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Mr. and Mrs. Fred Langenberg-Blackmailed-1914


Posted By: cheryl Locher moonen (email)
Date: 4/19/2021 at 17:03:38

Evening Times-Republican, Saturday, Jun 27, 1914, Marshalltown, IA, Page: 4




Penalty For Refusal Was Threat of
Death to Mr. and Mrs. Langenberg,
of Clear Lake-County Attorney
Advises Employment of Detectives and
Sleuths Are at Work on Case.
Clear Lake, June 27.-To learn the identity of the person or persons responsible for the writing and mailing to Fred Langenberg, a wealthy farmer, who lives on the north shore, and his wife, of letters demanding $6,000 and a deed to a valuable farm, has been the object of the activities of detectives who have been working about Clear Lake for some weeks past.

The letter which brought about the retaining of investigators was received several weeks ago, and demanding that a deed be made out transferring 300 acres of land owned by the recipients to Mrs. Jim Hanson, and making the further modest request that $6,000 be left in a certain named place, on or before June 8. The alternative to delivery of the deed and money, as names in the letter, was death, which the means was not exactly portrayed, it was promised would be a nasty and unpleasant variety. Mrs. Hanson, wife of another wealthy farmer, denies all knowledge of the letters.

Consulted Authorities

Instead of complying with the demand letter, or ignoring it entirely, the Langenberg’s, in spite of admonition in the “Black Hand” note to consult the authorities, took the matter up with the county authorities, and also, it is understood with the post office department.

At the advice of County Attorney John C. Robinson, the Pinkerton detectives agency was retained to run the writer of the letter to earth if possible, and accordingly two operatives were sent here to go into the matter, who have been busily engaged in piecing the different threads of the story together, ever since.

Hand Writing Samples

One of the detectives, posing as a lawyer from a distant city, investigating the title to certain lands in the neighborhood of Clear Lake, called on a party suspected of having had something to do with the letter writing, and on presence of getting information regarding persons who might have knowledge of the supposed case he was working on, got the suspect to write down some names, and other words, appearing in the letter received by Langenberg. These samples are said to tally exactly with the hand writing in the letter.

Confronted With Proof

The person under suspicion was later confronted with such proof as the detectives had been able to obtain, and who denying strenuously any connection with the letter writing, is asserted to have offered to pay the costs of the investigation, etc., rather than have the matter turned over to the federal authorities with a request for prosecution.

The other detective, while not known here as such, worked somewhat in the open, appearing in public as a relative of the Langenberg’s from Chicago, who was visiting them.

Expect Bitter Trouble

Local authorities are inclined to look for bitter trouble over the affair before it is entirely closed up, for the suspect to trap whom the detectives worked is of a wealthy family, and relatives, considerably wrought up over the accusations, promises a counter suit for damages.
Since the matter was turned over to the Pinkerton's, local officers have had little connection with it, except that a Mason City officer accompanied the Pinkerton agent when he confronted the suspect with the evidence at hand.


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