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Jim Kershner’s this day in history

Fri., Aug. 29, 2014

From our archives, 100 years ago

Spokane State Bank bookkeeper E.J. Peach was manning the teller’s cage by himself at lunchtime while the bank president was out.

Peach watched a man in his 40s walk past the bank, peer in the windows and then walk away. Moments later, the man returned. He walked in and handed Peach an envelope without a word.

Peach looked up and was staring straight down the barrel of the man’s gun.

“Don’t make a noise,” said the robber. “Hold up your hands and get in the vault.”

Peach obeyed. The man walked behind him and slammed the vault door shut, imprisoning Peach.

Peach heard the robber turn the tumblers.

“He was the coolest man I ever saw,” Peach said later.

While Peach waited helplessly, the robber apparently opened up the gold, silver and cash drawers at the teller’s desk and made off with about $800. Some witnesses reported that a man hopped on a motorcycle outside of the bank and roared off.

By this time, Peach was pounding frantically on the walls of the pitch-dark vault. The proprietor of the Division Street Hardware Store, next door, heard Peach and raced over. He was able to get the vault open and free Peach.

“I was inside the vault barely five minutes altogether,” Peach said.

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