After doing some time on a prison farm in Ohio, Zear Mack Hogan was on parole when he broke into the office of Castle Roofing and Sheet Metal, just west of New Castle. Sometime after midnight, the owner, Russell Delaney, saw someone moving around inside the place and went to investigate. When he opened the door, Zear hit him with a wrench and ran off. Delaney’s arm was broken. He called the police.
Zear broke into a garage across the road and hid there until the police came. When they called on him to come out, he started up a truck and sped past them, heading west. He made it to the home of his friend James Latess in Edinburg, about six miles outside town. He changed into one of James’s suits and set off on foot into the woods. If he stuck to the banks of the Mahoning river or followed the rail tracks, he’d cross the border into Ohio in a couple of hours.
The Civil Air Patrol sent up a plane, which spotted the abandoned truck in Edinburg. Zear would have heard it circling above him as flashlights moved through the trees, coming in from all sides. He walked out of the woods, hands raised.
Zear got two to five years in the Western penitentiary. There is no further record of his life. Russell Delaney had a good year, installing the roofing on the modern annexe to the New Castle News building and the newly opened Wonder Boy drive-in restaurant—“Come as you are, Eat in your car”—and all the sheet metal work at the Shenango Bowl-A-Way, which survived until the derelict building was demolished in 2013.
Sources: Franklin News-Herald, 28 July 1958, “Plane Helps New Castle Posse Capture Fugitive”; New Castle News (30 September, advert; 10 October, advert; 13 October, advert; 10 December 1958, “Criminal Court Trials End; Two Cases Heard”; 15 December 1958, “Late City Bulletins”).