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Once Upon a Time in Duluth: Couple was chloroformed, robbed of last dollars

About 100 years ago: Nuisance the dog woke Mr. and Mrs. Anthony A. Beck when a burglar allegedly broke in through a west-facing window.

The Becks were robbed of their last $10 around this time 100 years ago. Duluth News Tribune archive / News Bank

It's been about 100 years since an East Duluth couple and their dog were reportedly chloroformed and robbed of all but their last coins in a home invasion they didn't quite realize happened until mid-morning, partly because the pet was acting out-of-sorts.

"Nuisance kept running around as though he was crazy," reported Mr. Anthony A. Beck, the homeowner who woke with scratches on his face. Though, he couldn't know if he was marred in a struggle with the burglar or while "overcoming the effects of the drug," according to the story in the Nov. 16, 1921, edition of the News Tribune.

The Becks lived at what was then described as 68th Avenue East and Two Harbors Road and told police that Mrs. Beck was awakened by the "mad dashing" of Nuisance and the sound of a window slamming. Anthony Beck, too, briefly woke, but fell asleep, "soothed by the drug's effect."


In the morning, the Becks planned to go to town. Mrs. Beck couldn't find her purse, which she reportedly kept in the jardinière. She accused her husband of hiding it. There were footprints in the snow under the west window and the empty purse was found 20 feet away.
"That the thief watched Mrs. Beck place the $10 bill in a pocketbook and then into the jardinière near the un-curtained window is the belief of Beck, as reported to the police," according the the News Tribune story.


The police received one clue: an unsigned check payable to "cash" drawn on the Northern National Bank.

The burglary was a hit to the family, as Beck had not been employed by the Eastern Automobile Radiator Company for a few months.

"It was the last $10 I had to my name," he said. "Except 30 cents the burglar did not get in my trouser pocket."

Christa Lawler is a features reporter for the News Tribune. She can be reached at .

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