A Look Back – Fordyce Bank was robbed 95 years ago

Nov. 10, 1921

FORDYCE — Automobile bandits held up the Fordyce State Bank at the point of guns at about 10 o’clock this morning, robbing the institution of all cash and currency in the vaults, together with Liberty bonds and other valuable papers, totalling about $4,000.

The bandits locked the employees in the vault and escaped in an eight-cylinder Chandler car headed north.

Postmaster Frank Meirose, in his office at the west end of the bank building, heard the cries of the imprisoned bank employees and started an investigation which resulted in the discovery of the robbery.

The alarm was spread immediately, but the bandits already had 30 minutes time in which to escape. Sheriff McFadden was notified by phone and immediately organized a posse of ex-servicemen with high-powered rifles, which started for Fordyce over several different roads.

President R.G. Mason of the First National Bank here started for Fordyce immediately to help get the vault open to release the imprisoned employees. Chase Mille, the Fordyce hardware merchant, had started to work on the big locks almost as soon as the alarm was sounded and had the vault door opened about 20 minutes later, just about the time Mr. Mason arrived, being directed by Cashier Leise from inside the vault.

Those in the bank when the two robbers entered were Cashier F.A. Leise, Assistant Cashier I.F. Lammers, and Miss Hilda Lammers, the bookkeeper.

The first bandit entered the bank and asked Mr. Lammers if he would kindly cash a check. He started to examine it and looked up to see a revolver pointed at him and heard the quiet order to “stick ‘em up.” Just then, the second bandit similarly instructed Miss Lammers to do likewise and the third bandit, who wore a black mask, stuck a gun through the grating of Cashier Leise’s office in the front of the bank and gave a similar order.