Thomas Robert Limerick
|January 7, 1902
Council Bluffs, Iowa, U.S.
|May 23, 1938 36) (aged
|Cause of death
| Bank robbery (12 U.S.C. § 588b)
Kidnapping (18 U.S.C. § 408)
Thomas Robert Limerick (January 7, 1902 – May 23, 1938) was an American criminal, who took part in the third documented escape attempt from Alcatraz Island on the night of May 23, 1938.
Thomas Limerick was born on January 7, 1902in Council Bluffs, Iowa. He grew up in a middle-class family until his father died when he was 15. His family was soon thrown into poverty and left Thomas, the oldest of 5 children, to get a job. Originally a boxcar bandit, he joined a gang of bank robbers headed by Maurice Denning based in Gage County, Nebraska in 1934. On August 23, 1934, the gang robbed a National Guard Armory, and between October and November of that year, robbed large banks in Hawarden, Iowa, Dell Rapids, South Dakota and Superior, Nebraska. They kidnapped three people during one of the robberies. Limerick was arrested in a nightclub in St. Joseph, Missouri on May 25, 1935, and eventually sentenced to life imprisonment at Leavenworth Penitentiary, but later transferred to Alcatraz.
In the spring of 1938, Limerick, James Lucas, and Rufus Franklin planned an escape from Alcatraz. Their escape plan began by incapacitating an unarmed guard supervising a work detail on the top floor. Once the supervisor was rendered unconscious, the convicts would escape through a window to the rooftop, where they would incapacitate an armed guard and leave the island via a seized police boat. They enacted their escape plan on May 23, 1938, in the prison's mat shop, where they assaulted Custodial Officer Royal Cline with hammer blows to his head. They proceeded to the roof, where armed guard Harold Stites (who was later killed in the 1946 Battle of Alcatraz) shot both Franklin and Limerick, although Lucas wasn't shot. Other guards arrived at the scene. Franklin, Limerick, and Lucas were cornered and surrendered to the guards.
Cline died of his injuries the next day, as did Limerick.Lucas and the other surviving convict, Rufus Franklin, were tried for murder and sentenced to life imprisonment.
Alcatraz Island is a small island 1.25 miles (2.01 km) offshore from San Francisco, California, United States. The island was developed in the mid-19th century with facilities for a lighthouse, a military fortification, and a military prison. In 1934, the island was converted into a federal prison, Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary. The strong currents around the island and cold water temperatures made escape nearly impossible, and the prison became one of the most notorious in American history. The prison closed in 1963, and the island is now a major tourist attraction.
San Quentin State Prison (SQ) is a California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation state prison for men, located north of San Francisco in the unincorporated place of San Quentin in Marin County.
Murder in the First is a 1995 American legal drama film, directed by Marc Rocco, written by Dan Gordon, and starring Christian Slater, Kevin Bacon, Gary Oldman, Embeth Davidtz, Brad Dourif, William H. Macy, and R. Lee Ermey. It tells the alternate history of a petty criminal named Henri Young who is sent to Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary and later put on trial for murder in the first degree as the lawyer representing him recounts Henri's life and when he represented Henri. This film was described on the movie poster as "the case that took down Alcatraz". The film received a mixed critical response, although Bacon's performance was praised by critics.
Escape from Alcatraz is a 1979 American prison action thriller film directed and co-produced by Don Siegel, written by Richard Tuggle, and starring Clint Eastwood alongside Patrick McGoohan, Fred Ward, Jack Thibeau, and Larry Hankin with Danny Glover appearing in his film debut.
Roy G. Gardner was an American criminal active during the 1920s. He stole a total of more than $350,000 in cash and securities and several times escaped from custody. He is said to have been the most hunted man in Pacific Coast history, having had a $5,000 reward for his head three times in less than a year, and newspapers in the West referred to him as the "Smiling Bandit", the "Mail Train Bandit", and the "King of the Escape Artists" He is a former prisoner of Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary (1934–38).
Samuel Richard Shockley, Jr. was an inmate at Alcatraz prison, who was executed for his participation in the Alcatraz uprising or Battle of Alcatraz in 1946.
The Battle of Alcatraz, which lasted from May 2 to 4, 1946, was the result of an escape attempt at Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary by armed convicts. Two Federal Bureau of Prisons officers—William A. Miller and Harold Stites—were killed along with three of the perpetrators. Fourteen other officers and one uninvolved convict were also injured. Two of the perpetrators were executed in 1948 for their roles.
Joseph "Dutch" Bowers was the first man to attempt an escape from Alcatraz prison. He was born in Rohrbach, Austria. Bowers was arrested for robbery of mail with a firearm.
Miran Edgar Thompson was an inmate of Alcatraz whose participation in an attempted escape on May 2, 1946, led to his execution in the gas chamber of San Quentin. At the time of the Battle of Alcatraz, Thompson was serving life plus 99 years for murder of Texan police officer Detective Lemuel Dodd Savage, 52. He also pulled armed robberies in New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas and Oklahoma. He had notoriously bad luck when getting caught, but extremely good luck at escaping from jail. He had been arrested eight times and held in small jails, and had escaped every time. Thompson had a record of eight escapes from custody by the time he was transferred to Alcatraz in October 1945.
Henri Theodore Young was an American convicted bank robber and murderer who, while serving one of a series of prison terms, attempted to escape from Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary with four other inmates in 1939. During the escape attempt two inmates, Dale Stamphill and Arthur "Doc" Barker, were shot, the latter fatally. All survivors were quickly recaptured. Two of the men, Young and Rufus McCain, were sentenced to solitary confinement and served the terms at Alcatraz for a period of three years. Eleven days after re-entering the Alcatraz general prison population in 1942, Young murdered McCain.
Joseph Paul "Dutch" Cretzer was an American bank robber and prisoner at Alcatraz who participated in and was slain in the bloody "Battle of Alcatraz" which took place following a failed escape attempt between May 2 and May 4, 1946.
Arthur Raymond "Doc" Barker was an American criminal, the son of Ma Barker and a member of the Barker-Karpis gang, founded by his brother Fred Barker and Alvin Karpis. Barker was typically called on for violent action, while Fred and Karpis planned the gang's crimes. He was arrested and convicted of kidnapping in 1935. Sent to Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary in 1936, he was killed three years later while attempting to escape.
James Crittenton Lucas was an American criminal who served a life sentence in Alcatraz. He is best known for being part of an attempted escape from Alcatraz Penitentiary in 1938, and for attacking Al Capone in the prison's laundry room on June 23, 1936.
Volney Everett "Curley" Davis was an American bank robber and Great Depression-era outlaw. A longtime Oklahoma bandit, he was the boyfriend of Edna Murray and an associate of both the John Dillinger and Alvin Karpis-Barker gangs during the 1930s.
Rufus William Franklin (1916-1975) was an American criminal who served a life sentence in Alcatraz. He is best known for taking part in the third documented attempted escape from Alcatraz Prison with Thomas R. Limerick and James C. Lucas on the night of May 23, 1938.
United States Penitentiary, Alcatraz Island, also known simply as Alcatraz or The Rock, was a maximum security federal prison on Alcatraz Island, 1.25 miles (2.01 km) off the coast of San Francisco, California, United States. The site of a fort since the 1850s, the main prison building was built in 1910–12 as a U.S. Army military prison.
Rufe Persful was an American criminal, convicted of murder, kidnapping and robbery. He was considered one of the most dangerous criminals of his era by the authorities.