Saturday, July 3, 2010

How profitable was it to rob Wells Fargo?

In January 1885, J.B. Hume, chief of the Wells Fargo detective force filed a prepared statement on losses and casualties suffered by the company from 1870 to 1884.

The amount taken from Wells Fargo express shipments by stage robbers, train robbers, and burglars during those years totaled $415,312.

Rewards paid for the apprehension and arrest of the "bad guys", including a percentage of any money recovered, totaled $73,541.

Attorneys' fees paid for assisting in the prosecution of those apprehended came to $22,367.

Other "incidental" expenses incurred in connection with the robberies was $90,000.

Salaries of guards and special officers during these years totaled $326,517.

Thus, the total loss and costs for the fourteen years in question was slightly more than $927,700.

(From the files of the now-defunct National Association for Outlaw and Lawman History)


  1. Wells is recovering all that and more from its current customers . . .

  2. I think the shoe is now on the other foot.

  3. It's amazing how even back then your profits could be whittled back by legal fees, policing fees and awards. I guess if there were no insurance (was there?), they'd have gone under. What other sources of income might the company have other than banking interests?