On his farm east of Ainsworth, Herman Harms stood in his front yard, peering through the inky shadows toward his barn across the road. He'd just heard something out there, something that didn't sound right. He, like all his farming neighbors, had been in a suspicious mood ever since the previous month, when a major chicken heist at the William Bach farm had resulted in the loss of 200 fowls.
Herman decided to investigate. As he crossed the road, he could just make out some movement in the barnyard. A few steps nearer, and the movement resolved itself into dim shapes — four men and several pigs.
He turned and dashed back into the house, grabbed his shotgun, and set out into the night after the thieves and the pigs. He tried to track them, but in the intense darkness and with the head start they'd gotten, it was no use. Men and pigs vanished into the countryside without a trace.
Herman gave up the chase and returned to his barnyard to assess the damage. He counted four of his fine yearling pigs missing. A check of the henhouse revealed that the men had torn away some boards on one side to make an opening, but he had scared them away them before they could carry off any chickens.
The News ended its report on the crime with this comment:
It is said during the past few weeks light auto trucks have been seen driving south without lights, as late as 10 o'clock or later at night. It may be necessary for farmers to man their barnyards with rapid-fire gatling guns as a means of protection.
♦ "Chicken Thieves Again Became Active Last Sunday Night." Hobart News 5 Apr. 1917.
♦ "Thieves Steal About 200 Chickens from Wm. Bach Place." Hobart News 8 Mar. 1917.