Sunday, August 28, 2011

Black Sheep Sunday: Upland State Bank Robbed of $2500

Source: Marion Leader-Tribune, Marion, Indiana, December 24, 1924, p. 1.


Bandits Spent Much Of Day In Marion

Officials Observe Men Acting Suspiciously and Watched Them for Hours -- Robbery Occupied but Little Time and Was Without Unusual Thrills -- Bandits Declared, "We Are Rough and If You Make a False Move We Will Shoot H---- Out Of You"

Six bandits, all of whom were armed, entered the Upland State Bank at 3:45 Tuesday afternoon, within fifteen minutes of the closing hour, held up Earl Bragg, cashier at the bank and Miss A. Atkinson, a clerk at the bank, and robbed the bank of approximately $2,500.

A good description of the men was secured by Deputy Sheriffs John Schell and Woody Smith, who conversed with six men at a filling station at Highland avenue and Washington streets about two-thirty yesterday afternoon.  They asked the deputy sheriffs the road to Hartford City, stating that they desired to get on State Road No. 35.

Officials Present

When the five armed men entered the Upland bank, (one stayed outside) there were no customers in the bank and only the two bank officials were present.

One of the men approached the bank window, holding in his had a dollar bill.

As soon as Cashier Bragg came up to the window, he was covered with a gun, with a command to hold up his hands.

While this was taking place, Miss Atkinson was also covered with a gun, while a third bandit stationed himself near the front door.

Two other bandits then went inside of the bank and with the aid of another bandit attempted to lock Bragg and Miss Atkinson in the bank vault and after getting [t]hem inside found the safe would not work and they covered the two people and then started scooping all of the money in sight on the bank counters and then went into the safe where they secured all of the money in sight, which consisted of paper money and silver.

While they were at work, one of the bandits cautioned them against making any false moves under pain having "hell shot out of them."

"We Are Rough," They Said.

After getting all of the money in sight, they quickly left the bank and hopped into a waiting automobile, in which the sixth bandit sat, and departed, going north out of Upland, where it was reported they turned west.

Out Again, in Again

While the robbery was in progress, Dillman Stump, a resident of Upland started into the bank, but changed his mind about entering and started to go out, when the bandit near the door, grabbed him inside and told him to stick up his hands, which he did very promptly.

Cashier Bragg said that the men were not clean and were shabbily dressed and that one of the men was tall and heavy set, and that the four others appeared to be from 18 to 35 years old.  He stated he was not aware of any bandits until the five came into the bank and was covered by a gun by one of the men.

Loss Fully Covered

The loss at the bank is fully covered by insurance, Mr. Bragg said.  The exact amount of money taken will probably be known at some time today.

The robbery was reported at once to Sheriff Bert Renbarger and Deputy Sheriffs John Schell and Woody Smith went to Upland and made an investigation.

Both the police and sheriff believe that the men tried to pull off a robbery in this city, but that on account of being shadowed by officers, were unable to accomplish what they wanted.

The men were first noticed in the city about one-thirty yesterday afternoon by Detectives Humble and Andrews.  The Moon car, which bore license number 443-554, passed them at Fourth and Adams streets.

Detective Humble noticed six men in the car and also noted the license number as being the number on a car which was in the city about a week ago, he said, when the car passed a stop sign at Fourth and Nebraksa streets and failed to stop when called on by a policeman.

The appearance of the men did not look good to the detectives, who later saw the car going the wrong way around the public square.

The officers were able to get a fairly good description of the two men in the front seat and a third man in the rear and a short time later one of the men, who had no collar and tie on, was seen to go in the Price Clothing Store, where he made a purchase of a collar and tie.

Close Watch Is Kept

The detectives followed him into the store and kept a close watch on him, the man doing the same to the officers.  Later, another of the men seen in the car went into several downtown banks remaining in each bank only a minute.

The bandits also made a trip to South Marion State bank three or four times.  Bank officials there seeing the car pass and repass, called the police and an officer was sent out to the bank.  The bandits in passing the bank, traveled slow and were evidently sizing up the situation.

The suspicious actions of the six men in the car caused every policeman to be notified and all banks, jewelry stores and other business firms downtown were warned of the actions of the six men and that a robbery might be attempted and considerable money was hidden within the next few minutes.

Converse With Men

About two-thirty Deputy Sheriffs Schell and Smith came into the city from another call and seeing the detectives and policemen eyeing an automobile which was then going north from the square on Washington street followed the car, believing it to be a car which they had been looking for and which was said to contain a quantity of liquor.  They followed the car to Highland avenue, where it stopped at a filling station, where a quantity of gasoline was purchased.  The license number on the car was secured by the deputies, who then drove east on Highland avenue, ahead of the Moon car.  They turned around, after seeing six men in the car who appeared to be suspicious characters.  They stopped their car at the filling station and got out.

Deputy Schell walked up to the Moon car with the six men and the driver of the car asked Schell the road to Hartford City, stating that they wanted to get on State Road 35.

Schell told them that they were considerably off their road and directed them back to Third street, where they were told to go east.  The man who was talking to Schell kept one hand in a coat pocket, which Schell believes to have contained a gun.

Gets Description

Schell was able to get a good description of several of the men.  The man who was talking to Schell, appeared to be tall and had one peculiar eye, which Schell said had a light spot, giving it an odd appearance.  Another bandit had on overalls, while the others appeared to be dirty and not well dressed.  Another of the men who was in a rear seat, appeared to be sleepy while the others looked as if they had lost considerable sleep.

When the license number on the car was turned in to Sheriff Renbarger, he got in touch with the secretary of state's office at Indianapolis, where it was learned that the license number had been issued to George Millinger of Indianapolis.  A call was then put into the office of the chief of detectives of Indianapolis, after news of the robbery had been received and it was learned that this car had been stolen about nine-thirty Monday night and that six men, with a Moon sedan had robbed a hardware store at Lebanon late Monday night, securing a quantity of shot guns, rifles and ammunition.  It is believed that these six men in the city robbed the Lebanon store, came to Marion to pull off a robbery here and were frustrated on account of being watched too closely and that they then went to Upland, where they succeeded in their work.

Late last night no trace of the robbers had been found.  Sheriff Renbarger notified many surrounding cities and Indianapolis, as it is thought that the gang has headquarters in that city.

That this gang was the same crowd who attempted to hold up a bank at Noblesville last week, was doubted by the police, who said that from the appearance of the six men here that they would be able to carry out any plans they made, while the attempt at Noblesville was evidently by boys who were scared out and left without robbing the bank.

This article is an account of the robbery of the Upland State Bank in Grant County, Indiana.  The bank was held up by a gang led by my cousin, Harry PIERPONT (1902-1934)In late 1924 and early 1925, Harry led a group of ex-cons in terrorizing a number of banks around Indiana.  The Upland State Bank job, and others like it, laid the ground work for the later robberies of the Dillinger "Terror Gang."  The robbery and subsequent capture of members of the gang, generated a lot of ink in the Marion newspapers.

Black Sheep Sunday – create a post with the main focus being an ancestor with a “shaded past.” Bring out your ne’er-do-wells, your cads, your black widows, your horse thieves and tell their stories. And don’t forget to check out the International Black Sheep Society of Genealogists (IBSSG). This is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

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