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1954 Crime Spree Across Five States Ended In TR

By - Roger Jewell

Four midwestern teenagers made a bad decision to attempt a burglary at a northern Greenville County gas station in 1954. On February 21, 1954 Greenville County Sheriff R.V Chandler Jr., announced the arrest of four teens who had admitted to committing 33 burglaries during a ten day spree that covered at least five states.

The crime quartet were arrested after attempting a break in at a gas station on Highway 25 in northern Greenville County. Deputies H.B Gerrald, and Charlie Renfro said the four younguns had fled the gas station in a stolen car when they were surprised by Mark West, operator of the station. West fired six shots at the get away car as it sped into the night. The lone female in the group of young crooks was driving the vehicle. Deputies quoted her as saying, "I just crouched down and gave her the gas without seeing too much where I was going." The car wrecked a short distance away and the four bailed out of the car and ran on foot. They were identified as Janice Jackson 16 of Kansas City, Mo., Raymond Spears, 18 of Kansas City, Richard Newman, 17 of Detroit, Mich., and Marvin Woosley, 17 of St. Joseph, Mo.

The group of four split up. Jackson and Spears stayed together and roamed the mountainous woods for over an hour before deciding a nice dry, warm jail cell would be preferable than the cold dark woods. They returned to the scene of the wreck and surrendered to deputies.

Newman and Woosley wandered around the mountains until 6 a.m., and took a car from the home of Calvin Hill, four miles from the North Carolina state line. Hill and Edwin Clarke chased the boys in a truck, forced the car off the road into a ditch and brought the pair to the sheriff's office. The teens admitted to break in to 15 or 20 gas stations in Illinois, entering four summer cabins in Iowa, stealing gas in Tennessee and breakins in Daytona Beach, Florida and other that they could not locate. The trip started with four cigarettes and no money. They had one dollar between them when arrested. Total loot was $100 and the most from any one burglary was $35. They took turns driving and sleeping in the car. The Jackson girl and Spears told deputies they were in love and wanted to get married "right away."

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