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Stage-robbing image
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During the past fourteen years om hun d red and five men havo been engaged in the business of stago-robbing on Wells, Fargo & Co.'s Pacific Coacta stage lines. That it is a business pursuod with great diligence and skill il shown by the "Robbers' Record," kcpl by the eompany for the use of its own detectives. ïhis record was rceently published by the eompany, and makes public many instructive faots about the business of stage-robbing, not the least interesting being the fact that a pardon to a stage robber is to him wh:t the operation of the bankruptey law is to a merchant - gives h:m an opportunitv to renew his calling nnrestricted by the law. The extent of the busineu will doubtlcss surprise many penple. It has in the last fourteen vears oost Wells, Fargo & ('o. $927,7SfcS& or aii average of $66,2(36 per year. This assessment on the eonipany is divlded as follows: The robbers are charged with $415,312.65; rowards for arrest, etc.. $7.'!,.r41; attorneys. f33,S67j expenses incurrod in arrestiug and oonvieting robbers, $!)(). 079: guarda and special ofneers, $326,617. This makes the ttftal which the business costs the eompany, but, of course, is very far from the total amount assessed against society by the robbers. In this is not included the great amount stolen from the United States mails in the same robberies, and the still greater total of cash and valuables taken from stage-coach passen;ers. Bilt taking the sum tho robbers have secured from the WellsrFargo boxes alone, $U),312, it 3 seen that the hundred and five men who have engaged in the business have avcraged $H,835, or about $660 per year each. What the money and jewelry have netted the road agenta it ft, of coursc. impossible to even estímate. Many stage robbories havo boen planned solely to capture largo sums known to be in the possession of sonio passenger, and the average traveler by stage has a very decent sum with him for expenses, to say nothing of rings and watches, so it is surely safo to estímate that the returns from passengere and the United States mail will eqtial those from the little green box of the stage eompany. This, then, rfvea as the average profit of one hundred and five stage robbers operating for fourteen yaars $100 a month in even ligures. This sum, aggregating about an even $1,000,000, has been secured through 374 robbers, which shows that each man engaged in tho business has averaged nearly four robberies. This suggests a new phase of the question - that is, while the earnings in tho business of stage-robbing are only $100 per month, the pay. say of a salesman or book-keeper, yet the average protit per robbery is about $.1,000. Thug tho person engaged in the business is enabled to na the wages of a mechanic of fair skill, yct be employed between thrco and font days in fourteen years. Mueh of the implied leisure connected with this interesting business is, however, enforced, and cannot be disposed of exeopt at comiind. The leisure from business cares, in fact, is general ly passed in jail. A fe,w tigures in this connection will be timely. It has beenalready stated that the stage rdbberlai 1anl attempts) nurabr S"h. lor which there have been 210 n iclions. l'li us, while each professional stage robber averages in fourteen years S. 63-105 crimes, be also averag-u 2.30-T05 terms in prison - that is, once out of three times he manages to dispose of his leisure and gains unadvised by a court and jury. During the years being considered. stage-robbers hare killed two and wounded six Wells-Fargo guards; have killed four and seriously wounded four Wells-Fargo stage-drivers; havo killed four and severely wounded two stago passengers. This is a total of ten killed and twelve wounded. The returns on the other sido are five robbors killed while in the act of robbing stages and eleven killed while resisting arrest. To this should bo added seven robbers hanged by citizens, making a total of twenty-three robbers killed. Thus, the business of stage-robbing has resulted in the loss of thirty-threo lives; the total nnmber of wounded not stated, as tho wounded robbors are not reported. It is interesting to note that over two-thirds of the men who havo made it their regular business to rob stages, with murdor as a frequent incidental experience, have been pardoned out of prison while serving terms


Ann Arbor Courier
Old News