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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in the Inland Northwest: Witness in string of Spokane bank robberies found dead in Oregon

Charles Padgett, 21, had been credited with putting away the leader of a major bank robbery gang in Spokane. On this day 100 years ago, he was found shot to death on an Oregon sheep ranch.  (S-R archives)
Charles Padgett, 21, had been credited with putting away the leader of a major bank robbery gang in Spokane. On this day 100 years ago, he was found shot to death on an Oregon sheep ranch. (S-R archives)
By Jim Kershner The Spokesman-Review

Charles Padgett, 21, exposed “one of the worst gangs of bank robbers that ever infested this part of the country.”

Now, he was dead on an Oregon sheep ranch, shot through the heart.

“Apparently, the gang discovered his whereabouts,” said Spokane Police Detective Martin Burns.

The saga began in 1920, when Padgett was arrested following a robbery at the Star Hotel in Spokane. He was suspected of being connected to the gang that committed that robbery, as well as sensational robberies at the Spokane State Bank and the Addy State Bank.

“After questioning him for some days, he came through with the information about the work of the gang,” said Burns. “… Padgett gave us information which aided materially in rounding up the gang later – and the gang knew that. Padgett was responsible for their capture.”

The leader of the gang, Jimmy Hyland, was convicted for the Addy State Bank job, and was currently serving time in Walla Walla. Yet other members of the gang remained at large.

“To protect him after members of the gang said they would ‘get him,’ we bought him a ticket to Portland,” said Burns. “He then went back to his home in Virginia, but later went back to Portland.”

According to Oregon authorities, someone ambushed Padgett while he was out working on the ranch. The gunman was long gone by the time Padgett’s body was found.

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1994: South Africa’s newly elected parliament chose Nelson Mandela to be the country’s first Black president.

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