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Crime Doesn't Pay - January 19, 2018

Mrs. Anson Horning, seen holding a croquet mallet, helped subdue a member of Bonnie and Clyde's gang in southwest Kansas in 1933.

Q: On September 4, 1933, at a small town city park, a desperate man tried to steal a Kansas woman's car. Another woman intervened and clubbed the bandit on the head with a croquet mallet, subduing him. The incident made national headlines when it was discovered that the outlaw was a member of Bonnie and Clyde's gang. In which southwest Kansas community did all this take place?    

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A: Meade, Kansas

The infamous outlaws known as Bonnie (Parker) and Clyde (Barrow) led the Barrow Gang in a string of holdups, car thefts and shootouts in the early 1930s. On September 4, 1933, the gang had car trouble while traveling through Meade, Kansas. One member of the group, Henry Massingill, tried to carjack a woman near the city park. He was stopped, in part, by a croquet-wielding woman named Mrs. Anson Horning. She clubbed him in the head, twice. While Massingill and an accomplice were apprehended, Bonnie and Clyde slipped away. The Meade Globe News had this to say: "The diminutive Mrs. Anson Horning accomplished with her croquet mallet what dozens of officers with machine guns failed to do."
    
Fun Factoid: Many historians believe that the Barrow Gang's first bank robbery took place in Lawrence, Kansas, in March of 1932. According to Adrian Zink in his book Hidden History of Kansas, Clyde Barrow and his friends checked into the Eldridge Hotel and spent the whole day scoping out the First National Bank, just down the street. Two days later, they robbed it. Though the bank didn't report the holdup to police, the gang reportedly got away with tens of thousands of dollars before fleeing to St. Louis. Today, that Lawrence bank has been converted into Merchants Pub and Plate restaurant.

Read more about the exploits of Bonnie and Clyde in southwest Kansas.

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