by Jimmy Maxwell
This is a non-fictional novel about the life and crimes of Jerry Clyde Stephenson, known to all and sundry as – Tangle Eye. The facts and many details of this story were gained from public records, court affidavits, and Tangle Eye himself.
Having made that claim, the names, dates, locations, and some of the details of crimes that Mr. Stephenson was not convicted of have been changed. As are the names of accomplices who have not been convicted of any crimes.
Also, much of the characterizations of the law enforcement officials beyond certain names and what is in the open record, such as; thoughts, actions, back and family stories – were filled in by the authors imagination to give the reader a more vivid ride in the get-away-car. And in no way reflects the lifestyles – morals or ethics – of the officers and agents involved in the apprehension of Jerry – Tangle Eye – Stephenson.
This book is but a small window into the world of a true-life safe-cracker. It is a good story with all the elements of a blockbuster movie – only, the events chronicled here – really happened. Mr. Stephenson does not receive proceeds from the sale of this book. It is written for the reader’s enjoyment and is not meant to glorify his life choices. As a matter of fact Tangle Eye hopes that there is a lesson learned from his story: That crime doesn’t pay. No matter how much money you steal someone always pays the price. He apologizes to his family, who have suffered most.
“Do you see the security room?” Jerry whispered down the hole to Opie. Opie was hanging by his legs through an open roof panel of the First National Bank of Missouri.
“Not yet. Turn me toward the back wall,” came the muffled reply.
Crouching next to Jerry and helping him hold the one-hundred-forty-pound youngster, Ronnie; Jerry’s older brother, blew out puffs of frost from his nose as he adjusted his grip on Opie’s legs. “Hurry up, it’s freaking cold out here,” he complained to his nephew. Then grinning at Jerry, who was known as Tangle-Eye because his left eye looked off at a comical angle, “I think this son of yours is gaining weight.”
“I think so, too.” Jerry smiled at Ronnie. For all the razzing that the three gave each other, they shared a deep family bond. Turning his attention back to Opie, Jerry continued, “Come on fat-ass, before we drop you.”
“Screw you guys,” Opie cursed. No sooner than the pair of men began to act like they were going to drop him, Opie announced that he’d spotted what they were looking for. “The cables from the inside cameras run back to the middle of the east wall.”
With a grunt, and clouds of frost from each of them, Tangle-Eye and Ronnie hoisted Opie back up onto the metal paneled roof of the bank.
“I got your fat-ass right here,” Opie said to his father grabbing his own crotch in a gesture of defiance. “Besides, if you two overgrown fruit cakes weren’t so over-weight you’d be hanging in this hole yourselves.
Ronnie grumbled and Jerry Laughed. “Just shut up,” Jerry went on, “and let’s cut the other hole.”
In reality, Jerry nor Ronnie were old, or fat. Both men were in their late thirties, and though Ronnie was only five-feet-eight-inches tall, his frame was packed with two-hundred pounds of muscle. Tangle-Eye wasn’t quite as fit, but his six-foot-one and two-hundred-twenty-five pound mass was far from running to blubber. He may have even looked intimidating, if it weren’t for his left wandering eye that he’d picked up in a street racing accident when he was seventeen. He and Ronnie had flipped their car. The impact scarred Ronnie from his cheekbone to his jaw line, and dislodged Jerry’s eye. Even though it was reinserted the damage left him with a permanent tangled eye that made him look like Crazy Eyes from the Adam Sandler movie, Big Daddy.
Comical looking as Tangle Eye, also known as Jerry Clyde Stephenson, might have been, he was the master-mind behind a string of high profile, bank and ATM burglaries which covered the mid-west. There were a dozen, local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, who all had agents pounding their fists in baffled frustration at the brazen outlaws’ success.
Opie’s comments, though fairly inaccurate, still got a rise out of the older men. He chuckled to himself as the trio moved across the cold roof, to the spot Opie had indicated was directly over the room housing the alarm system. Once there, the burglars commenced to; unscrew, chop, and cut, another hole through to the interior of the bank.