On This Day In History: October 6th

On This Day In History: October 6th

The First Train Robbery in U.S. History

On October 6, 1866, John and Simeon Reno made history by robbing a train going from Ohio to Mississippi. The robbery happened in Jackson County, Indiana. This was the first time a train had been robbed while in motion. They stopped the train in an unpopulated area in Indiana to avoid interference from law enforcement. They were able to run off with $13,000, about $250,000 in today’s money.

This style of burglary became very popular in the West. The newly made transcontinental railroad became a big target. With the economy booming, lots of riches were on board. The open fields of the West were a plus too. It was isolated and wild enough to pull off the heists. It was so popular and lucrative that it became a specialty in some gangs.

The train companies weren’t that happy as you can suspect. They started putting the money and high value items in safes. The Union Pacific made special cars to house guards and their horses. If a robbery did happen, the guards would be able the catch the thieves. The profession eventually died out due to these changes.

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