In 1909, back when tall buildings had elevator operators, one such worker was caught stealing from an apartment. A Pinkerton detective confronted the elevator operator to arrest him. But his mistake was to enter the elevator, where the operator was right at home. A newspaper carried the detective's account of the incident:
We had only gone down three floors before he made a desperate break at me. With one arm he grabbed me around the neck, while with the other he made a grab for the pistol, which I was holding with my right hand. We grappled, and the elevator shot downstairs at its full speed with both of us struggling for possession of the revolver.
When the elevator got to about the second or third floor I had almost lost my strength when the revolved exploded and off went my left forefinger. This sudden shock seemed to give me strength and I managed to get possession of the revolver again, it having dropped to the floor in the struggle. As I stooped to reach the gun, Johnson grabbed the elevator rope and the elevator shot to the roof again. Then he grabbed me and the gun went off again and again.
I don't know where that shot went, but I remember that as the elevator reached the top Johnson still had the controlling rope in one hand and was fighting me with the other, for he reversed the machine and down it shot full speed. We grappled again and again, and then there were two more shots from the gun, and Johnson dropped crouching in the corner of the elevator.
Read more at the Atlantic. Link
(Image credit: Library of Congress)