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‘Singing’ Billy Bass Wards Off Fishy Burglar

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(credit: CBS) Bill Hudson
Bill Hudson has been with WCCO-TV since 1989. The native of Elk Rive...
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (WCCO) — Seems anywhere you turn these days somebody is trying to sell you a security system. But for a Rochester bait store owner, it was an unlikely — some might even say “obnoxious” — alarm that saved the day.

You’ve likely had a friend or fishing buddy that has one of those mounted animatronic latex fish that hangs on the wall until it springs to life.

Tom Allen’s “Hooked on Fishing” bait store has all the goodies — from lures to live bait, like minnows and wax worms.

And lining the bait store walls are plenty of impressive fish mounts. So when Allen closed up shop late Sunday afternoon, “the last thing I did before I locked the door was turn Billy the Bass on.”

The motion detecting fish mount is his singing door alarm. It activates when someone opens the front door to announce the presence of a customer when Allen is working in the back.

But when he opened for business on Monday morning, the singing Billy Bass was his saving grace.

“I saw the door had been damaged and the dead bolt had been bent to a 45-degree angle,” Allen said.

The bait store’s front door had been kicked in overnight, but strangely it appeared that not a minnow was missing. Nothing in the store had been upset or stolen.

“Not a doggone thing,” Allen said.

It seems that the silly singing bass went off on cue, breaking the burglar’s mischievous and expected silence.

Allen and the deputy who investigated the break-in suspect the same thing, Billy Bass had startled the burglar away.

“I think he did his job and scared whoever it was right out of his tracks, and they ran,” Allen said.

For all we know, that person might still be running, frightened off by a lip synching and minnow munching latex bass.

“I haven’t thought of him as scaring off burglars,” he said.

But apparently there’s an added benefit to singing such obnoxious tunes. It makes this one fish story that seems to have gotten the best of a very jittery burglar.

In the words of Billy Bass, “don’t worry, be happy.”

Allen’s shop is also wired with security cameras so had the burglar gotten past the singing bass, his startled look could have made for a rather amusing picture.

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