This article appeared in the Winfield newspaper in April of 1965.
During the last hours of Sunday and the early hours of Monday, thieves broke a hole through the wall between the vacant Potterworth Sundry building and the Oxford Bank, forced the door on the vault containing the safety deposit boxes, and looted the boxes of considerable money and some jewelry. Estimates to the amount taken can only be assessed as “substantial.” The main depository of the bank was untouched but an unsuccessful attempt was made on another vault which contained a rare collection and bank records.
Mrs. Opal Poovey, assistant cashier and clerk, was the first to arrive on the scene at 7:30 Monday morning, April 26th, 1965. In short order, she saw enough to convince her that she needed help. Mrs. June Cheuvront, book keeper at the bank, arrived at about the same time as Mrs. Poovey saw Herb McDaniel on the street. McDaniel called the Sumner County Sheriff’s Office, and the two women called Mrs. Jester, mother of Tom Jester, Bank President.
In the matter of an hour, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and Federal Bureau of Investigation representatives, the Sumner and Cowley County Sheriff’s Offices, and the local Oxford Police were on the scene.
The thieves were able to break into the new safety deposit boxes as well as the tin boxes on shelves. What they did not want was thrown on the floor, creating a large heap of papers, etc.
Damage to the building and facilities is estimated by the bank officers to be at last $5,000.
No one, it seems, heard or saw anything unusual during, before, or after the robbery. Paul Rader made his night rounds as usual.
Investigators made a house to house canvas of the city Monday and in the evening the sheriff’s officers stopped everyone at the main intersection of town to question persons concerning information that might be helpful.
As of press-time, authorities have divulged no information as to the possible suspects, or any conclusions in regards to the solution of the case.
In an interview with members of the investigating force they confirmed that they had many fingerprints, and that some were recent and might be helpful, but nothing definite has yet been announced. They also indicated that at least the method was very similar to several other robberies in the state; and the method if a definite trend in the entire nation.
The bank did not open for business all day Monday, but did open Tuesday at the regular time.
The task of sorting contents of the safety deposit boxes, and identification, will continue for some time. Boxes belonging to local persons will probably be checked by next week. Out of town holders will, of course, take much longer. Not all boxes were broken into. Most of the large double key boxes were opened.
A few valuable coin collections were taken and authorities indicate that some of the overlooked boxes contained valuables worth more than some opened.
The Oxford Bank was remodeled in 1963, and was considered a model of safety. The steel-enclosed recess which housed the boxes was an even newer addition and a source of pride to bank personnel.
The Oxford Bank ceased to exist in July of 1991 when it was acquired by the First National Bank of Winfield. After being briefly known as Cornerbank, it is now a part of RCB Bank. A small museum is located inside the RCB Bank in Oxford and details much of its history. It is available to see during regular business hours.