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Hole and Rocks: '70 Robbery Still Cold Case

Hole and Rocks: '70 Robbery Still Cold Case

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MONROE, Utah (AP) -- It turned out to be a tunnel to nowhere. And as a result, a 1970 bank robbery in this small central Utah town remains unsolved.

While remodeling a former diner in Sevier County, workers discovered a hole in the floor with rocks. Folks were excited: Was this how someone broke into First Security Bank next door and got away with $20,000?

The FBI wasn't interested in the cold case, but the sheriff's office decided to investigate. "There is no tunnel into the bank," Detective Nathan Curtis said Wednesday, a bit disappointed a day after his visit. "It didn't lead us anywhere."

When the building next to the bank was constructed, Curtis explained, there was extra foundation rock. "Rather than haul it away, they dug a hole and buried it there," he said.

The bank, which now houses Monroe city offices, was robbed on a weekend in January 1970. A hole had been burned in the vault door. "FBI Dragnet Spread After Robbery Of Monroe Bank," read a headline at the time, accompanied by a picture of the sheriff staring at the hole in the vault.

A tunnel into the bank would have been no easy feat: The wall is 14 inches thick and 16 feet deep, Curtis said. "It was intriguing, kind of fun," he said of the investigation. "I don't think I've ever worked a bank robbery. "There's been quite a bit of chatter about this," the detective added. "I've got a phone message here from the 818 area code. I don't know where that's that. He may have some information about the robbery."

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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