Safes are hard to ignore and hard to lose. It's too bad the same can't be said about their history. Please contact me if you have anything to add to the below, the beginnings of an attempt to track the stories of our historic safes.
SAFES.--Parties wishing to purchase fire and robber proof safes are asked to look at Tillman's advertisement. Safes of his manufacture can be seen at Beekman's, Anderson & Glenn's, Love & Bilger's and other business houses in town. They are the best manufactured.
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, November 24, 1860, page 3
A BOLD ROBBERY.--About 5 o'clock Wednesday morning, while Mr. Joseph Wetterer and his employees were at work in the adjoining brewery, his safe, which stood in a back room of the beer saloon, was opened and $375 abstracted therefrom. The robber or robbers were evidently well acquainted with the premises and the habits of the occupants, and must have been provided with skeleton keys. It was a daringly planned and well-executed crime. No clue has been obtained as to the robbers. Have we a Schultz among us?
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, July 15, 1871, page 3
AN OLD SAFE-CRACKER IN DURANCE.--The San Francisco Bulletin of last Friday says: It has now been ascertained that William Mead, who was found secreted in a shop at No. 13 Geary Street on Monday night, in company with another man and a burglar's jimmy, is an old safe-cracker, and has already served a three-years' sentence for breaking into a safe in Jacksonville, Oregon, in company with a man named Farrell. Mead has also been under arrest for breaking into a safe at Elko, Nevada, but escaped conviction for want of evidence. He is evidently one of the scoundrels who broke into M. Mensor's safe several years ago and was captured on the Siskiyou Mountain while making for California.
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, November 29, 1878, page 3
A. L. Johnson has received a fine burglar-proof safe from San Francisco this week.
"Here and There," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, June 22, 1883, page 3
Jacksonville's City Hall safe, July 2015.
"MacNeale" was misspelled during an early restoration. "Pond & Smith" (the names painted on the upper edge of the safe) were likely the San Francisco cigar manufacturers, who closed in 1893.
HANDSOME SAFES.--Several parties in this county have been investing in safes from the well known San Francisco house of Raymond & Wilshire, agents for MacNeale & Urban, and in every case have been fully satisfied with their purchase. We have no hesitancy in recommending this firm, as we know whereof we speak when we say that they do as they agree to and furnish only superior goods.
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, July 6, 1883, page 3
Angle & Plymale of Medford have added a fine 2,500 pound, double door safe to their establishment which looks as if they were going into the banking business.
"Local Items," Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, August 9, 1884, page 3
Angle & Plymale, the enterprising Medford merchants, have invested in a huge safe. They evidently intend to do a big business.
"Here and There," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, August 15, 1884, page 3
The Sentinel of last Saturday says: An effort was made to break open John Orth's safe one night this week but the robbers were evidently scared off before they could complete the job. There was very little money in the safe at the time but Johnny says he objects to having his safe spoiled.
"Brevities," Ashland Tidings, October 10, 1884, page 3
Three new fireproof safes arrived on Monday's freight train for parties in town. One was for the Ashland Mills, one for Hunsaker & Dodge and the other for Billings.
"Brevities," Ashland Tidings, December 12, 1884, page 3
A. L. Johnson of Medford has put a vault in his new business quarters.
"Here and There," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, September 11, 1885, page 3
A. L. Reuter has purchased A. L. Johnson's large burglar-proof safe, and it was brought up from Medford a few days since.
"Here and There," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, December 24, 1886, page 3
Sheriff Dean has one boarder, a man charged with trying to rob Kenney & Worman's safe at Medford.
"Local Items," Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, July 24, 1886, page 3
Says the Medford Monitor: We are pleased to announce that negotiations are pending for the establishment of a bank at this place with ample capital. Our safe, now in use, will be exchanged for a massive time lock steel chest for the use of the bank.
"Here and There," Ashland Tidings, December 24, 1886, page 3
For sale--a first-class Detroit safe, almost new. Will be sold at a bargain. Apply to the Times office for particulars.
"Here and There," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, March 4, 1887 et seq., page 3
Miller & Strang of the Post Office Store have just received a large and handsome safe. This betokens prosperity.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, February 24, 1888, page 2
There is a prospect now of a $15,000 flouring mill being erected [in Medford], and our new bank is ready to receive its $1,000 safe, which will add much to the security of our little earnings.
Excerpt, "A Sunny Land," Waukesha (Wisconsin) Freeman, March 1, 1888, page 6
K. Kubli Jr. had the misfortune to severely injure his right hand while assisting Mr. Linn in removing his iron safe and books from the burning furniture store. The flesh was torn from the side of one finger, making a painful wound.
"Here and There," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, September 13, 1888, page 3
The new safe for the bank was received last week. It is burglar proof and was placed in position in the vault.
"Medford Items," Valley Record, Ashland, September 27, 1888, page 3
The new burglar-proof safe for the bank at this place arrived last week, and is one of the finest safes in Oregon. Its cost was $1024. It is one of Hall's automatic, bolt-work, double-combination time locks, and has no combination on the outside with which a burglar could tinker. Its double Howard movements prevent trouble with the time lock. One movement may stop entirely, but the other will throw the lock. Or if both should get out of order, the lock is thrown in consequence. The safe is of solid, chilled steel, and weighs 2750 pounds, though only 22x22 inches horizontal measurement, and 35 inches high, including the wheels. This safe, inside a fireproof vault, renders valuables as secure as they can be on this earth.
"Medford Items," Ashland Tidings, October 5, 1888, page 2
Our bank recently received a fine safe, weighing nearly 3000 pounds.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, October 11, 1888, page 3
REAL BURGLAR-PROOF SAFE.--The burglar-proof safe for the Bank of Ashland was received last week, and it is undoubtedly the best safe in Oregon south of Portland. It was made by the Hall Safe and Lock Company. Its dimensions outside are only 46x31x24 inches; yet it weighs nearly 4,500 lbs., being made of solid steel, with walls three inches thick, composed of seven chilled-steel plates. Inside the safe is the burglar box, with the additional security of [the] most improved lock, and chilled-steel walls of five plates. The safe has the time lock. This is not made as a fireproof safe, but is to be set inside the massive walls of the fireproof vault in the center of the bank building, when the treasures it encloses will be about as secure from fire and theft as human ingenuity can make them.
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, July 25, 1889, page 3
The safe of Davis & France of the Medford roller mills was blown open by burglars Wednesday night but the box, containing but $40 as luck would have it, was captured by the burglars. Citizens should exercise unusual caution during the coming week. There are always a number of cracksmen following the fairs on the circuit.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, September 26, 1889, page 3
Safe-Crackers at Medford.
Burglars entered the flouring mill at Medford and blew open the office safe at some time between Wednesday evening and yesterday morning. They obtained some $40 in cash for their trouble, and up to last evening no clue to the identity or whereabouts of the thieves was reported.
