Sunday, November 06, 2011

Black Sheep Sunday: Police Lose Trail of Kokomo Bandit Gang, Blue Car Found

Source: Marion Leader-Tribune, Marion, Indiana, March 28, 1925, p. 1.


Marion police have been asked to aid in the search for bandits, who held up and robbed the South Kokomo bank of $4,000 in cash and a like amount in Liberty bonds yesterday afternoon, and whose trail was lost when the conspicuous blue car, used by the bandits, to make their escape, was found concealed in a slough five miles southwest of Kokomo.

A farmer reported he saw the bandits, about seven in number, change to two small cars, which were a coupe and a sedan.

Many Reports Received

In the meantime many reports had come from Grant, Madison and other counties telling of blue cars which had been seen.  This information became of no value when it was found the bandits had abandoned this car.

The bandits entered the bank singly.  While the first was having a $10 bill changed a second entered and waited at the cashier's window.

The third suddenly displayed a gun and ordered A.E. Gorton, cashier, Miss Winifred Dimitt, assistant cashier, and Miss Frances Gorton into the rear room. Gorton was forced, with a pistol at the back of his head, to open the inner vault.

"Speedy," a small terrier, boldly attacked the burglar's ankles, and was kicked into the basement.

The bandit's car was stolen from Ft. Wayne Thursday night, and carried the license plates of a phaeton belonging to Barrett M. Woodsmall of Indianapolis, stolen from there March 11, and found here riddled with bullets Thursday night.

Holdup is Watched

The holdup was watched by three young men in a drug store across the street from the bank, but they were prevented from calling police because of fear of a stranger who stood in the store and watched them closely.  The alarm was not sounded until the bandits had escaped with their money.

The bandits, at least several of them, have been seen twice in Kokomo recently.  They took lunch at a small cafe in the south part of town last Sunday, and previously tried to get rooms in the hotel above the restaurant.

Cashier Gorton had some difficulty in working the combination of the safe, and this angered the bandit who held the gun over him, and he threatened "to blow his brains out."  The men were in the bank about ten minutes.  Only one customer tried to enter, Vernon Shaw, and he was slapped by one of the men and later robbed of $18.

The bandits tore the telephone from the wall, and also broke a shotgun and took away the extra cartridges.

The impression was that the bandits had gone to Indianapolis, but after they abandoned the blue car it was difficult to determine which road was taken.  Reports came from many places of seeing cars travel at a fast rate of speed, but none were definite.

This article is another in a series of follow-up stories to the robberies of the South Kokomo State Bank by a group of robbers, led by my paternal cousin, Harry PIERPONT (1902-1934).  Harry later became famous as a member of the "Terror Gang" with John Dillinger.  These earlier robberies terrorized Indiana during 1924-25.

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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