“TWO POCKET-BOOK THIEVES HELD” – May 25, 1882

From the New York Times, May 25, 1882:

A WARNING TO LADIES WHO CARRY THEIR PURSES EXPOSED IN THE STREETS.

Mrs. Mary McDonald, of No. 454 West Thirty-fourth-street, was passing along Thirtieth-street, near Fourth-avenue, shortly after 6 o’clock on Tuesday evening, when she was suddenly seized by a young ruffian, who tried to wrench her purse from her hand.

The intersection of 30th Street and 4th Avenue (now Park Avenue South) as it appeared in 1906, not long after Mrs. McDonald was mugged there. Photo from the NYPL Digital Archives. Click to view original.

The intersection of 30th Street and 4th Avenue (now Park Avenue South) as it appeared in 1906, not long after Mrs. McDonald was mugged there. Photo from the NYPL Digital Archives. Click to view original.

Mrs. McDonald resisted, and in the struggle the purse fell to the ground. The thief stooped to pick it up, and Mrs. McDonald seized him by the throat. He succeeded in breaking away from her, and ran along the street into a stable at No. 8 East Thirty-first-street. At this juncture, Detective Dunlop, of the Twenty-ninth Precinct, appeared upon the scene and entered the stable in pursuit of the thief. He caught sight of the end of a pocket-book sticking up from among the straw of one of the stalls. Stepping in the take possession of it he trod upon the form of the fugitive, who was concealed beneath the straw.

31st Street, between Madison and 5th Avenues, as it appeared in 1919. The stable into which Detective Dunlop chased the thief after he mugged Mrs. McDonald. Photo from the NYPL Digital Archive. Click to view the original.

31st Street, between Madison and 5th Avenues, as it appeared in 1919. The stable into which Detective Dunlop chased the thief after he mugged Mrs. McDonald was located on this block, at Number 8 East 31st Street. Photo from the NYPL Digital Archive. Click to view the original.

The detective took him to the station-house, where he gave the name of Henry Walters, aged 18, of No. 450 West Forty-first-street. Three five-dollar bills were found concealed in the lining of his hat. He was arraigned in the Jefferson Market Police Court and held for trial.

Jefferson Market Courthouse, shown here shortly after its completion in 1877. Photo from the NYPL Digital Archive. Click to view the original.

Jefferson Market Courthouse, shown here shortly after its completion in 1877. Photo from the NYPL Digital Archive. Click to view the original.

Miss Amy Townsend, of No. 9 West Twenty-ninth-street, was attacked on Friday evening last in East Twentieth-street, near Fifth-avenue, in the same manner as was Mrs. McDonald. Her pocket-book was stolen. Believing Walters to be responsible for this offense also, Detective Schmittberger, of the Twenty-ninth Precinct, caused him to be confronted with Miss Townsend. Although she declined to state positively that he was her assailant.

 

Police Detective Max Schmittberger, pictured here in 1910. Schmittberger, mentioned in this article, would go on to testify in a scandalous police corruption case in the 1890s. Photo from the Library of Congress. Click to view the original.

Police Detective Max Schmittberger, pictured here in 1910. Schmittberger, mentioned in this article, would go on to testify in a scandalous police corruption case in the 1890s. Photo from the Library of Congress. Click to view the original.

 

Mrs. Abbie Van Voorhis, who resides at Audubon Park, Western Boulevard and One Hundred and Fifty-fifth-street, was passing along West Thirty-second-street, near Sixth-avenue, shortly before 3 o’clock yesterday afternoon, when her pocket-book, containing $23.47, was snatched from her by John Wilson, of No. 216 West Twenty-seventh-street. A man who witnessed the proceeding followed the thief and gave him in charge of Officer Hulse, of the Twenty-ninth Precinct. At the station-house the pocket-book was found on the prisoner’s person. He was arraigned in the Jefferson Market Police Court and held for trial in $1,000 bail.

The intersection of 6th Avenue and 32nd Street, where Mrs. Van Voorhis was mugged by John Wilson. Photo from the NYPL Digital Archive. Click to view the original.

The intersection of 6th Avenue and 32nd Street, where Mrs. Van Voorhis was mugged by John Wilson. Photo from the NYPL Digital Archive. Click to view the original.

To view a scanned copy of the original article, please visit the New York Times’ archive HERE. Link will open a new window.

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About keithyorkcity

Name: Keith Age: 20-something Location: New York Passion: History You'll find a million blogs like mine, but mine is better.
This entry was posted in Tidbits of History and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to “TWO POCKET-BOOK THIEVES HELD” – May 25, 1882

  1. When you say that Schmittberger would testify in a police corruption case, which one are you speaking of? My great great grandfather, William G. Hogan, was called to testify in the Becker trial, but resigned from the NYPD instead back in the late 1800′s/early 1900′s.

  2. Monique says:

    I just recently discovered your blog and I love it. I’m hooked. Will we be getting any more fascinating stories soon? I hope so.

    • Hi Monique, thanks for reading! I’m glad you’ve enjoyed KeithYorkCity, and I’m sorry I haven’t posted in a long time. I do plan to get back into it – it’s just very time-consuming (considering the salary is $0…) Anyway, please be patient and I promise to get some new posts out soon.
      -Keith

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