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The police traced nearly a dozen armed robberies to the hoodlums, all with similar modus operandi. Nevertheless, uncanny luck coupled with misinformation and incorrect assumptions made by law enforcement agencies, kept the bandits a step ahead of the law.

That the gang numbered eight, twelve or twenty was a fundamental miscalculation. Even the term gang was overblown. Indeed, the Baby Bandits claimed exclusive membership of three malevolent teenagers — Ernest Pla, Frank Sena, and William Daly. Sena was nineteen, Daly eighteen, Pla seventeen. Each was a recent alumnus of Preston Industrial School, a lockup for incorrigible boys at Ione.

The trio's reign of terror approached its apex Sunday afternoon. With Pla behind the wheel of a stolen automobile, the boys stopped at a San Francisco tavern to replenish dwindling cash reserves. Pla kept the engine running while Sena and Daly went inside. (Read More)

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