Bank Book Burglary Solved, Marshall Allen and Wife go to Jail, February 1926

Prepared by .

An Unusual Case Proving the Value of Finger-Prints on Checks and Deposit Slips.

I have never before heard of a case of this sort and I certainly believe that the following facts should prove to banks that finger prints on checks would be a valuable method of insurance. But let me tell the story as it happened.

The Peoples State Bank in Detroit takes the finger prints of depositors who are unable to write. Thus, it was that when Virginia and Marshall Allen opened their account that their finger prints were taken on a master card, as shown here.

Now, a burglary was reported in the Allen home and the family bank book said to have been taken. When the husband arrived home, the wife told him of this robbery and Mr. Allen immediately went to the bank to inform them of the theft.

At the bank, Allen was told that the book had already been presented by a woman who drew $500.

Later in the evening, Allen found the book, which the thief was supposed to have thrown back into the house.

Of course, Mrs. Allen was suspected, although she swore, both to her husband and police officials, that she had not drawn out the money.

Allen started suit against the bank for $500. During the trial, the wife took the stand and positively denied having drawn the money at the bank.

I was called as an expert witness in the case. I was able to prove that the finger prints on the master card, made out by the Aliens when they deposited the $500, were the same as the finger prints on the check made out when the money was withdrawn.

Of course, a verdict was given to the bank by Justice L. Eugene Sharpe and the court ordered Marshall Allen and his wife, Virginia, locked up for perjury.

This is the first case in the State of Michigan where the finger prints were used in court in connection with bank work. The case dates from April 16, 1923, to September 24, 1925.

1. "Bank Book Burglary Solved", Finger Print and Identification Magazine, Vol. 7, No. 8, February 1926, page 6.

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