Ashland Tidings, September 27, 1889, page 3
The bank safe of the Jackson County Bank is a "multum in parvo" arrangement, a regular jewel of a safe, weighing but 800 pounds, yet perfectly burglar and dynamite proof, with chilled-steel bolts, and the latest design of time locks, with dial chronometer, etc. The engraving is very fine, and the cost of the safe was $800.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, January 30, 1890, page 3
The Festive Burglar.
Last Monday morning Jos. Sheridan on going to open his safe at Central Point found that some accommodating rascal had opened it for him the night before, using a stick of dynamite for a key. The injudicious use of this foreign substance had proved the ruin of the safe, the door having been blown completely off its hinges. The contents of the safe were intact with the exception of $300 in coin, which the burglar had appropriated. The rascal was evidently hurried in his departure, as he neglected to discover a $10 bill between the leaves of the day book. The matter was promptly reported to the sheriff, but no clue having been furnished as to the identity of the burglar, no arrests have yet been made.
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, April 24, 1890, page 3
Safe Cracked at Central Point.Central Point is assuming metropolitan frills. It had a safe robbery last Sunday night. The office safe in the hardware store of Sheridan Bros. was blown open about midnight, and the burglars secured about $300 cash which it contained. The job was effectually but not very skillfully done. Too much powder was used and the safe was blown all to pieces, portions of it being driven through the sides of the building, and the rear end of the store building was shattered. An old gentleman living in the nearest house to the store was awakened by the shock and the noise, but was too sleepy to get up and see what was the matter, so the robbery was not discovered till Monday morning. There was no clue to the robbers, but some people think they did not come from a great distance.
Ashland Tidings, April 25, 1890, page 3
Another door will be put in the vault at the courthouse, which has already been received from San Francisco. It will open into the recorder's new office.
"Here and There," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, August 15, 1890, page 3
A. R. Childers of Medford is putting in the door which will lead from the recorder's new office to the main vault.
"Local Notes," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, August 22, 1890, page 3
Recorder Holmes now occupies pleasant quarters in the rooms formerly occupied by Judge Prim, in the northwest corner of the courthouse, which has been neatly arranged for the purpose. A small vault has been built for the accommodation of the county records.
"Here and There," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, September 5, 1890, page 3
Safe Crackers in Ashland.The safe crackers who have been plying their trade at different places in Oregon along the line of the S.P.R.R. have come as far as Ashland, and on Wednesday night gave the people here a sample of their handicraft, and taught us how easy it is for a professional man to go through an ordinary fireproof office safe. At some time after the electric lights were put out Wednesday night the burglars effected an entrance to the post office through he window at the rear end, and apparently had all the time they needed to do their work. they drilled a half-inch hole through the front of the safe near the combination knob and then inserted a strong cold chisel or some tool of that sort and broke off short the shaft which held the tumbler of the lock. This let the lock turn without any difficulty, and they were not compelled to use any powder at all. They obtained about two hundred dollars in cash, but did not take any postage stamps, of which a considerable quantity was in the safe.
When Frank Hammond opened the office in the morning he saw an old purse and the brace the burglars had used lying on the floor, and also found a candle that had given them the light they needed. And then he discovered that the safe had been opened and robbed.
Thus far there is no clue that can lead to the detection or capture of the robbers. They are old hands at the business, and no doubt are safely out of the country with their spoils.
It is not known whether Postmaster Hammond will have to stand any of the loss or not, but a postal inspector will probably be here tomorrow to look up the matter.
(The latest is that the suspicion points strongly to a certain individual who has been in town for a day or two and left yesterday, and that Deputy Sheriff Taylor is on his track.)
Several tramps were searched by Marshal Mayfield at the depot yestermorning, but had nothing suspicious about them.
Ashland Tidings, February 20, 1891, page 3
Safe for Sale.
A first-class Hall's patent fireproof safe, weight 2700 lbs., first cost $250, cheap for cash. Address
M. PURDIN, Medford, Or.
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, March 20, 1891, page 3
Pritchard, the jeweler, last week received direct from the factory a fine new safe for the better protection of his large stock.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, January 1, 1892, page 2
Chas. Strang's new safe is in place in his drug store and is a beauty.
"Local and General," Southern Oregon Mail, September 23, 1892, page 3
A new and much larger safe has been added to the necessary office furniture of the Hotel Medford.
"All the Local News," Medford Mail, July 28, 1893, page 3
A Valuable Addition to Our Bank.
Beekman & Reams this week received one of the finest safes in the state. It is absolutely fire and burglar proof, the manufacturers Herring, Hall and Co. offering a large sum to anyone who can open it in 24 hours. Although not a large safe, it weighs nearly 5000 pounds and cost $1000. It is very solid and made of steel of the best quality, being fitted up with the latest and most improved devices for the safety of the money, bonds, etc. that may be placed in it, including a time lock. The banking house of Beekman & Reames, while always being staunch and reliable financially, now offers better inducements than ever to depositors.
Democratic Times, September 8, 1893, page 3
There is some talk that the county will soon invest in a big safe. There are other things much more necessary than this--repairs on the bridges and roads which are in a bad condition, for instance.
"Local Notes," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, July 7, 1898, page 3
A large safety vault has been provided for the [Medford] bank's treasure and valuable papers. This has cold air ventilation and is positively fireproof. Inside this is a Diebold safe--a double timer, of the best of steel, and burglar proof.
"A New Banking House," Medford Mail, June 23, 1899, page 6
Gold Hill Robbery.
At Gold Hill last Saturday night the building occupied by Reames Bros.' store, and also used by W. T. Reames as a post office, was entered by burglars, who opened the safe and removed therefrom a considerable amount of money. An entrance was effected by breaking out a panel of the door at the rear of the building. After gaining an entrance they proceeded to drill a one-fourth-inch hole in the top of the large fireproof safe. It is thought they used nitroglycerin in their operations, although a few grains of powder were found, but they were accounted for by the probable use of powder in setting of the fuse. The front door of the safe was thrown about eight feet by the explosion, and the inside door was also blown out by explosives, everything indicating that a heavy charge had been used. The robbery was not discovered until early Sunday morning, when the office was opened for business. The private papers of the firm were nearly all destroyed by the explosion. A sack containing $250 in gold dust was undisturbed, as was also $600 worth of postage stamps. The box containing the money order business was broken open and the contents removed, with the exception of a small amount of change, while the box containing stamps and money was rifled and left in the back yard. The drawer containing the firm's money was not found. It is estimated that the burglars took about $337 of the post office funds and at least $50 belonging to Reames Bros.
Sheriff Orme has been following all probable clues but has not been able to locate the robbers.
Medford Mail, August 31, 1900, page 2
Jeweler E. D. Elwood this week received from Portland a fine, large fireproof safe. His new building will soon be ready for occupancy. Mr. Elwood proposes to have one of the neatest jewelry stores in Southern Oregon.
"Additional Local," Medford Mail, May 10, 1901, page 6
Postmaster Merriman has recently put a new safe into the Medford post office--built especially for the accommodation of post office business. It's a big one--and a good one.
