May 17, 1909: Burglar under her bed

Posted on May 18th, 2009 – 5:16 PM
By Ben Welter

I return from a “well-deserved vacation” with proof that the odd practice of drawing attention to a hackneyed phrase by putting quotes around it dates back at least 100 years. North Siders of that era appear to have been a remarkably unflappable lot: One was startled by a peculiar sound under her bed but decided it was a rat and went back to sleep.

Burglar Under Her
Bed; Didn’t Know It

Jocular Thief Annoys North
Siders With Mysterious

Leaves Man Two Cents and
Note Advising He
Invest It.

Burglars hiding under beds, crawling through transoms and looting residences and stores on Oak Lake avenue in North Minneapolis during the last week have made the citizens of that neighborhood “sit up and take notice.” Some of them are even reported to be sitting up nights with guns in their hands and blood in their eyes waiting for the marauders to make a return call.

Last Thursday night Mrs. Z. Herman, Oak Lake avenue, near Eighth avenue north, was startled by hearing a peculiar sound under her bed as she was about to retire. She finally decided it was a rat and went back to sleep without making a further investigation.

But, horrors! In the morning she discovered that the scratching must have been caused by a naughty man who evidently had entered the house early in the evening and had hidden under the bed until the family were all wrapped in the arms of Morpheus. The place had been rifled from cellar to attic, $63 in cash and many articles of value being missing.


Samuel Goldberg, 717 Oak Lake avenue, was made a victim a week ago last night. It is believed the burglar entered by way of the transom, for the doors and windows were found intact. He took $30 in money and left only 2 cents, the coppers being placed on top of a note which had been left on the diningroom table. The note politely suggested that Goldberg invest part of the money and use the balance for car fare.

A. Cohen’s home at Oak Lake and Sixth avenues north was also entered. The burglar worked noiselessly, and it was not known until morning that an unwelcome visitor had been in the house. Then it was found that clothing, jewelry and other articles were missing.

The Cohens are now taking turns sitting up nights and waiting for the bad man to return.

About $50 worth of wearing apparel was stolen from the residence of Joseph Kron, 703 Lyndale avenue north Tuesday night. The thief left absolutely no clue.

Saturday night the store of Max Rothner, Emerson and Eighth avenues north, was broken into. Articles were torn off the shelves and everything was found topsy-turvy when the proprietor appeared in the morning. Until an inventory is taken, it will not be known how much the burglars secured.

But the owners of the Grumberg department store, Lyndale and Sixth avenues north, were the heaviest losers. After breaking into the store last Friday night and looting the place of about $500 worth of gloves and women’s hosiery, the burglar opened the safe and got what cash he could find, which, however, did not amount to more than about $1.

The police have not made the series of thefts and burglaries public, hoping that they will be able to apprehend the guilty man before he quits his operations in that section of the city.

The Minnesota Historical Society describes this North Side structure as a “Jewish tenement house, formerly Plymouth Congregational Church, corner of Sixth Avenue North and Third Street, Minneapolis.” (Photo courtesy

The first Mikro Kodesh Synagogue, 720 Oak Lake Av., Minneapolis, in about 1910. A century later Oak Lake Avenue is a two-block stretch of road one block northeast of I-94 and Hwy. 55. Oak Lake — actually a small pond — once anchored a genteel residential neighborhood in the 1880s, but it has long since disappeared. (Photo courtesy

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