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 • Olmsted County
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Charles Gronvold
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Birth: Sep. 9, 1878
Death: Sep. 6, 1933
Olmsted County
Minnesota, USA


Byron Bank Raider Seized Soon After Auto Crashed-
Unarmed customer Shot down by intoxicated robber

St. Paul, Sept 7 –(AP) Near death in West Side General Hospital here from a self-inflicted bullet wound. B P Specheen was identified today as the killer-bandit who raided the state bank of Byron, Minn late yesterday.

The 29-year-old former convict, who shot himself in the head as three operatives of the Minnesota bureau of criminal apprehension were about to take him into custody, was identified by three women,—Doris Whitcomb and Mrs. R. W. Sparrow, bank employees and a Byron woman, Mrs. Webb, who lives next to the bank.

Byron, Minn. Sept. 7—A bank customer committed the crime of interrupting a drunken bank robber at his work at Byron Wednesday, and paid for it with his life. Fifty-eight-year-old Charles Gronvold, farmer living near Byron, entered the Byron state bank in the Olmstead county town lust after a lone gunman had hurried two women employees and two women customers Into the vault.

Within the vault the two employees, Mrs. R. W. .Sparrow and Doris Whitcomb, heard a shot and "something falling." For a few moments more they crouched in fear. When they cautiously left the vault, they found the body of Mr. Gronvold, slain by the gunmen, on the floor.

Driving a light coupe with Wisconsin license plate the bandit fled along the highway to Owatonna with about $800 loot. Crime bureau operatives, summoned to investigate the robbery, picked up the trail of the bandit's car on the Jefferson highway leading to St. Paul, and took up the pursuit.

Suspect Shoots Self. Ten miles south of St. Paul the fleeing machine slid into a ditch and the pursuing officers closed in. As they did so the man at the wheel raised a pistol to his head and pulled the trigger.
Critically wounded, he was taken to a hospital in St. Paul. The money was recovered. Alone when the bandit entered the bank, Mrs. Sparrow and Miss Whitcomb first were ordered by the gunman to hold up their hands and then forced into the vault. Obviously drunk, the gunman had
terrified the women. Although he had left the vault unlocked, they remained -where they had been told As the robber was turning away from the vault, Mrs. Carl Carlson of Byron and a Mrs. Kunerch of Salem Corners, customers, walked in. "Hey, you come here," shouted the gunman, pointing a pistol at the two startled women. He rushed them back into the vault and, leaving the door open, went behind the cashier's cage and grabbed all the available cash.

Shot at 2-Foot Range. Meanwhile, Gronvold had stopped his car in front of the bank and had stepped cut, leaving his son, Harvey, in the machine. While the frightened women watched. Gronvold walked in. "What do you want here?" snarled the robber. "I wanted to see about making a deposit," replied Gronvold, as he realized that there was af robbery.

According to the women's story, Gronvold started to walk past the gunman toward the rear door. The robber pulled up his gun and shot Gronvold when he was only about two feet away. The farmer dropped with a bullet through his heart. Then the gunman ran back to the vault, slammed the door shut without locking it and dashed out the front door.
Harvey Gronvold, the son, had heard the shot and was stepping from the automobile when the raider ran out and got in a car bearing Wisconsin license plates. He drove down the main street turning west ward and headed toward Owatonna. Young Gronvold hurried into the bank to find the four women grouped about his father, who apparently had died instantly. The boy then ran across the street, shouting the alarm and told J D Cutting hardware merchant, to call the sheriff at Rochester.

Bandit Kills One, Trapped Shoots Self
(Continued From Page 1)

Mrs Sparrow said the robber came into the bank about an hour before the holdup and asked her to cash a check. "I told him that couldn't because he had no credentials." she said. "He left the bank then I thought no more of it But I realized what we were in for when he returned and rushed into the bank." The town of Byron is 75 miles south east of the twin cities, it has a population of about 300 persons. The same bank was robbed of $3400 on March 17.

Albert Lea Evening Tribune
September 7, 1933

Note: This information came from Patty Cummings-Beran.
Family links: 
  Ole Kristian Gronvold (1847 - 1927)
  Oleana Roseth Gronvold (1845 - 1915)
  Matilde Gronvold Boyd (1870 - 1897)*
  Julia Gronvold Erickson (1872 - 1919)*
  Clara Gronvold Evenson (1874 - 1942)*
  Olaf Gronvold (1876 - 1904)*
  Charles Gronvold (1878 - 1933)
  Emma Gronvold Vang (1882 - 1910)*
*Calculated relationship
East Saint Olaf Lutheran Church Cemetery
Rock Dell
Olmsted County
Minnesota, USA
Created by: Bob & Sandi Hamilton
Record added: Apr 16, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 35932461
Charles Gronvold
Added by: Vicki of MN
Charles Gronvold
Added by: Vicki of MN
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