"Additional Local," Medford Mail, June 21, 1901, page 6
Burglars broke into W. J. Freeman's harness shop one night last week, but in trying to open the safe broke the knob off the door and gave up the attempt. They first broke into F. A. Hawk's blacksmith shop, where they procured tools. They then entered W. C. Leever's hardware store by removing a pane of glass, robbed the till of $5 or $6 in small change, and took a lot of cartridges which they opened to get the powder with which to open the safe at Freeman's.
"Central Point Items," Medford Mail, August 29, 1902, page 3
Three of our business men received new safes this week, all made by the Hall Safe and Lock Co. They were Pottenger and Cox and Orr and Demmer, who each got a small-sized safe, and Hubbard Bros., who installed one of larger proportions.
"Additional Local," Medford Mail, May 1, 1903, page 6
An up-to-date, modern safe was received by the First National Bank, of Medford Monday. The safe weighs 2,400 pounds.
Medford Mail, June 9, 1905, page 5
New Bank Opens.
The First National Bank of Medford opened its doors for business Thursday morning in the Phipps Building, corner of B and Seventh streets, which will be the temporary home of the bank for some months at least. The office fixtures of the bank are of eastern quarter sawed oak and of neat and tasty design. The railings are set upon a polished marble foundation, and the slabs at the cashier's and paying teller's windows are of the same kind of stone. Two safes of the latest pattern--one of them being of manganese steel, regarded as fire, water and burglar proof--complete the office equipment at present. The bank commences under favorable conditions, and the personnel of its officers gives assurance of its stability. The officers are: William S. Crowell, president; F. K. Deuel, vice-president; M. L. Alford, cashier.
Medford Mail, June 16, 1905, page 4
Grants Pass draymen will have to remove their headgear hereafter when in the presence of Medford draymen. A couple of weeks since, a professional man of that city purchased a very large safe--and a very heavy one it was, too. The professional man's office was in the second story of one of the business blocks. The draymen of that city just naturally said it "couldn't be did"--couldn't get it up there, nohow. Messrs. A. Slover and H. G. Shearer, Medford draymen, were consulted and their services were engaged. They went to Grants Pass on the evening train--and returned the same evening--and presto, and fairy-like, and while they waited, in Grants Pass the safe was landed within the walls of the aforesaid professional man's office.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, October 6, 1905, page 5
Safe Crackers at Grants Pass.
The safe of the Harth Clothing Company at Grants Pass was broken open Friday night and about $140 taken.
Entrance to the store was gained through the back door. The wooden gate in the alley to the rear of the store was tied with a wire to prevent interruption, and the iron doors were pried open with an ax. A hole was cut through another door so that the catch could be turned. A half-inch bit was used on the safe combination. Then a drill was inserted and struck with a hammer, knocking the inside loose and allowing the door to open. Nothing was disturbed except the cash. The safe faced on and was about three feet from the window on the street. The work evidently was done by an expert and there is no clue.
Medford Mail, November 10, 1905, page 1
If a further guarantee of safety from fire and burglars were necessary it is afforded by a massive, manganese steel, burglar-proof safe, with time locks and every modern device for resisting the arts of the most skilled burglar. As yet, criminal history records no instance of the successful plundering of one of these safes.
"First National in New Home," Medford Mail, November 23, 1906, page 1
The Pacific Banker, February 2, 1907
New Safe Installed
The Central Point State Bank received a new fire and burglar proof safe this week and had it installed in the bank Tuesday. The safe is one of the very latest in design of manganese steel fitted with time lock and all the latest improvements. It weighs almost two tons and is as nearly an absolute protection against fire and burglars as it is possible to buy.
Central Point Herald, August 8, 1907, page 1
The Pacific Banker, February 2, 1907
The Pacific Banker, March 28, 1908
The Pacific Banker, March 28, 1908
Mr. Geo. M. Bordeaux, recently from British Columbia, where for several years he has been the general manager of the liquor and cigar department of the Hudson Bay Co., has recently purchased the Murphy & Downing cafe, in Medford, adjoining the Hotel Emerick, and is having the place refitted and improved to such an extent as will make it one of the very neatest and most up-to-date resorts in that city. A new departure in places of this kind is a large fire- and burglar-proof steel safe, in which are provided a number of safety deposit boxes for the use of customers and others who may arrive in the city after banking hours and wish to place their valuables in a safe place overnight. Each box is provided with two keys, both of which are necessary to open it, one being given to the customer and one retained by the proprietor or manager of the house.
Excerpt, Central Point Herald, February 25, 1909, page 1
A large safe weighing 2500 pounds, made by the Hall Safe Co. of Cincinnati, O., was also received yesterday [by the Pacific & Eastern Railroad].
Medford Mail, October 1, 1909, page 1
DOC RYAN MEETS WITH A PAINFUL ACCIDENT
A painful accident occurred to Doc Ryan of Ryan & Brown, at 10 o'clock Wednesday at the Medford [Saloon]. Mr. Ryan had a call to the telephone and in arising to obey the call he in some manner swung the heavy safe door, which caught the middle finger of his right hand, badly smashing the member. While it is believed that amputation will not be necessary, the accident caused Mr. Ryan extreme pain and will put him out of commission for some weeks.
Medford Mail Tribune, November 30, 1910, page 1
The Pacific Banker, April 29, 1911
The Pacific Banker, April 29, 1911
PLOT TO ROB OLD BANK
Pioneer Institution at Jacksonville Was to Have Been Victim of Yeggmen.
Medford Sun: A yeggmen's plot to rob the Bank of Jacksonville, owned by C. C. Beekman, was thwarted the last ten days by the sheriff's office through a "tip" furnished by the Pinkerton Detective Agency of Portland. For the last week men have guarded the building in anticipation of the coming of the safecrackers. As a precautionary move, the largest portion of the money in the safes of the institution and valuable papers were shipped away.
The tip that the bank was to be robbed came first from the Pinkertons at Portland, where the plot was hatched and the details of the raid made. The plans of the robbers, six in number, were told to the detective agency by a man "on the inside." The Pinkertons have charge of the protection of the bank, and sent a man to Jacksonville and laid plans for the capture of the yeggs. Every train reaching this city was also guarded by Pinkertons, to shadow the suspects when they arrived.
As soon as the news became known the sheriff's office placed a guard around the bank. It was intended to keep the news secret, but citizens of Jacksonville were curious to know why armed men were wandering around the building at night, and the information leaked out that a plot to rob the bank was being watched. The sheriff's office admitted last night that they had been guarding the bank for a week and that the money had been shipped away.
The Bank of Jacksonville is one of the oldest and richest financial institutions in the state, and its vaults are generally well laden with gold dust and money. Because of its isolation and the lack of police protection it was viewed by the yeggs as "soft."
Ashland Tidings, March 17, 1913, page 1
SAFE IS DYNAMITED
Star Mercantile Store at Rogue River Burglarized.
