Christmas Eve Capers

The Grinch isn’t the only one to steal holiday cheer from his neighbors. On multiple occasions, Postal Inspectors have been tasked with solving terrible Christmas Eve robberies.

Springfield, Illinois - 1912


On Christmas Eve in 1912, Elmer “Slats” Vigas accomplice Jacob Hartnett boarded the southbound Chicago & Alton mail train wearing masks. Quickly after boarding, they entered the engine car, held up the engineer and fireman at gunpoint, and ordered them to stop. The engineer released the baggage car, thwarting the thieves’ plan. Vigas and Hartnett then attempted to blow the safe five times with nitroglycerin and dynamite to no avail.

The failed plan allowed authorities to catch up to the train. The bandits ran off with only one sack, which they later threw out during pursuit. Both Vigas and Hartnett were arrested and placed on trial in February 1913. The jury, however, found the men not guilty, and they were released.




Lost Creek, Pennsylvania - 1913


On Christmas Eve in 1912, Elmer “Slats” Vigas accomplice Jacob Hartnett boarded the southbound Chicago & Alton mail train wearing masks. Quickly after boarding, they entered the engine car, held up the engineer and fireman at gunpoint, and ordered them to stop. The engineer released the baggage car, thwarting the thieves’ plan. Vigas and Hartnett then attempted to blow the safe five times with nitroglycerin and dynamite to no avail.

The failed plan allowed authorities to catch up to the train. The bandits ran off with only one sack, which they later threw out during pursuit. Both Vigas and Hartnett were arrested and placed on trial in February 1913. The jury, however, found the men not guilty, and they were released.




Kearney, Nevada - 1913


On Christmas Eve in 1912, Elmer “Slats” Vigas accomplice Jacob Hartnett boarded the southbound Chicago & Alton mail train wearing masks. Quickly after boarding, they entered the engine car, held up the engineer and fireman at gunpoint, and ordered them to stop. The engineer released the baggage car, thwarting the thieves’ plan. Vigas and Hartnett then attempted to blow the safe five times with nitroglycerin and dynamite to no avail.

The failed plan allowed authorities to catch up to the train. The bandits ran off with only one sack, which they later threw out during pursuit. Both Vigas and Hartnett were arrested and placed on trial in February 1913. The jury, however, found the men not guilty, and they were released.

Springfield, Illinois 1912.

On Christmas Eve in 1912, Elmer "Slats" Vigas accomplice Jacob Hartnett boarded the southbound Chicago & Alton mail train wearing masks. Quickly after boarding, they entered the engine car, held up the engineer and fireman at gunpoint, and ordered them to stop. The engineer released the baggage car, thwarting the thieves' plan. Vigas and Hartnett then attempted to blow the safe five times with nitroglycerin and dynamite to no avail.

The failed plan allowed authorties to catch up to the train. The bandits ran off with only one sack, which they later threw out during pursuit. Both Vigas and Hartnett were arrested and placed on trial in February 1913. The jury, however, found the men not guilty, and they were released.

Lost Creek, Pennsylvania 1913.

On Christmas Eve in 1912, Elmer "Slats" Vigas accomplice Jacob Hartnett boarded the southbound Chicago & Alton mail train wearing masks. Quickly after boarding, they entered the engine car, held up the engineer and fireman at gunpoint, and ordered them to stop. The engineer released the baggage car, thwarting the thieves' plan. Vigas and Hartnett then attempted to blow the safe five times with nitroglycerin and dynamite to no avail.

The failed plan allowed authorties to catch up to the train. The bandits ran off with only one sack, which they later threw out during pursuit. Both Vigas and Hartnett were arrested and placed on trial in February 1913. The jury, however, found the men not guilty, and they were released.

Kearney, Nevada 1913.

On Christmas Eve in 1912, Elmer "Slats" Vigas accomplice Jacob Hartnett boarded the southbound Chicago & Alton mail train wearing masks. Quickly after boarding, they entered the engine car, held up the engineer and fireman at gunpoint, and ordered them to stop. The engineer released the baggage car, thwarting the thieves' plan. Vigas and Hartnett then attempted to blow the safe five times with nitroglycerin and dynamite to no avail.

The failed plan allowed authorties to catch up to the train. The bandits ran off with only one sack, which they later threw out during pursuit. Both Vigas and Hartnett were arrested and placed on trial in February 1913. The jury, however, found the men not guilty, and they were released.