Picture a quiet Tuesday afternoon Feb. 5, 1924, all is well as locals go about their daily business, when a stranger walks into the First State Bank on Pollasky Ave. in Clovis. The bank manager had stepped out briefly for lunch leaving assistant cashier Thomas Howison alone in the bank. Howison was fairly new to the job recently graduating from college; this was sleepy Clovis after all! Howison greets the stranger with a “How do you do?” while the man puts down a $20 bill asking for change.
Bank heists were a rare occurrence in the Central Valley so Howison had no reason to expect what was about to unfold. It would be another decade before the daring bank robberies by the likes of bandits Dillinger and Pretty Boy Floyd.
Meanwhile, as the stranger nicknamed The Owl waited for his change, his co-conspirator Felix The Lone Wolf Sloper, slipped in through a rear door creeping up behind Howison. He now found himself looking down the barrel of a revolver and ordered to “stick ‘em up.” Tying his hands behind his back they shoved him into the vault, and quickly looted $31,000; a mix of currency, gold and stocks.
Fleeing the scene, The Owl and The Lone Wolf were surprised by the return of bank Vice President Emory Reyburn! Ordering him into a corner they jumped into their waiting getaway car, stolen earlier in the day. They had attempted to disguise the car with a hasty black paint job. Reyburn gave the alarm as the fleeing bandits made their get-away heading south on Clovis Avenue. Nearby, the Sheriff was at a local elementary school and quickly gathered some boy scouts who happened to be there, giving chase.
Stay tuned to hear what happens next and check back soon for the rest of the story! Meanwhile, why not join the next walking adventure of About Town Taste in Old Town and hear more stories while seeing the location of the robbery? We step out on June 18th 10a and walk our way through interesting history, some cool art and even include food tastes along the way… only $25pp in advance. Meet up location given with reservation.
info@AboutTownTaste.com or 559.392.4471