Thugs ram gun in victim’s back, escape with $300

January 3-6, 1961 Three armed men, waiting in the dark inside, robbed Don Waldrep, 29, of $300 to $400 when he opened his Don’s Truck Stop and Cafe at 1901 South Bridge about 4:45 a.m. Friday. They put a gun in his back, wouldn’t let him turn on the light, and then took the money from his billfold, the cash box he was carrying and the cigarette machine., Before leaving, they made him lie face-down in one of the cafe’s booths and rammed the gun into his back while they searched under the counter for more money. “They wouldn’t let me move. The one with the gun had it so far in my back I could have scratched my stomach and felt the end of the barrel!” The holdup men wouldn’t let Waldrep get a look at them. “All I know about them is that the one who poked the gun at me was tall, about 6 foot, skinny, bony face,” Waldrep said. “I think if I could have turned on the light I might have known them.” The cafe door was closed but unlocked when Waldrep arrived. The men jumped as soon as he was inside. “Don’t turn on the light!” they commanded as Waldrep made a move to the light switch. ‘They knew where the light was,” Waldrep said, leading him to believe that the men were “local hoodlums” familiar with the cafe and his habits. Waldrep thinks there may have been four men involved. The back door was left open during the robbery, and Waldrep thinks the fourth man was waiting in the kitchen. At one time as they prepared to leave they took Waldrep out front and made him stand beside the gasoline pumps, facing west across the street. They changed their plans and brought him back inside. “I kept hoping someone would come by. But there wasn’t a soul, not a car, not even a light in any of the houses.” The men left through the back door and came back around to South Bridge, ran across the street to W.B. Lawrence’s Sinclair Station at Bridge and 17th Street and then down the block where they apparently got in two cars. “I’m sure I counted four of them as they ran under the street light,” Waldrep said. “It wasn’t long before I heard them start the cars. They went on west out 17th Street.” The men made Waldrep empty his billfold on the floor of the cafe and took only the folding money they could find. They started to break into the music box but decided it wouldn’t have anything in it but coins. “I did just exactly as they wanted me to,” Waldrep sighed. “The longer they kept the gun in my back the bigger it got. It finally felt like a cannon.” Sheriff Luke Vogel got out roadblocks on all highways out of town soon after the robbery, but no arrests were made. Vogel thinks the holdup may have been pulled by the same men who were responsible for a series of burglaries on a trip through McCulloch and Concho Counties the night before, on Wednesday. The burglars broke into the Arthur Deering Service Station in Brady on the San Angelo highway, went on to Lohn to the George Reed Store, to Doole to the Wade Dickenson Station and TV Shop and then to Millersview and Eden. Vogel said the burglaries were similar, the same tools used and the same manner of entry, by breaking a glass. At Lohn they carefully removed a big window glass at the Reed store and set it aside without breaking it. “They were nice about it,” the sheriff said. They took nothing at the Deering station, got about $10 in change at Lohn, took an automobile jack, a new battery, a .22 pistol and four tires at Doole, and stole some tools at Millersview. * * * Lohn News Capt. Nelda Frost of Bergstrom AFB, Austin, spent last Tuesday and Wednesday with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. C.E. Frost. Christmas guests of the Frosts were Mr. and Mrs. A.L. Fisher and sons of Abilene, Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Lohn and family. Mr. and Mrs. Andy Cloud and family of San Antonio spent from Saturday until Monday with Mr. and Mrs. O.W. Carroll. Joining the group for Christmas dinner were Mr. and Mrs. J.O. Lawson and family of Brownwood and Mr. and Mrs. Zane Carroll and sons. The Andy Clouds and the O.W. Carrols drove to Brownwood Monday and spent the day with the J.O. Lawsons. Mr. and Mrs. N.N. Wright of Brady were dinner guests of Mr. and Mrs. R.E. Briscoe Monday. Christmas Eve dinner guests of Mr. and Mrs. G.L. Doyal and sons were Mrs. Ray Schulze and son of Freeport, Mr. and Mrs. Gayle Doyal and children, Mrs. Irene Hemphill and Kay of Abilene, and Mr. and Mrs. Newt Baker of Brady. * * * PERSONAL MENTIONS Here from Karnes City Mr. and Mrs. Leroy Anderson, son and daughter of Karnes City, were holiday guests of his mother, Mrs. Walter Anderson. * * * Spend Christmas at Devine Mr. and Mrs. Leon Jennings spent Christmas in the home of Mrs. Jennings’ parents, Mr. and Mrs. John A. Watson in Devine. They also visited in Blanco and Johnson City with Mr. Jennings’ family. * * * Here from El Paso Holiday guests of Mrs. Nannie Matthews and Mr. and Mrs. Virgil Jones were their children, Mr. and Mrs. Forrest Jones and son, Duke, of El Paso. * * * Visit with sister Mrs. Lois Grumbles of Eden and Mrs. Jeff Herkey of San Angelo, left for home Tuesday after a few days’ visit with their sister, Mrs. Nannie Matthews. * * * Here from Houston Miss Charlotte Calvert of Houston, spent the Christmas holidays here with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Paul Calvert, and sister, Mrs. Polly Helberg and family. * * * Holiday guests Capt. and Mrs. K.W. Bull and two children of Dayton Ohio, and Mr. and Mrs. James Marshall of Corpus Christi arrived Friday for a holiday visit with the ladies’ parents, Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Bell. * * * From San Angelo Mr. and Mrs. W.N. Weaver and daughter of San Angelo visited Mrs. Lona Miller of Voca several days this week. * * * Return to Houston Mr. and Mrs. Doyle Todd of Houston, were holiday guests of her parents, Mr. and Mrs. G.P. Kittle. They returned to Houston Monday.

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