May 7, 2013 in City

Jim Kershner’s this day in history

By The Spokesman-Review
 

From our archives, 100 years ago

An “organized band of desperadoes” were at work in the Newport, Wash., area. A month earlier, they had robbed a bank at Priest River.

Then, in their most recent caper, they snuck into the Appleman Clothing Co. store about 1 a.m., poured a large quantity of nitroglycerine around the store’s safe, and blew it to smithereens. The safe ended up about six feet from where it normally stood. It landed on its side and almost crashed through the floorboards. 

Photographer F.C. Wintemutt was awoken from a sound sleep in his studio two doors away. He got up and checked out the stores on either side and found nothing amiss. So he went back to bed.

Meanwhile, the cracksmen had gathered up $200 in cash from the safe. They also took a box of valuable papers, but tossed the box into a lumberyard while making their successful getaway.

Police weren’t notified until morning, when the store manager arrived. By then, the trail was cold. Police theorized that they were not “professional cracksmen” because they used far too much nitroglycerine.

Yet police believed it was the work of the same gang that had robbed the bank and committed a series of local depredations.

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