The Great Santa Claus Bank Robbery.

Bank Robbed By Santa Claus

Field review by the editors.

Cisco, Texas

Two days before Christmas, 1927, Santa Claus walked into the First National Bank of Cisco, Texas, followed by several delighted children who had seen him on the street. Then Santa pulled out a gun and robbed the bank.

"Santa" was Marshall Ratliff. The bank, despite its impressive name, was nothing more than a glass-fronted store. Ratliff and three accomplices stuffed their Santa sack with over $12,000, but they were seen through the windows. The police and a number of armed townspeople arrived and began blasting away. It didn't help that the Texas Bankers Association had made it known that it would pay $5,000 to anyone who shot a bank robber.

Amazingly only three people were killed -- two of them police officers -- although there were at least 200 bullet holes in the bank. A plaque, "Scene of daring Santa Claus Bank Robbery," recounts the details.

Marshall Ratliff survived, but not for long. A mob, angry that the phony Santa had been spared the death penalty, dragged him from his cell in the nearby Eastland County Jail and hanged him from a telephone poll.

Bank Robbed By Santa Claus

Address:
708 Conrad Hilton Blvd., Cisco, TX
Directions:
The plaque is on the outside wall of the old First National Bank building, on the west side of Ave. D/Conrad Hilton Blvd midway between W. 7th and W. 8th Sts. It's a one-story red brick building.
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