State Treasure - Ohio

By Anthony M. Belli
From page 59 of the December, 2010 issue of Lost Treasure
Copyright © 2010 Lost Treasure, Inc. all rights reserved


Creepy’s $34,000 Secret
PORTAGE COUNTY – Alvin Francis Karpowicz was born on August 10, 1907, in Montreal, Canada, though he grew up in Topeka, Kansas. His criminal career began in his youth and, at the age of 17, Karpowicz was convicted for burglary and sentenced to 10 years in the State Industrial Reformatory at Hutchinson, Kansas.
Karpowicz would later be named “Public Enemy Number One” by J. Edgar Hoover and, in death, left behind a $34,000 mystery that remains unsolved!
In May 1930, Karpowicz was transferred from the reformatory to the Kansas State Penitentiary. There he picked up the nickname “Creepy Karpis,” said to have originated from his “sinister” smile, and where he met Fred Barker of the infamous Ma Barker gang.
In 1931, at the age of 24, Creepy Karpis had served his time and was released from prison.
Back on the street, Karpis quickly dropped out of site, but the feds eventually got a line on him in the Tulsa, Oklahoma, area where he had hooked up with his old prison-pal, Fred Barker.
He and Barker now went to work building one of the most formidable outlaw gangs of the gangster era, the Karpis-Barker gang.
From 1931-1935, Fred Barker, Doc Barker, and Creepy Karpis made up the nucleus of the Karpis-Barker gang, which included Ma Barker’s four sons, Herman, Lloyd, Arthur or “Doc,” and Fred.
They pulled dozens of bank robberies, kidnapped wealthy American luminaries for huge ransoms, hijacked the U.S. Mail, and murdered anyone that got in their way.
For Karpis the good times didn’t stop until May 1, 1936, when the last man declared Public Enemy Number One by the FBI was arrested in New Orleans without a fight. Three months later, the judge handed Karpis a life sentence and he was sent to Alcatraz where he became Inmate 325-AZ.
Karpowicz’s arrest must’ve cleared a lot of open cases from the books of local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.
But one case continued to haunt Hoover for years - the 1935 Erie Railroad robbery where $34,000 in cash was still unaccounted for. Everyone knew Karpis was the only man alive who knew where the money was buried; unfortunately, for Hoover and the FBI, Karpis wasn’t talking.
As the years passed, new FBI agents would drop in on Karpis at Alcatraz and later at McNeil Island to see if they could prod the old gangster into giving up the loot, but he never did.
On January 14, 1969, the 61-year-old Karpowicz was paroled after serving 32 years. He was deported back to his native Canada and, while en-route, a newspaper reporter caught up with him and asked about the missing $34,000 from the Erie Railroad robbery. Karpowicz replied, “It is ill-gotten money, and as far as I am concerned it is better off where it is at.”
It was Karpis’ final word on the subject, which would seem to close the book on this case, if in fact Karpis took this secret to his grave, which is what most believe.
Karpis never returned to the United States, so he never had the opportunity to recover the cash. But did Karpis really take the secret to his grave?
From 1969 through 1979, Karpis lived in Canada where he devoted much of his time writing his memoirs.
In 1971, his first book released in Canada under the title, Public Enemy Number One, and was released in the U.S. as The Alvin Karpis Story.
He moved to Spain in 1979 after publishing his second book of memoirs, but died there shortly after, having never seen his second book in print.
Some researchers believe Karpis left clues to the location of his buried treasure in cryptic messages within the text of his book, hoping someone would eventually dig it up and enjoy it.
According to legend, Karpis buried the loot in Warren, Ohio. This version of the story comes from a story published in Lost Treasure 16 years ago.
But when I researched this story I found an eyewitness statement from a Garrettsville coal dealer, C.P. Morrow.
He claimed he was at the Garrettsville Station on the evening of November 8, 1935, when the Erie Railroad was robbed.
Morrow provided the police with a description of the suspect’s get-a-way vehicle and tailed the gunmen for several miles.
Morrow described the suspect’s vehicle as a new, gray Plymouth four-door sedan that was parked on a gravel road about 50 feet from the station during the robbery.
After the robbery, the suspects fled westbound with Morrow following at a distance. Morrow followed the gangsters about 6 miles until they arrived at Freedom Station.
There the bad guys turned right onto State Highway 88 and headed toward Ravenna, in the opposite direction of Warren. It was the last sighting of the get-a-way car before police recovered it later.
Perhaps some treasure hunter with good detective skills could develop more information on Karpis’ activities after the robbery and be the one to dig up the missing $34,000 in cash!Forbidden Science
– Mystery Woman
MUSKINGUM COUNTY – One of my research files is labeled “Archeological Mysteries.” For decades, I have collected newspaper clippings and stories about strange discoveries that defy logic and science.
The artifacts discovered are not treasure per se. But, in 1993, the late Michael Paul Henson wrote about 14 such finds here in the United States and coined the term, “Strange Treasures” to describe them.
These artifacts suggest human existence has been here for millions of years, and similar finds have been made worldwide. But there are problems concerning scientific research and testing of these artifacts and recovered human remains.
First, many of the artifacts found early on have vanished and their where a bouts is unknown.
What may exist today are old newspaper accounts, photographs, and documentation created at the time by persons involved.
Second, when artifacts do exist, the scientific community is quick to pass over anything that “contradicts dominant views of human origin and antiquity.”
The fact is, scientific research and testing is expensive and, when budgets are already stretched to the limit, anything controversial or viewed as an oddity or curiosity will never justify the expense.
It is, therefore, up to the reader to decide how much weight to give these two stories from Ohio.
Little is known about Ohio’s mystery woman. Found in a slab of sandstone in a rock quarry near Zanesville in 1853 was the complete fossilized skeleton of a woman.
How this occurred is a mystery, since geologists claim it takes roughly 5 million years for fossilization to occur.

