April 27, 1928: Bandits pull off double toll-booth robbery on Interstate Bridge in less than five minutes

On this day in Duluth in 1928, the Duluth News Tribune reported that bandits had held up the toll collectors at either end of the Interstate Bridge. The double robbery was the fifth hold-up in Duluth in less than two weeks; the other three were at filling stations. The paper reported that the “holdup men worked with remarkable precision and with such speed that both Superior and Duluth police were unable to trace them even after finding their stolen car where it had been abandoned at 700 Garfield Avenue” just north of the bridge. Toll collector McKenzie Reed explained to the paper that a coupe pulled up to his booth at the end of Rice’s Point from Garfield Avenue at 9:45 p.m. When he thrust his hand out for the toll, he “was greeted with a revolver held in one of the robber’s hands.” They had Reed empty the money changer and his pockets then sped toward Superior; Reed explained it took him some time to recover before he phoned police. As soon as they reached Superior, the bandits turned around on Hammond Avenue and headed back to Duluth, stopping at the toll booth on the Superior side and then robbed collector Riley Hendricks exactly as they had Reed. They then sped over the bridge to Duluth and ditched the car. The whole thing took less than five minutes. It was estimated that the bandits made off with over $100, worth about $1,300 today. The newspaper hypothesized that if the bridge operator could have been signaled that a robbery was in progress, he could have opened the bridge’s center swing span, trapping the bandits’ car. You can read more about the history of the Interstate Bridge here.

The Interstate Bridge, which connected Duluth and Superior ca. 1900. (Image: Zenith City Press)

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