REINA, Frank

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REINA, Frank (c. 1862- ), Arizona-born piratical associate of William Gerald, aka Will Gerrull, pirate, thief and smuggler around the California Channel Islands at the turn of the century. Reina and Gerald were both convicted of grand larceny and sentenced to four years in San Quentin prison. They served their sentences from September 24, 1900 to September 21, 1903. He was 38 when he went to prison.

Frank Reina

In the News~

August 22, 1900 [SBMP]: “Late yesterday afternoon constables Hopkins and Sansome arrested William Gerald and Frank Reina on a complaint sworn by Ah Poy, who charges them with Grand Larceny. He alleges in the complaint that William Gerald, Frank Reina and John Doe stole from him 43 sacks of abalone shells and 20 sacks of abalone meat, valued at $150. The thieves stole the abalone shells and meat at the islands, and there sailed in their boat to Gaviota where they shipped the stuff to San Francisco. It is claimed that there is a clear case against the accused. On being arrested they were brought before Justice Wheaton, who, at the request of the accused’s council, set the 27th at ten o’clock. Their bail was fixed at $1000 each. Witnesses will be brought from the islands and San Francisco for the prosecution. Also wharfinger McNealy of Gaviota.”

August 25, 1900 [LAT/SB]: “The robbery of the Chinese abalone fishers on Santa Cruz Island seems to have been partially cleared up by the arrest of Frank Reina and William Gerald, who have been navigating the Channel Waters in an old junk called the Acme. The two men were arrested on a complaint sworn by Ah Poy, who alleges that he lost about thirty sacks of dried abalones at their hands a few weeks ago and that they shipped their booty from the Gaviota wharf to San Francisco. When captured aboard their junk, Reina submitted peacefully, but Gerald showed fight and had to be overpowered. Both men were taken ashore by officers Hopkins and Sansome and being unable to give $1000 bond were sent to jail. When near the jail door Reina broke away from Constable Hopkins and tried to escape. Glancing over his shoulder he saw Hopkins draw his gun and he halted immediately, saying he know the officer’s reputation. The detention of these men may furnish some explanation to the thefts of abalones and provisions from Santa Cruz Island which caused the death by starvation of a Chinese fisherman and brought his fellows near death’s door.”

August 28, 1900 [SBMP]: “Abalone thieves put no defense and were bound over. S. E. Crow is their attorney. The preliminary examination of William Gerald and Frank Reina were held before Justice Wheaton yesterday on the charge of Grand Larceny. They were both held to answer to the superior court on the same charge. Gerald and Reina were arrested on Wednesday on a warrant, sworn to by Ah Poy, charging them with stealing 40 sacks of abalone shells and 20 sacks of abalone meat. In the examination yesterday, it was learned that Gerald and Reina were engaged with their boat to take P. E. L. Hillyer and a party to the islands on a cruise. After leaving the party on the island, the defendants left for a short trip, agreeing to be back at a staged time. When they returned somewhat later than the agreed time, they stated that they were becalmed and could not get back. Wharfinger McNealy of Gaviota testified that during that identical time the defendants came to Gaviota, and from there shipped about 60 sacks of abalones to San Francisco. The defendants, represented by S. E. Crow, Esq. put up no defense, and were held to answer to the Superior Court by Justice Wheaton.”

August 28, 1900 [LAT/SB]: “Reina and Gerald, charged with stealing abalones from the Chinese fishermen on Santa Cruz Island, came up before Justice Wheaton this morning for examination. The men were held to answer the charge in the Superior Court. Their bonds were left at $1000 each.”

September 1, 1900 [LAT/SB]: “Ex-Deputy Sheriff Chris Brown of San Diego is in the city. He confirms the report that two of the abalone thieves incarcerated here served six months in the San Diego County jail for smuggling Chinese into the country.”

September 5, 1900 [SBWP]: “William Gerald and Frank Reina, the abalone thieves, were before Judge Day in Superior Court to enter a plea to the charge.”

September 7, 1900 [SBMP]: “Frank Reina, the man arrested for stealing abalones from Santa Rosa Island, was arraigned in the Superior Court yesterday. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to four years in San Quentin. William Gerald, his accomplice, pleaded not guilty.”

September 7, 1900 [LAT/SB]: “Frank Reina and Gerald, the alleged Channel pirates accused of robbing Chinese abalone fishermen, were arraigned in the Superior Court this morning. Reina pleaded guilty and sentenced to four years in San Quentin. Gerald will stand trial.”

September 8, 1900 [SBMP]: “The case of the People vs. William Gerald, the channel pirate, was set for trial September 27th in the Superior Court.”

September 9, 1900 [LAT/SB]: “The trial of the case of the People vs. William Gerald, the channel pirate, who stole abalones from Santa Rosa Island Chinese, is set for the 27th inst.”

September 19, 1900 [SBMP]: “The county jail authorities yesterday morning found evidence of an attempted jail break. A loose brick in the wall raised the suspicion. The officials at once suspected the channel pirates, Frank Reina and William Gerald, who has just been convicted of the crime.”

September 19, 1900 [LAT/SB]: “The trial of Gerald, who was arrested with Reina on the charge of abalone stealing, is on in the Superior Court. As Reina, who pleaded guilty and is now in San Quentin, was captain of the Acme, in which the abalones were brought over from Santa Cruz Island, Gerald is making the plea that he was simply in the employ of Reina, and was bound to do his bidding aboard ship. The prosecution will endeavor to establish the fact that the two men were in partnership.”

September 20, 1900 [LAT/SB]: “The jury in the case of the People vs. Gerald, the abalone thief, was out but a few minutes last evening, when a verdict finding him guilty was rendered. He will be sentenced tomorrow.”

September 21, 1900 [SBMP]: “William Gerald who was convicted of the crime of grand larceny, was sentenced yesterday to serve four years in San Quentin. His attorney moved to grant the prisoner a new trial, but the motion was overruled.”

September 21, 1900 [LAT/SB]: “Gerald, the channel thief, was sentenced this morning to four years in San Quentin penitentiary.”

July 11, 1912 [LAT]: “In the arrest tonight of Ah Chuck and Lee Gip Sam, Immigration Inspectors Adolph R. Nielsen and Ralph Conklin of the southern Federal district with headquarters in Los Angeles, believe they have in custody the agents who were to dispose of the ten contraband Chinese seized on San Clemente Island as they were preparing to start northward on the launch Starlight. The arrest was made after the inspectors had caused the Chinese to believe that the inspectors were engaged in the smuggling affair and had been instructed by Ah Chuck with a letter to the coolies held aboard the vessel. William Gerald and Harry Lloyd, arrested at San Clemente Island, have been formally accused of conspiracy to smuggle Chinese as have Ah Chuck and Lee Gip Sam. Further arrests are promised by the immigration officials.”

September 7, 1912 [LAT]: “Grand jury has smuggling case. Violation of immigration laws is charged. The Federal grand jury heard a half-dozen witnesses yesterday afternoon in the case of Billy Gerald and Harold Lloyd, charged with bringing aliens into the country… If Gerald and Lloyd are indicted, there will be twenty-two counts in the instrument, for that is the number of contraband Chinese captured by Inspector Miller and his assistants on the island of San Clemente, where it is alleged they were landed by Gerald and Lloyd…”