Sherburne History Center

Sherburne History Center
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Saturday, May 14, 2016

A True Story Better Than Fiction

The cliché tells us that “truth is often stranger than fiction.”  In the case of the Becker Post Office robbery of 1931, the truth reads like fiction.  Here is a story of a woman betrayed and a group of cold hearted men plotting for the promise of easy money.  

The story begins with Mr. Berga Glisson.  A resident of St. Cloud, in 1931 he had been spending time with the post mistress of Becker, Miss Gertrude Dyson.  For two years the couple had been together.  In December 1931, according to the Sherburne County Star News Glisson and three cohorts schemed to rob the safe of the Becker Post Office.  Glisson’s part in the crime was to duplicate a house key to the residential portion of the Post Office and deliver it to another of his co-conspirators.  

The evening of December 6, 1931, using the key provided by Glisson, three men burst into the home of Miss Dyson.  They took Dyson and Glisson hostage and forced the postmistress to open the post office safe.  Inside they helped themselves to $500 cash.  They locked Glisson and Miss Dyson in the basement of the building and made their getaway.   After 90 minutes locked in the basement the two made their way out and notified police of the robbery.   

The next day, Glisson met up with his partners in crime in St. Cloud.  They divided the money evenly and went their separate ways.  Glisson gave himself away when he began spending money around town.  The paper reported Glisson “complained of being hard up” for money only a week earlier.  In the days after the robbery he seemed flush with new found money.   Now under suspicion, police brought him in for questioning and he folded like a cheap rug.  Glisson confessed and implicated three other men: Roger Golden, Earl Carlson, and Jack Yeager. 

Glisson confessed that he had learned from Miss Dyson a large amount of money was being kept in the safe.  He tried to divert his involvement in the crime when he said, “I was told by each of them that if I failed them and did not assist them in this robbery I would be knocked off.”

The other three men were arrested and the four held over for trial in St. Cloud in the Stearns County jail.  All four of the men confessed to their involvement in the robbery and guaranteed themselves prison time.   The newspaper also hinted the four men might be from a larger organized gang in the area.  Although dramatic, no other arrests were made in connection to the robbery.  

The story itself reads like a cliché.  Yet, as is so often the case, the true story is better than fiction.

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