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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

Jim Kershner’s this day in history

From our archives, 100 years ago

An “international triumvirate” of con men was arrested on the Northern Pacific train at Pasco while attempting to flee from the scene of a successful “bunco” scam in Spokane.

It began when Eoan Naides, a Bulgarian laborer, revealed to his three new friends – an Austrian, Frenchman and fellow Bulgarian – that he had $1,000 in the bank. The three con men then proceeded to pull the “time-worn business investment” game on Naides.

They told him that they had a can’t-miss business opportunity that would make them all a fortune. The three said they had $2,500 to invest, but they needed another $1,000.

So they persuaded Naides to go to the Old National Bank and withdraw his $1,000. Then he watched as they put the cash in a valise along with what he believed was the other $2,500. Then they said they had to go out and close the negotiations for the business deal. They asked him to stay behind in the hotel room and guard the valise.

Naides waited several hours, increasingly nervous. Finally, he opened the valise and discovered that it did not contain $3,500. Nor did it contain his own $1,000. It contained exactly $4. The men had swapped valises and fled.

They were arrested after Spokane police learned they had boarded a train at Cheney.

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