Frank Reno Didn’t Get the Last Laugh

Frank Reno

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.

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