Yes, there was a bank robbery in Clovis (the small town next to Fresno) last week and we were eyewitnesses. The actual robbery occurred 89 years ago, but we got to see the reenactment. Definitely not very scary but very “campy.”
I had read about this on Twitter, and since Terry and I had visited the Clovis Museum and knew the layout, we thought it would be great fun to see this enactment. The museum is housed in the original First State Bank, on a corner in downtown Clovis. Clovis is known for its rodeo and “way of life.”
This was one of the vintage cars parked out front. We teased the owner about having the “getaway car.”
The real car used in the original heist was painted black by the robbers in an attempt to “cover” their tracks. The robbers, The Lone Wolf and The Owl, had a bag of large nails that they scattered behind them as they made their getaway back to Fresno where their “moll” was waiting. It was her notes, written on laundry tags, that got them caught later in Oakland California.
This is Peggy Bos who heads up the Historical Society in Clovis. She was the story’s narrator. The bank’s vault is still there, just as it was at the time of the robbery. The door is open, but in the story, the robbers lock the head teller, who was the only employee in the bank at the noon time holdup, inside, and he is left there while the vice president, who stumbles upon the robbery when he returns early from lunch, goes on a chase to get the $30,000 back, but the nails stopped him.
The Owl was caught in Oakland and sentenced to prison in Folsom from where he would eventually escape, but his accomplices in the breakout would abandon him when he fell and broke his ankle. He was found, three days after the escape, dead from pneumonia. The Lone Wolf, a career criminal, got sentenced for a murder and was hung at Folsom Prison. The pretty blond moll? The judge dismissed all charges against her. The money? Never recovered but always believed to be in the possession of the girl who got away. No one knows of her eventual fate as she disappears from the chronicles of time.
As an aside: the actors were tremendous. We saw the first of many reenactments that day as they did these every 15 minutes for a four hour period.