Southern Utah News Articles
The most frightening experience of my life
During the morning of Nov. 2, 1964 on a Monday, two young men came in the bank where I worked (now Zions Bank), carrying briefcases and wanted cash for a $20 bill. A short time later the phone rang and the voice on the other end wanted an appointment with Mr. Cowley, the Bank Manager. They said they wanted to set up a feedlot in town and needed to borrow some money. They said they were from Oregon. Mr. Cowley gave them an appointment for around noon.
These two young men in their early twenties went into Mr. Cowley’s office, put a note on his desk and opened their briefcases. As Mr. Cowley began reading the note he thought it was some sort of a joke till he looked up and saw two guns pointed at him.
He called to Edyth (McDonald) and me to come into his office. I had seen just the tops of their heads as they went into his office and thought they were Indians and that Mr. Cowley needed someone to witness their X. I went in and Mr. Cowley asked me to sit down. One gun was pointing right at me so I didn’t hesitate.
He called again to Edyth, but she was busy counting money from a deposit and said she couldn’t come right then. A customer came in and Mr. Cowley asked him to come into the office and sit down. Edyth finally came in and sat down. Mr. Cowley leaned forward to his desk and one of the gunmen waved his gun and told him to stay away from the desk. I supposed he thought he would push an alarm button or something.
One boy held his gun on us while the other one took his briefcase and began empting all the drawers with money in them.
While he was doing this…in walked the City Marshall, Norman Cram, in his uniform and with his guns. He wanted to deposit some money. He went to the desk to make out his deposit slip and when he came over to the teller’s window, the robber pointed his gun at him and told him to drop his guns on the desk and go on into Mr. Cowley’s office. Norm came in rather pale in the face and said; “Now everybody just be calm.” He was shaking like a leaf.
The robber filled his briefcase with money and never bothered to go back into the vault. They told us to all sit still and not move until they were out of sight and everything would be all right.
As soon as they were out the door, Mr. Cowley called the Sheriff. Norm ran across the street where all the Highway Patrol was having coffee. The Arizona men were there too, because it was the day Goldwater was giving his campaign speech in Fredonia. They gave close chase to the robbers who headed south.
Later the robbers remarked that they had walked the streets of Kanab the night before and had not seen one law officer and they couldn’t figure out where they all came from the next day.
As soon as they left the bank Mr. Cowley locked the front door, and we began counting or balancing the money to see how much they had taken. My teeth started chattering and I had a hard time to control myself, but I didn’t break down until my husband came in from work that night and I began telling him about it.
Dr. Sannella came in to make a deposit and ask if any of us needed a tranquilizer. We didn’t take one, but maybe we should have. I had bad dreams for a long time afterwards.
The robbers went out a few miles past Jacob Lake and left their car. They spent a very cold night on the Kaibab and were so cold, thirsty, tired and hungry by the time they wandered back on to the highway that they were ready to give themselves up.
The next few days were hectic ones, with F.B I. men, TV men, photographers, and men from the Salina Office all there. The F.B.I men had pictures of wanted men and we were each asked to pick out the two that robbed the bank. We had no trouble at all identifying them. They were from Canada and their names were Larry William Harvey and Gary Boyd Francis.
After they were put in jail the sheriff would take them over to Peaches Cafe (Houston’s) to eat and they would pass the big east windows of the bank and look in at us and just grin. Ooooh, it made me so mad.
Some thoughts I had as we sat in Mr. Cowley’s office were that these two boys were about the same ages as my boys, and I wondered what their parents would think if they knew they were robbing a bank. I wondered what type of homes they came from.
(Mother never actually wrote this in this experience, but it looks like the robbers took $11,605.)