From the Files of the Kosciusko County Historical Society
Editor’s note: This is a retrospective article that runs a few times a month on InkFreeNews.
1996 — The top news story of 1996 was the ongoing tale of the Bicycle Bandit, the assailant who kept Warsaw residents nervous for the entire summer as he casually broke into upward of 70 homes.
In most cases, the assailant –believed to have fled the area –entered many homes that had been left unlocked. Often, the suspect rooted through purses and took only cash.
The common denominator in most cases was the bandit’s escape method –use of a bicycle –with fresh tracks in the grass left behind near many of the homes.
On two occasions, he was confronted by residents inside, one of whom included a son of Mayor Jeff Plank. In the other incident, he confronted a woman and punched her in the face.
In November, a possible suspect was confronted by an officer after an alleged break-in. They wrestled briefly, but the suspect got away. Police have not reported any related break-ins since.
April 2, 1975 — A wild shooting spree that began in Leesburg at approximately 6:30 this morning ended with the capture of the gunman, who had barricaded himself in the home of his parents, located southeast of Leesburg.
Paul D. Robinson, 24, 5-feet, 9 inches tall and weighing 220 pounds, was lodged in the jail following his capture.
Tay Hess, Leesburg town marshal, said he was in the house preparing to leave to escort schoolchildren across Ind. 15 when he heard a loud noise and supposed that a car had backfired.
Hess said when he went to his car, which was parked in the driveway of his home, he saw that the windshield had been shattered with pellets from a shotgun.
Hess notified county police of the shooting and they then notified state police at Ligonier.
State Trooper Michael Barnett heard the report on his car radio and sped south toward Leesburg, looking for the suspect’s blue Volkswagen car. Barnett said when he arrived at the Dytronics plant, just south of Leesburg, he saw a group of people, and suddenly a man jumped from the crowd and from about 50 feet away fired a shot into the windshield of the state police car. The man then jumped into another car and began speeding away.
Trooper Barnett gave chase and followed the man to the home of his parents. At the house, Robinson jumped out of the car and whirled around and shot at the state police car again from about 50 yards. At this point, Barnett returned the fire with his shotgun as Robinson ran for the house. Barnett called for assistance. Officers eventually went in and got him.
1880 — The beginning of the history of Clunette has been traced back to 1880, when the town was known as Galveston and had two woodworking shops, a wagon shop, a blacksmith shop, two general stores and a repair shop.
The woodworking shops were run by Wesley Anglin, Jacob Frantz and Hiram Boggs. Scott Schell operated the blacksmith shop. Boggs and Joe Neeley owned and operated the two general stores and Neeley later sold his store to Elick and George Harley.
Clunette at that time had three doctors: Dr. John Johnson, Dr. Boydson and Dr. Marine.
– Compiled by InkFreeNews reporter Lasca Randels