About January 9, 1921, the particular Newton Team drove directly into Hondo, Arizona, a tiny town 25 miles gulf of San Antonio, to rob one of many two banks in town. It has been just earlier midnight as well as the temperature has been near cold.
The Newtons knew the night watchman inside Hondo, so when was his / her habit, they identified him huddled about a pot-bellied stove inside the depot. They cut every one of the telephone wires and went back to be sure of the night time watchman. He had not budged coming from his spot from the stove thus Joe has been placed down the street as any lookout even though the rest went along to the lender.
In his / her 1979 meeting, Willis proudly told his / her version with the story:
“Sometime you merely get blessed ’cause that they had left the particular vault front door open. That they had left that unlocked thus we failed to need simply no nitro or perhaps nothing. We all jimmied the particular window, walked up to the burial container, tried the particular handle and also she exposed! You could be surprised the amount of times these banks would certainly just close the entranceway so that looked locked at night time.
“We acquired the vault cleansed right away and went along to see in the event the night watchman has been still inside the depot. Sure enough, he has been reading any magazine and also drinking coffee from the stove. Properly hell, we figured there were the required time so we’d look at to one other bank and test it out for. I stored Joe and also Doc watching the night marshal although Jess and also I took place to one other bank.
“We received inside in which bank and also cleaned that out. Really, two banks in a night as well as the night marshal, he never leave the depot! inches
The neighborhood newspaper, the particular Hondo Anvil Herald, carried the particular story using a splash head line:
Yeggs Deceive Hondo Financial institutions
One of the very most Daring Robberies At any time Staged inside Texas Took place Here Saturday Morning
Individuals of Hondo have been amazed and also angered Saturday morning any time it started to be known in which both banks was entered simply by yeggs, among midnight and also daylight, and also robbed regarding both funds and possessions. Entrance for the First Countrywide Bank has been effected simply by forcing leading doors; while the particular entrance for the State Lender was impacted by prizing straight down the bars throughout the last window inside the alley among Parker’s as well as the bank.
The newspaper proceeded to give a more elaborate description with the robbery:
Owing to a lot of the money inside both financial institutions being inside the money safes, eventually locks established, the damage in cash had not been serious, the initial National losing a complete of $2, 814 while comes to actual funds loss hawaii Bank was a tad bit more fortunate, the loss getting $1, 879; both financial institutions losing a complete of $4, 694 nearly that was gold coin.
The resources of equally banks were covered by burglary insurance policy, consequently neither will suffer loss. [Just like Willis had assured his brothers.]
Masters of exclusive boxes, who acquired put their particular valuables inside the vaults with the banks, will be the heaviest losers, and their particular actual loss will never be definitely known for a few time-probably any month-as the particular owners with the boxes will be the only ones who is able to clear the loss, the officials with the banks not necessarily being advised with the contents with the boxes.
The particular safety downpayment box masters had funds, government bonds, War Financial savings Stamps, diamond jewelry, and some other valuables inside their boxes so that it was impossible to determine the exact amount used the robber. Estimates of of up to $30, 000 have been never validated.
The write-up continued to spell it out the “safe professionals: ‘
… That the particular robbers have been experts will be borne out there by the fact they could actually work the particular combination around the vault with the First Countrywide Bank. [Willis said it was left unlocked.] We were holding also professionals in the usage of explosive, the burial container doors with the State Lender being lost open by just about the most powerful explosives known-TNT [ Willis swore in his interview that he never used dynamite-only nitroglycerine.]
The vaults have been thoroughly ransacked as well as the floors have been strewn together with papers concerning two toes thick.
From your thoroughness with that your robbers produced their seek out securities it really is evident which they spent a couple of hours or maybe more in the particular vaults with the banks as well as the private boxes with the customers come in a unhappy plight, a lot of them showing which they were conquer open simply by some weighty instrument, probably using a sledgehammer that had been stolen from your blacksmith go shopping of Hide & Corp.
… That the particular robbers have been no tyros (archaic phrase meaning novices) available of taking is once more borne out there by the fact they got every preventative measure against getting apprehended from the possession regarding jewelry, gold coins, and thus forth, which might trigger their id. The floors with the vaults have been literally strewn together with such posts as might trigger their diagnosis. Notes as well as other articles regarding value which could not be changed into money were restarted and put aside.
It is normally believed the band was consists of from six or eight men, understanding that both financial institutions were scammed out simultaneously, any gang getting assigned to be able to each lender.
Another scenario that indicates the robbers are not new for the game regarding bank taking is borne out by the fact every cell phone line in town was minimize, apparently, ahead of the banks have been robbed. And also this part of these plans was performed most efficiently and by a professional telephone person.
… Cables have been severed, seemingly with saws, and also single wire connections were minimize with line clippers. Only a few telephones linked to the neighborhood exchange have been working Saturday morning.
The robber was discovered from the night watchman concerning five o’clock Saturday morning and also immediately noted to Deputy Sheriff Chemical. J. Bless.
