The Adel Chief of Police and the deputy went out to the Dallas County Fairgrounds, to have what the Sheriff thought might be a loud conversation. And he was correct. Sheriff had the Adel Police Chief tag along and stand at a distance; not to hear everything, but to be there if things got out of hand.
Here is just-about what was said:
Sheriff: “Deputy, you lied to Nevin Dweller and got a false confession.”
Deputy: “What do you mean, Sir? Dweller confessed, and my lawman training book says that an innocent man
won’t confess to a crime he didn’t do. "
Sheriff: "You should also read a few history books. History is full of accounts of full-grown, competent men
who confessed to things they didn’t do, to protect their families or protect something else important to them."
Deputy: "Thomas has no family to protect, Sir. And he has nothing important."
Sheriff: "He has his dignity. His dignity is as important as yours and mine. And you offered him a little dignity
by promising to let him wear your badge while he signed the confession. And I will not let you damage my
reputation or my dignity as a Sheriff."
Deputy: (turning pale) "I didn’t let him wear my badge, Sir."
Sherriff: “I regularly read Sherlock Holmes stories. When I heard that you ‘deputized’ Nevin Dweller, I looked for the
holes in his bib overalls and found them. Then I took off my badge and held it up to the holes in his bibs.
It fit. I’ll bet he looked right fine and comical at the same time, signing a confession, wearing a badge that
you had no right to share with him."
"Now, deputy, it seems to me that you have crossed several lines, since this morning,
and I think that you need to get out of law enforcement…immediately."
Deputy: “What are you saying Sheriff?”
Sheriff: "I am ordering you to surrender your gun and badge immediately.
I will leave it to you, to decide if you will resign or if I need to terminate your service."
The ex-deputy surrendered his gun and badge, resigned his job, then began to walk back to town.
He refused to ride with either the Sheriff or the Police Chief.
Nevin Dweller was freed, the deputy was off the force, there was quite a to-do in the Gimble household.
The real robber was caught.
The capture was a case of ironic redemption.
The ex-deputy turned in his uniforms, received his final pay, packed his bags, and rode a train to Des Moines, where he bought a fare to Bethany, Missouri. That’s where his maternal grandmother lived. He could always get a little sympathy from her when things weren’t working out for him.
But one thing grandmas do; they each have a little fix-it-list for when their menfolk come to visit.
That’s what grandmas do.
It might be washing a window she can’t reach, or raking leaves out of an ornery bush, or fixing a door,
but there is always something.
You might as well ask and get it over with; then you can eat the cookies and pie like you earned them.
The ex-deputy’s grandma was no different. The day after he got there, she asked him to go to the lumberyard and get a new hasp for her chicken coop. She was one of a few people in town that kept chickens.
So, he headed uptown from the south end of town, constantly replaying in his mind the failure with Nevin.
Almost to the lumberyard, he saw a man run out from the office; shirtless, with a cap and kerchief,
a knife in one hand and a wad of cash in the other hand. He instantly gave chase, caught and held the man,
stomping on the man’s hand to break his hold on the knife,
then kicking the knife far enough away to keep the robber from getting it back.
The men from the lumberyard, armed with tools and shovels, came running after the robber
and they helped hold him until the lawmen came and took him away.
The ex-deputy, Tom Williams, became a local hero. When the Harrison County Sheriff talked to him privately, Tom told him about the situation in Adel; all of it. Turns out, it was the same man who robbed the store in Adel, and several other towns, starting in International Falls, Minnesota. He planned on doing this until he reached Port Arthur, Louisiana.
He had no real reason for this route; he wasn’t from any of the states where he robbed.
We just don’t know why, except he believed other people ought to take care of his needs,
because he didn't want to work for a living. Period.
The Sheriff from Dallas County heard about the arrest, and also took a train from Adel to Bethany, to get all the facts.
The two County Sheriffs met and talked. Ex-deputy Tom Williams accepted a job with the Harrison County Sheriff’s Department, headquartered in Bethany, Missouri.
He lived with his grandma, until he married a Bethany girl.
They bought a house across the street to raise a family in, and still look after his grandma.
And the bank robber got what he wished for; free room and board for many, many years.
So, there you go. We never quite know how a person or a situation will turn out, do we?
Eric J. Rose