The Fort Dodge Messenger: Aug. 10, 1904
Refrigerators in City are Robbed
Residents in East Part of City Are Up in Arms Over Petty Depredations
Bad Characters in the City
Everything Left in Refrigerators on Back Porches in the Neighborhood of Second Avenue South and Thirteenth Street Disappears
Residents in the eastern part of the city have been suffering lately from the depredations of sneak thiefs (sic) and are arming themselves and have determind (sic) that if they catch any one around their places in the night hour it will go hard with them. Of late several people living in this vicinity have had their refrigerators opened in the night and have in consequence found everything eatable gone in the morning.
The refrigerators have been so thoroughly stripped that people when they see the doors of their refrigerators open in the morning are surprised if they find the ice has not been taken. The people in this neighborhood have decided that the matter has gone too far all ready (sic) and are making strenuous efforts to locate the petty thieves. Mrs. D.B. Johnson had her refrigerator opened Monday night and everything was taken. The next night the refrigerator of W.A. Shephard which was sitting on the back porch was opened and everything was found to be gone the next morning. The contents of both refrigerators were all gone, the thieves taking everything in one, from some cold chicken and meat down to the butter, eggs, and milk. From the quantity and from the variety and class of everything taken it is shown that the thieves are not looking just for dainties but are feeding solely from the articles taken from the different refrigerators over town.
Whether it is the members of some family who are doing this to get a living or is some one who is in the city attending the races is not explained, but the residents in the part of town where the depredations have been committed think it is men who are living at the race course and are able to get all their food in this manner. The depredations as far as reported have only extended to the neighborhood of Second avenue south and Thirteenth street, but as the people in this part of the city are all preparing to put a stop to it and are not leaving things where they can be got at, it is probable that the thief’s (sic) will be forced to commence operations in another part of the city. So every one who has been in the habit of leaving things in the refrigerators on the back porch are advised to discontinued (sic) the practice at least while the races are going on as disreputable characters are sure to be around at such a time.
While every effort is being made to apprehend the guilty persons it is a very difficult matter as with so many bad characters in the city at such a time the city police have a great deal to look after.
(Editor’s note: This was an issue the following year, as well.)
Information from the 1908 city directory for Fort Dodge:
W.A. Shephard: 1322 Second Ave. S. He was the president of Shephard Hardware Co., 831 Central Ave. (Hardware, Tinsmiths, Heating and Plumbing). His wife’s name was Georgia.
Mrs. D.B. Johnson: 1328 Second Ave. S. Delbert B. and Anna Johnson. He was a conductor on the ICRR (Illinois Central Railroad). He is not listed in the 1909 directory. There are three possible listings for her. Anna M. Johnson was a stenographer for Fort Dodge Grocery Co., boarding at 900 I St. West Fort Dodge. (Note: Street names changed a couple of times, so this is not the same I Street as today.) Anna O. Johnson boarded at 204 H St., West Fort Dodge. Anna S. Johnson was a seamstress, boarding at 234 N. Second St., North Fort Dodge.