Forbidden Science
– Lost Artifact
JEFFERSON COUNTY – Another strange case occurred near Hammondsville in 1868. I researched this story, since the 1991 account provided very little information, and was pleased to find a number of references to this event.
The story goes that, in the spring of 1868, coal miner James Parsons was blasting a huge vein of coal from a mountainside at a local strip mine owned by Captain Edward Lacy.
The first detonation exposed what appeared to be “a large, smooth door,” which, when cleared of debris, was described as a “slate-like structure [that] was covered with unusual hieroglyphics.”
A reporter who visited the mine shortly after the discovery wrote, “Hundreds of people have crowded into the pit to see the strange device. But, after a few days, the local residents lost interest and mining continued on the property.”
Apparently the discovery attracted plenty of people to the mine to view the unusual novelty. But, as the days passed, people’s curiosity faded and Lacy resumed work. As blasting and mining activity continued, the wall was re-claimed by the quarry and forgotten.
The best description of the wall appears in the book, Forbidden Archaeology, by Richard Thompson and Michael A. Cremo, who claim several lines of an unknown hieroglyphic text appeared on the surface of a “large, smooth wall, carved in bold relief.”
Perhaps in the future these enigmas will be better understood, but first the hieroglyphic covered wall will have to be un-earthed and studied.
Sadly, since the wall was re-buried during mining operations and forgotten, its exact location today is unknown.Sources:
Rhodes, Jack, “The Gang’s All Here,” January 1994, Treasure Cache magazine, p. 68
True TV Crime Library - http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/gangst
ers_outlaws/outlaws/karpis/5.html
New York Times, “Machine-Gun Gang Robs Mail of $46,450 on Erie Train in Ohio,” November 8, 1935, p.1
Henson, Michael Paul, “Strange Treasures,” May 1993, Lost Treasure magazine, p. 34
Norman, Eric, The Under-People, 1969, New York, N.Y., Awards Books, p. 20-22
Thompson, Richard and Cremo, Michael A, Forbidden Archaeology, January 1998, Los Angeles, Ca, Bhaktivedanta Book Publishing.