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Opinion >  Column

100 years ago in Eastern Washington: Promising leads emerged in the Spangle bank robbery, as did a mysterious note in some brush

 (Spokane Daily Chronicle archives)
(Spokane Daily Chronicle archives)

County deputies and private detectives from the Burns and Pinkerton agencies scoured the highways and fields south of Spangle in pursuit of new clues in the State Bank of Spangle robbery.

They uncovered at least one promising lead. Two men in an Overland touring car visited the county “poor farm” the day before the robbery.

“The descriptions tally accurately and we are now working on a new theory,” the investigating deputy said.

He believed the men were in the Spangle area the day before the robbery and were seen near the bank that day. They also believed that the Overland car was stolen , and that later the men stole an old Ford. No explanation was provided on why they visited the poor farm.

Detectives were going from ranch to ranch looking for people who might have seen the men as they fled the area.

One promising lead fizzled when a man reported that he had picked up two suspicious-looking hitchhikers. They claimed to be carpenters on their way to a house repair job, but the driver had his doubts. He called police after he dropped them off.

Deputies descended on the house and found two innocent carpenters repairing a house.

Also from the robbery beat: A rancher in the Clayton area was startled to see a note fluttering from a branch in some brush.

“Look in that brush,” the weathered and tattered note said. “Report to police.”

The rancher investigated and found a safe, with the combination lock broken off and the door ajar. A hat and some papers were scattered nearby.

He called police, who determined that this was the safe stolen last summer from the general store in Clayton. All of the money was, of course, gone.

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