went shopping. A local grocer commented that Mrs. Lewis “would often come in wearing a fur stole- the most gorgeous stole I ever saw.”
Police arrived just in time. “If we had gotten there just 15 minutes later they would have been gone.” Patricia York, Long’s wife, stalled them for five minutes. Then Patrolman Mel Nelson shouted ‘Hey, the guy’s making a break out the window.” When Lewis (Long) was caught a few minutes later, he had $23,000 in cash in his pockets. In their home were $200,000 in fur, jewels, clothing and electronics. Police also found dozens of license plates, ID cards, and a printing press capable of producing checks, credit cards, and identification books. Police had been searching for Long for cashing forged checks for over $100,000.
Police also found the blueprint for the thefts, a well-thumbed copy of the Social Register. The register was annotated with notes about when people would be away from their house, due to trips or social functions. With bail set at $100,000, Long stayed in jail through the trial. He was convicted and sent to San Quentin.
Sidney faded away and is long gone today, but one spiritual question remains in my mind. I wonder if there is a Social Register in the hereafter?