The attempted robbery of the L. Q. White Shoe Company payroll in Bridgewater, on Wednesday, December 24, 1919, resulted neither in loss of money nor life. At twenty minutes to eight on that freezing overcast morning Alfred Cox, the company paymaster, was taking the week's payroll of $33,133.31 in his delivery truck from the Bridgewater Trust Company to the factory at the foot of the hill by the railroad station. The truck, a Ford with a tarpaulin top and solid rubber tires, was driven by Earl Graves, with Constable Benjamin Bowles beside him. Cox sat just behind Graves, on a large galvanizediron box containing the money.
Graves drove from the bank along Summer Street to the square, then turned down Broad Street--divided in the middle by a single streetcar track--moving at a cautious ten miles an hour because of the ice on the road. A streetcar moving in the same direction had just stopped at the corner of Hale Street, seventy-five yards away. At the same moment a curtained touring car swung over the tracks and pulled up on the corner, its wheels on the sidewalk. Three men jumped out and dog-trotted toward the oncoming truck. The man in the lead, bareheaded, with a dark mustache and wearing a long black coat, carried a shotgun. The two behind him held pistols.
Graves had first noticed the touring car--a Hudson, he thought it was--while he was passing Harlow's blacksmith shop. He watched the men get out and start running, but it was not until the mustached man knelt and took aim that he realized he was in for a holdup. Yanking on the gas lever, he veered the truck across the tracks. Bowles