Tales from the Morgue: The not-so-great, attempted train robbery, part 5

2013-11-30T09:00:00Z 2014-04-24T16:30:05Z Tales from the Morgue: The not-so-great, attempted train robbery, part 5Johanna Eubank Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
November 30, 2013 9:00 am  • 

The attempted train robbery was still big news in Tucson three days later. Finally an arrest was made, giving people something new to read.

The first arrest was that of a man who was accused of harboring the robbers after the fact. If guilty, this would also mean that he could name the robbers, but it would be a few days before another arrest.

From the Arizona Daily Star, Friday, May 19, 1922:

 

S.P. Employee Held on Charge of Harboring Train Robbers
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PRISONER ASKS A PRELIMINARY OUT ON BONDS
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Richard Starr Is Arrested on Complaint Filed by Sheriff
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Charged with being an accessory after the fact in connection with the attempted train robbery at Jaynes station last Monday morning, Richard R. Starr, a pipe fitter formerly with the Southern Pacific railroad, yesterday afternoon was arraigned before Justice of the Peace Oscar L. Pease and demanded a preliminary examination. Starr is accused of having harbored the bandits.

Starr was arrested at his home, 47 West Alameda street, by Sheriff Ben F. Daniels on a warrant he had obtained from Judge Pease. The complaint on which the warrant was issued was sworn out by Sheriff Daniels.

The defendant's bond was fixed at $1,000 and was furnished by Edward Stewart and C. Griffin. At first Judge Pease indicated that a bond of $2,000 might be fixed, but on closer examination of the complaint it developed that the charge was merely that of harboring the train robbers, and not active participation in the holdup itself.

Starr's preliminary examination was set for Saturday, May 27, at 2 o'clock in the afternoon, the delay being necessary in view of the fact that County Attorney George R. Darnell and Deputy County Attorney Ben B. Mathews, who appeared for the state in the Starr matter yesterday afternoon, will be occupied with the Estaver murder trial, which begins in the superior court today.

Tom K. Richey appeared for the defendant.

After a preliminary paragraph, the complaint against Starr continues:

"The said Richard Starr, afterward, well knowing the said T. O. Dugat, John Doe and Richard Roe and divers other persons whose real names are to the complainant unknown, to have committed the same crime of boarding a railroad train with the intention of robbing the express car thereof of personal property and of stopping said train with the intention to rob the said express car thereof, did harbor, protect and maintain them."

Although Starr is a locomotive pipe fitter by trade, he has lately been engaged in the garage business. He said last night that he had not been connected with a restaurant since 1916.

One might wonder what the restaurant business to do with it. We can only hope this becomes clear later.

At long last, an arrest was made in the actual robbery. From the Star, Tuesday, May 23, 1922:

Tucson Man Arrested Charged with Jaynes Train Holdup
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SHERIFF FILES COMPLAINT AND ACCUSES PRISONER AS GANGSTER
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Several Men Have Been Grilled by Officers
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The second arrest in connection with the attempt to hold up a Golden State limited train on May 15 last was made yesterday when a formal complaint was filed against F. W. Jirou of Tucson. The complaint, which was sworn to by Sheriff Ben F. Daniels, charges Jirou with having committed a felony by holding up a railroad train. The prisoner was arraigned yesterday afternoon before Justice of the Peace O. L. Pease. Jirou's hearing was set for 3 p. m. Wednesday.

Justice Pease fixed the prisoner's bond at $2,000. In default of bond Jirou was committed to the custody of the sheriff. Attorney K. Berry Peterson represented the prisoner at the arraignment.

Although a number of local men have been grilled in the past couple of days by the sheriff, operatives of the Southern Pacific and the American Express company, only two arrests have been made in connection with the attempted holdup of a Golden State limited train west of Tucson.

Richard R. Starr, the first man to be arrested in connection with the holdup, is charged with being an accessory after the fact. The complaint against Starr alleges that he harbored the bandits. Starr was arrested last Thursday.

The complaint against Jirou reads as follows:

"F. W. Jirou is charged in a complaint sworn to by Sheriff Ben F. Daniels with having committed a felony on or about May 15 by holding up a railroad train.

"That on or about the 15th day of May, T. O. Dugat, F. W. Jirou, John Doe, Richard Roe and divers other persons whose real names are unknown to the complainant, and various other persons to this complainant unknown, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously boarded a certain railroad train, to-wit, the engine of the same, namely, that certain train known as No. 3, or Golden State, West bound over the tracks of the Southern Pacific company, from Tucson, Ariz., to Los Angeles, Calif., with the intention then and there of robbing the express car of the said train of personal property thereon, and in said car, in the possession, care and under the control of Harry S. Stewart, the express messenger on such car, and the agent of the American Express company, a corporation, and compelled the engineer, to-wit, George L. Reid, in charge of the engine attached to said train, to stop such train, with the intention of robbing said express car, as afore-said."

As it was known there were more robbers than Dugat and Jirou, clearly there were more men to be caught. So Souther Pacific upped the ante and doubled the reward initially offered by American Express. Could it be enough to make the robbers turn on each other?

From the Star, Wednesday May 24, 1922:

 

Southern Pacific Offers $300 Reward for Each Bandit
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TOTAL OF $600 NOW STANDING OR EVERYONE OF TRAIN YEGGS
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Express Company Had Previously Offered $300 for Each
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In order to make more attractive the rewards already offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the persons who participated in the holdup of the Golden State limited train on May 15, the Southern Pacific company has offered $300 for clues leading to apprehension and conviction of members of the bandit party.

Previously the American Express company had offered a reward of $300 for information directly leading to the arrest and conviction of each member of the bandit gang. This makes a total of $600 offered for clues that will have direct bearing on the arrest and conviction of each member of the gang. If there were six in the gang the total reward would represent $3,600.

The notice of the reward posted yesterday by the Southern Pacific company reads as follows:

"This company will, as to each person who participated in the holdup of our train No. 3, about one mile west of Jaynes, Pima county, Arizona, at about 12:40 a. m. Monday, May 15, 1922, pay a rewarad of $300 for information directly leading to arrest and conviction.

"Forward information to D. O'Connell, chief special agent, Southern Pacific company, 65 Market street, San Francisco, Calif.

(Signed) "J. H. DYER,
"General Manager."

Although F. W. Jirou and Richard R. Starr, both of Tucson, are the only two arrests that have been made in connection with the holdup, Sheriff Daniels and operatives of the Southern Pacific company and the American Express company report that a number of important clues are being run down which may lead to the arrest of the members of the gang.

D. O'Connell, chief special agent of the Southern Pacific company, is at the present time in the city cooperating with Sheriff Daniels in an attempt to bring the bandits to the bar of justice.

On a charge of having committed a felony by holding up a railroad train, F. W. Jirou will be given a preliminary examination beofre Justice of the Peace O. L. Pease this afternoon at 2 o'clock. The complaint against Jirou was filed by Sheriff Ben F. Daniels last Monday.

The Morgue Lady thinks some of that reward money will never be paid since we already know that one robber was killed and another alleged robber has already been arrested, though we don't know if that was because of a citizen's tip.

Next: Jirou held on charges.

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About this blog

"Tales from the Morgue" is a way for the Star to share stories from the treasure trove of information held in its old files.

Johanna Eubank, aka the Morgue Lady, was a research assistant in the Star Library — also known as News and Research Services — for 18 years before becoming an online content producer. She has had her share of sneezing fits after digging into dusty old files, so she's sure to find a few old stories to re-examine.

If you have suggestions, comments or questions about this blog, e-mail jeubank@tucson.com