February 1868. Frank Reno (photo) and members of his Indiana gang traveled to Iowa to rob county treasuries.
Over the course of a few weeks, they burglarized at least three county safes and collected more than $40,000. But the heat was on. Pinkerton agents joined with local lawmen to arrest the outlaws in Council Bluffs in mid-March.
But the gang dug a hole in the jail wall and escaped on April 1—leaving a chalk message above the opening: “April Fools!” Frank Reno was lynched later that year; the joke was on him.