Local Couple Abducted By Nervous Bandit

A determined, nervous man approached a young Columbia couple of Wednesday night as they were entering the car just outside the Moore clinic on Pickens street and at gun-point forced them to drive him just 10 miles outside of Lancaster where he left them stranded after stealing their car and some valuables, the highway patrol reported yesterday.

The couple, Marion David Parnell and Miss Rose Grygo, who are to be married in October, describe the highway robber as being “extremely nervous, unshaven and very nice in some respects.”

Miss Grygo, sister of Al Grygo, the former University of South Carolina star football player and present backfield coach at the institution, said “when he made us get out of the car I asked him for my new shoes which I had in my car. He gave them to me. He asked me for my engagement ring and I pleaded with him not to take it, then he could have anything else in the car if he would only let me keep my ring. He finally agreed.

He made me look through the glove compartment before we left. He told me to give him (Marion) some matches so he could smoke after he had left us. He saw that Marion had been using the car lighter and thought it would be nice for him to be able to smoke while stranded.

“He was very thin faced and nervous. He used very bad English and talked with a southern drawl.”

Mr. Parnell, in relating how the abductor carried out his plan said. “”We had gone to the hospital to pick up a radio which I had loan to a sick friend who was leaving for home. After we came down on the steps of the hospital, I open the door of the car and let Rose in and close the car. In the meantime this man had asked me for directions to Taylor Street. Holding the radio under one arm and pointing with the other, I told him how many blocks it was by counting the red lights.

“Suddenly he grabbed me by the lapel of my coat and stuck a gun in my stomach and told me to get in the car. He made us sit up front and he sat in the back, always with the gun in his hand under his coat I saw the gun when he first accosted me. It was sticking out of the slit pocket of his raincoat. From the end of the barrel it looked to be a .38.

“After we were on our way he seemed a bit uncertain as to where he wanted to go. In fact I don’t think he knew much about Columbia. He told me he had to head for Camden after we had driven around a bit.

“First I backed up into Gibbes yard and headed for Taylor Street from Harden. When we reached Blaney he asked if we were at Camden. At first I thought we could perhaps get him lost, but he kept reminding us of the gun which he held in his hand. He continuously asked about the weather, wanting to know if it was still raining. By that time there was only a mist and the windshield begin this week. He must have gotten scared for he asked us suddenly ‘what is that’ when he heard the squeak.

“He was very careful about seeing to it that we did not break the speed limit and other laws. After we reach Camden we quit talking to him. There we turned left and headed out for Kershaw. When we got about 10 miles out of Lancaster he made us get out. But before that, just on the other side of Kershaw, he made a stop at a filling station to get some gasoline he handed Rose $1.75 for fuel and reminded us of the gun in his hand.

Just before he made a stop and get out, I saw a dim light which he evidently didn’t see. He first wanted Rose’s ring, but she pleaded with him and he let her keep it. He looked through her handbag several times, but took nothing from it.

“He first made me get out, not saying anything about Rose. I asked him if he was going to let her out and he said nothing but urged me to get out quick. Then he told her to get out also. After we got in front of the car’s headlights like he told us to do I told Rose to fall flat on the ground just as he started off, or I was afraid he was going to shoot us on the spot. But he passed without shooting and I managed to grab Rose just as she was inches from the ground.

“We then headed for the house which I thought I had seen. After a steep climb through mud and slush we reach the house. Rose didn’t break down at all. Finally someone came to the door and let us in. The first thing I wanted to know was how to get word to the police. I never dreamed there would be a telephone within miles of where we were stranded. But the lady said, ‘there’s a phone over there.’

“Well, we were quite surprised. We first called the highway patrol and the Lancaster police. The sheriff and the highway patrol came and got us. Rose cash a check with the highway patrol and we bought tickets to return to Columbia after first calling home by phone. The house where we first went was the residence of George Mungo, who had the only telephone within 8 miles. He is a forest fire warden.

“Only a few minutes after the robber had left us in the car, the police and patrolman were looking for him, but nothing has been found,” Miss Grygo said.

The thief took, besides Mr. Parnell’s 1946 Chevrolet, his gold school ring, a 21-jewel wrist watch and a pair of skating shoes belonging to Miss Grygo.

Patrolman, who were still searching for the bandit, said their issued description of him is as follows: approximately 29-years-old, white, five feet ten inches tall, weighing about 145 pounds, very curly brown hair, no hat, wearing a three-quarter length tan topcoat and a striped shirt and tie.

The automobile was described as a 1946 blue tudor Chevrolet sedan, licensed D-60103, with the following accessories: two fog lights, one spot radio, a radio aerial and a radio, Lieutenant Tee Hutto of the highway patrol reported yesterday.

Police in all nearby states were alerted to be on the lookout for the bandit. It was thought that he was headed for North Carolina. Mr. Parnell added, “my oil needed changing, I hope the thief does it. If he doesn’t he might burn out the motor.”

September 26, 1947  State (published as The State)  
Columbia, South Carolina
Page 7

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