“Give my love to Billy Pinkerton when you see him. Tell him Jim Cummings did this job.”
As he uttered these words, the train commenced slacking up, and as it stopped, Cummings, opening the door, with his valuable valise, leaped to the ground, closed the door behind him, the darkness closed around him and he was gone.
Inside the car, a rifled safe, a bound and gagged messenger, and the Adams Express Company was poorer by $100,000 than it was when the ’Frisco train pulled out of the depot the evening before.
Pinkerton to the rescue.
The next day the country knew of the robbery. Newspapers in every city had huge head lines, telling the story in the most graphic style.
Jesse James OUTDONE! The Adams Express Company robbed of $100,000!
The express messenger found gagged and bound to his own safe—the robber escapes—absolutely no clews—Pinkerton to the rescue!
Mr. Damsel, the superintendent of the St. Louis branch of the Adams Express Company, was pacing anxiously up and down his private office. Fotheringham was relating his exciting experience, which a stenographer immediately took down in shorthand. At frequent intervals Mr. Damsel would ask a searching question, to which the messenger replied in a straightforward manner and without hesitation. It was a trying ordeal to him. Innocent as he was, his own testimony was against him. He knew it and felt it, but nothing that he could do or say would lighten the weight of the damaging evidence. He could but tell the facts and await developments. When he was through Mr. Damsel left him in the office, and immediately telegraphed to every station between Pacific and St. Louis to look for the linen and underclothing which the robbers had thrown from the car. The wires were working in all directions, giving a full description of Cummings and such other information as would lead to his discovery.
Local detectives were closeted with Mr. Damsel all day, but so shrewdly and cunningly had the express robber covered his tracks, that nothing but the bare description of the man could be used as a clew.
Fotheringham was put through the “sweating process” time and again, but, though he gave the most minute and detailed account of the affair, the detectives could find nothing to help them.
That Fotheringham “stood in” with the robber was the universal theory. The story of the letter and order from Mr. Barrett was received with derision and suspicion.
Mr. Damsel himself was almost confident that his employee had a hand in the robbery. It was a long and anxious day, and as it wore along and no new developments turned up, Mr. Damsel became more anxious and troubled: $100,000 is a large sum and the Adams Express Company had a reputation at stake. What was to be done?