Bank robber’s 100-year-old mystery boxes contain a heartbreaking secret

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A bank robber’s mystery boxes have been opened years after his death, revealing a heartbreaking secret.

Exactly a hundred years ago, John Bunion Knight was jailed for bank robbery.

He served a lengthy sentence for his crimes, but was released after being diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Before dying, he entrusted his brother with two smallish wooden boxes. Now, finally, they’ve been opened.

Imgur user jellybeanjelly, decided to document the opening of these two time capsules from 1920 after discovering the amazing story of his bank-robbing great-grandfather.

He explains: “My great grandfather, John Bunion Knight (1877-?), was in Leavenworth prison most of his life. Family story goes he was a bank robber and the last time his son (my grandfather) saw him as a kid there was a pile of cash and guns on the bed.”

One of the boxes had ‘Beatrice’ – the name of the bank-robber’s daughter, carved into the lid

After John Bunion Knight was jailed, his wife told the family that he had died.

“Fast forward many years,” writes jellybeanjelly, “the son has a young son (my dad) and they are at home when the phone rings and are told that the man who they thought had been dead for decades was alive in Leavenworth prison but has late stage cancer so they are letting him out.”

At some point over the past 100 years a family member had opened the boxes and wrapped the contents in bubble wrap

His story picks up again in 2019: “An extended family member passed away and his wife finds these boxes that had been passed down from JBK who made them in prison.”

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“At some point someone had wrapped them up [because] the intricate woodwork was falling apart. Because JBK was on her husbands side of the family she gave the boxes to my parents to open up.”

The delicate china doll had survived in the box for more than a century

You might imagine that there was a great wad of Prohibition-era cash inside, or a vintage pistol inside the two boxes, but in fact the contents were altogether more sentimental and reveal the sadness of a man who spent much of his life in jail, separated from his children.

The first thing that jellybeanjelly realised is that the boxes had been opened before, and the contents protected with bubble-wrap.

We don’t think the stones in this child’s tiara are real diamonds

Inside were a child’s ‘dress-up’ tiara, a baby’s spoon, a china doll and a couple of photos.

The items were all that a man had to help him remember the children he hardly knew due to a life of crime.

The boxes, made with a delicate inlay, were probably made in the prison’s workshop

Some commenters wondered if there might be another secret hidden in there.

One suggested: “I would have an expert take a look at that tiara, just in case your great-grandfather managed some sort of switcharoo.”

And another agreed, writing: “Check every diamond on the tiara. Maybe there’s a few real ones hidden amongst the fakes.”

Somebody else thought maybe one of the boxes had a false bottom, with a treasure map concealed inside.

They wrote: “Boxes look like tramp art. Possible to have false lids and bottoms in those. Give them a knock and gentle shake to see.”

On a less positive note, somebody thought the boxes might be cursed, simply commenting: “Great now you are haunted…”





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