Swindler Comes to Unexpected Grief

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The Fort Dodge Messenger: Sept. 20, 1906

Swindler Comes to Unexpected Grief

Man Who Attempted to Rob Andrew Hower is Caught by Police in Wisconsin

After attempting to swindle Henry Hower, a member of the upper Central Avenue business firm, Hoffman & Hower, John Mueller a clever crook, came to grief at Hudson, Wisconsin, in attempting to work the same dodge upon D. Hoffman, the proprietor of a small grocery store.

Mueller reached Hudson on the same day with a carnival company billed in there for the week. He was rather seedy looking, and passed himself off for a retired farmer residing near Albert Lea, Minnesota. On the day of his arrival he approached Hoffman for the sale of his store, saying that he had just disposed of his farm near Albert Lea, and was looking for a business location. Hoffman arranged for the transfer of his business to Mueller for the consideration of $4,000 ($95,798 today), Mueller giving Hoffman a worthless check, drawn on the State Bank at Albert Lea for $500.00 ($11,975), asking for a receipt for the same.

When Hoffman made the receipt out Mueller seemed rather careless and indifferent to it, which aroused the suspicions of the grocer. He at once sent his daughter to the telephone office to talk with Albert Lea, and learn the amount of the deposit and standing of Mueller in the Minnesota city. She learned that there was no such a depositor on the books of the bank, and more over that he was wanted in Albert Lea to answer to the charge of swindling.

She hastened back to her father, in the mean time warning the city police who arrested Mueller when he attempted to make a swift “getaway.”

Mueller was in the city the early part of the week, and attempted to purchase, with bogus checks, a portion of some city property owned by Mr. Hower. While he was at the bank depositing the five dollar check ($120) given him to bind the bargain by Mueller, the swindler attempted to secure a loan of ten dollars ($239) from Mrs. Hower, who was too shrewd to give it to him. He left before the return of Mr. Hower.

(Editor’s note: There seems to be some confusion about names. Mr. Hower is referred to as Andrew in the drophead and Henry in the article. I’m not sure if there is confusion about Hoffman, since the article refers to Hoffman & Hower, and to D. Hoffman, a grocery store proprietor in Hudson, Wisconsin.)

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