“May I ask how you knew I was here?”

“The gunmen you busted out of Leavenworth, Keating and Holden, we grabbed them up a while back in K.C.,” Lackey said. “They ratted you out. Told us you had contacts here, told us that you received protection here. We’ve been waiting for you to show ever since.”


“It’s true what they say, then.”

“What’s that?” Lackey said.

“No good deed goes unpunished.”

Smith cuffed Frank’s hands in front of him. “Now I know how you got your nickname,” he said.

Frank flashed on the spare tire around his belly. “Nickname?”

“The Gentleman Bandit.”

“Well, there’s no reason to be uncivil, is there? We’re all professionals.”

Lackey took Frank by the arm and directed him toward the entrance to the store. “Nice toupee,” he said.

“I paid a hundred dollars for it in Chicago. You do what you can.”

-- Advertisement --

“I notice that you also had some plastic work done on your nose.”

“Makes me look thinner, don’t you think?”



Out on the street, Dick Galatas was watching intently. Frank Nash had sat in on many of Galatas’s high-stakes poker games over the years, had been a welcomed guest at his pool hall. When he saw Frank crossing the street earlier, he had moved to say hello, but held back when he spied the three men following him. Now he watched the agents escorting Frank from the cigar store to a waiting sedan. Frank saw his old friend and smiled, gestured at him with his chin. Galatas watched the Feds put Frank into the backseat and drive out of town—they weren’t even thinking about contacting the Hot Springs Police Department. Good for the FBI, not so much for Frank.

A few minutes later, Galatas explained the situation to Frances. Frances was frightened and she was angry, but she did not panic; she and Frank had discussed this possibility often. She went to the phone and called Louis Stacci. She didn’t know who Stacci was or what he did; she only knew that this was the number she was told to dial. After he was made to understand the situation, “Doc” Stacci told Frances not to worry and hung up. A few minutes later, word went out to all of Stacci’s underworld contacts—Frank “Jelly” Nash had been taken by the Feds.

June 17, 1933

Kansas City, Missouri

From her perch behind the desk of the Travelers Aid Society at Kansas City’s Union Station, Lottie West could easily observe the four men who had come to meet the Missouri Pacific Flyer. They stood in a loose circle on the platform, nervously surveying the area around them, studying the train passengers that came and went with intense curiosity. Even so, Lottie probably would not have noticed them at all—it was Saturday and the station was busy—if it hadn’t been for the shotguns.

Agent Lackey appeared and spoke briefly with the leader of the four men. He was R. E. Vetterli, special agent in charge of the Kansas City office of the FBI. With him were Special Agent Raymond Caffrey and two of the few members of the Kansas City Police Department that Vetterli could trust—Detectives William “Red” Grooms and Frank Hermanson. Lottie didn’t know their names, of course. She wouldn’t learn their identities until she read about them in the paper the next morning.

Lackey disappeared into the train. A few minutes later, he returned with three other men: Chief Reed, Frank Smith, and a man who was sporting a set of handcuffs. The seven men surrounded the prisoner and slowly walked him past Lottie’s desk toward the entrance to the train depot. She would remember later that the prisoner was the only one who was smiling.

The smile annoyed Frank’s captors. He had been so damn pleasant as they spirited him out of Hot Springs and drove at breakneck speed along U.S. 64 to Fort Smith, Arkansas. He had been positively cheerful when they transferred him from the car to a stateroom on the Flyer en route to Kansas City. Frank had asked politely where he was being taken, and they answered Leavenworth Penitentiary, to serve out the sentence he had escaped three years earlier. His many other crimes, they said, would catch up to him there. Frank replied that he had been to Leavenworth before and didn’t expect to stay long.

-- Advertisement --