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Robbery in Hilt, Calif., Nets $150 and $1,500 Diamond Ring

Victor Eugene “Slim” Warrens knew how to run a profitable saloon and he was fond of diamonds.  He didn’t take kindly to being robbed.

On Saturday night, Nov. 16, 1912, when two masked robbers entered Warrens’ saloon in Hilt, Calif., Warrens pulled a large diamond ring off his finger and threw it. He was dealing with very thorough robbers who first lined up and searched all 15 patrons, and then searched the saloon. Between the cash register and the patrons’ pockets the robbers netted about $150 dollars in cash and checks. Slim’s ring, with three diamonds was valued at more than $1,500.
The robbers wore new belts and pistols, firing from the latter as they ran from the saloon.  Slim ducked behind the bar for a revolver and emptied it firing at the fleeing bandits.  The only shoot-out fatalities were a clock and a mirror.
The following Wednesday Sheriff Howard of Hilt entered the Imperial Rooming House in Ashland with “Goldie” Brown, one of the two robbers who had confessed the night before.  Goldie led the sheriff to the three diamonds taken from Warrens’ ring, but refused to identify his partner in the crime. 

Sources: "The Legendary Diamond Saloons." Western Whiskey Tool Top Gazette. 5 June 2013. Web. 17 Oct. 2013. 
"Gems Are Recovered: Diamonds Taken at Hilt, Cal., Found Here." Ashland Tidings 21 Nov. 1912: 1. Print; "A Chronology of Hilt Events." Hilt California. Web. 17 Oct. 2013. 

Christopher Shockey has been a long-time JPR listener and contributor. He lives on a 40-acre hillside homestead in the Applegate Valley with his wife, Kristen. He enjoys supporting both the Southern Oregon Historical Society and JPR by digging up regional stories for As It Was.