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The year was 1912 and Woodrow Wilson was president. Jim Thorpe won Olympic gold in the decathlon and pentathlon events at Stockholm, Sweden. New Mexico became the 47th state in January followed a month later by Arizona, completing the contiguous U.S. In April, RMS Titanic came to rest on the Atlantic Ocean floor at a depth of over 12,500 feet.

On assembly lines pioneered by Henry Ford, roughly 50,000 utilitarian Model T Touring Cars would be cranked out in 1912—at a cost to eager buyers of $690. While some Americans today annually spend that amount and more on coffee, $690 was a small fortune in 1912, resulting in the creation of a new class of criminal, the car thief.

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