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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

On this day, 100 years ago: ‘Maid’ lures fruit merchant into ambush

Jim Kershner

From our archives,

100 years ago

Louis Costello, 24, an Italian fruit dealer in Spokane, said that a friendly girl visited him several times in his shop and asked him to accompany her to a secluded park.

She was quite persuasive. After he got off work at 7 p.m., they boarded a streetcar and went to Indian Canyon. She proceeded to lead him on a hike into the brush.

Costello became alarmed because it was getting dark. He told her he was going to turn back. But the comely “maid” convinced him to go just a little farther. Suddenly, a masked man popped out of the brush, yelled, “Hands up!” and demanded Costello’s money. Costello was carrying $150 in cash, presumably from his shop.

Costello grabbed for the gun. He almost wrestled it from the man’s grip, but not quite. Costello tried to flee but three bullets ripped into his back. While he was on the ground, the girl and the holdup man walked away together.

Costello was able to stagger to a house, where he immediately fainted from loss of blood. He was taken to Sacred Heart Hospital, where he stood “a good chance of recovery if he survives the shock.”

Meanwhile, detectives went to the Montana Hotel, and arrested the “girl” suspect. They were on the watch for her male friend, a Fort George Wright soldier, whom they suspected of being her partner in crime.