Melvin Bank Building Badly Damaged
A number of Melvin people believe the guilty parties do not live more than a thousand miles from Hartley. It was the work of amateurs and coarse work at that. Several ounces of nitro glycerin were found back of the bank building; enough to blow up every bank in northwest Iowa. In Allendorf, it was rumored the robbers were the ones that cut the rope to the fire bell before they commenced operation on the bank.
Sibley Gazette - January 7, 1909
Burglars gained an entrance into the First National Bank of Melvin last Thursday morning. Melvin people were aroused at half past two by three distinct explosions. Marshal A. L. Blackmore and Henry Bangert were the first men to get down town. From the front of his cream station, Mr. Blackmore noticed a man in front of the bank building. He shot at him three times and the fellow finally crawled on his hands and knees into the bank. The burglars made their exit through a rear door and ran north through Keller's pasture. A hand car which they evidently made use of was found at Hartley.
Another charge of nitro glycerin had been placed on the inside safe. The outside door of the vault or safe had been blown off and interior of bank badly damaged. The entire glass front of the building was badly wrecked by the terrific explosions. The damage to the building and interior will amount to about $1,000, fully covered by insurance.
Before any explosions were heard, Harm Jobes passed a fellow in front of the bank. Thinking he was drunk, leaning against the bank he paid no attention to him. He entered his store two doors east and while there heard the three explosions. There were at least for men in the gang.
Banker Romey had great difficulty in getting some one at Hartley by telephone. The burglars had gone but a few minutes when he telephoned all the surrounding towns. The Hartley operator claimed he could not get any of the bankers or police force. It was fully an hour before the authorities knew anything about it in Hartley.