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The Western Star, March 30, 1928.


Shortly before 11 o'clock on Thursday forenoon of this week, the Wilmore State Bank was robbed. Two men drove into town in a Buick coupe carrying an Oklahoma license tag, it is said, and proceeded to hold up R. O. Nevens, the cashier, and Warren Day, book-keeper. At the point of guns, the bank men were compelled to open the safe and turn over to the bandits the cash therein - about $2000. No bonds were taken. The bandits then sped out of town, going northward, it is said. It is reported that the car in which they rode was seen near Haviland less than an hour later. A diligent search for the bandits was started promptly by Sheriff W. M. McCrary of this county. This we believe, is the first bank robbery ever pulled off in Comanche-co.

The Clark County Clipper, March 29, 1928.


Two unmasked men stepped into the Wilmore State Bank this morning between 10 and 11 o'clock and herded the cashier, R. O. Nevens and his assistant, Warren Day, with four of their customers into the vault and then robbed the bank of all the cash they could find, the amount taken being between $1,700.00 and $2,000.00.

The robbers were traveling in a Buick coupe which they left running on the street east of the bank, while they robbed the bank. They left Wilmore going east on No. 12 through Belvidere, where they took a shot at Buford Davis, who with others tried to stop them there. They went north to the Cannon Ball and west through Haviland and were last seen as they went west through Mullinsville.

When the cashier was a little too slow in "puttin' em up" one of the bandits pulled his gun which snapped - the gun either being empty or the shell failed to explode. A safety device soon allowed the six men to come out of the vault and the alarm was spread before the bandits had gone far on their way, but they had too much of a start for their pursuers to overtake them.

The bank's loss was covered by insurance.

The Western Star, January 18, 1929.


At the recent term of district court in this city, a case was tried which, in some respects, was a very unusual case to be disposed of in this county. It was the case of the State of J. B. Knight, who was charged with robbing the Wilmore State Bank on the 29th of last March. Knight was arrested in Pawhuska, Okla., last October on a holdup charge made by Wichita authorities. Some delay in bringing him back to Kansas was occasioned on account of a fight having been made by Knight and his attorney against the granting of extradition papers. He was finally brought back and lodged in jail in Wichita, where he was kept until he was turned over to Comanche-co. authorities and brought to this city for trail on the bank robbery charge.

The case was taken up on Wednesday afternoon of last week. By 11 a.m. on Thursday the jury had been secured and the hearing of evidence was begun. County Attorney C. E. Baker, assisted by Paul Harvey of the Attorney General's office, conducted the prosecution and Horace H. Rich was counsel for Knight. The case was well handled. A number of witnesses were examined, some being from other counties. The case went to the jury shortly after 11 o'clock on Saturday forenoon, and it was 20 minutes until 1 o'clock Sunday morning before a verdict was reached. It is reported that nine ballots were required before the first ballot settled the question of the guilt or innocence of the accused. The jury, on last ballet, voted "guilty."

On Wednesday afternoon of this week, a motion for a new trail was argued before Judge Miller. The motion was denied by the Judge, whereupon sentence was passed. In view of the established fact that Knight had been previously convicted of a felony at least twice, Judge Miller complied with the law and gave the prisoner a life sentence in the state penitentiary. Accordingly on Thursday morning, Sheriff W. M. McCrary and Deputy Geo. McDonold started with the prisoner by way of Greensburg for Lansing. The Knight case was the first of the kind ever tried in this county. It was brought out that he once served a term in the penitentiary for a felonious offense committed in Harper-co., and another term for an offense committed in Pratt-co. These and other offenses would seem to indicate that Knight was somewhat of a professional in crime.

Also see:

Yeggs Nitro Two Safes In Wilmore Wednesday Evening, The Wilmore News, January 9, 1931.

Alva Trummel Kidnapped (by Bonnie & Clyde), The Western Star, 8 Sept 1933.

Wilmore Bank Robbed Last Week, The Western Star, September 1, 1966.

Thanks to Shirley Brier for finding, transcribing and contributing the above news articles to this web site!

Keyword: Crime.

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