Rogue River, April 14.--Two cracksmen dynamited the safe of the Star Mercantile Company at Rogue River at 3 o'clock Friday morning and escaped with $150 in cash. Officers north and south are on the lookout for the men, while Deputy Sheriff Sandry with a posse are on the trail of the men. They made their getaway on a railroad speeder stolen from the section house.
The men made a thorough job of cracking the safe. They fired four charges of dynamite after piling mattresses over and about the safe. The explosions completely wrecked the strongbox, its door being blown a distance of 20 feet. Windows in the store were shattered and goods jarred from the shelves.
J. W. Jacobs, who formerly owned the store, heard the explosions and set about an investigation. He soon determined that the store was being robbed and immediately went for help, summoning Sam Sandry. When they had returned to the scene the men had left.
The cracksmen were traced to the Rogue River depot, where they stole a speeder and escaped. It was first believed they had gone south, but a tramp later in the day stated that a speeder had passed him about 3:30 o'clock going north.
Word was dispatched at once up and down the line and officers notified to keep a lookout for the two men. No description was secured, the only thing left behind being a searchlight which they overlooked in their hurry.
Jacksonville Post, April 19, 1913, page 1
A new $1500 safe has been purchased by the county court for the treasurer's office.
"Local News," Jacksonville Post, November 22, 1913, page 3
The new safe for the county treasurer's office arrived and was installed in the vault this week.
"Local News," Jacksonville Post, December 6, 1913, page 3
YEGGMAN LOOTS MEDFORD LUMBER COMPANY'S SAFEA nimble-fingered crook entered the office of the Medford Lumber Company sometime between Saturday night and Monday morning, and with nothing but his sense of touch and a cold chisel opened the safe, securing $60 in money and two county warrants. The thief solved the combination of the safe and opened the inner drawers with a chisel. The robbery was discovered this morning, and the loss reported to the police.
Employees of the lumber company told Chief Hittson that a man has been coming to the yards every night, they thought to sleep, but that every morning tracks were found about the office door. Therefore the police deduct that the cracksman has been working on the combination for three or four nights, and is an expert safe worker.
The lock of the inner door was punched in with the cold chisel and each door demolished, and the contents searched. One of these drawers is missing. All the valuable papers and notes of the firm were carefully piled by the prowler underneath the safe, where they were found this morning. The safe's interior is a wreck.
The police have no clues, and Chief Hittson issued a warning to all owners of safes in the outer districts to be on guard.
Medford Mail Tribune, January 12, 1914, page 4
MIDNIGHT BATTLE WITH YEGGMEN FOUGHT, TALENT
Jim and Walter Garvin of Talent engaged in a shooting duel Tuesday night about midnight with three yeggs, who were attempting to rob the Talent post office. When discovered the robbers were preparing to crack the safe, and had secured 30 cents left in a money drawer. One of the yeggs cut his hand in leaping through a back window, and this morning a man with his hand tied up was seen going on a freight towards Ashland. The Ashland police were notified.
The Garvins first heard the safecrackers when they were breaking into the S.P. section tool house, where they secured a couple of picks and a sledge hammer. They took their Winchesters and followed the trio. For a time they lost track of their prey, but finally located them hammering away at the post office safe. While they were deciding on a line of action, the lookout of the gang came out from the doorway.
The two watchers ordered him to halt, and he replied with a shot from a six-shooter. The Garvins returned the fire, and seven or eight shots were fired. The two on the inside kicked out a back window and made their escape, being joined by the lookout, who ducked around the side of the building under the Garvin fire. The three ran towards the railroad track and escaped.
The shots woke up the town, and a posse was organized. The police of Medford and Ashland and the sheriff's office were notified and a watch kept for the criminals.
Medford Mail Tribune, June 24, 1914, page 2
Live Tips on Post Office RobbersAshland Tidings, July 27, 1914, page 1
The Talent post office robbers, the Colestin post office and a number of other robberies were partially explained as the result of a confession made by E. R. Erom, the Portuguese who recently robbed the Greek bunkhouse on South Front Street in Medford last week. Erom made the confession in the county jail in Jacksonville Saturday. He stated that he had seen a gang of safebreakers at work preparing liquid nitroglycerine from cracking a safe in the county seat.
Although maintaining that he was not a member of the gang, Erom told where he had seen them, told how they got the powder [sic] and how the preparation was made. That he knew their names he denied. According to Erom the making of the preparation was carried on in a vacant lot in Jacksonville, and it was while the gang was getting prepared to make a haul that he heard them say something of robbing the Beekman Bank. The big haul was set for Thursday night, but nothing materialized. Evidently thinking it too much of a chance in the county seat, the burglars transferred their operations to Gold Hill, where they robbed the Johnson saloon. Since the arrest of Erom five robberies have occurred in the valley.
YEGGMAN'S OUTFIT FOUND BY MEGO
What is believed to be the explosive outfit of safe crackers, consisting of a yard or so of fuse and two boxes of giant powder caps, was found by Chief of Police Mego under the Fruit Association warehouse Sunday morning. Yeggmen use the giant caps to make "soup," which is dynamite in liquid form, and it may have been a gang was getting ready for operations in these parts, and forgot where they hid their material. The explosive is held at the police station. Another theory is that it was hidden by a prospector.
Medford Mail Tribune, September 22, 1914, page 2
The Farmers and Fruitgrowers Bank of this city are remodeling their vault and installing a burglar-proof lining in it. The present vault is too small to accommodate their business, and about twenty feet of additional floor space is being added to it. The entire inside surface of the new vault will be lined with plates of steel [and] charged with electricity at all times, and if any attempt should be made to penetrate the walls, etc., or open the doors of the vault, an instantaneous alarm will be sounded by bell gongs on the street.
"Local and Personal," Medford Sun, April 20, 1915, page 6
YEGGMEN MAKING DYNAMITE SOUP WHEN ARRESTED
Further developments in the cases of Fred Chipp and George Rold, arrested Thursday by the sheriff's office and the police, indicate that they were outfitted for an extensive campaign of criminal operations in the Rogue River Valley and are highly undesirable citizens. A search of their possessions this morning brought to light enough nitroglycerin to blow the business district of Medford to smithereens and a set of steel drills of high-grade texture and penetrating power. They also possessed automatic pistols.ATTEMPT MADE TO ROB SAFE OF F. BUREAU
Though goods belonging to the Robinett store at Central Point and a general merchandise store at Eugene were found in their possession, the police are holding the men for participation in safe-blowing escapades and holdups at Roseburg. Rold was arrested by Sergeant Pat Mego Thursday night after he had tried to sell a pair of shoes on the street. The third member of the gang escaped.
It now develops that when Sheriff Singler and Constable Al Hammond swooped down upon the gang in the Bear Creek "jungles" Thursday morning they were engaged in making "soup," as nitroglycerin is called. "Soup" is the boiled extract of dynamite, the explosive being put in a pan of simmering water. The grease comes to the top and is skimmed off, being emptied with extreme care into small bottles.
