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VIGNETTE > Liquor Burglar


The Eighteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution established the prohibition of alcoholic beverages in the United States by declaring the production, transport, and sale of alcohol illegal.  It took effect on January 29, 1920.  Certain Mill Valley residents seem to have anticipated this event by stocking up on liquor. In the previous two months liquor was stolen in twelve burglaries. Excellent police work resulted in arresting A. Barton who confessed to the burglaries. Barton said he mostly stole liquor, the most valuable stuff he could carry away. In one burglary he stole 48 bottles that easily sold for $10 each.  It was whisky and gin that he chose, not wine. Thefts occurred between 10:30 am and 3 pm in homes on Molino, Marion, Ethel, Florence and Monte Vista.  On January 27, Barton burglarized a doctor’s house where he also stole two overcoats and a shotgun.  The next night, a train crew reported seeing a well-dressed man carrying a shotgun. A few days later, police captured the well-dressed man at a house in Waldo Point. Barton had served one term at San Quentin and four terms at Folsom. He had been let out of Folsom eight months earlier.

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