Monday, June 7, 2010

Ozark County Safe Cracking

 Cunning plans and swift crime in a flash gun powder leaves Ozark County in the search of 3 yeggmen. What are yeggmen? It’s a slang term for criminals who are a safecrackers or burglars.

Enjoy a Slice of History.

Daring Robbery in Ozark County, Mo, —
The County's Money and $700 of
Private Funds Made Away With.
ST. Louis, Mo., February 27.—Burglars did a very successful and profitable job of safe-blowing at Gainesville, county seat of Ozark county, just before daylight Friday morning. The place is remote from rail and wire communication, which accounts for the fact that the news of the crime was not given to the outside world until today, when a messenger brought the news to Springfield, whence it was telegraphed to your correspondent.

Gainesville is an exceedingly quiet town of 1500 inhabitants, and on the night in question, had it not been for the fact that John Gibson had the toothache, not a person in the place, except the robbers, would have been awake at the time of the robbery. Mr. Gibson was nursing his jaw at about 3:30 a. m., when he was startled by an explosion that shook the building he was in, and made him think an earthquake had occurred.

Frightened into complete, forgetfulness of his toothache, he hurried to the door to learn what had happened. From where he was standing he had a clear view of the rear door of Wood & Reed's store, and seeing a bright light there he surmised that there was the seat of trouble. He ran in that direction, and by the time he reached the place many others who had been awakened by the report joined him, and each was asking the other what had happened.

J. R. Reed of the firm of Wood & Reed is the county treasurer. He had his office in a rear room of the store building, and in the safe there kept the county funds. That this had been the object of attack by the robbers, and that they had made a good haul, was plainly to be seen. In the treasurer’s office was the safe, now a battered, broken mass of ruins. The burglars had pried or broken in the back door, which opens into the store, and had drilled a hole in the top of the safe, first removing a lot of books which were stacked on top. After drilling the hole they used, it seems, a large quantity of shut-gun powder.

The heavy door of the safe was blown ten feet against the wall, moving a studding back several inches, which broke the force some, then pitched down, cutting its way through a stout floor. The clock in the store stopped at 3:30 a. m. The tin box containing the county's money was blacked and burst asunder. In drilling, the drill passed through some deeds. The paper money belonging to the county was kept in a large pocket-book in the tin or iron box.

That pocketbook is gone, but a smaller one belonging to J. R. Reed was rifled of its contents and left. Scattered over the floor was some change in silver, which was powder-blackened. The burglars got hammers and hatchets at a blacksmith's shop nearby, and had also provided themselves with rocks, The robbers got something over $13,000 of the county's money, and $700 in cash belonging to the firm of Wood & Reed.

The sheriff, with a posse of men, started immediately in pursuit. Tracks of two men were found in a field west of the town, one being made by a No. 10 boot, the other by a No. 7 shoe with low heel. Last reports were that the sheriff was following in hot pursuit and was about half a mile behind them, near Mountain Home, Ark. They are supposed to be three in number, two on horseback, the other man walking, having made inquiries about a horse that got away from him.

Work Cited:
"Burglars Get $13,700." Boston Daily Globe 31.59 (28 Feb., 1887) 1. Access Newspaper Archive. Baxter County Library, Mountain Home, AR. 4 May 2010

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