.A. Piner served as Mayor of St. Joseph from 1878 until 1882. One of the highlights of his tenure in office came late in his term when the City of St. Joseph was the victim of robbery. The "History of Buchanan County" describes it like this...
April 1882 was replete with sensations in St. Joseph. While the incidents in connection with the killing of Jesse James were being discussed in every household, on every street corner, and even in the pulpit, the startling information was imparted that the city treasury of St. Joseph had been robbed. The first intimation the officers or citizens had of such a condition of affairs was conveyed by wire from New York in a telegram dated April 8, 3:50pm received by John S. Lemon and Charles W. Campbell, and sent by Robert W. Donnell, formerly of St. Joseph, then a banker of New York and fiscal agent of the city. The telegram was brief, stating that Pinkerton detectives had arrested two men, giving their names as Irwin and Fish, both of St. Joseph, who were trying to dispose of 4 percent funding bonds of the city of St. Joseph to the amount of $100,000.
Messrs. Lemon and Campbell, being members of the finance committee of the City Council, immediately caused a hasty examination of the city register's office to be made and it was discovered that bonds numbered 901 to 1000, inclusive, were missing. During the afternoon and evening, a number of telegrams were exchanged, and at a special session of the City Council that evening an appropriation was made to send a delegation to New York City to investigate the matter. Mayor J.A. Piner, Register James H. Ringo and Marshal Enos Craig were selected. The delegates at once left the city, Marshall Craig going to Jefferson City for requisition papers.
From the tenor of the dispatches, immediate action on the part of St. Joseph officials was necessary, as efforts were being made to release the bond thieves. It appears that these men had been in New York for over a week, endeavoring to dispose of the bonds. Their actions and liberal offers excited suspicion, although the bonds were pronounced genuine by the city's financial agent. They claimed that they had secured the bonds from a man in Missouri, but the story was doubted, and Mr. Donnell expressed the opinion that if the men having the bonds in their possession were not guilty of theft they were acting as an agent of a disreputable city official at St. Joseph.
A new city administration having now assumed control, with Francis M. Posegate as mayor, it was deemed advisable to send Thomas H. Ritchie, the newly elected city marshall, to New York City to aid in securing and bring back to St. Joseph the bond thieves. Upon the arrival of the St. Joseph parties in New York, the prisoners were turned over to Marshal Ritchie and Ex-Marshall Craig, while the bonds were placed in the custody of Mr. Donnell. It was discovered that $4,000 of the coupons attached to the bonds were missing. The man who gave the name of Fisk when arrested proved to be W. W. Scott, who was engaged in the roofing business while here.
Register Ringo submitted to an interview while in New York, in which he said: "It was one of the coolest burglaries ever committed in St. Joseph. The bonds were lying on a little bench in the vault, a large pile of them, and the robber or robbers would have to turn the pile over, which was done, they taking the lower part of them and a robbery would not have been suspected unless it became necessary to count all of the bonds. These men must have watched me and taken an impression of the keys, as no person has a key except myself and chairman of the finance committee."
Scott and Irwin were brought back to St. Joseph, tried and acquitted.
Scott And Irwin....Perfect timing for a bank robbery, destraction in the city of St. Joseph with someone dead as Jesse James, heck was Bob Ford and Charley Ford really the Ford Boys? Scott and Irwin had been in New York for over a Week and were tried and acquitted. What's up with that?
You see folks, too many happenings were going on in St. Joseph the day the town got distractedby the death of the famous outlaw Jesse Woodson James. Frick and Frack must have had this ordeal planned way ahead of time and someone had to of known the proceedures of the bank to know when the bonds were going to be counted and when the the hiest would have been discovered in oder to ride or take stage coach or other means to travel to New York to cash in the bonds without drawing suspicion.
And to add as said by James H Ringo "It was one of the coolest burglaries ever committed in St. Joseph. The bonds were lying on a little bench in the vault, a large pile of them, and the robber or robbers would have to turn the pile over, which was done, they taking the lower part of them and a robbery would not have been suspected unless it became necessary to count all of the bonds. These men must have watched me and taken an impression of the keys, as no person has a key except myself and chairman of the finance committee."
Sounds like the work of Jesse and Frank James to me. One last robbery topped off with a fake funeral.