Note: This is a post I wrote in 2006 for the 1947project.
Seek Bandit in $28,000
L.A. Bank Holdup
“Large Nose,” a bandit who claims “heroes die young,” was sought by police today for the $28,000 robbery of the Bronson-Olympic branch of the Security-First National Bank.
Armed, the robber forced 19-year-old Dolores Huss, safety deposit box attendant, to open the vault and allow him to scoop up handfuls of money held as surplus cash.
The bandit handed the girl a list of instructions:
“Keep your mouth shut. Do as I say. Don’t play hero or we’ll shoot the whole place up… Don’t stall … Don’t forget, heroes die young.”
Following instructions, Miss Huss obtained cash box keys from Assistant Manager Ernest T. Marsh. The robber opened the compartment, stuffed the money in his topcoat pockets and fled.
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The Examiner didn’t always trounce The Times in reporting crime news. While the Hearst paper made quick work of the “Large Nose” case, The Times ran a story twice as long with far more details. Huss got the keys without telling Marsh why she was taking them. The robber took the keys from her and unlocked the cash box in the vault and left her there. The robbery wasn’t discovered until another employee, Winifred Mangold, went into the vault and found Huss collapsed in a corner, sobbing and hysterical. The Times also gave Huss’ address (not a good idea for holdup victims), and the time the crime occurred.
And The Times quoted the entire holdup note, written on brown wrapping paper, which could have been lifted from some Warner Bros. gangster film:
“Instructions: Keep mouth shut. Do as I say. Don’t play hero or we’ll shoot the whole place up. Go to Marsh’s desk, get the keys from the middle drawer. No false moves. Stay away from the alarm. Don’t talk to anyone. You’re covered all times. Don’t stall! As I leave you will give me five minutes. He will have you covered. Don’t forget. Heroes die young.”
Still, the Examiner did nickname the robber “Large Nose.”
Bonus factoid: Huss recovered from her trauma and was featured as a model in 1948 for Mail-A-Voice office dictation equipment.
Quote of the day: “An abnormal ‘Well of Loneliness” woman whose twisted mental processes combine the most terrifying criminal tendencies of the warped male and female minds.”
Alice LaVere, psychologist, in a criminal profile on the killer of Elizabeth Short. Because newspapers—even the Herald-Express—were afraid to publish the word “lesbian,” LaVere referred to “Well of Loneliness,” the 1920s novel by Radclyffe Hall. I’ll leave it to others to analyze the absurdity of LaVere’s notion that lesbians are all murderous degenerates.