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The Lone Wolf


On this date in 1926, the Fargo Forum and Daily Republican reported the second arrest of Norris Forrest. Forrest was the “Lone Wolf” burglar of Minot, North Dakota. He had been arrested and committed to the Ward County Jail, but he quickly broke out and disappeared.

He was considered quite notorious. A reward of $300 was offered for information leading to his capture. 150 put up by Ward County, the other 150 personally offered by Sheriff Spicher.

Forrest had every reason to run. He was facing three charges of grand larceny. One was for robbing a Minot citizen of $3,000; one was for burglarizing the Piper-Howe Lumber Company; and the third for burglarizing the New York Hardware Store of Minot. He entered a plea of not guilty, but was apparently not interested in taking a chance on a trial.

Following his escape, Forrest continued to pile up offenses. Four new charges were added: two for jailbreaking, one for burglarizing the Minot Armory, and one for stealing $300 from the Piper-Howe Lumber Company. The burglary of the armory also meant he would face federal charges.

Following his second arrest, Forrest bragged that he had spent his time around Velva, Mandan, and Dickinson, brazenly eating at lunch counters and seen by acquaintances. Either they did not recognize him or they didn’t care to turn him in.

Sheriff O.H. Helland of Glendive, Montana provided the tip that led to the arrest. Police Chief E.E. Ernst of Beach, North Dakota made the arrest. It was announced that the two lawmen would share the reward, with Ernst receiving $50 and Helland receiving $250.

Sheriff A.H. Spicher assured Ward County citizens that they could rest easy with the burglar back in jail. He also noted that the Lone Wolf was being guarded very closely.

Dakota Datebook written by Carole Butcher


Fargo Forum and Daily Republican. “Beach Officer to Get Share in Reward for Taking Forrest.” 9 October, 1926.