The police received a tip that the men were quartered on Bear Creek, but the prey was flushed before all were caught. The gang is thought to have had out peddlers disposing of their stolen goods and collecting data on the location of safes, back doors, etc.
The authorities looked for dugs in the camp of the trio, in the hope that they would find something to connect them with the robbery of the Rogue River bank. The description of one of the arrested men tallies with that of the gent who a week ago held up three operators in the Southern Pacific depot.
The arrested men refuse to talk.
Medford Mail Tribune, June 4, 1915, page 6
BURGLARS RAID SECOND HAND STORE
Burglars entered the Eads second hand store on South Fir Street Friday night and by clever manipulation of the combination of the safe opened the same and secured $4. Razors, knives and a camera were taken by the burglar. The loss was discovered this morning when the store was opened. The fact that the prowler opened the safe causes him to be classed by the police as a clever crook.
Medford Mail Tribune, June 19, 1915, page 2
YEGGS FAIL IN ATTEMPT TO ROB LUMBER VAULT
Yeggs entered the office of the Medford Lumber Company Sunday night and attempted to blow open the safe. They drilled holes in the door and poured in the nitroglycerin, but the explosive was so weak that when discharged it only cracked the door, preventing any entrance. Nothing was in the safe but papers. The attempted robbery was reported to the police this morning.
Excerpt, Medford Mail Tribune, September 6, 1915, page 4
The safe in the Paxson drug store at Central Point was blown open by burglars Wednesday morning, the force of the explosion wrecking the interior of the building. A small amount of money and some jewelry were taken.
"Local News," Jacksonville Post, May 6, 1916, page 3
Cracksmen Make Haul at Phoenix
Cracksmen blew the safe of the Phoenix Mercantile Company and the post office at Phoenix at an early hour Tuesday and got away without leaving a clue with $200 of the company's money, $65 of the post office funds, $18 of the city funds, and $3 of the Phoenix High School students' fund, all of which they obtained from the big safe. They did not take a single one of the large quantity of stamps in the safe, however.
In addition to the other plunder obtained from the safe they took away checks to the value of $43 and a $15 county warrant.
From a smaller safe which was unlocked, as it was broken into some time ago and had never been repaired, the burglars took $12 in gold nuggets and $3.50 in gold dust.
The burglary took place at 3:30 a.m., as at that time the muffled sound of the safe blowing was heard by several residents who did not think anything about it at the time. The burglary was not discovered until Tuesday morning, when the store was opened.
Sheriff Ralph Jennings was notified at once and was soon on the scene. From the investigation he made and the marks on the safe there is no doubt that the cracksmen had to fire three charges of explosive before they got into the inner compartment of the safe.
Entrance was gained to the store by prying open a door and breaking a lock.
There seems to be no doubt in the minds of Sheriff Jennings and others that the work was done by professional cracksmen. Additional color is lent to this theory by the fact that the burglars did not take any stamps, as an attempt to dispose of stamps might lead to detection.
Ashland Tidings, May 14, 1917, page 3
YEGGS BLOW TALENT BANK GET NOTHINGBank robbers made a raid on the Talent State Bank during last night, used explosives in an ineffectual attempt to gain entrance to the vault, blew the lower door of a large safe, but did not try to get into the burglar-proof upper part where the bank's money was kept, nor did they bother to take $70 in pennies which was in the lower safe compartment, and in their haste to get away apparently fearing that the noise of the muffled explosions might have been heard, scattered the pennies right and left over the floor.
Safe Door Blown Off, But Burglar-Proof Compartment and Vault Baffle Early Morning Robbers--$70 in Pennies Are Disregarded--Place Badly Wrecked.
The burglary was not discovered until this morning when the bank opened for business. There is no clue to the yeggs, who it is believed traveled in and out of Talent by auto.
First they broke into the irrigation district warehouse to obtain the quilts and comforters with which they muffled the noise of the explosions. They then visited the railroad section house where they obtained picks and hammers to force an entrance to the bank and for work on the outside of the vault and safe. The service station was also broken into and 15 to 20 gallons of gasoline for their car taken.
After knocking the combinations off the vault and safe and drilling holes into them for the explosives they blew both. Entrance was gained to the outer part of the vault, in which none of the bank's money was kept. The clock in the bank stopped at 3:27 a.m., indicating that that was the time of the explosions. Both the safe and outer compartment of the vault were badly wrecked.
Medford Mail Tribune, March 17, 1921, page 1
STATE BANK OF TALENT VISITED BY BURGLARS
The State Bank of Talent was visited by robbers during the night, and a clean haul of its contents was frustrated by the burglar-proof locks on the safe and vault, as the burglars had ample time to secure all the valuables had they been able to reach them. As it was, the only damage results in the permanent closing of the vault until it is sawed open by an expert, and the blowing open of the bottom of the safe. These damages are covered by insurance.
When Assistant Cashier H. D. Badger opened the doors this morning at the usual hour he was greeted with a rush of acrid fumes of an explosive. A hasty glance about the room revealed the fact that the burglars had been in the building, so before making a further examination he hastened to the residence of Cashier E. B. Adamson, who went to the bank and found a scene of wild disorder in the building.
On taking stock of the damage it was discovered the knob of the combination had been blown or knocked off, and the handle opening the door had also been broken off. By doing this the bolts of the Anakin lock that had lately been installed in the vault were released, and the door was sealed fast, past the opening of outsiders.
Finding the vault could not be opened, it is presumed the intruders next turned their attention to the safe which stands in the bank. This is a burglar-proof steel affair, and a glance would assure anyone that its contents could not be reached, so they apparently decided the only thing to do with securing the contents of that strongbox was to open the door at the base of the safe. This was blown open with a charge of nitroglycerin or some other high explosive, as the inside plate of the door was blown across the room.
If the robbers had expected to secure a rich haul from this aperture they were again disappointed, as the compartment only held a stock of pennies wrapped in rolls, and some papers of the bank. These were not disturbed so far as [is] known today, the robbers evidently being after larger game than this.
In the interior of the bank were a mattress and several quilts owned by the Talent Irrigation Company that had been taken from a storeroom next door. These had undoubtedly been procured to muffle the sound of the explosion. A crowbar recognized as coming from the S.P. section house, a pick, sledgehammer and axe were also left in the bank. The gasoline station at the Talent garage was also broken open, and it is supposed the burglars had stolen gas for an automobile.
Entrance was made through the back door of the bank. This was locked and the key left in the lock as usual last night. When the bank was entered this morning the back door was closed but not latched. The key, which was picked up from a chair near the door, bore marks of having been caught by a sharp instrument which had undoubtedly been inserted in the keyhole and used to turn the key.
The clock in the bank had stopped at 3:26. It is supposed the concussion from the explosion caused the clock to stop, giving credence to the belief the burglary was committed at that hour. As the burglary was not discovered until nearly 9 o'clock this morning the robbers without doubt were by that time many miles away.
