Frisco Train Robbers Caught

     On September 9, 1893, Frisco line brakeman James Pennock boarded the Frisco Line at Tower Grove in St. Louis.  At the Cheltenham stop, Frisco brakeman Sam Robertson and former brakeman Muncie Ray also boarded.  The men boarded the train with the intent of robbing the train at Sandy Cut, two miles east of Pacific, MO.


Early St. Louis Police Badge from the Public Domain

     When the train got close to Sandy Cut, Muncie Ray and James Pennock climbed over the fuel car and demanded the engineers stop near Sandy Cut.  After the men stopped the train, Ray and Pennock took them to the Express Car.  They intended to burglarize the safe.

     Pennock, Ray and Robertson did not do their homework in planning the Frisco Train Robbery.  The safe was empty.  As the three men started to make their escape, the conductor pulled his own gun and captured Pennock.

     Chief of Detectives William Desmond sent capable St. Louis Police Detective Sam Allender to interview Pennock.  All the CSI television shows lead people to believe crimes are solved by scientific experiments and confronting the criminal with data and theory.  Crimes are solved by a skilled detective talking to people.

     Allender sat in jail with Pennock all day.  He developed a repoire with Pennock.  After Pennock started to trust Allender, he relayed the story of the robbery.

     Pennock not only implicated himself but he also implicated Sam Robertson and Muncie Ray.  St. Louis Police arrested Sam Robertson in St. Louis.  They captured Muncie Ray in Valley Park, MO.

     Sam Robertson originally denied his involvement.  Pennock told him, “Come on, Sam.  They got us dead to right,”  Robertson contemplated this statement for a few minutes.

     When Detective Allender prodded him, Robertson also confessed.  He appeared relieved after his confession was complete.


St. Louis Detectives from the St. Louis Republic February 23, 1902

     While I don’t know what happened to Ray and Robertson, James Pennock died in Kirkwood, MO on June 27, 1940.  The 77 year-old man was 30 years old at the time of the robbery.  Pennock worked as a fireman after the Frisco Train Robbery.

     St. Louis Chief of Detectives William Desmond and St. Louis Detective Sam Allender continued the fine tradition of the St. Louis Police Detectives.

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