The notorious Perkins Gang: Part 1

Larry Wood

An unusual outbreak of bank robbery in south-central Missouri during the late winter and the spring of 1934 alarmed citizens and local law enforcement officers alike. Most of the holdups were eventually laid at the feet of the notorious Perkins gang.
On February 6, three men held up the Bank of Bunker, located on the Dent-Reynolds county line. Only one of the robbers went inside, while the other two waited outside in the getaway car. The one who went inside held cashier R.A. Hulsey at gunpoint and took $339 from the bank tills. The lone gunman took the cashier hostage and forced him outside and into the waiting vehicle. The bandits escaped on Highway 72 south, releasing Hulsey about a mile outside town. The Bank of Bunker had been robbed in July of 1933, and Hulsey reported that, during his brief ride with the crooks, one of them remarked that they were the same men who’d pulled the previous job. There is no evidence to support this assertion, however, and Hulsey said he did not recognize any of the bandits as the same ones who’d held him up previously.
Three days later, on February 9, two bandits, using a similar M.O. as the Bunker robbers, tried to hold up the Bank of Mountain View, about 60 miles southwest of Bunker in northeastern Howell County. One man stayed in the getaway car while another, wearing dark goggles, accosted the cashier when he arrived for work early that morning. Forcing the cashier to open the door, the outlaw ordered him inside. The bank president arrived on the scene about that time and was also herded inside. The would-be robber found no money in the vault, however, and the safe that contained nearly all the loot was on a time lock that could not be opened for another forty minutes or so. Not daring to wait, the bandit left empty-handed. He made his escape in a dark coupe driven by his companion. Later that day, the car was spotted at Summersville, fifteen miles to the north, but the crooks could not be corralled.
For the complete column, see the Tuesday print edition of The Daily Record, or view the e-Edition online.


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