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Opinion >  Column

100 years ago in Eastern Washington: New details on the Metaline Falls bank robbery came to light, as did ‘the newest thing in jail breaks’

 (S-R archives)
(S-R archives)

More details emerged about the holdup of the Metaline Falls (Washington) State Savings Bank.

The two bandits stormed into the bank with guns drawn and locked the bank president and the cashier in the vault. But there was apparently an alarm button in the vault, which alerted the people in the store next door. E.O. Dressel, the brother of the cashier, was in the store.

Dressel rushed out with an old pistol and ran to within 50 feet of the escaping bandits. Dressel tried to fire at them, but the old pistol refused to work. One bandit fired at Dressel, but missed him.

All of this commotion roused about 50 men of the town, who chased the bandits on foot to Sullivan Creek. Early reports indicated that they had the bandits surrounded, but those reports were optimistic.

The bandits slipped away, probably heading for the nearby Canadian border.

The bank employees said the two men “wore no masks, spoke savagely, and seemed determined.”

From the prison beat: The Spokesman-Review reported what it called “the newest thing in jail breaks.”

It claimed that a soldier guard at the Fort George Wright prison had “eloped” with two prisoners.

“At a late hour, they were still spinning undetected on their ‘honeymoon,’ ” according to officials.

This language was considerably exaggerated.

What happened was that two soldier prisoners, serving time for minor offenses, convinced the young guard that “life in a fast automobile” would be more fun than the “drab duties of a ‘prisoner chaser.’ ”

All three were apparently taking part in a joyride in a prisoner’s auto, and would be listed as absent without leave.

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