… Harry Crouch, our own local telegraph agent, was summonsed and also messages have been sent far east and west so that you can intercept the particular robbers, but in terms of the average man or woman is suggested, nothing has been learned regarding direction when the robbers travelled.
Detectives coming from San Antonio as well as the surrounding location converged around the Hondo banks looking for clues for the duel-heist robber.
… One of the very most remarkable coincidences with this whole enterprise is why these robberies may have occurred right inside the heart with the town and not more than 200 toes apart, rather than one between our folks being virtually any the more advisable until daylight it absolutely was revealed just what had happened, and in which too, it absolutely was since developed the night watchman as well as the two some other men were inside the waiting room with the depot, not more than sixty yards from your front doors with the First Countrywide Bank, even though the robbery was being accomplished. The robbers will need to have done their particular work extremely silently in order to avoid detection. [It is hard to image a “silent” explosion of nitroglycerine.]
The phrase the newspaper useful for the night time burglars has been “yeggs, ” a favorite vernacular expression with the era. It will be interesting to be able to compare the particular newspaper credit reporting to Willis’ account when the vault with the First Countrywide Bank was left unlocked and so they used nitroglycerine (as opposed to TNT) to be able to blow the particular vault door around the State Lender. Even a lot more interesting was the fact there have been no followup articles around the robbery. There had not been a single mention of multi-bank burglary on the ensuing months-although that contained huge advertisements coming from both financial institutions. It was like both financial institutions had by no means been scammed out.
The Galveston Everyday News about January 10 noted the robber describing any “clew” that became a reddish herring:
Robber Heel Can result in Arrest
Cell phone Connections Minimize When Financial institutions at Hondo Are usually Looted
San Antonio, Texas-January 10-A plastic heel, lost from your shoe, can result in the identification with the bank theifs who made a prosperous haul regarding $20, 000 from your First Countrywide Bank regarding Hondo as well as the Hondo Express Bank early on Sunday morning hours.
The lender robbers obtained entrance for the two financial institutions by neighbor’s the straightener bars reduce from raise windows with the buildings and also manipulating the particular combinations with the vault inside the First Countrywide Bank, but blew over door with the vault inside the state lender.
The transport was created from the basic safety deposit bins in equally banks, the particular robbers getting only $1, 500 inside cash from your First Countrywide and $29, 350 with the state bank’s funds. The more compact vault safes inside both organizations were unblemished.
The balance with the loot, it really is estimated simply by officers on the two financial institutions, was attached from masters of basic safety deposit boxes inside the banks. Hondo had not been aware with the visit with the bank theifs until practically noon Saturday, when the particular open windows guiding the a couple of bank properties were identified.
Heel misplaced in lender.
Sheriff L. S. Baden, during his / her investigation was presented with the misplaced rubber high heel, which was found as you’re watching vault with the First Countrywide Bank. Further study disclosed a couple of burglar tools composed of a water pipe wrench, observed, and chisel, which was left from the robbers. These however usually are not considered as very important to they are of your standard help make, easily obtained at virtually any hardware retailer.
Just not in the window whereby the theifs entered hawaii bank, Sheriff Baden identified the numerals 13, 555 scratched around the brick perform. This, lender officials feel, indicates the quantity the theifs secured from your deposit boxes inside the bank. [This curious piece of information appears to have been just another “red herring.”]
Sheriff Baden feels the robberies have been committed by way of a band regarding six guys, who dispatched an move forward guard regarding two directly into Hondo the other day.
… Hondo residents, who have been up at an early on hour Saturday morning, reported for the Sheriff which they saw any high-powered vehicle leaving the particular outskirts regarding town entertained by half a dozen men. These kinds of, the Sheriff feels, were the particular Hondo theifs.
[Ironically] Sheriff Baden endured a loss from the early morning hours visit with the robbers, as his / her safety downpayment box inside the First Countrywide Bank has been broken available and $300 inside stamps and also $150 inside bonds have been taken. Any $100 Liberty bond, the house of his / her son A. J. Baden, regarding Donna, was left inside the box.
In light with the erroneous “clews’, the Newtons have been never tried for your Hondo lender robberies.
Willis Newton came to be in 1889 and also died inside 1979, creating him the particular longest dwelling Texas outlaw. He as well as the Newton Team hit teaches and banks inside the early 1920s yet their largest haul took place in 1924 if they robbed any train outside Rondout, Illinois-getting apart with $3, 000, 000. They still support the record for your biggest educate robbery inside U. Azines. history.
Gary. R. (Ron) Williamson can be a historian, a american writer plus a born storyteller. He’s got published a few non-fiction books around the West, several magazine and also newspaper posts, and many Western motion picture screenplays. His home is at Kerrville, Texas in which he lives along with his wife and also Chihuahua, “Shooter. inches
His guides include Frontier Wagering, The Arizona Pistoleers, and also Willis Newton: The past Texas Outlaw.