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Crime spree in 1913 Wimbledon

A stolen cash register story.

JSSP Keith Norman Column Sig

Criminal activity was rampant in the area in August of 1913.

Well, at least there was a rash of crimes committed in one night in Wimbledon.

The local paper reported the activity as “Yeggmen Visit City.” Yeggmen is an old term for thief although sometimes used in reference to crooks who used dynamite to open safes.

Reports indicated this particular group of yeggmen had likely been pulling similar crimes in the region over a period of several weeks.

“The culprits were no novices at the game was evident on all sides,” reported The Wimbledon News.

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In this case, sometime between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. on a Sunday morning, the yeggmen broke into the City Meat Market in Wimbledon and “politely carried off the cash register,” according to the newspaper in a front-page article.

They then took the cash register to a nearby vacant and weed-covered lot but found the device locked. That was solved by breaking into the blacksmith's shop “to secure necessary instruments to open the same,” continued the article.

This seemed to work out for the crooks although the yield was only about $4 in cash and the yeggmen didn’t mess with the approximately 75 pennies they left behind.

The $4 haul from the crime would be equivalent to about $100 today when adjusted for inflation.

The city of Wimbledon did employ a person with the title of “night marshal” back in 1912. At the times of these crimes, he was at the Soo Line depot and on his return to the center of town heard some noises but likely walked by the yeggmen and the cash register in the weedy lot.

“The failure to cut the weeds was what in a great measure saved the culprits from apprehension,” wrote the Wimbledon News regarding the crime.

The newspaper went on to editorialize the community needed to trim the weeds and keep an eye on their community’s good reputation.

“Reports are current that bootlegging and gambling are going on,” reported the News. “If you know it to be so, why not tell the chief of police?”

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You have to wonder if the crimes of bootlegging and gambling paid better than breaking into butcher shops in 1913.

Related Topics: HISTORYNORTH DAKOTA
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