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Northwest Train Held Up In Clinton Yards by Bandits

FOUR STOCKMEN ROBBED OF MONEY AND JEWELRY

Posted By: Sharon Elijah (email)
Date: 5/16/2019 at 12:30:44

27 November 1916 - The Clinton Advertiser page 1

DARING PIECE OF BUSINESS
Robbers Jump from Train on Bridge and Escape--Get $96 in Money and Two Watches
Masked bandits held up and robbed a Northwestern stock train as it pulled out of the Clinton yards for the east at 9:34 o'clock Saturday night, and after securing $96 in money and several watches and other jewelry from a group of stockmen in the way-car, jumped from the train on the railroad bridge, and disappeared in the darkness, in the direction of East Clinton. The men have not been apprehended.

The hold-up was one of the boldest ever attempted and carried out in Iowa, savoring of the hold-up jobs pulled off in the days of Jesse James and the Younger brothers. Its victims were: R. M. Scoville, Conrad, Iowa; C. L. Vail, Effingham, Ill., John Wingert, residence unknown, C. H. Swanger, Mechanicsville, Ia.

Two suspects were arrested by the police during the night and were sent to the county jail today to serve 10-day sentences on the charge of vagrancy. They gave the names of Jack Wilson and Edward Zimmer. It is believed they had nothing to do with the hold-up, and that the perpetrators of the job have made their get-away from the city, probably catching a freight out of East Clinton.

The train, No. 132, east-bound, was in charge of Conductor Rich. A group of half a dozen stockmen were in the way-car when the train started from the Clinton yards, on the last leg of its journey to the Union Stock Yards in Chicago.

Suddenly two men wearing masks and holding revolvers in their hands, appeared before the startled group of stockmen, and the terse order, "Hands up!" rang out. Every hand went into the air, and the masked visitors proceeded to search their victims, one by one. One of the fellows kept them covered with his revolver, while the other went through their pockets, taking watches, chains and money.

Scoville lost his watch and pocketbook; Wingert $25 and his watch, Swanger $60 and his watch and a gold-handled knife, and Vail such small change as he had about him.

After completing their work, which was done methodically and in silence, the two fellows backed out of the way-car, jumped to the bridge, and hurried into the darkness towards the east.

The train was stopped in the middle of the Northwestern bridge, and an alarm sent out. The police were notified and Captain Oster and some of his night men hastened to the scene. Meanwhile operators along the line were busy sending out notice of the robbery, and such descriptions of the thieves as the stockmen were able to furnish. Following is an inventory of the money and jewelry taken: One gold hunting case watch, with two horses engraved on the case; One 14-karat gold chain; One 17-jewel open face Elgin watch, gold-filled; One gold-handled knife; One thin gold-plated chain; Ten $5 bills; Three $10 bills; Six $1 bills; And small change, the money totaling $96.

The Northwestern has sent out the following description of the train robbers: One man had a 35-calibre blue steel revolver. He was about 5 feet 6 or 7 inches tall, wore a grey overcoat with velvet collar, gray cap, negilgee colored shirt, white collar, brown hair, blue flannel mask with white edge.

The other robber was slightly taller, and carried a nickle-plated revolver with a long barrel. He had a brown overcoat and cap to match, and seemed to be between 20 and 30 years of age. He also wore a mask.

When the captain of police reached the scene of the robbery, the train was stopped on the bridge. Officer Oster went to the way-car, and talked to the stockmen who had been "stuck-up." They gave him their names and addresses and a description of the property they had lost, and of the men who had relieved them of it. The night captain learned that the thieves had left the train on the bridge, and were last seen walking towards the Illinois shore.

Every effort was made during the night to catch the bold bandits. The "dragnet" was put out, and two suspicious characters were arrested on this side of the river. Local Northwestern special agents were on the job all night, and aided by the Clinton police, they made a thorough search of the yards on both sides of the river. However, with the exception of the two men arrested on suspicion, no other suspicious characters were discovered.


 

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