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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

100 years ago in Medical Lake: Bank robbers make off with $14,000 after locking clerks in safe

The First National Bank of Medical Lake was robbed and the bandits escaped with $14,000 worth of gold, silver and money, The Spokesman-Review on Aug. 1, 2017. (Spokesman-Review archives)

Two clerks were working in the First National Bank of Medical Lake when two men entered and asked to cash a traveler’s check. When the cashier went to the window, one of the men “shoved an automatic revolver into my face.”

“Hands up there; hands up!” shouted one of the men.

The other, smaller bandit then ran around behind the window and ordered the two clerks to get down on the floor.

“There was nothing to do but obey and we both did as he commanded,” said one of the clerks.

The smaller man gathered up $5,000 in gold and nearly $1,000 in silver coins. He also grabbed a large amount of paper money. The entire haul was estimated at more than $14,000.

The two clerks were ordered into the vault. The bandits slammed the door shut and fled in a getaway car.

The two clerks were able to pry open the vault lock within three minutes, but the culprits were long gone.

The clerks raised the alarm, but sheriff’s deputies were hindered by the fact that no one was sure what kind of getaway car they were looking for.

A few witnesses “thought they saw the robbers,” but some said they were in a green five passenger touring car and some said they were in an old Ford.

As it turned out, the robbers had pasted a No. 13 on their roadster, making it look like one of the numbered cars at Camp Comfort, across the lake. “This caused some confusion in the pursuit.”

The search was still continuing.