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Wrongful Rifleman


A massive power outage resulting from vandalism was reported on this day in 1948. Five North Dakota cities, including Mandan, Glen Ullin, New Salem, Judson, and Almont, were left without power for about forty-five minutes on the evening of April 6th. Al Yates, the local company manager of Montana-Dakota Utilities, found the outage to be the result of a vandal armed with a .22 caliber rifle. Using the insulator off a power highline north of Mandan as target practice, the anonymous assailant succeeded in breaking no less than thirteen of the insulators. A ring of .22 shells was left nearby as evidence of the massacre. Although the broken insulators did not effect the powerline’s ability to deliver electricity, once it started to rain the highline pole erupted into flames and burned through the wires, halting electricity to the cities.


Fargo Forum and Daily Tribune (Morning ed.). April 8, 1948: p. 1.

--Jayme L. Job