Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Eddie Cudahy and Pat Crowe

Hunt for a 'Desperado'

Crowe was not fully reformed.

He committed stickups in Denver, Kansas City and Philadelphia, then was arrested for a train robbery in Missouri, where he spent three years in state prison.

This was the sum of Crowes lawbreaking before the Cudahy kidnapping. He was a journeyman robber and thief.

But the yellow press at the turn of last century could lather up a story with even more superlatives and hyperbole than we see today.

The Omaha Daily News judged Crowe one of the few really spectacular and truly named desperadoes of the day. It said he committed his deeds with a dash and abandon and dare-deviltry that marked the deeds of the picturesque old scoundrels of the days before civilization laid them on the shelf.

The Omaha Examiner crowed that the accused kidnapper threatens to give Omaha a notoriety similar to that which St. Joseph (Mo.) gained through Jesse James.

The papers seemed to know everything about Pat Crowe. But no one could find him, not the Pinkerton detectives, not the cops, not the press.

In January 1901, Crowe sightings were reported far and wide, from Central America to Nantucket Island. One report had him aboard the steamship Dudley bound for Honduras. Another had him holed up on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.

Pinkies, cops and scribes rushed from one reported false sighting to the next.

The public and press soon grew impatient with the balky hunt for Americas most-wanted criminal.

The Beatrice (Neb.) Democrat snidely noted, It is fairly well established who kidnapped Eddie Cudahy, but what the Democrat would like to know is who kidnapped Pat Crowe?

The Omaha Examiner added, Dont be too hard on the police. Occasionally some of them catch the grip.

Police hounded Crowes estranged wife, Hattie, and brother, John, who lived across the Missouri River in Council Bluffs, Iowa. But neither knew any more than the cops about Crowes whereabouts.

Chief Donahue ordered Crowe wanted posters printed up by the thousands. They were shipped and posted across America, leading to even more reports of sightings, but no Pat Crowe.

Patrick Crowe, police sketch
Patrick Crowe, police sketch

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