Needham History Center & Museum Needham History Center & Museum, Needham Massachusetts 02492

The Millen-Faber Gang


    The Millen-Faber Gang

    Premiere of The Millen-Faber Gang

    A Film by Derick Risner

    February 16, 2013 at 3:00 pm.  Admission free.
    Powers Hall, in Needham Town Hall (1471 Highland Avenue)
    Presented by the Needham Channel and the Needham Historical Society

    On February 2, 1934, three men robbed The Needham Trust Company and killed two Needham police officers.

    The bank robbery was historic, as it not only was the first and only time Needham officers were killed in the line of duty, but also the first machine gun murder in Massachusetts history. “To this day, I think if people know one thing about Needham history, the one thing they know tends to be the bank robbery,” says Gloria Greis, Director of the Needham Historical Society. “People know stuff about it. They may not know the details or the complete story, but it is something that people are aware of as part of the local history in a way that a lot of other local history events are not.”

    Despite the robbery being so well remembered, the story of the Millen-Faber gang is relatively unknown. Abraham Faber, Murton Millen and his younger brother Irving grew up together in Roxbury.  In 1927, Faber graduated from Boston English High School and was accepted into the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, graduating in 1931 with a degree in Aeronautical Engineering.  Abe and Murton met again after five years apart and struck up an unusual friendship. “Faber was a cerebral type of guy,” says Wayne Urquhart, a former Needham police sergeant and prosecutor. “Murt was very athletic and I think he was somewhat of a bully. He was a tough guy. He was a fellow that was very macho and he, I think, had a chip on his shoulder.”  Murton, along with his brother Irving, had both been truck drivers for rum runners during Prohibition. They had also committed several petty crimes together, usually robberies of gas stations and grocery stores.

    In the 1930s, America was in the depths of the Depression, and Faber became frustrated with his inability to find work. He blamed society for not being able to provide him with the dream job he so desperately wanted. In the summer of 1933 Faber joined with Murton and Irving to form a “business organization” with the sole purpose of stealing money. Over the next six months they caused havoc in Massachusetts with their bold and deadly robberies, and left police baffled as to their identity. Their quest for riches and glory would eventually bring them to the streets of Needham on February 2, 1934.

    Derick Risner is a local film maker and volunteer at The Needham Channel.  This is his first film. He has been a volunteer at The Needham Channel since October, 2009 and an integral part of many TNC productions including the Needham Channel News, Inside Talk, Clelia’s Cucina Italiana and sports programs. He has been making this film over the past two years.

    This premiere is free and open to the public. Seating is limited to the first 250 people to attend. The program will subsequently make its debut on the Needham Channel. For further information on this documentary, email producer Derick Risner at