Sesquicentennial Highlights

Excerpts from the Plain Talk

By Cleo Erickson


M. J. Chaney, president of the Citizen's bank, has been in the banking business in Clay County for 40 years and the Monday stickup was his first –and he hopes—his last experience of that nature.  Once, when he was operating a bank at Wakonda, thugs blew open his vault at night but didn't have the wherewithal to "crack" the inner safe.  The robbers contented themselves with pilfering a few safety deposit boxes, left on the vault shelves like they used to leave individual mugs in a barber shop rack.

The stickup reminded many of the attempted burglary of the old First National here a few years ago by a University of South Dakota co-ed.  Armed with an electric drill stolen from a local garage, she broke into the bank through a rear door one night but was unable to put the drill to efficient use inside the bank.  Policeman Denny Sullivan spied her in the bank and arrested her.  She served a 30-day sentence in the state "pen".

"I was not pushed from the bandits' car" said Assistant Cashier Lloyd when asked about his falling in the muddy gutter after he had been taken for a ride by the four thugs. "I just stepped off the running board and found I didn't have any knees left."

The four men, who stayed at the Waldorf hotel the night prior to the stickup, are the same men who held up the bank, in the opinion of Alexander Rentto, law student at the university.  Rentto observed the suspicious actions of the men in the hotel lobby and overheard one of them say to another:  "It's a cinch!"

FEB. 3, 1933
Sioux City Police Release Man after Local Officers Ask that He Be Held

Not positively identified by M. J. Chaney and Rev W C Deer as one of the four robbers that held up the Citizens Bank and Trust here last week, a man giving his name as "Doc" Dougherty was asked to be held by the Sioux City police at the request of officers here.  Word was received at the sheriff's office Wednesday afternoon, however, that the man had been released. 

Dougherty was picked up by Sioux City officers and Sheriff William Russell Monday afternoon.  Sheriff Russell had received a tip from some source in Sioux City which led to the supposition that the man known as "Doc" might have been involved in the bank robbery here.

Tuesday, Sheriff Russell and Mr. Chaney along with Rev Deer, went to Sioux City to inspect a police "show-up".  None of the men could positively identify the suspect.

JUNE 6, 1933
Identify One Man Who Robbed Bank

C. L. Lloyd and Miss Maude Sloan, went to Sioux City Friday where they identified Tony Strain, 32 in a "show up" at the police station as one of the men who robbed the bank here January23.

Miss Sloan identified Strain as the man who forced her to lie on the floor and Mr. Lloyd designated Strain as the man who had forced him into the bank's vault.

Strain and a woman named Alice Martin were apprehended by Sioux City police in Sioux City last week.  They are wanted for a bank robbery at Okabena, Minn.  Strain has also been identified as one of the men in the gang that robbed banks at Huron and Canova, SD.  Governor Herring of Iowa has approved the extradition of Strain and the Martin woman to Minnesota.

It is doubtful whether Strain will be brought here for trial.


The men who robbed the Citizens bank last Monday had an easy time of it compared to the difficulty that the local newshounds have had in obtaining an accurate story of the affair.  To date it has been decided by witnesses that the men escaped in a car which was a Buick, Studebaker, Auburn, Hupmobile and Oldsmobile.  About the only thing they agree on is that it was not a Ford.

Rumors are running rife and we hear such things as…the Rev. Deer bowing and tipping his hat to the robbers…Bolstad trying to be nonchalant and get inside his coat for a cigarette, a motion misinterpreted by the robbers…a fiend talking to Grace Michels over the phone and telling her that Maude had just gone by her house hanging onto the outside of a car with her smock billowing in the wind…a statement hotly denied by Grace, who was certain it would be beneath Maude's dignity… after the robbers had gone Earl Lien rushing madly out of his office with a gun ready to shoot the first person he saw who said "boo"…the various tales of machine guns and armored cars….

Lester Lloyd rolling along in the gutter from being in too much of a hurry to jump off the running board…getting up to hide behind a tree until the bandits got out of sight and another reporter falling down the court house steps in his hurry to get to the scene of the holdup…and the story of the employees of the First National preparing for a similar raid by all taking setting up exercises reach for the ceiling.

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