Dakota Datebook

Making a Clean Breast

Saturday, December 29, 2007

In December, 1932, Emil Johnson was traveling toward Minot in a refrigerator car when three men entered, robbed him and kicked him off the train.
Johnson contacted Minot authorities, and when the train arrived, so did the police.
On this day, it was reported Johnson was brought in to identify Walter Hatch, one of the three men, but he said he couldn’t.
“What d’ya mean?” Hatch said. “I’m one of the guys who stuck you up. Don’t you remember me?”
Then Hatch re-enacted the hold-up, putting on the clothes he had worn and searching Johnson.
For his honesty, Hatch received three to six years in the state pen. His companions also pleaded guilty and received small sentences.
It wasn’t even a lucrative hold-up. Four dollars brought these erstwhile robbers to an honest end.

Written by Sarah Walker
Minot Daily News, Thursday, December 29, 1932
Bismarck Tribune, Thursday, December 29, 1932

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Dakota Datebook is a project of Prairie Public, in partnership with the State Historical Society of North Dakota, with funding from the North Dakota Humanities Council.

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