Bonnot Gang – 1911

By | November 12, 2016

They were chased by two policemen, one on horseback and the other on a bicycle


Some of the Bonnot Gang


The Bonnot Gang (La Bande a Bonnot) was a group of anarchists who made history by using the first getaway car. They were active between 1911 and 1912. The first getaway car was a 1910 Delaunay-Belleville luxury limousine with green and black trim, registration number 783-X-3. It was stolen on 14 December 1911 by four of the gang — Jules Bonnot, Octave Garnier, Eugene Dieudonne and Raymond Callemin — who changed the plate to 668-X-8 and used it a week later to intercept Monsieur Caby, a bank messenger, en route to a branch of the Societe Generale Bank in the Rue Ordener, in Paris.

At 8.25am, Caby arrived by tram carrying a satchel and briefcase, to be met by a bank security guard. Octave Garnier and Raymond Callemin marched up to them and Callemin put a gun into the face of the guard who fled into the bank. Garnier grabbed the satchel, but Caby would not let go and was dragged along the street until the robber fired three shots, two into the chest of the messenger.

Bonnot drove the car parallel to the action and, as soon as Gamier and Callemin got aboard, he executed a screeching U-turn and sped away. The gangsters fired warning shots to anyone foolish enough to follow.

They headed north and dumped the car on the beach near Dieppe Casino, leading French police to believe that they had left for England. The satchel contained 5,126 francs and the briefcase more than 130,000 francs-worth of useless cheques and bonds. Had they looked inside Caby’s jacket, they would have found a wallet stuffed with 20,000 francs.


Rue Ordener, Paris, France


8.25am Thursday 21 December 1911


On 28 December 1911 the gang broke into a gun shop and on 2 January 1912 they murdered a wealthy Parisian and his maid, making off with 30,000 francs. On 25 March they robbed the Societe Generale Bank at Chantilly, shooting three bank cashiers.

They escaped in a stolen car and were chased by two policemen, one on horseback and the other on a bicycle. In March and April police began arresting gang members and by the end of April had 28 in custody. On 24 April, as they attempted to arrest Bonnot, he shot and killed one policeman and wounded another. Four days later, he was shot and killed as he tried to escape.


The leader of the gang was actually Octave Garnier (it was his idea to use cars to get away), but the press called it the Bonnot Gang after Bonnot turned up at the offices of the Petit Parisien newspaper to complain about their coverage of the gang.



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