Profile America: First U.S. Bank Robbery

Sunday, March 19 —  Banks had operated in America for about a half century before someone tried to make an unauthorized withdrawal. On this date in 1831, Edward Smith committed the first bank robbery in the U.S. — hitting the City Bank on New York’s Wall Street. He entered the bank after it closed, using a duplicate set of keys, and got away with $245,000 — a huge sum at the time. By various calculations, that would be worth from $5.6 million to $6.8 million today.  But he was caught, convicted and spent five years in New York’s Sing-Sing Prison. Now, across the nation, there are over 93,000 commercial banking establishments. As one 20th century bank robber supposedly noted, that’s where the money is — bank deposits total nearly $13 trillion.

You can find more facts about America’s people, places and economy, from the American Community Survey here.

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