Almost Yesterday: The Day the Campbell Bank Was Robbed

Feb 16, 2021

It seems like Almost Yesterday that strangers entered the bank of Campbell, Missouri and made off with some of the community’s money. It was just a few moments after 3:00pm on November 11, 1933 when two men in fancy dark suits walked into the lobby of the small bank on Campbell’s Main Street.

One of the men walked across the lobby, turned, displayed an automatic pistol, and announced “This is a holdup!”

John Ponder and Lulu Davis, cashier and bookkeeper, were attending the windows, taking care of two customers, one of whom was W.A. Shy, the town’s postmaster.

One of the robbers moved behind the tellers and began gathering cash from the drawers and in a loud voice said “Don’t move or I will kill you.

He pointed the gun at the cashier and ordered “Open the vault!” Facing directly into the barrel of a loaded gun, Mr. Ponder said “The vault is locked and can not be opened until 4:00pm.” This was not true but the robbers believed him, took what they had, and directed two of the employees to accompany them to a polished Chevrolet Roadster parked in front of the bank.

The two employees were ordered to stand on the running boards of the car until they reached the edge of town and upon their release the getaway car roared north and out of sight. Several people gave chase, including city marshal Rodney Brown who jumped into Sam Smoot’s brand new Plymouth and gave chase. But the thieves made a clean getaway.

Shortly after 4:00pm the car was seen racing through Bernie.

To this day car, money, and robbers have not been found. Residents of Campbell remain curious about he men who robbed their bank on a quiet autumn afternoon in 1933 that seems like Almost Yesterday.