When last we encountered The Owl and The Lone Wolf, they were fleeing the Clovis Bank with more than $31,000 of booty. Pursuit of the robbers was cut short by a trail of roofing nails the bandits had dropped on the road as they fled. Meeting up with another accomplice, the young and charming Catherine Ryan, girlfriend of the not so lone, Lone Wolf Sloper, the robbers tried to stay low hiding out. Investigators traced the trio to a house in Fresno rented before the Clovis heist. As the pursuit and investigation progressed, led by Sheriff Bill Jones and Deputy Sheriff O.J. King, they uncovered a key piece of evidence left behind… an article of clothing with a laundry tag on it. This lead to where Ryan lived and detectives put her under surveillance. Patience and careful observation eventually led them to the trio who were soon arrested at gunpoint.
The thieves were returned to Clovis to face charges but Ryan was soon released as evidence against her was ruled insufficient. Griffin, already a known crime figure in San Francisco, was found guilty of the Clovis robbery and sentenced to Folsom Prison. In November 1926 The Owl Griffin, and two other inmates escaped by swimming across the icy American River. He was found dead of pneumonia three days later, abandoned by his fellow inmates. Meanwhile, The Lone Wolf gunned down a police officer in another bank robbery and was hanged at Folsom in 1926 admitting his role in the Clovis robbery before his execution. And Ryan? Well….. some still think she got off not only scott-free but may have had access to the loot, which was never recovered. Nothing was ever proven against her however.
Each year in February the robbery is reenacted as a short mellow drama in the very same bank building, at the southeast corner of Pollasky and Fourth Street, now known as the Clovis-Big Dry Creek Museum. While you wait for next February, why not join a walking adventure of About Town Taste in Old Town and hear more stories while seeing the location of the robbery? We tread through the area July 16th 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