Warren County Records Center & Archives

Based on a True Story…Bandit Killed in Franklin Bank Robbery

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Have you ever wondered where the ideas for those “based on a true story” movies come from? Our Archives Technician, Tori Roberts, has been processing Coroner’s Inquests that date back to 1873 and during this project she has come across some interesting cases ranging from bizarre accidents to infamous murders from all over Warren County.

Today’s “based on a true story” movie includes a bank robbery, police pursuit, kidnapping, a shoot out, and escape! Continuing on with our celebration of William C. Schenck’s 244th birthday and his accomplishment of founding Franklin, Ohio, we are highlighting a bank robbery that occurred in Franklin. The Coroner’s Inquest found included information on a victim listed as Tony Ziano, alias Thomas Lee. The summary of his death was “by violence, being shot four times, the bullet which caused his death being thru the head from the right temple to the left.”

This information of course peeked our interest and upon further investigation it was discovered that Tony was part of a trio who robbed the Franklin National Bank on December 5, 1935. It appears that following the robbery the three bandits exchanged fire with a Marshall, which led to the death of Tony and the non-fatal injury of the Marshall. The other two bandits managed to escape this exchange in a stolen vehicle where the owner and her sister were tied up in the car! According to articles in The Western Star the body of Tony Ziano had not been claimed following his death and the trail of the escaped bandit’s went cold after they escaped north past Columbus.

Coroner’s Inquest, December 5, 1935

Western Star Headline, December 5, 1935

Western Star Article, December 5, 1935

Western Star Article, December 16, 1935

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