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Opinion >  Column

100 years ago in Eastern Washington: The victim of the Chewelah bank robbery was glad deputies were pursuing all leads, including him as the suspect

 (Spokane Daily Chronicle archives )
(Spokane Daily Chronicle archives )

A surprising new question arose in the case of the First National Bank of Chewelah robbery.

Was it an inside job?

Deputies removed bank cashier A.H. Morse, his wife and his sister from the Chewelah stage as they embarked on a holiday jaunt to Lewiston. Deputies took them to headquarters to search and question them.

Morse had told authorities he was working alone in the bank when an unknown person bludgeoned him with an inkwell, rendering him unconscious. About $3,000 in cash was taken from a drawer. Another bank employee later found Morse knocked out on the floor.

However, some Chewelah merchants were suspicious of that story, for various reasons. One said he saw no one enter the bank around the time of the robbery. So the sheriff decided to stop them in Spokane.

“On account of the tales that have been floating around Chewelah, I thought it best to stop them here and search them,” the sheriff said. “I found nothing, and as far as I’m concerned, I believe that Morse is innocent.”

Morse told a Chronicle reporter he was glad that they were stopped and searched.

“If there are tales around that I was connected with that robbery, I am glad now that they stopped and searched my wife, my sister and myself,” Morse said. “It will surely clear things up for me. It was news to me when I was taken from the stage this morning and told that I was suspected of pulling an inside job.”

The bank president and a doctor who examined Morse said they were satisfied that the robbery was done by an outsider.

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