Monday, March 9, 2015

On This Date in Minnesota History: March 9

March 9, 1920 - Postal inspectors have announced the recovery of at least $9,000 worth of Liberty bonds, checks and securities recently lost from a mail pouch on a Northern Pacific train en route from Bemidji to Minneapolis, and addressed to the Federal Reserve Bank, the Northwestern National Bank, the First and Security National Bank and the Minneapolis Trust Company.

Most of the bonds were recovered when inspectors uncovered a cache in a patch of woods in Midway where $1,800 in Liberty bonds were found. This find, made by the postal inspectors, led to the arrest of Mike Spanyir and Mike Bolak, a track foreman and laborer employed by the Northern Pacific Railroad. Spanyir is being held in the Ramsey County jail, but Bolak was released.

Still missing, however, is a valuable package of diamonds consigned to a Minneapolis jeweler. Postal inspectors have not been successful in recovering this loss.

There is still to be recovered $200 in Liberty bonds.

Authorities who have been working secretly on the case for the last 30 days assert that the bonds originally were lost. An investigation showed that a railway mail employee on the Northern Pacific’s incoming Bemidji train operated over the Minnesota & International Railroad, put a large package of the registered packages by mistake in a waste paper bag that hung on the side of the car alongside the registered mail pouch. The mail employee was exonerated.

The burlap bag, containing the waste paper and other refuse swept out of the cars, was transported to the Midway and thrown in a dump provided for that purpose. Here a track laborer, Mike Bolak, is said to have found the package and to have turned it over to the foreman, Mike Spanyir. Bolak is said to have given the authorities $800 worth of bonds and Spanyir, just before being placed in jail, led the authorities to the cache in Midway where the $1,800 worth of bonds were found.

Three thousand dollars’ worth of Public Service Corporation bonds of the Citizens Light, Heat and Power Company of Canby and addressed to the Minneapolis Trust Company, were also recovered according to J. L. Root, manager of the trust company’s bond department. Other individual bonds consigned to bond houses in Minneapolis were found.

The Minneapolis Trust Company recovered the securities after a Minneapolis insurance company had made good the loss, the officials having believed the bonds were stolen.

Bemidji  Daily Pioneer
; “P.O. Inspectors Recover $9,000 Liberty Bonds Lost In Mails. Were in Pouch on Train En Route From Bemidji to Minneapolis. Package of Diamonds Is Still Missing. Mail Employee Misplaces Package; Thrown Out as Waste; Found and Hidden.”; March 9, 1920; p. 1.


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