Our County History
by County Historian Marion W. Coplen

There was considerable excitement in our county 22 years ago today. Four men attempted to take money from the Etna Green bank and later in the day did rob the Seward bank at Burket.

At 4 o'clock in the morning of Saturday Dec. 20, 1930, the robbers broke into the Etna Bank and burned a hole in the save. As all the money had been locked in the vault the night before, they found no money in the safe. They were evidently caught in the act of burglarizing the bank by elderly C. L. Pressnall, a mail messenger who was on his way to the Pennsylvania station. The burglars took Pressnall, blindfolded him, and tied him to the Seward bridge one-half mile south of Talma in Fulton county. About an hour afterward Pressnall was found and released.

The bandits then drove to South Bend which was the home of two of the men. Later in the morning they drove to Goshen and then to Warsaw. At noon they ate dinner at Paul Chapman's filling station and lunch room at the intersection of West Center and West Market streets. about one o'clock in the afternoon they held up the Seward Bank of Burket. Cashier G. M. Doran, his wife and customer Mrs. Nancy Jones were in the bank at the time. The men took $500 in counter cash, not even trying to take anything from the vault.

The men were almost immediately captured. Word was flashed from Burket that the bandits had struck again; police officers, already alerted by the attempt to rob the Etna bank, closed in from all sides. The capture took place near Etna Green, and in the accompanying gunplay, one of the bandits was shot. Three Etna Green men--Robert Knepper, Ralph Mason and Paul Hamlin--participated in the roundup of the fugitives.

The robbers were speedily brought to trial and sentenced to prison. All, that is except the wounded man who died early the next morning at the McDonald hospital on South Indiana street.

Warsaw Times-Union Sat. Dec. 20, 1952