Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Eddie Cudahy and Pat Crowe

'I'm Ready to Reform'

Pat Crowe, portrait
Pat Crowe, portrait

Wherever he had been, Crowe was back in Omaha in the spring of 1905. He gave an interview to a World-Herald reporter, saying he was weary of living as a fugitive and anxious to begin life anew. He added that he was really ready to reform.

What he didnt say is that he had run out of ransom money. He blew through a small fortune in just four years.

Crowe vanished again after the interview until September 5, 1905, when Officers Al Jackson and Dan Leahey spotted him on the street and tailed him to Emil Ploomers saloon near 16th and Hickory streets, not far from downtown Omaha.

The cops alerted headquarters and Detectives Dan Baldwin and Dan Davis hurried there by streetcar.

A fierce gunfight broke out as soon as the plainclothes cops arrived--the battle of Hickory Street, the newspapers called it. Crowe wounded Jackson and fled unscathed.

A month later, two cops patrolling the tenderloin district of Butte, Montana, spotted the fugitive and -once and for all - secured him in a set of handcuff, ending a search that had dragged on for 4 years and 10 months.

Officers W. F. McGrath and Wayne McIneray locked Pat Crowe in the Butte hoosegow and contacted Omaha cops with the good news.

While awaiting extradition, Crowe gave an interview to the Butte Evening News, again professing weariness of crime. He said he was ready to reform--again.

That game is not worth the candle, he said.

As was the custom in those days, Butte authorities allowed visitors to parade past Crowes cell to take a gander at the celebrity criminal. The Butte paper said a procession of women batted their eyes at the handsome suspect, some delivering gifts of flowers or fruit.

Omaha Detectives Henry Dunn and Henry Feltfedt went to Butte to retrieve Crowe. The train ride home across Montana, Wyoming and Nebraska was like a crime whistle-stop tour, with huge crowds greeting the train at most cities and towns. 

At North Platte, Neb., Crowe attracted a bigger crowd than had President Theodore Roosevelt during a reelection campaign stop. When the train screeched to a stop in Omaha, a throng chanted, Hooray for Pat Crowe.

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