Arrow-right Camera
Go to e-Edition Sign up for newsletters Customer service
Subscribe now

This column reflects the opinion of the writer. To learn about the differences between a news story and an opinion column, click here.

Opinion >  Column

100 years ago in Eastern Washington: The search was on for two bank robbers who may or may not have been ‘gentlemen’

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

Three armed gunmen were still at large after their audacious robbery of the Addy State Bank the day before.

The men were “believed to be in the wilds of Colville Reservation.” Police said they had several leads and believed they knew the identity of at least one man.

Meanwhile, more details emerged about the harrowing incident. Clarence Ostrum, the bank clerk, and his wife had been held at gunpoint by the robbers for eight hours as they waited for the time lock on the bank’s safe to be released. Mrs. Ostrum was said to be “still suffering from nervous shock and exposure resulting from a night on the highway, far from town, held by two of the gunmen.”

Ostrum, however, had recovered from his ordeal and was willing to tell reporters the details.

He said the robbers told them that they had planned to accost Ostrum at this garage, but were surprised to find he was with his wife. They told him that “there was nothing for them to do but take her, too.”

Ostrum had a few good words to say about the bandits.

“I’ll say this for them, they were real gentlemen,” Ostrum said. “Not once did they offer to insult either of us. When they first heard of the time lock, they at first talked of giving up the job, but a little after 3 a.m. they made up their minds to go through with it.”

Perhaps they weren’t exactly “gentlemen” the entire time. One of them warned Ostrum not to “try any funny tricks” or “your wife will pay for it.”

At some point during the night, Ostrum asked them if they were the same bandits who robbed the bank at Priest River. No, they said, “a couple of lumberjacks pulled that one.”

More from this author