Sunday, October 16, 2011

Black Sheep Sunday: Two More Bandits Fall In The Trap

Source: Marion Leader-Tribune, Marion, Indiana, January 3, 1925, p. 1.


TWO MORE BANDITS FALL IN THE TRAP


Couple, Man and Wife, Admit They Were Part of the Gang Which Robbed Marion Bank


Romance Enters Into the Lives of Bandits, Stranger Than the Most Imaginative Fiction, for Girlhood Friendships, and Boyhood Love Affirs, Form Chapters in the Lives of Men and Women In Jail, and of Others Not Yet Captured


Robert Morse, 25, an automobile mechanic and his wife, Emily Morse, 27 years old, were arrested shortly after five o'clock last night by Sheriff Bert Renbarger, detectives from the Indianapolis police force and operatives from the Webster Detective agency at their home, 59 South Lasalle street, Indianapolis, on charges of automobile banditry.  They are charged specifically with robbing the South Marion State bank on the afternoon of November 26, when approximately $4,000 was taken.


Morse and his wife both admitted to being in the gang of seven people, five men and two women, who took part in this robbery, but denied being with the gang at Upland and Noblesville.  They were brought back to Marion and put in the Grant county jail, arriving here shortly after ten o'clock last night.


Although they had read accounts of the robbery at the Marion bank, and arrests the couple did not leave Indianapolis but moved to the LaSalle street address on December 30, from another part of Indianapolis, and they showed no surprise when they were placed under arrest.


Old Schoolmates


Mrs. Morse was the other woman, Mrs. Mary Bridgewater, who is also in jail here, who sat in the seat of the automobile, while the men entered the South Marion bank and robbed it.  It was brought out with the arrest of the Morse couple last night that Mrs. Morse and Mrs. Bridgewater are old schoolmates and that Morse was a sweetheart of Mrs. Bridgewater, before her marriage to her present husband.


The Morse residence was searched by the officers and all that was found of any consequence WAS A BLOND SWITCH, WHICH WAS SAID TO BE WORN BY MRS. MORSE ON HER TRIP TO MARION.  MRS. MORSE HAS A HEAD OF BLACK HAIR.


After the officers had grilled Mr. and Mrs. Morse for some time at Indianapolis, they admitted to having taken part in the South Marion bank robbery.  Morse said that he was an automobile mechanic by trade and that he and his wife had never been in trouble of any kind before and that he was coaxed into joining the gang by the other members of the band.  He said that he received as his share of the loot only $153, while he was supposed to get as his share about $600.  He said that his share was counted out and handed to him by another member of the gang and was told that the pile of money contained $600.


Plans Are Changed


Morse and his wife said that the gang of five men and two women had driven to Hartford City with the intention, at first, of robbing a bank at that place, but changed their minds and came on to Marion, on November 26.  They drove around the city in their Nash car and drove past the South Marion bank several times to size up the lay of the land.


Later they drove up to within two blocks of the bank, Morse said, when four of the men got out and went into the bank, while the two women and one man remained in the machine and drove around in the vicinity and then up in front of the bank.  After the bank had been robbed, the gang jumped into the car and drove to Lebanon and then on to Indianapolis.  They had at first intended to use a Dodge car on the trip to Marion, but this car was wrecked and then they secured a Nash car.


Sheriff Renbarger left for Indianapolis yesterday afternoon and arrived there in the afternoon and in company with detectives from the police department and Webster agency, they drove to the Morse home and made the arrests.


Three Are at Large


The total number of arrests made in connection with the robbing of the Upland and Marion banks, now totals six, four men and two women.  Three of the five men who took part in the South Marion bank are now in custody, as well as the two women and three of the band of five men who robbed the Upland bank are now behind prison bars.  Three members of the gang are yet at large.


Sheriff Renbarger said last night that Mrs. Bridgewater and Mrs. Morse would be arraigned in court on charges of automobile banditry.  Although the women did not actually hold up the bank officers and take the money, under the law they are equally guilty with the men and now face long terms in prison.


While Mrs. Bridgewater told a Leader-Tribune reporter, after her arrest, that she did not know that the bank was being robbed while she was out in the automobile, Mrs. Morse admitted to the officers last night that she knew the men were going out to rob the Marion bank.


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This article is another in a series of follow-up stories to the robberies of the Upland State bank and South Marion bank by a group of robbers, led by my paternal cousin, Harry PIERPONT (1902-1934).  Harry later became famous as a member of the "Terror Gang" with John Dillinger.  These earlier robberies terrorized Indiana during 1924-25.



Black Sheep Sunday – create a post with the main focus being an ancestor with a “shaded past.” Bring out your ne’er-do-wells, your cads, your black widows, your horse thieves and tell their stories. And don’t forget to check out the International Black Sheep Society of Genealogists (IBSSG). This is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.
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