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YESTERDAY'S ODESSA NEWS 
DEAD BANK ROBBER REWARD IS SCORED


Austin, Texas, April 3, 1928 The New York Times. "The entire southwest is watching the more or less single-handed fight which Ranger Captain Frank A. Hamer is waging on the standing reward of $5,000 offered by the Texas Banker's Association for dead bank bandits. Hamer fired his first gun this week when he appeared before a Grand Jury at Rankin, Upton County, and offered testimony supporting his claim that the reward has resulted in the organization of a "murder ring'."

"Several months ago, the Texas Banker's Association offered a reward of $5,000 for dead bandits, and the printed notices in the windows of the member banks specified that not one cent would be paid for live ones. This offer was made in an effort to stem a wave of banditry in which banks had been heavy losers."

“On the day following the announcement, Hamer, senior Ranger captain and the Southwest's most picturesque and most feared peace officer, denounced the reward asserting that it would lead to a 'frame-up' and the slaughter of innocent men."

"Within two weeks, two men were killed at the back door of a bank in Odessa, a west Texas village by four officers late at night. The officers shared a reward of $10,000. Within a few days Hamer charged that a fifth man had 'tipped' the officers and had sent the two men to their death. He pointed out that the men were not equipped for safe-breaking, were palpably amateurs with no criminal records, and he claimed they were duped into going to the bank at the hour of the killing."

"Within a fortnight, three Mexicans were shot down while standing in front of a bank at Stanton, 40 miles from Odessa. Two men, one a deputy sheriff did the shooting. Two of the Mexicans died instantly but a third lived to tell how the two assailants had brought the trio to a point near Stanton in a truck and arranged to meet them in front of the bank, having been promised employment. The two men were arrested and one confessed that they had shot down the tree men in the expectation of collecting a reward of $15,000 from the banker's association. One of these men later broke out of jail and is now at large."

"A few weeks subsequent to this, two more men were shot down at the back of a bank, this time at Rankin, near both Odessa and Stanton as Texas distances go. They were shot by a sheriff and his deputies at night and instantly killed. The officers asserted they had been warned of an attempt to rob the bank."

D. C. Waide
Special Correspondent to The New York Times

Note: Captain Frank Hamer is the famous Texas Ranger who killed Bonnie and Clyde in Louisiana a few years later. The bodies of the dead Odessa "bandits" were displayed to the public in a furniture store window in downtown Odessa. The Upton County Grand Jury returned no indictments, Ector County Sheriff Reeder Webb cashed his reward check and the killings faded into history. Gj




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