The Union Pacific Mail Train Robbery Part 2

After a year of planning and recruiting, on August 14, 1926, the plot to rob the Union Pacific Mail Train was underway. Leaving from Rawlins, Wyoming and expected in Rock Springs, the No.5 would soon be attacked near Hanna, Wyoming.

The Robbery

The week leading up to the heist, Theodore and Edna surveyed the route nearly every night ensuring the robbery would go as planned.

The evening of August 13th, Barnett, Kearns, and Kamariotis boarded the passenger train to Hanna, Wyoming separately. When they arrived, they hid behind water tanks waiting for the No. 5 train.

Just before midnight, Bradford rented a Hudson sedan and drove to an isolated area, hiding the car behind a boulder and placing himself near the tracks with a flashlight.

On board the train were three clerks: Clerk in Charge Albert J. Miller, Helper Clerk Leon I. Nellis, and Second Clerk Jack Madigan.

Just after the train departed Cheyenne, the clerks went about their normal duties, except Madigan purposely unlocked the door to the unmanned storage car.

When the train approached its slowing point near Hanna, Barnett and Kamariotis snuck in the unlocked storage car and waited.

The Robbery Cont.

The train approached the Rawlins station where Helper Clerk Nellis departed the train. Just as it left the station, Barnett and Kamariotis attacked the mail car.

Madigan was the only armed clerk and had conveniently taken his weapon off prior to departing Rawlins, disarming himself. Miller and Madigan were then tied and blindfolded in the storage car.

With no one to alert authorities, Barnett and Kamariotis had over an hour to prepare the goods. As the train neared Rock Springs, they awaited the flash of Bradford’s light.

As soon as it was seen, they tossed the mail pouch for Bradford to recover. By the time the train reached its next stopping point, Barnett and Kamariotis were gone.

The two bandits wandered around for over an hour until they reached the safehouse in Rock Springs and awaited news from the others.

The Robbery Cont.

Bradford quickly recovered the loot and buried it on the railroad tracks. Noticing his tire was flat, he drove the car as far as he could and abandoned it at a gas station before returning to the South Pass Rooms with Theodore and Edna.

The group split up and did not meet again until August 23rd in Salt Lake City to distribute the loot.

The robbery went undiscovered until Rock Springs when the clerks were found in the storage car. Immediately Postal Inspectors R. H. Robertson and A. A. Imus were called in to investigate.

The Inspectors interviewed Miller and Madigan. Madigan was a trove of information, knowing minor details of the attackers, while Miller could barely remember what happened in the chaos.

The next day, the abandoned car was located and the manhunt for multiple bandits was underway, with Jack Madigan as a major suspect.


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