Sunday, July 10, 2011

Black Sheep Sunday: Marion Bank Robber Is Identified

Source: Marion Leader-Tribune, April 4, 1925, p. 1 (cont. p. 5)



A.L. Pierpont, Alleged King of Robber Gang, Soon on Way to Kokomo


$900 of Bonds Stamped With Name of Grant County Bank Included.


Frank Mason, alias A.L. Pierpont, who is wanted in Marion for robbing the Upland State bank and the South Marion State bank, Thaddeus Skeer of Fort Wayne, who have been identified by A.L. Gorton, cashier of the Kokomo South Side bank, as two of the men who robbed that bank of more than $40,000 last week and Miss Louise Brunner of Fort Wayne, who is being held as a witness, were expected to arrive at Kokomo early this morning, where they will be placed in jail to face charges.  Homer R. Miller, prosecuting attorney of Howard county will try to place a charge of being habitual criminals against both men, which carries with it a life sentence.

The third man who was arrested was found to be James Roscoe Hayes, known as "Whitey", but was released from custody of the Detroit police last night.  Hayes was a former member of Pete Sullivan's orchestra, which appeared around here last fall on several occasions for dances and will be remembered by several Marion people.  During the World War, Hayes, who was a member of Company G 152nd infantry, deserted from Camp Shelby, Mississippi and served a term at Fort Leavenworth prison.

Bonds Recovered

After the prisoners had left Detroit late yesterday afternoon for Kokomo, a dispatch was received by the Leader-Tribune from Detroit, stating that the Detroit police had found $900 worth of Liberty bonds in their apartment, which had been stamped by the State Bank of Marion, Ind., and that authorities in this city were notified.  Byron Baxter, cashier of the South Marion State Bank, which was robbed of $40,000 on the afternoon of November 26, stated last night that no bonds were stolen from that bank, the robbers, in their haste, throwing several Liberty bonds found at the bank, on the floor.

It was thought possible however, the bonds were those of the Upland bank, but officials there said not after midnight this morning.  It was also thought possible the bonds might have been taken from individual and bore the name of some bank where they had been left for keeping.

In any event bonds in the amount of $900 have been recovered, and they are supposed to bear the name of a Grant County bank.  More information on this phase of the subject will be secured later.

Efforts were being made yesterday and last night to connect Pierpont and Skeer with the robbing of the bank at Laketon, Wabash County last Tuesday morning, when $1,937 was stolen by the robbers.

Practically all of the Liberty bonds and securities which were stolen from the Kokomo bank, have been recovered, according to Charles Jinkerson, president of the banks, while part of money has been recovered.

Mason, alias Pierpont, is said to have been given a sentence in Marion County in 1922 on a charge of assault and battery with intent to commit murder, while Skeer was sentenced from Allen County in 1917 to the state penal farm on a charge of larceny.

Part of the loot taken from the Kokomo bank was found in Skeers apartment at Detroit.  When arrested, Skeer was found to have in his possession $850 in new bills of $50 and $100 denominations, while the Brunner woman, who is said to be engaged to Skeers, was found to be in possession of a number of valuable pieces of jewelry.

Long on the Trail

The Indian [sic] Bankers Association has been looking for Mason, alias Pierpont, since the robbery of the Grant County banks and have been on his trail since that time.  Pierpont's and Skeer's arrest came about as the result of the activities of Captain William F. Pappert of the Fort Wayne police department, who gave information that Skeer had been seen at the Brunner woman's home in Fort Wayne with a large roll of money of large denominations and it was learned that she was to meet Skeers later at Detroit.  Detectives followed the woman to Detroit, where she went directly to the apartments occupied by Pierpont and Mason and the arrest of the entire party soon followed.  When the apartment was searched, revolvers were found in the apartment.

This account of the arrest of Harry PIERPONT (1902-1934) gives an account of his aliases, albeit the paper had his first name wrong in the initial report.  A different account of his arrest can be found here and here.  As I continue to research these various robberies I will continue to post the results here and update Harry's Wikipedia entry.

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.

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