Sunday, June 19, 2011

Black Sheep Sunday: Alleged Bank Bandit Leader Held

Source: Leader-Tribune, Marion, Indiana, April 3, 1925, page 1 & 15



He Is Said to Have Led in the Robbing of Two Grant County Banks

Held in Kokomo Case

Bonds Taken From the Bank There Recovered by Detroit Police


Harry Pierpont, 24 years old who it was alleged was the leader in the robbing of the South Marion State bank and the Upland State bank 
last fall, was arrested yesterday at Detroit, Michigan, as a suspect in the robbing of the South Side Bank at Kokomo on Friday, March 27.   Thaddeus R. Skeer, 23, known as “Sudy” Skeer of Fort Wayne, was also arrested, as was Miss Louise Brunner, also of Fort Wayne, who is being held as a witness.

It was reported that a third man said to me, Everett Bridgewater, also a member of the gang  which robbed the Grant county banks, had also been arrested for having taken part in the Kokomo robbery, but this could not be verified last night.

Woman is in Prison

Bridgewater’s wife, Mary, is now serving a term in the women’s prison at Indianapolis for having taken part in the robberies in this county.

The three prisoners have waived extradition and will be brought back to Kokomo, probably today, where the men face charges of bank robbery and petit larceny, warrants of which have already been issued by City Judge Joseph Cripe of Kokomo.

A.E. Garton, cashier of the Kokomo bank, from which more than $10,000 in cash was stolen, went to Detroit yesterday afternoon and identified bonds, amounting to $ 7,000 which were also taken by the robbers.  A part of the cash stolen has also been recovered.

Vernon Shaw, a customer who stopped into the Kokomo bank at the time the robbery took place and who was held up and “Chic” Nelson, who was in a drug store across the street from the bank at the time of the robbery, left last evening for Detroit, where they will attempt to identify the prisoners as those who took part in the robbery.

Gives False Name

Pierpont, when arrested at first gave his name as Frank Mason, but later in the day admitted that his name was Pierpont.  Detectives from the Pinkerton agency trailed the Brunner woman from Fort Wayne to Detroit, and a short time later the woman and Skeer were arrested, when they met in that city.  Pierpont’s arrest followed a short time later.

Deputy Sheriff Woody Smith, who has been working on the case on the supposition that Pierpont and Bridgewater were implicated in the Kokomo robbery, gave a description of Bridgewater to the Detroit police yesterday afternoon, and was told that Mason had admitted that his right name was Pierpont.  Deputy Sheriff Smith stated last night that he would go to Kokomo with a warrant for Pierpont and Bridgewater and would try and get the Kokomo authorities to turn them over to him for trial in this county for robbing the Grant county banks.

With the arrest of Pierpont and possibly Bridgewater, the entire gang of robbers who are alleged to have robbed the Grant county banks will have been rounded up, the other five now serving sentences in prison.  Mrs. Bridgewater was arrested at her home in Indianapolis and brought back to this city, where she was given a sentence of from two to fourteen years.  The other members of the gang, who admitted to being implemented in the robbing of the Upland and South Marion banks, were James Robbins, arrested at Lebanon, the first member of the gang to be arrested; William Behrens, who was arrested at Monticello; Marion (Red) Smith, alias “Springfield Red,” who was arrested at Indianapolis,  upon his return from Springfield; George Frazier of Kokomo, who came to Marion and was turned over to the police by his father and Robert Morris of Indianapolis, arrested in that city, all of whom entered pleas of guilty in the circuit court and were given sentences of from ten to twenty years in prison and Mrs. Emily Morris, arrested at Indianapolis with her husband, who also “plead guilty” and was given a sentence of from two to fourteen years.

This article from the Marion, Indiana newspaper gives a little different perspective on the arrest of my cousin Harry PIERPONT (1902-1934) for the Kokomo robbery and ties him to bank jobs in Grant County that need further research.

Black Sheep Sunday – create a post with the main focus being an ancestor with a “shaded past.” Bring out your ne’er-do-wells, your cads, your black widows, your horse thieves and tell their stories. And don’t forget to check out the International Black Sheep Society of Genealogists (IBSSG). This is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

No comments: