Paroled explosives expert Bert Nelson and his partner Paul Herrick place time bombs in vacant lots near the scenes of their planned holdups. The loud but harmless explosions create a diversion that permits them to commit their crimes quickly in the confused atmosphere and escape with few witnesses. Dan Mathews and Sergeant Williams notice a pattern developing and Dan diverts all available units to the relatively small area in which Nelson and Herrick are likely to strike. After their third robbery nets $10,000, the two thieves find a phalanx of officers converging on the area. With all main roads covered, they make a high-risk attempt to escape by trespassing onto the nearby network of dirt fire roads. Written by
$10,000 in 1959 had the same purchasing power as $73,600 in 2009. See more »
Sgt. Williams comments that they have partial fingerprints from the bombs that were too smudged for comparison to records, but the partial prints could be matched if they developed a suspect. Since fingerprinting suspects is the process for print records, a live suspect could provide no more detail than their fingerprints already on file. See more »
When investigating an armed robbery, police officers must often rely on information obtained from the chance passerby. Well aware of this unpredictable element, Paul Herrick and Bert Nelson devised a plan to reduce this hazard. Their method called for the precise timing of a spectacular event to divert attention from the robbery itself.
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