Monday, March 28, 2011
If a bank robber invades your Town - What would you do?
The 1955 bank robbery turned out to be a call to arms - at least to several young men in the Town. My friend Richard McKinney stopped me the other day to reminisce about the CBT bank robbery (see posting on January 24, 2011) and his recollection of the event. It prompted me to seek out from others around then to find out their reaction, what they were doing at the time or any other information they might remember. Although by today’s standards the heist which yielded the robber a little over $3,000 might seem insignificant, it was a big even. That kind of money could have purchased two new Chevrolets Belairs. Remember, the robbery occurred before the days of security cameras and instant imaging. The FBI and State Police (we had no local police department) took up residence, headquartering over Hitchcock’s Drug Store while gathering clues. Hitchcock's was located at the corner of Main Street and Barton Hill and has operated as a summer ice cream shop in recent years. For the newspaper accounts at the time, scores of state troopers and agents gathered in the Village Center as they pursued all leads. Some of our local young men decided to join the search. “Richie” told me that he and several of his friends including Frank “Frankie” DiStefano and Paul “Paulie” Royce went home, got their hunting rifles and converged on the downtown. One can only envision the four 16 year olds with their rifles marching through the Village Center with State Troopers everywhere, yet with not so much as “who are you, what are you doing and why do you have a rifle?” They walked the railroad tracks and across the trestle in the center of town shouldering their guns and then worked their way into the woods in back of the bank on Barton Hill just in case the robber was hiding - waiting for dark to make his get away. No robber was ever found, but certainly an exciting afternoon and an event that still brings back memories of a time when a community rallied to protect its own.