Wall Street: scene of the first bank robbery ever

It happened way back in March 1831—and the theft wasn’t just the first bank heist in New York, but the very first in the country.

Details are sketchy, but the robbery took place on Wall Street, a financial hub since the 18th century.

An English immigrant named Edward Smith reportedly stole $245,000 from The City Bank of New York—an ancestor of today’s megabank Citibank—headquartered at 52 Wall Street.

Smith was quickly nabbed, tried, and sentenced to five years of hard labor at Sing Sing—which was only five years old at the time Smith became a inmate.

[Logo at right: a 19th century name of the original City Bank of New York, which eventually morphed into Citibank]

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8 Responses to “Wall Street: scene of the first bank robbery ever”

  1. focusoninfinity Says:

    LOL: The first citizen’s robbery of a Wall Street Bank; in time, evolved into the Wall Street Banks, not-the-last-time’s, robbing the citizens.

  2. WHAMMO! Says:

  3. wildnewyork Says:

    Cool 1960s photo whammo, thanks!

  4. WHAMMO! Says:

    You’re welcome, and thank you for the awesome blog!

  5. chas Says:

    not that I would want to deny ny this dubious distinction…..but can this possibly be the “first” bank robbery in the country as late as the 1800’s…?

  6. snoh Says:

    Here is a link to the old Citizens Savings Bank (now HSBC) on the corner of Canal and Bowery that has sculpture that is similar except the positions of the sailor and the Native Indian is reversed.

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