Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
Sam Penrod ReportingCould a hole in the ground be the clue to solving a 40-year-old bank robbery? Some people in Central Utah believe it is. It looks like the hole is a tunnel, used by the robbers to get inside the bank. It happened, in the 1960s, in the Central Utah town of Monroe.
It's been a long time since the robbery, so there are a lot of stories, rumors and legends around town, so it is hard to separate fact from fiction. What is certain is that the robbery was never solved, and now this discovery may finally answer at least how the bank was robbed.
Before it was the Monroe City Hall, the building was the town's bank. In those days there were no security systems and no surveillance cameras, but one day, all the money was gone.
Terry Monroe says, "The story goes that it was a three-day weekend and it was a holiday, and it had been completely cleaned out."
Monroe knows the story; it's her hometown. Her family now owns the building next door to the old bank and during repair work her sons uncovered the hole.
Dillon Monroe told KSL, "We were just cleaning up, the floor had caved in over here so we started pulling up the carpet."
But the water damage went all the way down to the cement floor. "We were cleaning up all the rotten wood and I was raking up, and I hit a rock," he said.
The boys pulled out rock after rock, until the hole was exposed below the foundation of the bank building. When you go into the bank building, there's a spot that sounds hollow near a vent. So the theory is this: The robber used the tunnel to get into the bank, used a torch to cut open the vault, stole the money and patched up the wall in the bank during the long weekend and walked out the bank's back door, leaving no signs of a forced entry.
Golden Obray with Sevier County Sheriff's Office says, "It was a lot money, thousands, lots... (laughter)."
So finally, maybe a clue into how the robbery that could not be solved actually went down.
"At any point we kept thinking they are going to prove it is just a hole in the ground, but it just gets more interesting as they investigate on it," Terry said.
The Sevier County Sheriff is re-opening the investigation and searching through archive evidence on the case to see if any clues match up. They are also trying to figure out who owned the store when the bank was robbed, to see if that generates any leads.