The Norfolk Bank Robbery  

THOMAS P. STANWICK, the amateur logician, was a familiar and welcome visitor at Royston Police headquarters. Shortly after noon on a fine Tuesday in spring, he returned a nod to the duty sergeant and strolled to the office of Inspector Matt Walker. 

“The Ides of April are almost upon us, my lad,” said Stanwick cheerily. Walker looked up from the piles of papers on his desk with a weary smile. 

“Tax time! Don’t remind me,” he said. “It’s good to see you though, Tom.” 

“What’s been happening?” Stanwick began to fill his pipe. 

“How about a bank robbery?” 

“A bank robbery!” Stanwick laughed. “Isn’t that a bit old-fashioned, what with electronic transfers and all? I suppose you’ll be investigating a stagecoach holdup next.” 

“You’d be surprised, Tom,” Walker replied. “Banks still handle quite a lot of actual cash, and that still attracts the bad guys.” 

“Indeed!,” said Stanwick, arching his eyebrows. “What bank got held up?” 

“Last Friday, about two o’clock,” related Walker, “two men wearing Halloween masks entered the Norfolk Bank and Trust and demanded the money in the teller cages and in the safe. One man kept a gun drawn while the other collected the cash in a burlap sack. During some last-minute confusion, the gunman shot a teller. Luckily, she’ll be all right. The two made off with about $77,000 and were driven from the scene by a third man in  a blue Toyota.” 

Stanwick grunted. “What have you found out since then?” “A good deal.” Walker leaned forward intently. “We got a partial license number off the car, and have been canvassing our street informants. We’re now convinced that the three belong to a small syndicate composed of five men: Howard Kuhlman,  Thomas Brinner, Will Langley, George Pickett, and Fred Schartner. We don’t know much about them, but so far have been able to assemble the following facts: 

“1. Kuhlman and the shooter were seen together at Arnie’s Pool Hall on Friday night. Kuhlman won two out of three games. 

“2. Langley never participated in a crime without Brinner, whom he admired like a kid brother. Both used to work at a local electronics plant. 

“3. Pickett was involved in the robbery. Despite his phobia about guns, which he refuses to touch, he once worked as a private security guard. 

“4. Schartner and Langley were both involved in the robbery or the driver was either Kuhlman or Schartner. 

“5. The driver is a champion bowler. He doesn’t know any other games, but he lifts weights to stay in shape. 

“Naturally, our main concern is identifying the shooter,” concluded Walker, “but we’re eager to identify all three involved in the robbery and their roles.” 

“Well, Matt,” said Stanwick with a smile, “if you’re sure of your facts, I can identify each of the three robbers right now.” 

Who were the shooter, the driver, and the collector? Scroll down for the answer



Kuhlman was not the shooter (1). Pickett was not the shooter either but, since he was involved, he was either the driver or the collector (3). Schartner and Langley were not both involved, since in that case Brinner (2) and Pickett (3), one too many, would also have been involved. Therefore the driver was either Kuhlman or Schartner (4) . Pickett must therefore have been the collector. 

Langley could not have been involved at all, since that would have required the involvement as well of Brinner, Kuhlman, or Schartner, and Pickett, again one too many. So the shooter must have been either Brinner or Schartner. The driver could not have been the pool-playing Kuhlman (5, 1), so he must have been Schartner. The shooter must therefore have been Brinner.

Stan Smith was the author of three books of Stanwick mini-mysteries that have been published in nine languages and sold over 120,000 copies.

Stan Smith was the author of three books of Stanwick mini-mysteries that have been published in nine languages and sold over 120,000 copies.

By Stan Smith