Tuesday, April 7, 2015


(Reprinted April 15, 2013, from the Lewiston Tribune of May 15, 1930) [See previous post for introduction.]

Marvin Dickson in 1925
Marvin Dickson, 21, teacher of the sixth, seventh, and eighth grades in the Kendrick school, is behind the bars of the county jail in Lewiston a confessed auto thief, according to Prosecuting Attorney, Ray E. Durham. He is implicated with [two others who were brothers] in the theft of automobiles belonging to Ray Spiker and Dr. J.W. Mullinix, in Lewiston Friday. [The brothers, from Orofino, were captured Saturday and had confessed.]

When Dickson dismissed his last class at school yesterday Deputy Sheriff Steve Douglas was waiting for him with a warrant charging grand larceny. Dickson at first professed his innocence but when reaching Lewiston and being confronted with tell-tale evidence he admitted his guilt.
Destroyed Car for Thrill
In the arrest of Dickson the mysterious theft and ultimate destruction of the Spiker car was solved. It was taken from in front of the Spiker home by Dickson [and the brothers] and driven to the steepest point on the Lewiston highway and deliberately rolled down the grade for a quarter mile after one tire had been removed. The rolling of the car to its destruction was “just for excitement,” Dickson told the officers.

Besides the theft of the automobiles in this city, Dickson was a co-conspirator . . . . in the destruction of a third car by fire Thursday afternoon on the highway between Kendrick and Troy. This car was the property [of the brothers] and their object in burning was to defraud. The plates of the burned car were used in place of those on the Mullinix car, the change of licenses being made in Lewiston orchards, with Dickson in his own car present. Dickson purchased a file at a local hardware store with which the [brothers] obliterated the numbers on the Mullinix car to conform to those on one they formerly owned, and which was stolen in Lewiston in 1929, and wrecked when it was being driven over the Lewiston highway.

By changing the engine and serial numbers of the Mullinix car to correspond with those on the car they previously owned, and on which they had been paid insurance and given a “paid” receipt, the [brothers] traded the stolen sedan for a coupe at Spokane, using the receipt as a bill of sale. The numbers changed conformed with those entered on the receipt.

When it was learned that [the brothers] had left for Lewiston after being seen to set their car afire near Kendrick, the officers were informed they had gotten into a car driven by Dickson. When [the brothers] drove the Mullinix car to Spokane Dickson returned to Kendrick in his own car to resume his school work.
Teacher a Good Blind
The defendants detailed their trips to Lewiston to the prosecutor last night and of how they had planned their careers of crime. The fact that a school teacher was aiding in the car thefts led [the brothers] to believe they would not be suspected when they would “prove an alibi” by a statement from Dickson.

Dickson’s home is also at Orofino. He is well known in Lewiston.

The three will be arraigned today, Prosecutor Durham said.


Chris said...

Guess thrill seeking is nothing new. I did get kind of confused over the part about the burning car and changed numbers though.

Kathy said...

I'm glad to hear you were confused because I was, too. Let's just say they were intent on defrauding.

Chris said...

Agreed. :-)

Hallie said...

This story is NOT organized in an easy to understand way.

Here's how it went down:
Car #1: Spiker car: rolled down hill for excitement. This probably happened LAST after everyone realized how easy it was to steal cars.
Car #2: "the brothers" car. This car was stolen in 1929 and wrecked. It was owned by the bank, so when the insurance company covered the loss, the bank was paid and "the brothers" received the title ("paid receipt") for the wrecked car, which they kept.
Car #3: Mullinix car stolen and altered to match the numbers on car #2. Car #2 burned to destroy any remaining evidence.

Car #3 driven to Spokane for a trade using the title received for Car #2. Now "the brothers" have a new, usable coupe and their useless, wrecked insurance car is in the past.

Kathy said...

Ha-ha! Hallie points out that I accidentally published the brothers' surname. So typical of what happens to me. I've fixed it now. Good thing it was old history.

And thank you, Hallie, for explaining the crime.