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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in Spokane: Daring escape dashes young theives’ hopes of freedom

Two young auto theives made a daring escape from Spokane County Jail, but were chased down and stalled on the road. (Spokesman-Review archives)
Two young auto theives made a daring escape from Spokane County Jail, but were chased down and stalled on the road. (Spokesman-Review archives)

Two young convicted auto thieves, 18, escaped from the Spokane County Jail by placing a section of broken file in the lock hole of their cell and using the other section of the file to “shove the bolts back.”

They opened the door, ran to an outside gate and scaled it.

Then they made their big mistake. They stole a large six-passenger Hudson Super-Six auto from the parking lot of the Seven-Seven auto sales company.

An employee apparently saw the car being driven away and immediately went off in pursuit. He was on their tail until they got to Freeman, where he somehow managed to stop the thieves and hold them at bay until police arrived. He later said the thieves “put up a terrific battle.” He was afraid they would get away before officers arrived. But they were recaptured and taken back to jail.

This was an exceptionally misguided escape attempt because, as fate would have it, the governor had just signed unconditional pardons for both young men. The papers arrived at the jail the day after the escape.

Now, both were facing new charges of grand larceny and breaking jail.

“I can see the gates of the Monroe Reformatory yawning for you,” said the deputy prosecutor. “Now, after your escapade of last night, you may expect no leniency at the hands of any court and you will do well to escape a minimum sentence of 10 years.”

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