Fredonia Bank Robbery
Authorities took only two days to close a case of bank robbery that occurred on this date in 1931. Twenty-three-year-old mechanic Otto Krueger, who confessed to the holdup, robbed the First German State Bank in Fredonia, North Dakota. He entered the bank on a Wednesday as it was closing for the noon lunch hour. After conversation with two cashiers, he brandished a revolver and locked the employees in the bank vault. Krueger took the $665 available on the counter and drove from Fredonia to Ashley in his 1928 Buick. The bank employees got out of the vault by working the combination from inside.
Some Ashley residents saw Krueger on the road and soon learned of the holdup. They notified the city constable, who went to Krueger’s room in a boardinghouse and questioned him. The robber's license plate had also been observed. That, too, led the authorities to Krueger.
He was arrested three hours after the holdup. A prosecutor and two sheriffs interrogated Krueger at the Ashley jail. They obtained his confession and then jailed him in Napoleon. He was charged with first degree bank robbery.
All but $5 of the loot was found under Krueger’s mattress. The gun was found in his room, along with the cap he wore during the robbery. The bank cashiers identified him as the robber. He confessed that he did the holdup to make up for several hundreds of dollars in bad checks he’d written.
Two days after the holdup, Krueger pleaded guilty before a Logan County judge. When asked if he had anything to say, he just shook his head. He was sentenced to seven years in prison and was taken the next day to the State Penitentiary in Bismarck.
Dakota Datebook by Jack Dura
The Bismarck Tribune. 1931, Feb. 11. Pages 1, 9
The Bismarck Tribune. 1931, Feb. 12. Page 1
Star Tribune. 1931, Feb. 12. Page 1
The Bismarck Tribune. 1931, Feb. 13. Page 1
The Bismarck Tribune. 1931, Feb. 14. Page 1
The Hope Pioneer. 1931, Feb. 19. Page 2