THE TALE OF JOHN ELGIN JOHNSON’S CRIME, PART TWO
Briefly, after the noon hour, a young man made his way into the bank and approached the first teller’s cage, and the manager directed the man to the second teller. At the second teller’s window, the man brings out several small bills and handed it over, saying that it was $80, for which he wanted four $20 bills. As the man was being handled the more significant bills, he drew out a gun and asserted, “Give me the rest.” The teller gave $610 to the gunman who wheeled and escaped from the bank.
Los Angeles Police Department and FBI men started an investigation of the robbery immediately. Thorough neighborhood investigations were carried out. It was on this same day, however, that three other bank robberies occurred in Los Angeles. A trivial crime wave had befallen Los Angeles. Many immediate suspects were apprehended from among known crooks in the Los Angeles area in usual investigative fashion, but unfortunately, Elgin was not among them.
On Monday, 28 October 1940, pieces of information were obtained by the Los Angeles FBI Office from the Des Moines, Iowa, FBI Office, which disclosed that a John Elgin Johnson had been arrested by the Sioux City, Iowa, Police Department after robbing a department outlet in that city. Among his results was a newspaper account of the bank robberies in Los Angeles on Tuesday, 17 September 1940.
The technique used in the Iowa robbery and the resemblance of that bandit’s description to the Los Angeles bank bandit was instantly noted by FBI officers handling the case. It was swiftly figured out that on Tuesday, 17 September 1940, Elgin had bought a 1939 Mercury vehicle. With it, he bought a new car radio and a couple of new tires. He paid roughly $300 in cash. Elgin was well-known to have been night-clubbing, picking up above his share of the checks. His picture was received and displayed to directors of the four banks that had been robbed.
Elgin was cautiously recognized at two banks as the single bandit who committed the thefts on Tuesday, 17 September 1940. Once more, Elgin, who had been released from law enforcement for less than ninety days, was about to go back to prison.
Confronted with the evidence against him, Elgin admitted to FBI officers at Des Moines, Iowa, that he had been responsible for the Los Angeles bank robberies. Still, paradoxically enough, he admitted to all four committed on Tuesday, 17 September 1940. Later investigation eliminated Elgin from two of the robberies. The crook mind quickly claimed the “glory” connected to someone else’s share of crime.
To be continued
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