November 24, 1920: Superior bank robbery suspects arrested in Omaha

On this day in 1920, suspects in a Superior bank robbery were captured in Omaha, Nebraska. The alleged bandits were suspected of holding up the Superior State Bank on November 16, making off with $7,070—but it could have been much more if it weren’t for quick-witted bookkeeper Nell Mulligan. Mulligan, 22, had defied the robbers orders to go into the vault with other bank employees and customers while they ransacked the bank. Instead, she hid in the washroom. As the crooks were gathering cash, she loudly slammed the washroom door. The robbers mistakenly thought the police had arrived and fled, leaving behind several thousand dollars. Mulligan than promptly phoned the police, who thought her quick thinking would make arresting the robbers a snap, but they soon lost all trace of them. The bandits hadn’t crossed to Duluth—an accident between a streetcar and a Duluth police car carrying acting DPD interim chief Anthony Fiskett as he responded to the bank robbery prevented any passage over the Interstate Bridge. Superior police held two men from Spooner—farmer John Hempstad and storekeeper Walter Biggs—who had been arrested at Duluth’s St. Louis Hotel. Mulligan and other bank employees were called in to identify them, but couldn’t say for certain they were the bandits. It was Hemstad’s first visit to Duluth, and he told the Duluth News Tribune that his arrest “surely was a fine greeting accorded me.” Meanwhile, in Omaha, local police decided to round up some “usual suspects” after a series of hold ups and burglaries. The Omaha police then stumbled across three of the four men wanted in Superior—H. Ryan, Charles Stewart, and J. H. Bohmer—in an Omaha hotel with certificates of deposit from the Superior State Bank.