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

29. the Needham Trust Company Robbery (1063 Great Plain Avenue)

The jury visiting the scene of the robbery during the Millen-Faber trial.  This building, which used to be a separate bank, is now part of the Needham Bank’s offices.

The Needham Trust Bank was robbed in February 1934 by the Millen-Faber gang from Boston. The members of the gang were brothers Murton and Irving Millen, Abraham Faber, and Norma Brighton Millen (wife of Murton, who drove the getaway car).  They timed the robbery by the train schedule, so that the trains passing across Great Plain Avenue would hinder the police.

The gang held up the Bank with machine guns – the first machine-gun crime in MA – wounding two of the Bank personnel, and briefly taking one hostage. During their escape, they also killed two members of Needham’s small police force, Forbes McLeod and Francis Haddock, as they responded to the alarm. Assigned to downtown patrol, Haddock and McLeod were well known in the community. The robbers also wounded a fireman, Timothy Coughlin, as they sped through the Heights.

The robbers were caught fairly quickly, and the men tried and executed. The slain officers were given heroes’ funerals; schools and offices were closed so people could attend to pay their respects. In gratitude for their sacrifice, the town voted pensions to support their widows, and the Bank established a fund to provide education for their young children.

More about the Needham Trust Company Robbery

Back to Map 2 – Needham Center

Back to Main Page