The bank robbery

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.

IMG_2990The 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. 


8 responses to “The bank robbery

  1. I never heard of this story. Thanks for sharing it. Very interesting

  2. Very cool story! I really enjoyed it, and I’ll bet you did too, getting to see it without it being scary. 🙂

  3. Sounds like a fun time while learning some local history.

  4. great entertainment!

  5. Oh my goodness! This was so much fun to read. So the blond got away, hunh? She must have been very smart. It’s rather anticlimactic that the Owl died of pneumonia. I’m rather surprised that the Lone Wolf was hanged since he didn’t kill anybody, right?

    • The theory behind the blond getting away with the crime was that the judge was prejudiced by her beauty. As for the Lone Wolf, he was involved in other crimes, and had committed murder. How he got involved in the bank robbery was never really known as the other two were more petty criminals.

  6. What a fun outing. Thanks for the backstory.

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