Freaky Flint History with Joe Schipani - Oil Man June 14th, 1925 #freakyflinthistory #flintmichigan

Flint is well known for its modern violent crimes but Flint's history is filled with little known stories that read stranger than fiction. Gruesome murders, weird accidents, and violent deaths. Join us every Thursday as Joe Schipani details some of the odd but true deaths he found in Flint's archives.

Oil Man June 14th, 1925

After a long Sunday running his oil station on the corner of Cornelia Street and St John Street, Frank Ayers put all his receipts and money for the day in his bag to take home with him.

Frank closed the shop around ten every night. He left a half hour after that. He would then walk to the home where he lived with his sister. Frank had moved in with her seven years earlier after his wife died.

Frank took his money home with him every night because there had been a bunch of robberies at the oil stations in the area. He felt it was safer to do his banking at home.

On this Sunday evening after Frank locked the doors and started his walk home, he was approached just beyond his parking lot by a man who demanded Frank give him the bag.

The police report later noted that a neighbor across the street, who was sitting on her porch at the time, saw the struggle. She stated that Frank put up a good fight but finally the man got his bag. She noted that at that point something strange happened.

She said it was like Frank knew who the robber was and started trying to negotiate his bag back. The thief pulled out his gun and shot three times. Another neighbor who witnessed the exchange called the police as soon as the shots were fired.

The police and ambulance showed up about ten minutes after the shooting. The police took statements from the two neighbors who both described the robber as a short and stout man dressed in a dark suit with a light color hat and shirt.

The police combed the area and arrested anyone that met that description. They took a total of five people into the station for questioning.

The paramedics tended to Frank at the scene. All three bullets hit him. The first went in the neck, severing the jugular vein, the second in the left side of the chin, and the third in his left cheek. Frank was trying to talk, they believe he was trying to name of his assailant, but the blood from his jugular vein was filling in his throat making it impossible to understand what he was saying. The paramedics loaded Frank into the ambulance to take him to Hurley hospital but he died before they could pull out of his oil station’s parking lot.

It is not known if anyone was ever convicted for Frank’s murder.

~ Joe Schipani is the Executive Director of the Flint Public Art Project and the FFAR Project Assistant at the Community Foundation of Greater Flint.  Find him on Facebook at 

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