Profile America: First U.S. Bank Robbery


Profile America — Banks had operated in America for about a half century before someone tried to make an unauthorized withdrawal. On March 19th 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 $5.5 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 96,000 commercial banking establishments. As one 20th century bank robber supposedly noted, that’s where the money is — bank deposits total nearly $12 trillion.


Source: U.S. Census Bureau

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