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

Left to Right: Harry Goeglein, Walter Rowden, Neil Olson, Frank Towle, Clinton Hurd

Photo courtesy of Lincoln Journal Star

1933 Traffic Unit

Officer Charles Wilson and Leon Towle

Courtesy of Darlene Towle Pettit

1934 commission

Issued by the City of Lincoln for Henry Worster to be a special officer
Signed by W. Condit, Chief of Police

1938 LPD Composite

Chief of Police Walter Anderson

June 6, 1939

On the front bumper of Engine No 1, two handguns were fastened to a board and pointed to the ground. At a given speed, the police officer riding in the seat would give the fire apparatus driver a command to stop, and at the same time he would fire one of the hand guns from his seat. The hand gun was loaded with a chalk charge and would leave a mark on the pavement. After the rig was completely stopped, the officer would fire one more charge. They would measure the distance between the chalk marks to determine the required stopping distance. This was done to partially fulfill requirement to promote a firefighter to driver. Wm. Van Landingham firefighter driver, Lt. Bennet in the passenger seat and Officer Harbaugh on the motorcycle.

Photo and information courtesy of the Lincoln Fire Department