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Historical Question Re: MG Bank Robbery


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#1 opsoff1

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Posted 16 February 2018 - 01:52 PM

What did they use?  TSMG's?  Monitors? 

These were the first machine gun murders in MA.

 

Growing up in the early 60's and my parents were born in the 30's - it was still very "fresh" and large part of local lore.

The bank to this day remains virtually unchanged. 

 

The Norfolk Trust Bank in Needham MA was robbed in February 2nd, 1934 by the Millen-Faber gang from Boston (Roxbury). 

The members of the gang were brothers Murton and Irving Millen, Norma (wife of Murton) and Abraham Faber.

The Millens drove trucks for rum-runners during Prohibition.

They timed the robbery to coincide with the train running through town that would effectively block the police from responding.

Their take was $14,000.  They had planned on getting $70-80,000.  Unfortunately a snow storm prompted the bank to transfer the early deposits a day before.

 

As kids - it was pointed out in the bank, the chipped granite made from the bullets - left untouched as a reminder/memorial.

 

The gang held up the bank with machine guns, the first machinegun crime in MA.  They wounded two of the bank employees and took one of them hostage.

During their escape, they fired on and killed two members of the small Needham Police Dept; Officers McLeod and Haddock.  They also shot and wounded a fireman; Tim Coughlin.

The police officers were not even present at the bank - one was on his way to respond - an employee tripped the alarm.  He (McLeod) was shot from within the bank.  The other cop and the fireman were shot standing on the side of the road talking - unaware of what had taken place.  Both were gunned down from the moving car as the gang sped out of town.

 

The gang was caught fairly quickly.  They were tried and executed.  The wife, Norma was released to her father and eventually remarried.

 

This robbery was the first MG robbery and the first MG fatality in MA. 

 

The gang was an unlikely mix - they had roots in the Jewish - Russian - European immigration earlier in the century.  Murton was the leader - described as a sociaopathic thug with a violent streak.  His wife was young and sexy from Natick - bordering Needham.  There are reports that she drove the get-away car.  The younger brother, Irving was known as a leering dim-witted follower.  The most unlikely member was Faber - an MIT graduate in aeronautical engineering and a puritanical streak that kept him from kissing his girlfriend. 

 

The gang were arrested 3 weeks later - one in Boston and 2 in NY.  All were convicted of murder.  The jury rejected their insanity plea. 

A month before the Needham robbery, they had robbed the Paramount Theater in Lynn and killed a man there.

 

All three were executed in the electric chair at Charlestown State Prison on June 7, 1935.  

 

A quote from the Boston Globe on the day of execution, stated: "Crowds gathered about them whenever they appeared in custody of detectives, to boo, hiss and deride them."

 

 

 

So....anyone know the details of this?  We were always lead to believe that they used TSMG's, but for all the digging I have done - I can not get a shred of information on what they used.

 

1st picture - Officer McLeods Funeral

2nd Pic - Boston Globe

3rd pic - Memorial to the two Police Officers

4th Pic - Funeral Procession - building near the center of the pic is the actual bank that was robbed.

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Edited by opsoff1, 16 February 2018 - 01:55 PM.

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#2 opsoff1

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Posted 16 February 2018 - 02:17 PM

Minutes after I posted this - I friend emailed me a link to the Commonwealth of MA Digital Archives, linked through the Boston Public Library.

 

Shown below is "Capt Charles J. Van Amburgh, State Police Ballistic Expert with the gun that shot Needham Policemen"

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#3 opsoff1

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Posted 16 February 2018 - 02:40 PM

The archives offer a fascinating chronicle of this crime - there are over 324 photographs covering all aspects of this event.

 

Prior to the execution - a local thug tried to break Irving out of jail - the Dedham Jail where he was being held - right across the street from the courthouse.

He was armed with a sawed off 16ga double bbl and a 38 revolver.

 

Below are a few more pictures from the evidence:

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#4 opsoff1

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Posted 16 February 2018 - 02:53 PM

Various pics of the gang members.

 

Electric chair at Charlestown State Prison where they were executed

 

Two Millen Bros and Faber outside court - Faber has the hat on

 

The Millens after they were arrested in NY

 

Norma - wife of Irving

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#5 opsoff1

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Posted 16 February 2018 - 03:05 PM

Link to the photographers collection - 324 pics, fascinating stuff.

 

www.lesliejonesphotophotography.com/subject-series/crimepolice/crimepolice-millen-faber-murder-case

 

Couldn't get the hot link to paste (??)

 

There is also a well received book about this:  "Tommy Gun Winter" by Nathan Gorenstein.  Amazon has it for $15


Edited by opsoff1, 16 February 2018 - 03:34 PM.

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#6 rpbcps

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Posted 17 February 2018 - 09:04 AM

This post caught my interest, so I searched for the Boston Globe Archives and you can buy copies of the articles relating to this case from them.

 

https://secure.pqarc...1979&By=&Title=

 

Stay safe

Richard


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#7 OCM

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Posted 17 February 2018 - 12:56 PM

Great photos, thanks. I see it on the other side too. I've seen a Woodsman pop up in other outlaw arsenals.  


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