Below is the original New York Times newspaper article about the robbery dated August 16, 1927.
|Click to enlarge.
As for the burning, that comes from The Secret Life of Houdini by William Kalush and Larry Sloman. On page 531 it reads:
Sometime later in the presence of Joe Hyman, Houdini's old friend, Hardeen destroyed all of Houdini's personal files by burning them in the basement furnace of his home. According to Hyman, Hardeen "incidentally almost burnt his residence down doing so."
Kalush suggests that what might have gone up in flames that day were Houdini's investigative files related to specific spiritualist exposures. In fact, the book says Hardeen's life had been threatened earlier that year because "he fell heir to certain Houdini secrets."
Of course, Hardeen's true inheritance, Houdini's magic and escape props, were the items Houdini specified should be "burned and destroyed" upon Hardeen's death. But Hardeen passed the effects to his successor Douglas Geoffrey (Hardeen Jr.) and collectors like Sidney Radner. Fire finally claimed the Water Torture Cell in 1995.
Strange Inheritance airs on FOX Business Network. The "Houdini Jewel" episode (which dealt with Bessie's royal crown brooch) was well done, and they gave my blog a very nice shout-out. I expect you'll be able to catch the episode in repeats.
Thanks to reader Harry Houdini (real name) for the clipping.