On September 17, 1930, at approximately 10 am, six men in a blue Buick pulled up in front of the Lincoln National Bank and Trust Company, located in the Barkley Building at 12th and 'O' street. Five of the men exited the car; four entered the bank with guns drawn. The patrons and employees were ordered to lie down on the floor. The fifth man took up a position on the corner armed with a machine gun and the driver remained in the car with the engine running. A lady in the bank managed to slip out a side door and went to a nearby store where the police were called. A motorcycle officer responded and upon driving up to the bank he was confronted by the machine gun welding robber who ordered him to keep right on going. He did, straight to the police station where other officers jumped into two patrol cars and returned to the bank. Unfortunately, they were too late. The robbers had already fled.
Within months, the Lincoln Police Department acquired an armored car and was planning a radio system. After the gang obtained cash and securities amounting to $2,702,796, got into their car and turned on a siren to clear traffic and sped out of town. At that time the $2.7 million was the largest amount ever taken in a bank robbery. Three of the six were arrested and charged with the robbery; Tommy O'Connor and 'Pop' Lee were tried and sentenced to long jail terms. Jack Britt was free after being tried twice. Gus Winkler, a member of Al Capone's gang offered to return $600,000 in bonds if he escaped prosecution. The officials agreed and $575,000 in bonds were returned; however, the bank never re-opened. Shortly thereafter, Gus Winkler was found in Lake Michigan with 109 pieces of buckshot in him. Theory is that he held out on Al Capone and was taken care of by the gang. The remaining two robbers were never captured or identified.
Officers standing in front of a corner store
Photo courtesy of Edholm Blomgrem collection
1930 Lincoln Police Command Staff
Photo courtesy of Lincoln Journal Star
1933 Traffic UnitOfficer Charles Wilson and Leon Towle
Courtesy of Darlene Towle Pettit
1934 commissionIssued by the City of Lincoln for Henry Worster to be a special officer
Signed by W. Condit, Chief of Police