Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures
> 1929 SAUGUS TRAIN ROBBERY   > PEOPLE
Lester F. Mead
Crackpot Confesses to Role in 'Great Saugus Train Robbery' of 1929

Webmaster's note.

Confusion prevailed on the night of Nov. 10, 1929, when Southern Pacific's West Coast Limited was derailed and its passengers robbed behind today's Saugus Speedway & Swap Meet. How many bandits were there? One? Two? More? Investigators followed all manner of leads until they ultimately settled on one party — Tom Averill, alias Buffalo Tom Vernon.

Meanwhile, one Lester F. Mead turned himself in and confessed. Apparently that's who (1929) Signal Editor Dad Thatcher was referring to when he reported there was a confession, but that the confessor turned out to be a "crazy man" — "a recently escaped inmate of an insane asylum."


8x10 glossy news wire photo from Eyre Powell Press Service of Los Angeles, touched up by an unidentified newspaper photo editor who used only the mugshot area. Glued-on cutline reads:

(FROM FRANK B. HOWE)

CONFESSESS WRECKING TRAIN

Lester F. Mead, pictured here as he was taken to the scene of the tragedy by deputy sheriffs to explain his act in detail, has confessed to Los Angeles authorities that he pulled the spikes which wrecked the West Coast Limited near Saugus, Calif., a week ago, in which robbers entered the train immediately after it was ditched and held up the passengers. Mead says he was hired by two other men to do the job of removing the rail and that he did not participate in the robbery. Train wrecking is punishable by death in California.


LW2859: 9600 dpi jpeg from original wire photo purchased 2017 by Leon Worden.
1929 SAUGUS TRAIN ROBBERY

THE ROBBERY

thumbnail

Passengers / Earliest Known 11-10-1929

thumbnail

Daybreak 11-11-1929

thumbnail

Newsreel Footage

thumbnail

Loren Ayers x5

THE MANHUNT

thumbnail

Boynton Story

thumbnail

Pollack Story

thumbnail

LAT 11-11-1929

thumbnail

Vernon Captured

thumbnail

Mugshots 12/1929

thumbnail

Extradition 12-12-1929

thumbnail

AP 12-19-1929

THE FAKERY

thumbnail

REAL: Tom Vernon Prison Records

thumbnail

REAL: Horse Theft 1920

thumbnail

BOGUS: Tom Vernon Letters 1929-1963

thumbnail

BOGUS: Tom Vernon's Fake Photo ID 1962

thumbnail

BOGUS: Vernon's Own Story in 3 Parts

thumbnail

BOGUS: Cattle Kate Story 12-7-1929

thumbnail

BOGUS: Vernon Retells Story in 1953

thumbnail

BOGUS: Sweetwater Incident 1967

thumbnail

BOGUS Sideshow: Lester F. Mead
'Confessor' 11-1929

thumbnail

REAL: Buffalo Vernon 1884-1939

THE AFTERMATH

thumbnail

1957-1958 x3

thumbnail

Pardon 1964

thumbnail

Death Cert. 1967

thumbnail

After the Wreck
No. 5042 x3

• A New Ending (Now Obsolete)


RETURN TO TOP ]   RETURN TO MAIN INDEX ]   PHOTO CREDITS ]   BIBLIOGRAPHY ]   BOOKS FOR SALE ]
SCVHistory.com is another service of SCVTV, a 501c3 Nonprofit • Site contents ©SCVTV • Additional copyrights apply
  • Edwards Valencia
  • Edwards Cyn Ctry
  • Calendar
  • Freeway Conditions
  • Lowest Gas Prices
  • Canyon Theatre
  • REP Theatre