Tag Archives: Bank of Bradley

Second Bank Robbery, 1990 (Part 2 of 2)

The last time the Bank of Bradley was robbed was on Monday, July 23, 1990.  Better than any summary of the events that I could write is the following article from the Lafayette County Democrat of July 26, 1990.  It is reprinted here by permission.

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BRADLEY BANK ROBBED; SUSPECTS AT LARGE

The Bank of Bradley was robbed around noon Monday, with two armed black males entering the bank and demanding money.  The suspects fled and after being fired at by Lane Pierce, bank president, dropped the money and disappeared into a wooded area.

According to Mike Loe, State Police CID investigator in Magnolia, the robbery occurred at approximately 12:35 p.m.

“Two black males entered the bank, one of them produced a gun, and had one of the tellers place an undetermined amount of money in a pillow case,” Loe said in an interview Monday afternoon in Bradley.

“They exited the bank, and bank president Lane Pierce fired.  They dropped the pillow case,” he continued.

At the time of the interview, Loe said the pillow case containing the cash had been recovered but authorities had not yet counted the money.

Pierce reported that the two suspects entered the front door of the bank holding pistols, and said, “This is a hold-up.”

“I was in my office way away from it,” he noted.

“They were real nervous,” he added.  “They were trying to tell the teller to find them some money.  We had some tellers gone to lunch and their drawers were locked.”

Pierce reported that the suspects shoved one of the tellers to the floor, but she was not injured.

“They went out the front,” Pierce continued.  “I was in my office and I have a back door.  I had a small pistol.

“I thought they might come down this side and sure enough, they did,” he continued.  “I fired and they dropped the money.”  The two men continued north and were believed to be hiding in a wooded area near Bradley.

A truck parked alongside the street, across from the bank, caught one of the shots.

Pierce said that he had been president of the Bank of Bradley for the past 15 years, and this was the first robbery during that time.

Unconfirmed rumors Monday afternoon had the men wearing masks and clear plastic gloves during the robbery.  It was rumored that the two men had broken into the Bradley Clinic prior to entering the bank, where they had stolen some clear disposable surgical-type gloves.

Monday afternoon members of the Lafayette County Sheriff’s Office, Miller County Sheriff’s Office, Arkansas State Police, Lewisville City Police, Bradley City Police and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission assembled in Bradley to assist in the man hunt.

Railroad employees working the area were alerted to the situation, and warned to be on the lookout for the two suspects.

Bloodhounds were brought in from Wade Correctional Institute in Haynesville, La.

It was reported that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had been called in. 

They Robbed The Bank! Twice! (Part 1 of 2)

The Bank of Bradley was robbed twice, first in 1938 and then again in 1990.  Despite being separated by the span of fifty-two years, both robberies shared a common feature:  The escaping robbers in both cases were fired upon by the ranking member of bank management present at the time. The first robbery occurred on Monday, June 6, 1938.  The following are excerpts from a contemporaneous newspaper article.  The name of the newspaper is not known.  Apparently, the article was updated with new developments as they became available.

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“THREE BANDITS ROB BRADLEY, ARK., BANK AND FLEE WITH $685 Three men held up the Bank of Bradley, 50 miles north of Shreveport at 9:10 a.m. today, and fled in a fusillade of shots with $685.25.  The bandits overlooked approximately $2,000.

Jack Meek, assistant cashier, who was alone in the bank at the time, said the bandits headed south on the Shreveport highway in a maroon-colored Ford two-door sedan of 1938 model, with Louisiana license plates.

Sheriff Oce Griffin of Lewisville, Ark., who was in Bradley at the time, immediately telephoned a report of the robbery to the sheriff’s office at Benton, La., south of Bradley on the Shreveport highway and deputies were posted along the route the bandits had taken.

The fleeing bandits were reported to have headed south to Leila, just across the Louisiana line and just north of the village of Bolinger, and to have turned east toward Spring Hill or Cotton Valley.  A description of one of the bandits was furnished officers by Meek, who said he did not see the two confederates except for fleeting glances.

As the gunmen departed, Meek said he opened fire on their car with a .12 gauge sawed-off shotgun, but did not know whether he hit the car or its occupants.

. . .

Search for three gunmen who robbed the Bank of Bradley (Ark.) of $685.85 entered Caddo parish Tuesday afternoon after the Sheriff’s office at Benton reported finding the bandits’ abandoned automobile on the Shreveport road near Plain Dealing.

The abandoned car, a maroon-colored Ford sedan of 1938 model, had numerous gunshot holes in the rear of it, officers said, indicating a shotgun blast from the bank’s cashier had struck the car.

Officers immediately sounded a warning for lookouts in Caddo and Bossier parishes, saying the gunmen had transferred to a green Oldsmobile sedan and had probably turned from the Shreveport road at Swindle’s station to ferry across Red River for Belcher.

. . .

Louisiana state highway police headquarters here said today they believed Floyd Hamilton, escaped Texas convict, was one of the bandits who robbed the Bradley (Ark.) State Bank Tuesday morning of $685.25.”

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The newspaper story itself is not consistent in specifying the amount of money taken, mentioning $685.25 twice and $685.85 once.  One of the more interesting facets of the article is that it mentions an initial suspicion that the robbers were headed to Spring Hill or Cotton Valley, and later mentions that they were headed to Belcher, in the opposite direction.

Floyd Hamilton was, indeed, one of the robbers.  He was assisted by Ted Walters and Jack Winn.  Both Hamilton and Walters were alumni of none other than the Bonnie (Parker) and Clyde (Barrow) Gang.  By 1938, though, Bonnie and Clyde had already met their demise.  Also a member of the Bonnie and Clyde Gang was Floyd Hamilton’s brother, Raymond Hamilton, who had met his own demise in the Texas electric chair three years earlier.

Floyd Hamilton and Ted Walters were both convicted in federal court in Fort Smith of robbing the Bank of Bradley, and both served time in Alcatraz.  Both attempted, unsuccessfully, to escape from there in 1943.  At some point, Floyd saw the error of his ways, was paroled, and was eventually pardoned by President John F. Kennedy. 

There is no shortage of material on the internet concerning Hamilton and Walters.  About 2 months later, on August 12, 1938, they robbed the Coca-Cola Bottling Plant in Nashville, Arkansas.  (texashideout.tripod.com/hamwalters.html)  The day after that, they were almost shot and captured in Sevier County, Arkansas.  (angelfire.com/journal/dqueen/hamilton/html)  Both these sites specifically mention the Bank of Bradley caper.

More Notes on Old Post Office-Bank Building

Shown below is an image of the Bank of Bradley portion, mostly, of this building, taken on an overcast winter’s day in 1975, three years before it was demolished:

120510 Bradley landmarks 75 B

And here is a photo taken much earlier in front of the Bank, showing the lettering on the windows:

009 A

The two young ladies in the photo are Thomasene Jester and Ruth Joy Jackson.  The photo is courtesy of Mrs. Marjorie Bishop.

Two items from the old Bank of Bradley are now in the Cochran museum:  the “Bank” sign above the front door and part of the door to the vault, which was mentioned in the article in the previous post on this site.

DSC00038 A

DSC00041 A

Incidentally, Jack Meek, who was assistant cashier at the time the Bank was robbed in 1938, gave a newspaper interview in 1990 which casts doubt on part of the “Big Store No More” article.  According to him, the robbers forced him into the vault, but he was able to release himself before firing on the robbers as they made their escape.