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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in Spokane: auto bandit strikes again

From our archives, 100 years ago

Spokane’s notorious “auto highwayman” struck again, this time holding hostage a taxi driver and his woman passenger for four hours before letting them go.

Once again, the bandit was surprisingly talkative and polite – or, as polite as a man can be while brandishing two guns.

It all began when the taxi driver pulled over at 10 p.m. to fix his engine. The bandit appeared out of nowhere, wearing a handkerchief mask, and held them up. He took $5.50 in cash from the driver, then ordered him to drive to Vera and Dishman, where he told the driver to park the auto across the road and wait for another victim to show up.

There they sat until almost 2 a.m. – but no other cars ever showed up. All that time, the bandit bragged about his previous exploits and said that there was no way the police would ever catch him.

“If the police think I’m going to stand out in the glare of the headlights when I do my holding up, they are mistaken,” he said.

He even offered to cut his victims in on the evening’s take.

“Kid,” he said, “if we get a fat haul tonight I’ll slip you $10 and give you back your $5 to boot.”

He eventually gave the driver 50 cents back, saying he might want to eat something before bed. He said he was committing these robberies to help out a pal, who was in a Montana hospital.

When the woman passenger said she had a baby at home, the bandit said “he guessed” he would let them go. He told them to “hurry to the police station” and report what had happened to them.

Then he vanished back into the shadows.

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