More on county robberies

Part III

Previously, I wrote about bandits who robbed the Russell Bank, the Marshall Grocery Company and Olson and Lowe. Through newspaper research we learned about robberies that took place at Balaton, Cottonwood and Minneota, with a couple more in Marshall.

Nov. 14, 1933, Marshall Daily Messenger: Balaton — Five People Locked in Vault — one Slugged in Head “Three unmasked armed bandits raided the Farmers and Merchants State Bank of Balaton and escaped with ‘not over $1,200 in loot. The robbers according to Glen Wilhelm, assistant cashier, who was in the bank with Miss Bertha Loveland, also an assistant cashier, were very quiet, speaking ‘not more than half-a-dozen words,’ Wilhelm said. ‘The men apparently were old hands at bank robbing.’

Three customers came into the bank while the holdup was in progress. They were H. H. Nash, who was struck by one of the bandits on the head when he did not raise his hands fast enough; Anton Hommerberg, a local merchant; and Emil Wendland, a farmer.

All three were taken to the rear of the bank and forced to lie on the floor. After taking the available cash, three bandits forced the two bank employees and three customers into the vault and fled. It was thought they headed south.

The robbery was carried out so quietly and efficiently that townspeople were unaware that a robbery was taking place. Identification of the robbers’ car was difficult for that reason. It was thought to be a chocolate-colored Pontiac sedan. The man who guarded the door and met the customers as they came in was described as being 5 feet 7 inches in height, heavyset and with a dark complexion.

Superintendent Passolt of the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension was immediately notified and he sent operatives to the vicinity. Sheriff George Rankin was notified of the Balaton bank robbery about 9:30 this morning and went there at once. The bandits, he was told, wore overalls.”

Monday, April 8, 1935, Marshall Daily Messenger: Robbers Blow Up Safe at Cottonwood “Safecrackers blew open the Cottonwood post office safe sometime late Saturday night or early Sunday morning and escaped with between $10 and $11, mostly in stamps.

The robbers drilled a hole below the safe dial, poured in a ‘soup’ thought to be nitroglycerine, covered the same with mail sacks and set it off. No one heard the explosion. Sheriff George Rankin went to Cottonwood immediately upon receipt of the news of the crime.”

(Continued next week)