50 years ago this month, June edition
Two bearded young men entered a temporary branch of the Middlesex County National Bank on a Wednesday at 10:30, and produced guns. They told bank employees and one customer to lie on the floor, and then emptied out the cash drawers while a silent alarm reached Burlington police. Officer Andy Reilly dispatched all cruisers to the Turnpike.
One problem: When police called the bank to find out if it was a false alarm, the call went to a bank in Arlington due to a telephone company mixup, according to Sgt. Eugene Knowles. Of course the Arlington bank said everything was fine, so all Burlington cruisers were called off.
Knowles went to the Turnpike bank anyway just to triple-check. “Everyone was running around and screaming,” he recalls. “It was real.” The men fled in an old Volkswagen with $16,000. Burlington police later found the car in Lexington. This was probably Burlington’s first bank robbery, since the town didn’t have any banks before the 1960s. Everyone went to Woburn for city stuff like banking.
Other armed robberies in Burlington from 1958 to 1968:
- December 1958 — Times-Union editor Steve Coady was held at gunpoint while a man held up a store at the Economy Shoppers Center.
- March 1967 — Someone held up Quik-Mart on Wilmington Road.
That temporary Middlesex bank branch was set up on the Turnpike in 1965 while it prepared for its official debut at the new Burlington Mall in the summer of 1968.
This was a very interesting article but it says that there were no banks in Burlington before the 60s. I know that I moved my “large” bank account (there was about $100 in it) from the commercial bank that my father had it it to a Woburn Savings Bank so I could get 3.5% interest. About a year later I moved to to First Federal Saving Bank (I think that that was the name) that was next to the Rexall Drug Store in Burlington Center. They had a large sign that had a 3 3/4% revolving at the top. I immediately moved my money to them. I thought that the bank opened about 1958. I remember walking up to the center and depositing my babysitting money it it. I graduated from High School in 1962 I know that I did this several years before I graduated. Al Cronin was at that bank. My father laughed at me for doing it.