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25 Days Of Creepy Christmas, Day 14: The Santa Robbery And The Resulting Manhunt

Welcome to our first annual ViralNova Presents: 25 Days Of Creepy Christmas special section! Every day, from December 1st to December 25th, we”re posting a new Christmas-themed article guaranteed to get you in the creepy holiday spirit.

On December 23, 1927, one of Texas”s most infamous crimes occurred in the town of Cisco. Marshall Ratliff donned a Santa Claus disguise, and held up the First National Bank with his ex-con friends. This event caused the biggest manhunt the state has ever seen.

Marshall Ratliff.

Marshall Ratliff.

Marshall Ratliff was once a native of Cisco before he was arrested for bank robbery in Valera, Texas. As soon as he was paroled for that crime, he began planning his next heist in Cisco. He gathered two other ex-cons, Henry Helms and Robert Hill, and a family man, Louis Davis, to help in robbing the First National bank in Cisco.

The Robbery.

The Robbery.

The cashier inside the bank cheerfully greeted Santa. He gave no response. Suddenly, Hill, Helms, and Davis entered the bank with pistols, ordering everyone to put their hands up. Santa ordered the cashier to open the vault. Together, the robbers stole $12,400 in cash and $150,000 in securities.

Shooting.

Shooting.

Nobody knows which of Santa”s gang shot first, but one of them was alerted to a mob of townspeople outside with guns. A shootout eventually took place. One bank customer escaped to tell the police, but the gang already escaped by taking two little girls hostage.

Manhunt And Capture.

Manhunt And Capture.

Much of the town was involved in the manhunt for Santa and his gang. After almost a week of searching, Marshall and his cohorts were found in a town called South Bend. Ratliff was captured after collapsing from a gun wound. He was shot over 6 times, but was still alive to see trial. Davis had died from a gun wound, but Helms and Hill held out for a few more days.

Trial By Mob.

Trial By Mob.

When police caught the whole gang, Helms was immediately executed for the murder of several cops. Hill was sentenced for 99 years in prison for robbery, but eventually received parole and went on to lead a respectable life. Ratliff was charged for the 99 years as well, but was eventually granted an insanity plea. Angered that Ratliff wouldn”t serve for his crime, the town rose up and executed him on their own accord. His last words were “Forgive me, boys.”

The First National Bank still stands in Cisco, Texas. You can find pictures and even a painting commemorating the robbery within it, as well as tribute to the brave men who died trying to thwart it.

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