Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Ukiah man nabbed for Wallowa bank holdup

A Ukiah man who reported his car and gun stolen in 1933 was instead jailed as an accomplice in a bank holdup in Wallowa.

Glenn Simms, 25, of Ukiah contacted the Oregon State Police on Oct. 15, 1933, to report the theft of his Ford roadster and a gun that was left inside it. The vehicle was linked to a robbery Oct. 16 at the Stockgrowers and Farmers Bank of Wallowa, in which two men made off with $2,200. A farmer in an isolated area near the Flora road outside Wallowa reported two men, known only as “Shorty” and “Slim,” held him up after he refused to sell them six gallons of gasoline. The farmer said the men told him they had just robbed a bank in Wallowa.

Two other men, R.V. Chrisman and the son of the Wallowa cashier held up in the robbery, also saw the bandits near the isolated farm and followed them for about three miles before they were halted by tire trouble. Though the holdup men were armed, no shots were fired at their pursuers.

Wallowa County police captured the two suspects Oct. 19 between Flora and Troy in a mountainous region about 30 miles north of Wallowa. Glenn Simms’ car was found abandoned in the brush. The men were nearly starved and had showed up at rancher Cliff McGinnis’ home to ask for food. They gave themselves up to McGinnis, and the Wallowa County sheriff took custody of the men and the $2,200 in stolen loot.

Meanwhile, state police had been skeptical of Simms’ theft story from the beginning. Simms was arrested Oct. 25 and charged as an accomplice in the robbery scheme for supplying the car and gun to the suspects, identified as escaped Oklahoma prison inmate Jesse Paul and former Texas prison inmate James Dushane, both 35. Simms had confessed to police Oct. 24 in Pendleton about his role in the robbery.

According to Simms, Paul and Dushane had arrived in Ukiah six weeks before and convinced him after several days of discussions to participate in the robbery. In exchange for providing his car and gun, he was to receive one-third of the loot. Simms told police that two days before the robbery he, Paul and Dushane cased the bank and the road they would use in their getaway. The following day Simms had driven with the holdup men to the outskirts of Ukiah and then turned his car over to them, walking back into town alone.

All three men pleaded guilty to charges of assault and armed robbery. Paul and Dushane received life sentences, and Paul was returned to Oklahoma to finish serving his life sentence there for killing a police officer. Simms was given a 10-year sentence; he and Dushane served their time at the Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem.

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