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Gang Seizes Crescent

Gang Seizes Crescent

Logan County, Oklahoma


Article submitted by: Mollie Stehno

On June 20, 1934 in Crescent, Logan County, Oklahoma, a gang of seven bandits took possession of this city for three hours early Wednesday. They held eight hostages as they yanked a 6,000 pound bank safe into the street and just left it there. Then they apparently made good a flight from a posse on Wednesday afternoon.
This daring raid was fustrated because the safe was to heavy to load and because it was soon to be daylight.
Joe Stanfield, a 46 year old night watchman, kidnapped by the gang when they freed seven other citizens, was released unharmed three miles southwest of Cushing several hours later after a wild ride across central Oklahoma in the Outlaws automobile.
Stanfield said he had been blindfolded, gagged and bound. But the outlaws, made no attempt to mistreat him. Cushing officers said he had given them little information about the drive, but informed them he had been let out on the roadside somewhere near Cushing.
Working methodically, the raiders rumbled into Crescent at 2 a.m. Wednesday in a truck and four door sedan.
Taking one job at a time, they in turn took captive the night watchman, the telphone operator and the operator of the all night cafe. Five motorists who passed on the highway while the burglary was in progress were halted and lined up to shield the burglars as they worked.
The bandits, noisely, knocked out windows in the bank and four times attempted to jack the safe to the truck by hauling it up planks by means of a winch. Each time the safe toppled to the street with a loud thud.
Attracted by the noise of breaking glass, a crowd gathered across the street.
Someone in the crowd, fired a shot from a small rifle at the bank bandits and the bandits returned a volley; no one was injured, but awnings and windows were damaged.
Two of the bandits patrolled the street while the others tried to get the safe loaded. The crowd was afraid to intercede for fear the gunmen would harm the hostages.
Mrs. Rose Cook, operator of a tailor shop, Paul Smith, the all night cafe operator, and "Red" Reynolds and Ralph Godfrey, were some of the captives.
At approximately 4:30 a.m., the gang of seven bandits and their eight captives were loaded on the truck and in the sedan and driven to the Cimarron river. There all were released, but Stanfield.
Hugh Adams, president of the Farmers and Merchants bank said, "The bank was 32 years old and had never been robbed. There was $4,200 in cash in the safe.
The night telephone operator, Clara Cunard, spent the wild night in her pajamas and watched the burglary with a blanket wrapped around her.
Dr. E. E. Goodrich, watched the last part of the robbery attempt from a nearby building.
Milo Beck, Logan County Sheriff, said he believed the men were drinking heavily and that the sedan was stolen in Crescent. He followed them about 10 miles but lost them. W. E. Agee and John Adams and Ross Pierce, Oklahoma County deputy sheriffs, patrolled highways in the north part of the county but found no trace of the men.

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Updated: Wednesday, 06-Aug-2008 22:04:12 CDT

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