While several persons in Talent stated they heard a noise like an explosion sometime during the night, it had failed to alarm anyone, and no one had been apprised of the burglary until Mr. Badger opened the bank door shortly before 9 o'clock. The sheriff was notified immediately of the burglary and sent a deputy up, who has been looking over the scene and doing all that is possible to secure a clue to the robbers. The loss sustained is only that which falls to the vault door and the safe. Owing to the nature of the attempt at robbery the Anakin lock successfully frustrated the opening of the vault where the deposit boxes contained the loot the intruders were undoubtedly after, as that form of burglary was such that the lock only made the door more secure.
While the books are locked up safe and sound in the vault, Cashier Adamson conducted business as usual in the bank today. He has sent for a safebreaker to open the vault, and this will be done as soon as the latter arrives. Photographer B. H. Hinthorne went down to Talent this morning and took a photograph of the blown-up safe.
Ashland Weekly Tidings, March 23, 1921, page 2
According to Ralph Jennings, Jackson County sheriff, who was a visitor in this city this morning, an attempt was made sometime during the night to rob the Farm Bureau Office in Medford. Jennings was in Ashland searching the railroad yards for a man likely to have committed the burglary.
The safe in the office was badly wrecked by the burglar, according to Jennings, but it is not known as yet whether the robbery was successful, since the Farm Bureau officials have not as yet been able to open their safe.
The dial was badly smashed, and the handle on the safe knocked off, according to Jennings. It appears that some nitroglycerin was used in the robbery, but it was not exploded. A substance that the officers believe might have been used to hold the "soup" in place was found on the outside of the safe when the robbery was discovered. For this reason the insurance men who have viewed the safe declared it dangerous to open it, for it is their belief there may be some of the nitroglycerin in the container. An expert will be sent for to open the safe.
According to the Farm Bureau officials, there was little of value in the safe, since most of the money was banked last yesterday afternoon.
Ashland Daily Tidings, January 20, 1925, page 1
BURGLAR BUSTS INTO 2 SAFES OF CITY FIRMS
A burglar, believed to have been the same man who attempted to rob the Farm Bureau office in Medford Monday night, last night entered two establishments in Ashland and attempted to enter safes in those places.
At the Fruit and Produce office, the knob of the safe was knocked off, but as yet it is not known whether the burglar was successful in entering the safe, since the officers have as yet been unable to open the safe. The same action was taken at the office of Swift and Company, where again the knob was knocked off the safe door.
Ashland Daily Tidings, January 20, 1925, page 1
Medford Banks Burglar Proof
Expensive System Being Installed
Vault Robbery Now Impossible
It doesn't pay to be a burglar.
Particularly unprofitable, robbery percentages show, is the gentle art of taking something that doesn't belong to you from a bank. The stickup game is virtually impossible in modern protected banks like those of Medford, and in this city the night thief who attempts to work a vault combination or open a safe by force will in the future have no chance of getting anything but a stiff jail sentence.
Big city banks have practically all installed a highly sensitive electric alarm system manufactured in Minneapolis. This device, it has been proved, makes safe and vault robberies an absolute impossibility.
Three of Medford's banks this month will be able to announce installation of this alarm system, the average cost of which is $3000. The night marauder cannot even slightly move a combination knob without sending a circuit message to the police and to the community by means of a great warning gong.
Placement of the system in the Medford National, Jackson County and First National banks provides for a double steel plate, and between them a tinfoil to carry three separate wire circuits. After being set off, the gong rings for 15 minutes, and automatically resets itself and sounds anew if further attacks are made.
E. H. Hauptvogle, in charge of the three local installations, says that an expert cracksman cannot get to the contents of a vault without giving himself away. "One-thousandth of an ampere power turns in the alarm," declared the mechanician. The entire system is electrically controlled, and the eight-day clock with its batteries is so effective that were an outside cable or wire to be cut the gong would ring incessantly. It is impossible, said Hauptvogle, to put the gong out of business.
In Medford, a city of 10,000, several millions in cash and securities rest in deposit boxes. With the three installations, complete protection is now given at all four Medford banks.
Banking places in this city have the finest homes of any city on the coast under 25,000 population. Insurance companies value one of the structures at $142,000. Before long, it is predicted, Medford's four banks will have total deposits of $5,000,000.
Jackson County News, March 12, 1926, page 1
The Gates Auto Company has moved its office to the center front room of their building and has installed the latest steel furniture, including filing cases, desks and counters, and have put in a new safe to match. This change was made to keep in touch with increasing business and for convenience and economy.
"Personals," Medford Mail Tribune, July 9, 1926, page 3
SAFE BLOWERS ARE BUSY IN MEDFORD
Three business places were visited by thieves Wednesday night, according to police headquarters. The safe at the Trowbridge Cabinet Works was broken open, seven dollars and a half and a pearl-handled knife taken. Nothing of value was taken from the Trowbridge Iron Works except some tools, which were afterward found at Semon's cement plant on North Riverside Avenue, where a safe was also looted and $68.45 stolen. The robberies were discovered early Thursday morning, and police notified. Local authorities believe thefts to be from transients.
Jackson County News, September 17, 1926, page 1
Armistice night Brown's Electric Shop on South Bartlett was entered and the safe broken open and robbed of $80. Entrance was gained through a side window.
Shortly before four o'clock Sunday morning Rankin Estes' place on South Front Street was entered and the safe blown open. Entrance was gained by boring holes in a panel of a rear door and forcing the panel out. The work was evidently the work of amateurs, as a gigantic charge of explosives was used, blowing an inner door and box of the safe clear through into the barber shop in the rear. It also broke out the window in the front of the store. An army overcoat was used as a muffler and had a large hole shot through it. About $2,000 was in the safe. Bills and checks were scattered all over the floor and shot to bits, so evidently the robbers did not get very much of the contents of the safe. The explosion awoke guests of the Nash Hotel adjoining the building and was also heard by the night help in Bob's Restaurant on West Main Street.
Bliss Heine, "News Notes from Medford," Central Point American, November 19, 1926, page 5
SAFE BLOWER TELLS STORY
Premature Explosion Caused Injury--Shields Elder Brother
GRANTS PASS, Oct. 24--Special--Broken by physical pain and mental torture, as he was held in solitary confinement in the Josephine County jail, Henry Carr, charged with the attempted robbery of the Golden Rule store here on October 13, yesterday made a complete confession of the ill-fated affair.
In his confession he attempted to shield his brother, Raymond, saying the latter slept while he placed the "soup" and attempted to loot the safe. Premature explosion of [a] charge of nitroglycerin wrecked his plans.
The accident happened, according to the story told by Harry to authorities, when the nitroglycerin had been poured into the cavity behind the dial, which had been loosened by blows with a hammer. The injured man is alleged to have said that he believed he must have pushed against the dial with his hand while soaping the cracks and exploded the nitro prematurely.
