Newton Gang robs two banks in a single evening

Newton Gang robs two banks in a single evening

Newton Gang robs two banks in a single evening

On January 9, 1921, the Newton Gang drove to Hondo, Texas, a small city 30 miles west of San Antonio, to rob one of many city’s two banks. It was previous midnight and the temperature was near freezing.

The Newtons knew Hondo’s evening watchman and, as was his customized, discovered him huddled round a stomach range within the depot. They lower all of the telephone wires after which checked on the evening watchman once more. He hadn’t moved from his place by the range, so Joe stood throughout the road as a lookout whereas the remaining went to the financial institution.

In his 1979 interview, Willis proudly advised his aspect of the story:

“You are typically fortunate as a result of they left the vault door open. They left it open so we did not want nitro or something. We tapped the window, walked over to the vault, tried the deal with and he or she opened !You would be stunned what number of occasions banks would lock the door to make it appear like it was locked in a single day.

“We had the vault cleaned out very quickly and went to see if the evening watchman was nonetheless within the depot. Positive sufficient, he was studying {a magazine} and consuming espresso by the range. Properly, we figured we had loads of time, so we would go to the opposite financial institution and take a look at it I saved Joe and Doc watching the evening marshal whereas Jess and I went all the way down to the opposite financial institution.

“We went into that financial institution and cleaned it out. Rattling, two banks in a single evening and the evening marshal, he by no means left the tank!”

The native newspaper, the Hondo Anvil Heraldcarried the story with a splashy headline:

Yeggs Rob Hondo Banks

One of the daring robberies ever to happen in Texas occurred right here Sunday morning

The folks of Hondo had been astonished and offended Sunday morning when it was discovered that the 2 banks had been damaged into by yeggs, between midnight and daylight, and robbed of each cash and valuables. Entry into the First Nationwide Financial institution was made by forcing the entrance doorways; whereas entrance to the State Financial institution was effected by knocking down the bars of the final window within the alley between Parker’s and the financial institution.

The newspaper went on to present an elaborate description of the theft:

As many of the cash in each banks was within the safes, with the time locks in place, the lack of money was not critical, the First Nationwide shedding a complete of $2,814, whereas as to the lack of actual money, the State Financial institution was just a little. luckier, his loss is $1,879; each banks misplaced a complete of $4,694, practically all of which was silver coin.

Each banks’ funds had been coated by theft insurance coverage, so neither will endure losses. [Just like Willis had assured his brothers.]

The house owners of personal safes, who had put their valuables in financial institution vaults, are the largest losers, and their actual loss won’t be identified definitively for a while – in all probability a month – because the house owners of the bins are the one ones that may erase the loss, with out financial institution officers not being knowledgeable of the contents of the bins.

The house owners of the safes had money, authorities bonds, conflict financial savings stamps, jewellery and different valuables of their safes, so it was unattainable to find out the precise quantity taken within the theft. Estimates as excessive as $30,000 had been by no means confirmed.

The article went on to explain the “assured consultants:”

… That the robbers had been consultants is confirmed by the truth that they had been capable of work the mixture within the vault of the First Nationwide Financial institution. [Willis said it was left unlocked.] They had been additionally consultants in using explosives, the vault doorways of the State Financial institution had been opened by one of the vital highly effective explosives identified, TNT. [ Willis swore in his interview that he never used dynamite-only nitroglycerine.]

The vaults had been completely ransacked and the flooring had been strewn with papers about two toes thick.

From the thoroughness with which the robbers looked for securities, it’s clear that they spent two hours or extra within the vaults of the banks and the non-public bins of the shoppers are in a tragic state, most of them displaying that they opened a beating . by some heavy instrument, in all probability a hammer that had been stolen from Masks & Co.’s smithy.

… That the robbers weren’t tyros (an archaic phrase that means newcomers) within the enterprise of theft is additional confirmed by the truth that they took each precaution to keep away from arrest for the possession of jewels, gold cash, &c. result in their id. The flooring of the vaults had been actually strewn with objects that may result in their detection. Banknotes and different valuables that might not be transformed into cash had been rejected and left behind.

It’s usually believed that the gang consisted of between six and eight males, and that the 2 banks had been robbed concurrently, one gang being assigned to every financial institution.

One other circumstance indicating that the robbers weren’t new to the bank-robbing recreation is corroborated by the truth that all the phone traces within the metropolis had been apparently lower earlier than the banks had been robbed. And this a part of his plans was carried out most successfully and by a phone professional.

