Tuesday, January 15, 2013


1/12/1934 - Making final preparations to kidnap Edward Bremer in St. Paul, Minnesota, Alvin Karpis and the Barker brothers, Freddy and Dock, have their troops gather each night to discuss the upcoming snatch in the second-floor apartment of outlaw William Weaver at 562 Holly Avenue ... a group of cut-throats that besides Karpis, the Barkers, and Weaver includes "Shotgun" George Ziegler (real name Fred Goetz, a bank robber with mob connections that many believe was one of the killers at the St. Valentine's Day Massacre), Harry Campbell, a friend from the boys' young hoodlum days in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Volney Davis, Dock's murder buddy from the McAlester Penitentiary. 


Going to their nightly meeting Karpis and Freddy notice a man looking into a window next door and immediately believe the worst ... the authorities know the gang is in the area and are seeking their location.  Dock adds to the paranoia when he goes outside and sees a man standing on the corner without seemingly any purpose in being there.  Deciding to leave the apartment in pairs, the gang sends out Dock again to reconnoiter, and this time the bandit finds a car with two policemen in it parked in the alley.  Nerves on edge, Dock is sent out again, this time to move the gang's cars to in front of the building for a quick getaway, which is accomplished a few minutes later, with the police seeming to ignore the men's exit from the building.


Arriving at Freddy's apartment safely, needing to know if the upcoming kidnapping is blown, the outlaw convinces Karpis that they must find out if the cops are on to them ... by returning to Weaver's apartment.  A recipe for disaster, that is exactly what they do after arming themselves with a machine gun and a .45 automatic pistol.  Arriving in the neighborhood once more just before 1:00 in the morning with Freddy driving and Karpis in command of the machine gun, the pair soon find themselves being followed by a car containing two men, one dressed in a uniform and wearing a peaked hat.  Cops!  Reacting as they always do in the presence of law enforcement officers, the men quickly pull around a corner, slam to a stop, jump out of their vehicle, and when the car following them turns the corner in pursuit, open up on the men inside.  Shooting from the hip, Karpis fires off an entire 50-round drum and Freddy empties his pistol ... then the trigger happy duo jump back into the Chevy they are using and return to Freddy's apartment.  Up all night waiting to hear news about the incident on the radio, they are instead greeted by silence ... a strange situation if cops have been gunned down on the streets of St. Paul.  The mystery is resolved in the morning when Dock brings in the newspaper ... Karpis and Freddy have wounded Roy McCord, an off-duty radio operator wearing his Northwest Aitlines aviator's uniform of a peaked hat and a dark jacket featuring brass buttons ... a uniform that in the dark could be mistaken for a policeman's outfit (the other man in the car is completely missed).


In a horrible case of triple mistaken identity, Freddy and Karpis attack the man following them because they believe he is a cop, and McCord is following the two public enemies because he believes they are the peeping toms who have been plaguing the neighborhood ... one of which the outlaws had seen earlier in the night looking in a window and mistaken for a cop, starting the chain of nearly tragic stupidity (the cop car in the alley was also looking for the peepers).  Wounded three times, McCord is lucky to survive his encounter with the desperadoes ... others will not be as fortunate!


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