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The Wilmore News, January 9, 1931.


The Doodlebug train arriving at Wilmore, Comanche County, Kansas. Photo by John Edward Schrock.
The Santa Fe Railroad Station
Wilmore, Comanche County, Kansas.
Photo by John Edward Schrock.

About four o'clock, Wednesday morning, yeggs blew the safes at the Santa Fe Railroad Station and at the Kluttz Motor Company.

Entrance to the office of the motor company was through a window in the car-storage room. A door into the office was pried open with a bar.

The safe door at the motor company was completely wrecked but the rest of the office was not damaged. Checks, notes and papers belonging to the company stored in the safe were not molested and nothing about the office was taken by the robbers and the amount of cash in the safe was small, slightly over $10.00. The yeggs took this, but as they seemed to be after cash and did not disturb accessories and supplies, not gas or oil. They took only the small amount of cash in the safe.

At the Santa Fe station, the door was blown from the safe but as Agent Austin had banked the money the entire loot of the yeggs at the station was only about fifty cents, which they took from the till.

Several people about town were aroused by the explosion and conclusion but thought but little about it at the time.

Francis Chapman, manager for the Platt-Gilchrist, gave it the most attention as he was aroused by the explosion which to him seemed very distanet (distant) but nearer than either of the looted business places. He arose and dressed and investigated around his place of business thoroughly but finding nothing amiss he returned to bed, dismissing the explosion from his mind, and made no further inquiry at that early morning hour.

The robbery at the Kluttz Motor Company was discovered when they opened for business early in the morning.

Sheriff McCrary was immediately summoned and he and Deputy Geo. Speed came over from Coldwater at once to look over the damage and investigate that robbery for clues.

As Agent Austin does not come to work until 8:30, the robbery at the depot was not discovered until that hour. Mr. Austin not only notified Sheriff McCrary who was then in Wilmore on the Kluttz robbery, but he also wired railroad officials and a special officer was sent to Wilmore from the railroad headquarters to investigate the robbery for the Santa Fe.

The cash loss was negligible and practically all the damage was to the two safes that were blown.

No definite clues were left by the yeggs and the only thing that might give an insight into the movement of the robbers, if it could be called a clue, was that Walter Boles and Elmer Carpenter, who were returning from a coon hunt about 3:30 Wednesday morning, report that they noticed a car driving into Wilmore ahead of them on the Sun City road, but of course in the dark cannot give any reliable description of the car nor occupants that might lead to the apprehension of the yeggs.

The supposition from the appearance of the safes and the manner in which the doors were blown off is that both robberies were by the same parties and that they are familiar hands at the business, and were just passing through enroute and thought it a likely place to secure some ready cash.

The Safemakers and the Yeggs   "Country banks, in the early 1800s were housed in crude buildings. Safes were simple wooden shafts or strongboxes reinforced with sheet iron and secured with padlocks. It was "easy money" for criminal to break in and smash the safe, or carry it away for "cracking" in privacy. So began the race between safemakers and safe breakers, or "yeggs" as they were called. Manufacturers started to build solid iron safes with key-operated deadbolt locks; yeggs soon defeated them by pouring explosives into the keyholes and blowing the doors off their hinges. For better protection, lock makers developed combination locks without keyholes, later combining them with tiny mechanism. Vaults of steel and concrete were built into the structures of banks. Multiple locking procedures were devised and so passed the era of the yegg." -- The Schlage Lock Corporation.

Also see:

Wilmore Bank Robbed, The Western Star, March 30, 1928.

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

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

Photograph: Wilmore Train Depot, an undated photograph from the collection of Kim Fowles.

Thanks to Shirley Brier for finding, transcribing and contributing the above Wilmore News article to this web site!

Keyword: Crime.

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