… Wires had been lower, apparently with saws, and particular person wires had been lower with hacksaws. Solely three telephones related to the native alternate had been engaged on Sunday morning.

The theft was found by the evening watchman round 5 o’clock Sunday morning and was instantly reported to Deputy Sheriff CJ Bless.

… Harry Crouch, our native telegraph operator, was summoned and messages had been despatched east and west to attempt to intercept the robbers, however as far as most people is suggested, nothing was heard nothing in regards to the path the robbers went. .

Detectives from San Antonio and the encompassing space flocked to Hondo’s banks searching for clues in regards to the dueling theft.

… One of the exceptional coincidences on this complete enterprise is that these robberies might have occurred within the coronary heart of the town and no more than 200 toes from one another, and that none of our inhabitants had been the wiser till that the sunshine of day was revealed. what had occurred, and that too, it had since been found that the evening watchman and the opposite two males had been within the ready room of the depot, no more than sixty yards from the entrance doorways of the First Nationwide Financial institution, whereas the theft was happening. accomplished The thieves will need to have achieved their work very quietly to keep away from detection. [It is hard to image a “silent” explosion of nitroglycerine.]

The phrase the newspaper used for evening thieves was “yeggs”, a well-liked expression of the time. It’s fascinating to match the newspaper report with the Willis account that the First Nationwide Financial institution vault had been left open and so they used nitroglycerin (as a substitute of TNT) to blow the door to the State Financial institution secure. Much more fascinating was the very fact that there have been no follow-up articles in regards to the theft. There was not a single point out of the multi-bank heist within the months that adopted, despite the fact that it featured huge adverts from each banks. It was as if the 2 banks had by no means been robbed.

The Galveston Each day Information on January 10 reported the theft, describing a “key” that turned out to be a crimson herring:

Robber Heel can result in arrest

Cellphone connections are lower when Hondo’s banks are robbed

San Antonio, Texas, Jan. 10: A lacking rubber heel from a shoe could result in the identification of the financial institution robbers who made off with $20,000 from the First Nationwide Financial institution of Hondo and the Hondo State Financial institution within the early hours of sunday morning

The financial institution robbers gained entry to each banks by liberating the iron bars from the rear home windows of the buildings and tampering with the vault mixtures on the First Nationwide Financial institution, however they blew out the vault door on the State Financial institution.

The haul was constructed from the secure deposit bins of the 2 banks, and the robbers obtained solely $1,500 in money from the First Nationwide and $29,350 of the cash from the State financial institution. The smaller safes at each establishments had been untouched.

The stability of the loot, in accordance with the estimates of the brokers of the 2 banks, was secured to the house owners of the secure deposit bins of the banks. Hondo did not be taught of the financial institution robbers’ go to till practically midday Sunday, when home windows behind each financial institution buildings had been found open.

Misplaced heel within the financial institution.

Sheriff JS Baden, throughout his investigation obtained the lacking rubber heel, which had been present in entrance of the vault of the First Nationwide Financial institution. Additional investigation revealed a set of housebreaking instruments consisting of a wrench, a noticed and a chisel, which had been left behind by the robbers. Nevertheless, these should not thought-about as vital as a result of they’re of an ordinary model, simply bought at any ironmongery shop.

Simply outdoors the window by means of which the robbers entered the state financial institution, Sheriff Baden discovered the numbers 13,555 scratched into the brickwork. This, financial institution officers imagine, signifies the quantity the robbers bought from the financial institution’s secure deposit bins. [This curious piece of information appears to have been just another “red herring.”]

Sheriff Baden believes the robberies had been dedicated by a gang of six males, who despatched an advance guard of two to Hondo final week.

… Residents of Hondo, who bought up early Sunday morning, reported to the Sheriff that they noticed a high-powered vehicle leaving the outskirts of the town occupied by six males. These, the sheriff believes, had been Hondo’s thieves.

[Ironically] Sheriff Baden suffered a loss from the morning go to of robbers, as his secure deposit field on the First Nationwide Financial institution was opened and $300 in stamps and $150 in bonds had been taken. A $100 bond, owned by Donna’s son OJ Baden, was left within the field.

In mild of the misguided “keys,” the Newtons had been by no means tried for the Hondo financial institution robberies.

Willis Newton was born in 1889 and died in 1979, making him the longest-living Texas outlaw. He and the Newton Gang hit trains and banks within the early Nineteen Twenties, however their greatest haul got here in 1924, after they robbed a prepare outdoors of Rondout, Illinois, with $3,000,000. They nonetheless maintain the document for the biggest prepare theft in US historical past.

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