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Tipton Vigilante Killed By Bandits

SPROAT, ELWOOD, CAREY, MOORE

Posted By: Ken Wright (email)
Date: 3/18/2010 at 23:11:59

Jackson Sentinel, Maquoketa, Iowa, August 12, 1930

Tipton Vigilante Killed By Bandits

Tipton and the area for miles around was in a stage of excitement Friday when officers and vigilantes were notified to be on the lookout for a car containing three bandits. The bandits had held up a drug store in Davenport at 7:40 o’clock Friday morning after which they sped westward in an Essex sedan which had been stolen in Davenport by the desperate trio. Police and vigilantes throughout eastern Iowa were notified and nearly all roads were closely watched and the capture of the bandits seemed inevitable. When the bandit car reached a point two miles east of Tipton it was halted by Sheriff Elwood of Cedar County, Constable John Carey and R. G. Sproat, a prominent businessman of Tipton and a member of the vigilantes. A gun battle between the officers and bandits ensued resulting in the killing of Sproat, who was shot three times while the gunmen’s car was at full speed. The outlaws realizing that the net was drawing closely around them sped on to a point about four miles west of Tipton when their car skidded into a ditch and was rendered useless. The trio then accosted a farmer named Moore who was repairing a fence on his place and told him that one of their party was badly hurt and requested Moore drive them to a hospital. Moore went to his garage and brought out his Marquette car and the four drove away.

About 11:30 o’clock Friday night, Moore drove into Tipton and reported to the Sheriff’s office and telephoned his sister. Then he briefly related the thrilling story of his abduction and his wild experience during the thirteen hours of his captivity. He said the bandits forced him to speed eastward toward the Mississippi River and threatened to kill him should he make a false move. Moore stated that he was told to drive at a normal rate of speed so as not to attract attention. He drove through Jackson County to Green Island, then north to Bellevue and on to Dubuque, where the bandits turned the car over to Moore and told him to “beat it.” They warned him to “shut-up” for an hour or else get “bumped off.” Moore, fearful that the threat would be carried out, hastened south and reached Maquoketa about 11:30 and the hour being up, felt safe to notify the officers. Developments have been slow in the tracing of the bandits and the trail seems to have been completely lost at Galena, although it is thought the trio were headed toward Rockford, Illinois.


 

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