old time religion Safe-Cracker Dope Peddler Gangster and Road Preacher Billy Joe Fain
He claims to have been "one of the top forty criminals in the United States" but never really says what he did to earn the title. I think he was only your average juvenile delinquent. As far as I can tell, a plain old lowlife. I guess I have to read it carefully to see exactly what made him a criminal mastermind.
He stole a bike, I think.
He deceived his neighbors.
Under the tutelage of "Ole Pappy" the seasoned criminal, he participated in stealing a safe, but he couldn't open it.
He robbed some poker games.
He tried dope.
He thought his Sunday school teacher was interested more in football than god.
He became the chauffeur and bodyguard for an unnamed organized crime big shot.
He "was given 95 years" in prison (though the record says 15)
He watched another prisoner cut his own veins.
The prison decided to make him "run the track" to train the bloodhounds. Once, the bloodhounds
chewed him up, and he claims to have had his clothes torn off and left there to die.
Not trying to escape, mind you. Working in prison as a trainer and fake dog bait.
He gets paroled and "walks into a little colored church."
He is instantly a touring preacher.
Twenty years later, Billy Joe Fain's appearance in Cocoa, Florida is fuzzy headline news! Don't try to enlarge it, I stole it from a pay service and could get 95 years.
Opening the Prisons by Billy Joe Fain (compiled by W. V. Grant) 31 pages No Date (Early 1960s)
Collection Jim Linderman