Wanted Posters & Related Collectibles

William Merle Martin


William Merle Martin

FBI Most Wanted #35

Identification Order 1755

On 10 Most Wanted List: 08-11-1952 to 08-30-1952

Martin was arrested in St. Louis, Missouri by local police due to a police investigation.

William Merle Martin was first arrested at age 20 in 1929 for public drunkenness.  This was the start of a crime spree that lasted for 11 more years.  His convictions included burglary, receiving stolen property, unlawfully carrying a weapon, and stealing chickens.
He was in and out of prison for these crimes.  He spent most of his time in prison and committed his crimes during short periods of freedom.  During one prison sentence in 1940, he "cracked up" and was transferred to the state run hospital in Fulton, Missouri.  Two weeks after this, he escaped.

By 1941, he became known as the "pillowcase burglar" because of his manner of hauling loot from burglaries in Kansas, Missouri, and Illinois.  His next arrest came from transporting a stolen car across state lines, a violation of the Dyer Act.  For this, he was sentenced to a 10 year term in Leavenworth Kansas.  He served seven years of this sentence after which he was remanded to Missouri to serve the remainder of his sentence there.  He was paroled on May 9, 1952.  He managed to stay out of trouble for seven weeks.

On June 23, 1952, two Johnson County Kansas sheriff's deputies were responding to a report of a stolen pickup truck near Olathe, Kansas when they saw the truck approaching them.  Officer Willard Carver and his partner were attempting to stop the vehicle when the driver opened fire, mortally wounding Carver.  The pickup truck continued on, after a passenger jumped from the vehicle.  Carver's partner gave chase and captured the man on foot, identified as Charles W. Isgrigg.  Isgrigg identified William Merle Martin as the driver and now cop-killer. 

Martin's name was added to the FBI Most Wanted List on August 11.  On August 26, police officers pursued another stolen car on the outskirts of St. Louis, Missouri.  The driver lost control during the chase and fled on foot to nearby woods where he evaded capture.  Based on his description and fingerprints, the man was William Merle Martin. He was sighted again on August 28 by a posse that was in pursuit but managed to escape.

On August 30, Martin stole another car.  This one belonged to a deputy from Jefferson County Missouri. Martin was spotted on the outskirts of St. Louis and was pulled over.  Tired and hungry, Martin surrendered without resisting.

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This product was added to our catalog on Wednesday 13 July, 2011.

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