Several clotheslines were stripped by thieves on Tuesday night, and at one place a carpet was stolen. They wound up the ball by breaking into the schoolhouse and stealing a clock belonging to Miss Etta Pulver. This is the first time this village has been visited by clothesline thieves for years and was wholly unlooked for, consequently they reaped a rich harvest. No traces of the thieves as yet.
The preceding article was found in an 1880 issue of The Fowlerville Review. Clothesline thieves have been prevalent through the years -- although not in recent history as most of us have indoor dryers and our clothes are fairly safe from robbery.
But in the late 1800s, it may have been very easy for someone to wander into town or jump from the train, release a few pieces of clothing from the backyard clothesline, then continue on his or her merry way out of town -- unnoticed and unremarkable.