The blast spun Harry around several times, according to his reported confession, and he was unable to tell whether he had been shot by a night watchman or under what circumstances he had been stunned. After a few minutes, so his alleged confession goes, he began to understand that the burst of exploding nitroglycerin had caused his injury.
The hand which had received the brunt of the explosion, according to Harry, was bleeding profusely and caused him pain. He dragged himself upstairs and found a blanket in which he wrapped his hand. Then he found his way, he said, to the hotel room where his brother was sleeping, so the reported confession of the accident goes.
Following the entrance of the injured man into the bedroom of the brother, Raymond is reported to have seen his predicament and assisted Harry in reaching Roseburg. The two brothers drove their own car as far as that city, trying to reach Portland, Harry is reported to have said.
The nitroglycerin used to blow up the safe was secured, according to the alleged confessed burglar, by boiling some giant powder sticks and retaining the residue of almost pure nitroglycerin. This peculiar substance is easily exploded by concussion, and according to Sheriff Lister, when warm it is more sensitive than when cold. His theory of the premature explosion is that the nitro had become warm in Harry's pocket and had been especially sensitive.
Ashland Daily Tidings, October 24, 1929, page 2
Farmer's Fruitgrowers Bank Building Sold;"There was gold in that safe--raw gold and coined gold which made men feel rich and secure in the early 1900s," the man said.
Old 'Gold Safe" Remains Unopened in Vault
By EVA HAMILTON
Mail Tribune Staff Writer
He was looking at the round contraption, slightly resembling an old washing machine, which stands today presumably empty and abandoned within the vault at the Farmers and Fruitgrowers Bank Building at the [northwest] corner of West Main and Grape Streets in Medford.
The building was vacated last weekend when sold to Pacific Power & Light Company by Bayard Getchell of Medford and his sister, Mrs. Valerie Howell of Honolulu.
Its tenants, Beatty and McDougal Insurance and R. W. Dean Lumber Company, are now comfortably located across the corner at 134 W. Main St.
They didn't use the gold safe during the more than 20 years they were located in the bank building. They didn't have the combination to open it, Robert C. Beatty explained.
What is to become of the safe made of manganese steel and copper-jacketed to defy all bank robbers' tools, past and present--the file, the drill and the torch--no one chooses to say.
Getchell, whose father, the late Delroy Getchell, was president of the bank for many years, only knows that when the bank was sold to U.S. National Bank after his father's death, the new owners of the bank properties were not interested in the "gold safe." They knew of a number of them in the state, Getchell said. So the safe remained in the vault when the building was rented to other tenants.
They couldn't have taken it through the door, anyway, according to Roland W. Dean, who assumes that the vault was built around the very heavy safe.
Getchell recalls that it went off the blocks once and getting it back on was a major project which caused the whole building to shake.
Getchell is convinced there is no gold in it now. His father had great respect for gold and the gold standard. He was very unhappy when gold was called in during the Roosevelt administration, but he responded to the call. The safe held gold and currency, never silver. The copper jacket made it torchproof, because copper absorbs the heat.
The Farmers and Fruitgrowers Bank opened in Medford as the city's fourth bank Dec. 23, 1909, according to an advertisement in the Mail Tribune. Gold safes were used by most banks when gold was in circulation. Dean remembers a smaller model which was placed in the window of the First National Bank when it was located on South Central Avenue. It is now in the Olsen Confectionery at Eagle Point after a series of ownerships.
From the bank it was moved to Johnson's Jewelry Store on East Main Street, owned and operated by the late Johnny Johnson. Goetz Lumber Company was its next owner. The lumber company sold to Red Blanket Lumber Company, and that company sold the safe to the City of Eagle Point.
According to Jake Olsen, who now uses the impregnable device for safekeeping of money and other valuables, the city staff couldn't get the safe to work. He took it apart, cleaned it and put it back together again. The safe has two dials and two time clocks and he got them all back into efficient operation.
Like the safe reposing in the vacated building in Medford, it is made of manganese steel, copper-jacketed. The man who moved the safe for Olsen estimated it weighed 6,000 pounds. Olsen considers it a "very valuable safe." To make one like it today, he volunteered, would cost a fortune. He has had it for about six years.
Excerpt, Medford Mail Tribune, December 14, 1968, page 3
ATTEMPT TO ROB CREAMERY SAFE
An attempted safe blowing at the Gold Seal Creamery last night resulted in a badly damaged safe and the loss of two dollars from the office till, police reported today. The safe door was battered as a result of efforts to break it open, and drilling was necessary to open it this morning. No clues were left behind, authorities said.
Medford Mail Tribune, March 30, 1930, page 2
Two men entered the Medford Domestic Laundry building on North Riverside through a rear door, came into the front office and rolled out a small iron safe, which they loaded into a car and drove away. The safe was made in 1852 and is of an old-fashioned type requiring a key to open, having no combination. There was no money in the steel box, and its contents consisted of books and office records.
Officers found tracks of two men leading from the laundry to a car in a camp ground at the rear of the building. The burglary was discovered about 2:30 a.m.
The laundry was notified this afternoon that the safe was located along a country road between Medford and Eagle Point, where it had been left as the burglars forced the door open and did not find the money they expected. The strongbox was one of the first to be brought into southern Oregon and for years was in use at the old Beekman Bank in Jacksonville. It was being kept at the laundry office more as a relic than for its safety service.
"Burglaries in Medford Over Night," Medford Mail Tribune, May 14, 1931, page 1
HEAVY SAFES ARE MOVING PROBLEM FOR COURTHOUSE
All county offices Saturday were in the midst of moving into the new courthouse. Business went along as usual despite the disorder and the hubbub. The chief problem in the moving is the handling of the heavy safes and vaults. Eads Brothers were busy all day Friday moving the safe in the treasurer's office. The safe in the clerk's office also promises to be a difficult job because of its size and weight.
Excerpt, Medford Mail Tribune, August 21, 1932, page 5
Nitroglycerin poured through the cracks of the safe door at the Southern Pacific railway station at Gold Hill last night failed to jar the safe open, foiling the would-be thieves who also raided two other Gold Hill establishments in a series of depredations which bear marked similarity to a raid conducted on the same three places on May 27 of this year.
At about 2:00 o'clock this morning, Gold Hill residents heard a blast in the neighborhood of the railroad station, but believed it to be thunder. This morning it was discovered that the door had been "jimmied," and the safe tampered with.
"Three Gold Hill Places Entered, Safe Blast Fails," Medford Mail Tribune, July 22, 1935, page 1
YEGGS TRY AGAIN TO OPEN S.P. SAFE
On the night of July 16, 1936 unidentified marauders broke into the office of the Southern Pacific freight depot on Front Street here, and hopelessly damaged the heavy steel safe in an effort to get to the contents. The safe had to be sent to San Francisco for repairs before it could be used again.
Last night the freight office was again broken into, and a steel crowbar used in an effort to jimmy the repaired strongbox. The combination lock handle was battered half off, but the intruder, or intruders, were frightened away before their job was completed or else gave up in disgust.
