The Seattle Daily Times
Thursday, October 15, 1925
Page 1, Column 5
Neal And Wife, Bon Marche Bandit Suspects, Caught
Joe O. Neal, former Seattle policeman and his wife, Mrs. May Neal, Bon Marche hold up suspects, were caught last night in Minneapolis. A family quarrel which caused the summoning of police to their apartment resulted in their arrest. Although Neal first gave the name of Charles McCall, later he admitted his identity, but not until he had struck one policeman and nearly escaped.
Neal and his wife have been sought since February 16, when they failed to appear in the King County Superior Court for trial on a charge of taking part in the $22,000 hold up of Bon Marche employees August 8, 1924. Neal’s $10,000 bond and his wife’s $5,000 bond were forfeited. Neal also was at liberty on $5,000 bond on a charge of robbing the Canadian Bank of Commerce in Vancouver, British Columbia of $19,000 June 1924.
Speedy Extradition Sought
King County official and Detective Chief Charles Tennant today began preparations to obtain extradition of the Neals and their speedy trial. Seattle officers will be sent to Minneapolis to return them.
The apartment in which Neal and his wife were arrested was at 11 East 17th Street, Minneapolis. The noise of their quarrel caused other tenants to summon three motorcycle patrolmen. They found Neal threatening his wife with a knife. He was disarmed, but on the way to the street slugged Patrolman Clayton Sewall, broke away and ran. Other officers recaptured him. At the police station Neal admitted his identity.
The trial of three other defendants, Edward Lee Fasick, proprietor of the [sic] went on after the Neals fled from Seattle. The three were convicted February 19. Fasick and Dooley were sentenced to serve from seven to fifteen years in prison The Fasicks appealed, Mrs. Fasick being at liberty on bonds and Fasick being held in county jail. Dooley is serving his sentence without an appeal.
The robbery occurred at 2:30 o’clock the afternoon of August 8 at the crowded entrance of the Bon Marche on Union Street, just west of Second Avenue. As James M. Telfer and J.H. Whelan, employees, came out of the store with the $14,000 cash and $8,000 checks in satchels, three men jumped out of a slowly moving automobile, snatched the satchels, fired two shots and jumped back into their car, in which were two other men.
Patrolmen J.M. Kokesh and George Cowan happened by as the crowd gathered and chased the bandit car to the waterfront, where the bandits got out. Neal was captured on the scene.
Ross C. Watson, former city detective, who is awaiting trial on the $42,000 Nanaimo bank robbery charge, was charged with complicity in the Bon Marche robbery but this charge was dismissed before he was extradited to Canada.
John Callahan, arrested near Mount Vernon last spring, pleaded guilty March 20 and received a sentence of from twenty to fifty years in prison.
Confession Solved Hold Up
The Bon Marche hold up was solved principally through the confession of Norris W. Lockwood, a porter in the store, that he had aided the bandits and had helped them plan the robbery in Fasick’s soft drink place. Lockwood was released July 1 on a suspended five to fifteen year sentence, but is available to testify against Neal, Mr. Colvin says.
Neals Seen During Hold Up
Two women who were chatting on the street corner just before the robbery also gave material evidence for the state. One of them knew Neal and said she saw Neal, his wife and the other defendants loitering about the store entrance and fiving various signals to each other just before the robbery. This witness is the mother of Frank Stevens, alias Steve Montrose, also a fugitive in connection with the Louis Barei hijack murders at Coalfield, for which two former policemen and two other men were sentenced to life terms.
The Seattle Daily Times
Thursday, October 29, 1925
Page 3, Column 4
Brother of Mrs. Neal Tracked Fugitive Couple to Hiding Place in Minneapolis
“I’ll find Joe Neal, mother, if it’s the last thing I do.”
So declared Guy Whitcomb, brother of May Neal now with her husband in the county jail, when he left Seattle June 25.
“Cut a little, but I’ve put Joe Neal where he belongs.”
This laconic telegram, received by Mrs. Lilla Boatz, 2910 Fourth Avenue West, his and the girl’s mother, completes the story of the capture of the two Bon Marche robbery suspects brought back to Seattle yesterday from Minneapolis, where they had fled while under heavy bond awaiting trial here.
Today this mother sees her daughter for the first time since the girl fled from Seattle last June with the man who, the mother says, “has dragged my daughter down with him to ruin.” The details of the capture, effected by May’s brother bent on revenge against Joe Neal, were revealed today by Mrs. Boatz.
“I knew definitely the day before they left that they planned to leave,” said Mrs. Boatz in her Queen Anne Hill home. “I urged her not to jump bond and called up Prosecutor Colvin and warned him. But they left the next day before they could be stopped.
Then came the search by Guy, May’s brother, working alone. He went east to Minneapolis where the fugitives were believed to have fled. Then he worked in the fields of North Dakota, later returning to Minneapolis. How he found the Neals there, Mrs. Boatz does not known, but a knife battle with Joe Neal in the Neals’ apartment revealed the fugitives to the authorities.
Mrs. Boatz talked with her daughter in the King County Jail this afternoon. She refused, however, to see or talk to her son-in-law.
The Seattle Daily Times
Sunday Morning, November 22, 1925
Page 10, Column 5
$15,000 Bond of Neals Is Ordered Forfeited
Forfeiture of $15,000 bail bond for Joe and May Neal, who fled from this state to Minneapolis while charged with robbery, has been ordered by the State Supreme Court, it was learned yesterday by Prosecutor Ewing D. Colvin. The case was carried to the high court by Sidney Brunn and E.S. Turner, bail bond agents.
Neal pleaded guilty last week to the charge of participating in the Bon Marche robbery and was sentenced to twenty to thirty years at Walla Walla State Penitentiary. Mrs. Neal was acquitted on the same charge.
When Mrs. Neal fled from Seattle she deserted her two small children by a former marriage. Since that time the children have been given to the custody of her former husband.