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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in the Inland Northwest: Pair of teenage criminals surrounded by posse in Springdale

On this day 100 years ago, police had surrounded a pair of young criminals who’d be inspired partly by “dime novels.”  (S-R archives)
On this day 100 years ago, police had surrounded a pair of young criminals who’d be inspired partly by “dime novels.” (S-R archives)
By Jim Kershner The Spokesman-Review

A 16-year-old fan of “dime novels” (lurid pulp fiction) went on a two-week spree of banditry – and now he and a 12-year-old companion were surrounded by a posse in the hills near Springdale.

Their victim, a Springdale woman, was recovering from a serious gunshot wound.

Verd Moser, 16, had begun his career of crime when he tried to steal clothes from a Reardan store. Then he ran away from home, stole a pair of guns and a bicycle from an uncle and stole a clock from a drugstore.

When the sheriff went to take him into custody, Moser and his young pal Jakey Clark, 12, “took to the hills.”

The sheriff pursued them for days through the mountainous country, but could not find them.

At one point, the two boys broke into the home of a Mrs. Warner, who was away. When she arrived back home, she found the two boys ransacking the place. The boys fled.

Then, they went to the home of Mrs. L.H. Anderson, where they attempted to steal her car. She ran them off – or thought she did.

They left briefly, but only to cut the telephone wires to her house. Then they returned and tried to steal her car again.

Mrs. Anderson, now badly frightened, attempted to telephone for help. The phone was dead. She went to the window, and one of the boys shot her with a .22 rifle.

The bullet “plowed a furrow in her scalp” and knocked her down – but did not penetrate her skull. She remembered hearing one of the boys laugh. Then they drove away in her car.

A few minutes later, she was able to make her way to a neighbor’s home and raise the alarm.

Now the boys were surrounded and authorities believed they “will resist arrest.”

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