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Jim Kershner’s This day in history

From our archives, 75 years ago

Two federal “G-men” – code names G-33 and X-27 – told Mrs. Byron Wilson of Spokane that her son Donald, 17, was an important federal witness, that he was unconscious in a hospital at Toppenish, and that they needed $70 from her to fetch him back to Spokane.

They told her to go to Room 342 of the Federal Building, where she would be reunited with Donald. Then she discovered there was no such room in the Federal Building.

And that’s how the entire phony scheme unraveled. Apparently, it was all a plot by two con men to extort money from Mrs. Wilson.

The two “agents” were arrested and sentenced to McNeil Island prison for 15 months and one year, respectively.

From the railroad beat: A Minnesota man climbed into a Northern Pacific locomotive in the Spokane yards, started it up and headed toward Minnesota.

He didn’t get very far. He couldn’t figure out how to get the locomotive onto the main line. Police arrested him and put him in the county jail. He cheerfully told reporters that he had been too drunk to remember anything about the affair, except he once worked in the railroad shops and knew how to start a locomotive.

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1979: America’s worst commercial nuclear accident occurred at the Three Mile Island plant near Middletown, Pa.

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