Weston, OR Robbers Blow Safe and Start Store Fire, Apr 1909



Damage to Property $7500---Men Get $5 In Cash and Escape on Handcar.

WESTON, Or., April 25.---(Special.)---Yeggmen burglarized and set fire to Sim J. Culley's merchandise and grocery store early this morning. The safe was blown open and about $5 taken.

The fire was discovered at 5 o'clock and was under control an hour later, after hard work by the department.

H. A. Brandt, owner of the building, suffered a loss of $3500, no insurance. Damage to Culley's stock is about $4000, partially insured.

The burglars made their escape on a handcar stolen from the O. R. & N. toolhouse, and were seen crossing Dry Creek trestle, three miles distant, at 4 o'clock this morning. Every effort is being made to capture them.

Morning Oregonian, Portland, OR 26 Apr 1909



Weston Robber Suspects Are Caught at Wallula.


Men Believed to Have Burglar Records---Sheriff Taylor Chases Fugitives Through Several Counties Before Making Capture.

PENDLETON, Or., April 26.---(Special.)---After a brief but thrilling chase across several counties and a part of two states, Sheriff Taylor and Deputy Sheriff Wilson have run down and captured three men suspected of being the ones who blew open the safe and set fire to Sim Culley's store at Weston Saturday night.

Every member of the trio is believed to be a burglar with a record, and the capture is regarded as one of the most important made in many years. J. A. Murray, C. M. Clark and Michael Burke are the men under arrest.

It is now believed that the $5000 fire in the store followed as a result of the explosion which opened the safe, and that the burglars did not maliciously set the fire through anger at finding only $5 in the safe.

The trial of the suspects was picked up before they reached Weston and pulled off the job. Then it was followed to Freewater, where the handcar was left, and on into Walla Walla, then west to Wallula, where the arrests were made.

The officers are expected to arrive tomorrow morning with their prisoners, they having consented to come across the line without the requisition papers, which were at fires demanded.

Morning Oregonian, Portland, OR 27 Apr 1909


PENDLETON, Or., May 24.---(Special.)---The grand jury called together today in connection with the reconvening of the Spring term of the Circuit Court, has returned ten indictments. Nine of these were against J. A. Crossley, David Clarke, and Michael Burke, the three men accused of robbing the Sim Culley store at Weston, cracking the safe and setting fire to the building. Each of the trio was indicted on three counts, one for burglary, one for larceny in a store, and one for arson.

Morning Oregonian, Portland, OR 25 May 1909