The joke, if there is any, is on the persistent crook. Southern Pacific officials announced today that the safe is not used as a money depository, but merely as a fireproof box in which to keep valuable papers, which, however, are valuable only to themselves.
Medford Mail Tribune, October 30, 1936, page 1
Groceteria Market Safe Broken Open by Stolen Torch
An estimated $2,000 to $3,000 was stolen from the safe at the Groceteria Food Market, 200 West Sixth Street, early today.
City police, and Bill Gates, Groceteria corporation president, said the theft was made possible by another earlier burglary. The unknown thieves stole a large acetylene cutting torch from the A. Z. Dean Motor Company across the street, and used it to "crack" the Groceteria safe.
Use Hand Truck
In reconstructing the crime, police and Gates said the thieves apparently took the safe from the store office to a heavily insulated cooling room on a hand truck. The same truck was used to carry the cutting torch equipment from the Dean establishment to the Groceteria. [A close examination of the photos reveals the hand truck is the one normally used to transport the tanks around the garage; the safe was likely rolled to the cooler on its casters.]
The thieves broke into Dean's through a window and into the Groceteria by climbing a telephone pole to the roof and coming down an air vent, police said.
The safe's normal location in the store office. Click on the images for a larger view.
Not 'Safe Men'
The burglars apparently were not "safe men," Gates said, because they attempted to cut the safe's door off at the hinges, and were unable to break through. Then they cut through the outer metal wall of the safe and chiseled through three inches of concrete to the inner wall, cutting that with the torch. The insulated walls of the room kept the noise of the operation from reaching the street, police believe.
Gates estimated the burglars were in the building several hours, and they apparently snacked on the store's food supplies during the "job."
The scene of the crime. The safe is visible lying on its side just beyond the tanks,
its casters to the right.
The hole in the concrete side of the safe. The cylinder on the left is the handle of a
hatchet; a bushel basket is visible on the right.
He added that he could "only estimate" the amount taken, and an audit was being made this morning to determine the exact amount of loss. The safe and its contents were covered by insurance, he said.
"Tubby" Dean, proprietor of the firm from which the torch was taken, added insult to injury today. He sent Gates a bill for 30 cents to pay for the acetylene gas used by the safecrackers.
Medford Mail Tribune, November 6, 1951, page 1
A. Z. "Tubby" Dean, left, receives his 30-cent check from Bill Gates. The sign on the safe
reads "They expected T-bone steaks but found only cheap inflation money." This photo
ran in the Groceteria's ad in the Mail Tribune on November 9, 1951.
Safe Blown Open But 2 Suspects Nabbed
The big walk-in safe at the Mason Ehrman & Co. warehouse and office on Sage Rd. was blown open and robbed last night.Two Men Held Here Admit Part in 140 Safe Jobs, Burglaries
Two men, brothers, were arrested shortly thereafter and are being held in connection with the crime. Between $800 and $1,000 in currency was taken, but has been recovered.
The men were apprehended by the combined efforts of state and city police and sheriff's deputies. One shot was fired before the men were arrested, but no one was wounded.
Salesman Makes Report
The crime was discovered when Elmer Dowery Hampson, 911 Dakota St., a Mason Ehrman salesman, returned to the office late in the evening to slip some sales orders through a slot in the office door. He saw smoke in the office, and the open safe.
Hampson returned to North Central Ave. and telephoned officers at 11:50 p.m. State police immediately dispatched four officers and notified city police, who were just changing shifts and sent seven men, and the sheriff's office, who sent two deputies.
The officers surrounded the building. The two men, apparently seeing the patrol cars approaching, went up on the roof of the building. Police said they were armed with a .22 caliber rifle, but did no shooting.
Shot Fired in Air
An officer fired one shot in the air as the men ran when police approached. After that they gave up with no further resistance. They were taken into custody at 12:42 a.m.
They are being questioned this morning and are lodged in the county jail. The big safe door was blown open with the use of dynamite powder. The smaller safe inside was "punched," that is, the dial was knocked off and the door opened with a sledge hammer.
The suspects are identified as Glen Eugene Crow, 31, and his brother, Delbert Lee Crow, 33, both of Carthage, Mo.
Medford Mail Tribune, July 20, 1955, page 1
Delbert Lee and Glenn Eugene Crow, held in the Jackson County jail, have admitted in signed statements that they are part of a seven-man gang that has taken part in some 140 safe jobs and burglaries in southwest Missouri.
Law enforcement officers estimate that property damage and value of articles taken by the gang is more than $500,000.
The Crows were captured here by state and city police and sheriff's deputies while blowing the big walk-in safe at the Mason Ehrman & Co. warehouse north of Medford on July 20. They had taken between $800 and $1,000.
Sheriff Howard Gault, with sheriffs Glenn Hendrix and George Hickam of Green and Jasper counties, Mo., are continuing interrogation of the brothers this afternoon. The Missouri lawmen arrived here Saturday.
Glenn Crow, 31, is tagged the "brains" of the smooth-running Crow-McCarthy gang of the Midwest state. The seven in the past years have pulled 140 safe and burglary thefts in Missouri alone.
Included in the gang's escapades are a $7,000 jewelry store robbery in Joplin, Mo. and a $3,300 supermarket safe-blowing in Lamar, Mo.
One of the seven is now in Folsom Prison, two are free on bond in Missouri, and two are still at large.
Hendrix and Hickam said the gang always manages to eat and drink some milk while pulling a job. "Some lunch meat or empty milk bottles are left at the scene," Sheriff Hickam declared, "and I know it's them."
Use Warning System
The gang operates with a train of three or four autos, sometimes making several trips to cart away their merchandise. Delbert Crow, 33, is a radio technician and devised a walkie-talkie warning system.
He stands outside the place being looted, and when a prowl car or beat policeman appears promptly notifies his cohorts inside by radio. When all is clear, he gives them the word and they go back to work.
The three sheriffs say that one of the two Crow brothers has been in on every one of the 140 burglaries, and both of them on most of the jobs.
The two brothers pled guilty to the theft Wednesday and await sentence from the circuit court.
Medford Mail Tribune, August 1, 1955, page 1
Stolen Safe Found by Creek
By MRS. SAM ELLIOTT
Gold Hill--On April 8, Mr. and Mrs. Harold Allen, Mr. and Mrs. John Wisley and family, and Mr. and Mrs. George Evans and family, Central Point; Mrs. Geneva Clark and children, and Mrs. Verna Martin and family, Grants Pass, met at the home of Mr. and Mrs. George Smith on Sardine Creek to go prospecting.
Just below the Smith home, Allen saw something across the safe that looked like a safe. It was, and proved to be the safe stolen from the Greyhound bus depot in Grants Pass April 3.
Many important papers were found intact, plus a few pennies missed by the thief.
Medford Mai Tribune, April 13, 1956, page 3
Rogue River Times, December 15, 1956, page 1
Rogue River Times, January 11, 1957, page 10
Last revised March 18, 2021