Notorious Yeggs Leave Prints Behind in Coldwater, September 1926

On the 24th of October, last, while the citizens of Coldwater, Mich., were peacefully sleeping, Yeggs entered the local branch of the Standard Oil Company, neatly blew the safe, and escaped.

The thieves gained entrance by forcing a padlock, and from all evidence were old hands at the safe-blowing game. A spike hammer was used to break off the combination dial. Then a charge of high explosive, placed in the opening and soap used in the sealing process. The door was blown sufficiently to reach the inside of the safe, and the inner door was forced with a crowbar. About $130 in cash and $150 in bank checks was the reward of a night's risky work. An employee discovered the trick the next morning, when there would have been little likelihood of apprehending the Yeggs, had not the state police in their search for finger prints discovered one tell-tale mark on the smoked, inside door of the safe.

There the matter rested until Thomas McDonald was arrested in Battle Creek this last May. McDonald is a notorious bandit and considered one of the most dangerous prisoners taken in Battle Creek since the arrest of Brent Glascock, Roundout, Ill., mail robber. This was McDonald's second arrest, as he had previously sawed his way out of jail in Kalamazoo while awaiting trial. Police Chief Laverne Fonda and Under Sheriff Peter Bhymer led the squadron of police and deputies who caught the robber off guard in his room before he could reach his gun.

After his first arrest McDonald's finger prints showed him to be the robber of the Standard Oil, Coldwater, case, and also of two cases in Kalamazoo, so it now looks as if Mr. McDonald will find the blowing of three safes rather an expensive experience when it comes to paying the penalty with years from his own life.

1. "Three Michigan Robberies Solved by Finger Prints", Finger Print and Identification Magazine, Vol. 8, No. 3, September 1926, pages 16-17.

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