|Fact or Fiction? Bank robbers caught in hills near Holyoke|
|Written by Holyoke Enterprise|
These stories from local history are sometimes so extraordinary it’s hard to believe they actually happened. Check out ‘fact or fiction’ stories: they’re actual Enterprise news clips reprinted from the past.
The third and final suspect in a $22,863 robbery at the Enders, Neb. bank Saturday morning was picked up by authorities at about 11 a.m. yesterday in a sparsely populated sandhill area approximately 15 miles northwest of Wray. The other suspects had been arrested earlier.
The arrest of Charles W. Evans, 36, of Denver, yesterday ended one of the most intensive manhunts ever conducted in this area. County officers, FBI agents and patrolmen from throughout the area between McCook, Neb. and Greeley joined in the search Sunday, assisted by Holyoke and Wray firemen and a number of other volunteers.
The first man taken into custody was Richard Davis, 36, of Denver, who was arrested at 2:30 p.m. Saturday by Phillips County Sheriff Harry Elsam, his deputy Harry Clements, Yuma County Sheriff Ernest Price and other officers. He was walking along a Yuma County road about two miles east of Highway 385 and several miles west of the Alvin store when the officers spotted him and made the arrest. He offered no resistance.
The second fugitive, Charles Saxton, 34, also of Denver, was apprehended at 8:30 p.m. Saturday while walking south along Highway 385 about six miles north of Wray. Saxton was picked up by Patrolmen John Anderson and James Lubker of Sterling. He was also docile when stopped by the officers. None of the men carried weapons when arrested and reportedly stated that they had used toy pistols when they robbed the bank and later threw them away.
Davis had $9,144.85 stuffed into his pockets when he was taken into custody. Evans had $365 and Sexton had $110. This totals only $9,619.85. Evans and Davis said they had hidden the rest of the money in the sandhills but none of the cash had been found at last report.
It was reported that Davis and Evans entered the bank at Enders while Saxton remained outside in the light colored station wagon they were driving. Ownership of the vehicle had not been established at last report but officers said it is probable that it is owned by one of the men.
The bank president, John Knotwell, and the cashier was forced at gunpoint (it is not yet known whether the guns were toys or real weapons) to hand over the cash. Knotwell and the cashier were told to enter the vault and be quiet, but the door was not locked and they notified authorities as soon as the robbers fled in the station wagon.
A light plane piloted by an Imperial, Neb. man soon began to search for the car and it was located about a mile north of the Alvin store. After keeping the station wagon in view for some time, the pilot was forced to leave the area because of a dwindling gas supply and the abandoned vehicle was found later about 10 miles west of Alvin.
Davis said he got out of the car north of Alvin while Evans and Saxton drove on west for several miles before abandoning the car and escaping into the sandhills on foot. Davis was picked up while walking west toward the car.
Evans and Saxton hid out in the hills while the search continued. Evans said he burrowed into a straw stack about a mile northeast of the abandoned station wagon and approximately a half mile from a ranch house while searchers combed the area Sunday.
Davis told authorities that he had buried his share of the money in a pillowcase, but the cash was not found where he had indicated it was hidden. Evans also said he had buried part of the loot near the spot where he was picked up, but that money had not yet been found yesterday evening. The area was guarded last night and the search was expected to be continued today.
A rancher saw Evans at a shed north of the Kitzmiller ranch and called authorities. He was weak from hunger and exhaustion when arrested.
(The next week’s headline read “Search for bank loot called off; $13,000 still missing.”)