50 Year Anniversary: The Story Of The Brackenridge Eagle Zoo Train Robbery

It has been called The Great (little) train robbery and it happened in San Antonio on July 18, 1970.

50 years ago the Eagle Train in Brackenridge Park was robbed by masked bandits. Those riding the train at the time first thought it was a joke. It was not a joke, but it was one of the strangest robberies people can remember.

Police later arrested the two men. Ten days after the heist, 24-year-old James R. Brown and 21-year-old Paul E. Smith were taken into custody and charged with the robbery. Smith later confessed to two additional robberies of a gas station and a food store. Both were in the Army at the time and were discharged. Brown received 10 years and Smith received 20 years.

San Antonio Zoo will be celebrating the 50th anniversary by hosting re-enactments as a fundraiser to purchase much-needed, new miniature trains. Each trip around the park will feature zoo actor educators in costume, holding up the Zoo Eagle Train passengers with bubble guns asking them for their donations. While on the train ride, an audio recording will play overhead detailing the events that unfolded 50 years ago.

Photo Courtesy San Antonio Zoo

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