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)