Detective John Hovey
Detective Frank DeLora
Patrolman Ralph Castner
Patrolman Harland Manes
Charles "Pretty Boy" Floyd
Feb 5, 1930
The bank robbers of the 20s and 30s were the glamour criminals of the day. They traveled the country armed with sub-machine guns and a willingness to kill, looking for “friendly” urban areas where people were willing to rent rooms, buy cars, and find girls for them. Toledo was such a place.
February 5, 1930
In an unwritten "truce” with police, bandits generally kept their peace in the Toledo area. However, Charles "Pretty Boy” FLOYD (under the alias of Frank Mitchell), Robert AMOS (under the alias of Nathan King) and members of their gang elected to ignore this treaty. They robbed the Farmers’ & Merchants’ Bank in Sylvania, Ohio. The gang fled the scene, but the license number of the car they used was secured by several persons.
March 8, 1930
Robert AMOS and Bert WALKER, along with two women, were arrested in Akron, Ohio following an automobile accident. WALKER was an escaped convict from Jefferson City, MO, having an unserved balance of 30 years against him. Almost immediately he drew a revolver and shot Officer Harland Manes before making his getaway. AMOS ran when the shooting started and also escaped, but both were captured the next morning at AMOS’s room on Lodi Street in Akron. WALKER was found hiding under a bed. MANES died from his injuries that same day.
May 19, 1930
Toledo Police Detectives Frank DeLORA and John HOVEY drove to Akron and brought AMOS and FLOYD back to Toledo on Suspicion for further investigation in connection with the Sylvania robbery. Through interrogation and lineups, the men were identified as being involved in the robbery.
November 10, 1930
WALKER was electrocuted for the murder of Akron
Police Patrolman Harland F. Manes.
November 24, 1930
Robert AMOS and “Pretty Boy” FLOYD plead guilty to
Assault with Intent to Rob the Sylvania Farmers’ &
Merchants’ Bank and were sentenced to serve twelve
years in the Ohio Penitentiary. A few days later, the
two were being transported by train to the Ohio
Penitentiary to serve a minimum of 12 years for the
Assault with Intent to Rob charge. FLOYD insisted
on being permitted to use the lavatory and once inside,
he unlocked his handcuffs and jumped through the
window to escape while AMOS blocked the door.
FLOYD was successful in his escape while AMOS was
apprehended with one leg out the window.
April 16, 1931
FLOYD and “Billy the Killer” MILLER (another of his gang members) showed up in Bowling Green with two girls. Their presence was reported to Police Chief Carl (Shorty) GALLAGHER by area merchants. GALLAGHER had the foursome under surveillance for a couple of weeks. On this Thursday, the group had been hanging out in a clothing store on Main street. When they left, Chief GALLAGHER and Patrolman Ralph L. CASTNER trailed them to a place where they believed the public would not be endangered and ordered them to halt. MILLER and FLOYD pulled pistols and started shooting. When it was all over, MILLER was dead, and one girl and Patrolman CASTNER were injured. Patrolman CASTNER’s father worked in the lumber yard across the street and heard the shots fired. He hurried across the street to assist, carrying his son to the curb to await the ambulance. CASTNER succumbed to his wounds on April 23, 1931. FLOYD escaped and was later killed on October 22, 1934, by G-Men near East Liverpool, Ohio.
These gangs were prolific in the execution of their crimes, moving across the country under numerous aliases, weaving tangled crimes and connections that detectives had to sift through to solve.
Click on the photos below to view documents from the Toledo Police Museum files.
FLOYD twice requested a lawyer while in Toledo, signing his alias "Frank Mitchel" both times, using only one "L" at the end of his name. Click on the image to see a photo of Officer William Weis and to read a brief history of his career.