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Denton Community
Historical Society


Cortland Robbery

Robbers Get $1,845 At Farmers State Bank at Cortland 

Monday, April 6, 1925, three men robbed the Farmers State Bank at Cortland in the early afternoon. Two men entered the bank while a third man sat in the car with the engine running. The two men who entered the bank carried automatic guns in the palms of their hands. Cashier Frank Miltenberger and Vice President Fred Hartwig were at work in the bank at 1:10 PM when the door opened and two men came in. The two men were not noticed until they walked through the cashierís office and behind the railing. 

The robber said they wanted the money. Mr. Frank Miltenberger argued with them and told them they couldnít get away with that. One of the men replied, "We have gotten away with it before and we can do it again if necessary." The men then showed their guns. They ordered Mr. Fred Hartwig away from the counter and to sit down. 

Because he was moving slowly, they pushed him into a chair. They then ordered the two bank employees into the vault. The robbers made it clear that they didnít want securities, they wanted money only. The robbers scooped up the cash, tied it in a heavy canvas sack and then said that they were sorry, but they had to do it. 

They ordered Mr. Frank Miltenberger and Mr. Fred Hartwig from the vault. They told the two men to put on their hats, walk out quietly, get in the car and cause no disturbance. The robbers had the two bank employees in front of them. 

As they walked out of the bank, they met John Trumble, a Lincoln insurance agent, who was entering the bank to see Mr. Miltenberger. One of the robbers put the automatic gun against Mr. John Trumbleís ribs and told him to get in the car with them. Mr. John Trumble quietly got in the gray Buick. People on the street didnít notice the robbers taking the three men away. 

The gray Buick started away at a normal speed and never went over 25 miles an hour. The car stopped and waited for a Ford car to pass. Then the three men were let out of the car. The robbers shook their hands and told them to look the other way while they drove out of sight. They escaped with $1,845. 

Half a mile north of where the men were let out of the robbers car was a cross road. To the east was Firth and to the west was Hallam. Because of the hill the three men could not see whether the car continued north toward Lincoln or went east or west. Mr. Fred Hartwig ran to a farm house to call for help. Mr. Frank Miltenberger and Mr. John Trumble caught a ride to Cortland. 

Just before the robbery the gray Buick had arrived in Cortland about 12:30 PM. The men stopped at the garage just west of the bank. Water was put in the car but it leaked. The garage man was asked to tighten the packing around the pump. He did this and sold the driver five gallons of gasoline for $1.25. The garage man said it was a 1921 Buick. None of the men had been seen around Cortland before. This robbery was exactly like the robbery of the Normal State Bank and the bank at Bethany that were held up in the fall of 1924. 

NE State Journal, Tues April 7, 1925, page 1, columns 7- 8; page 5, columns 1-4.

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Denton Community Historical Society of Nebraska