Figures and Scenes in Modale, Harrison, Iowa Bank Robbery
December 16, 1926
Pages designed and maintained by Judy Wallis White
|These pages are from my personal collection of newspaper stories of Modale, Iowa|
Modale Woman Sought In the Robbery Probe
Mrs. Jessie Coddington believed
Mrs. Jessie Coddington,
wife of Homer Coddington, Modale, Iowa drayman is being sought as the missing "Mrs.
Mae Harding," in the bank robbery case. Pictures of her have been identified as
those of the "Mrs. Harding" who disappeared the day the Harding brothers were
arrested in Omaha, and who is thought to have the $500 of the money not yet found.
The "Mrs. Harding" is known to have checked a trunk for Kansas city, Missouri
the day she disappeared, after suddenly securing enough money to pay six weeks back room
rent, rent Dave Harding had assured the landlord would be paid, and Kansas City police
have been asked to look for the woman.
Harding was found Wednesday, ill at her home in Blair, with four children. Mrs. Broy
Harding of Blair with her baby in arms, was found Wednesday afternoon visiting at the home
of Frank Harding, brother of Dave and Broy on the Iowa side of the river.
Woman Furnished Clew
Credit for the capture of the brothers was
due largely to Mrs. Louise Hitchings, at whose restaurant in Missouri Valley, Iowa they
stopped Tuesday night while Dave Harding telephoned an Omaha number, and purchased some
red pepper. Mrs. Hitchings remembered the address he mentioned 1710 Cass street.
Wednesday afternoon she recalled the incident, and the Omaha police were notified.
Planned Several Days
The planning took three
or four days, Dave said. Tuesday night the brothers stole a Ford automobile.
They drove first to Missouri Valley, stopping at the restaurant to telephone and get some
red pepper "to destroy the scent if bloodhounds were used." That night
they stopped in an abandoned, tumbledown farm shack, and Wednesday morning drove to
Younger Breaks Down
Immediately after being brought to the
police station, the younger Harding broke down and tears appeared in his eyes.
"I want to tell about the whole dammed thing," he said. "I"m
sick and tired of the rotten business."
|. Lake was taken to the police station and
was accompanied there by Mrs. Mamie Christenson, 2219 McKinley street, and Mrs. Martha
Bashnick, 2408 St. Mary's avenue, relatives of Harding. Confronted by the relatives,
Broy then admitted that he and his brother had obtained a ride to Omaha from a motorist,
going directly to the Lake home. Lake said the two women were not held. Lake
told police that the two men came to his home and immediately began to burn articles of
clothing. Broy said that clothing was worn by himself and his brother in the
robbery. He denied that he had stopped at a deserted farm house near Modale,
leaving his false mustaches and empty revolver shells there, but admitted that he wore the
mustache. The mustaches were found later by two Modale garagemen who trailed the
alleged bandit car.
Dave admitted to police that he had served time three years ago for bootlegging. Broy had never been arrested, he said.
Detectives going to the Lake home in the evening to search the house found three empty and five loaded.32 caliber revolver shells. Broy said he and his brother had thrown their revolvers into the river when they crossed over the thin ice.
The younger brother
blamed "hard luck" for the holdup germ which led him into the robbery.
"I didn't have any work," he said. "My wife and I had a quarter
between us. There was the baby to take care of. Id
been used to working most of my life, but couldn seem to get a job. While I was
visiting my brother, Frank over Iowa, I thought of the Modale bank to stick up. I
knew the country around there. Dave and I disguised ourselves so I don't believe
anyone would recognize us."
Woman Gives Clew
At 3 p.m. Wednesday Mrs. Hitchings, the
Missouri Valley restaurant keeper, was discussing the robbery with Bruce Morehouse, garage
man, who had driven one of the posse cars. They were discussing the appearance of
the robbers, when Mrs. Hitchings suddenly remarked: "those men were in here
last night and phoned up a party in Omaha." Morehouse immediately got in touch
with Abe Daniels, town constable and acting marshall, who called the Omaha police station
giving the address Mrs. Hitching overheard.
|Henrigh with three 10 and three 5 dollar
bills sometime after noon Wednesday, Henrich stated. Henrich banked the money.
He did not see either Dave Harding or his brother Wednesday although the older
Harding was a frequent visitor at the room, he said.
The woman known as Mrs. Harding at the Cass street address was known as Mae at 1713 California street where the Hardings were arrested. She frequently visited there according to roomers and spent an hour there Wednesday morning.
Modale Savings Bank
Arrive Here in Taxicab
A squad of officers
composed of Harry Buford, Tom Farmer, Tom Ryan, William Davis and Sheriff Percy Lainson of
Council Bluffs had gone to 1710 Cass street, the address of the telephone
number. They found no one, and were searching adjacent rooming houses when Buford,
waiting at the wheel of the emergency car, suspected two men whom he saw alight form a
taxicab and go into a house at 1713 California street, across the alley.
Chauffeur Old Friend
The taxicab used by the tow men was driven
by Tom Smith. It was by coincidence that Smith, a former Blair schoolmate of Broy,
was sent by his company to make the call. It was through Smith that the detectives
learned that the two brothers had been at the Lake home.
|Ed Drake, who lay on the roof of his hardware store near the Modale Savings bank and poured shots down at Dave and Broy Harding as they left the bank after robbing it. One of his shots crashed out the windshield. Twenty years ago Drake headed the posse which surrounded a gang of robbers who were leaving Missouri Valley and forced them to attempt to swim the Missouri River trying to escape, an attempt which cost all the bandits their lives|
Harding Brothers Probably will be sent to Penitentiary For Life
Harrison County Prosecutor will Demand the Limit
Attorney Havens Points out robbery Charge was "Aggravated"
| Logan, Iowa December 17, 1926 The Harding
brothers of Blair Nebraska who confessed to robbing the Modale Savings bank and wounding
two men, will be sent to the penitentiary for a life term it they plead guilty or are
found guilty of the charge, county Attorney Hoy Havens of Harrison county intends to place
against them and the full penalty of the statute is exacted. The charge will be
entering a bank with intent to rob. this carries a sentence of life imprisonment.
Havens pointed out Friday that the men had confessed to acts which constituted this crime and to additional acts which aggravated the charge--had shot two men and robbed the bank. There were no mitigating circumstances, he said.
The men still are in Omaha, and Havens said he did not know when they would be brought to Logan. "I understand the police there are trying to connect them with the Hooper, Nebraska attempted robbery. But even if they do, the men will have to come here for we have a more serious charges against them." Mr. Havens has not yet talked to the haring brothers, and said he will make no effort to do so until the men are returned to Logan. Neither had Sheriff Millman visited them. The officers pointed out that the men have confessed, and the rest of the procedure is more or less prescribed. If they still were protesting their innocence then the officials would quiz them, they said.
It was cited here today that the bank robbers do not fare well when tackling Harrison county banks. The Pisgah bank was robbed three years ago next week, but three Council Bluffs men now are in the penitentiary for it. Then the Little Sioux bank was robbed and Pat Carroll is in the penitentiary for that.
*You may notice some miss-spelled words, I choose not to make changes from the original.
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