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Why Crime 
does not pay 



SOPHIE LYONS 



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The Fortunes of Betty. 

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Arsene Lupin, Gentleman 
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University of California • Berkeley 
Jack Fleming Prison Collection 



WHY CRIME 
DOES NOT PAY. 



BY 

SOPHIE LYONS 

Queen of the Underworld. 



Gr^a) 



New York 

J. S. OGII/VIE PUBLISHING CO. 

57 Rose Street 



COPYBIQHT, 1913, BY 

THE STAR COMPANY 



CONTENTS 

Chapter Page 

I. How I Began My Career of Crime . .11 

II. The Secret of the Stolen Gainsborough — And the 
Lesson of the Career of Kaymond, the u Prince of 
Safe Blowers, ' ' Who Built a Millionaire 's Eesidence 
in a Fashionable London Suburb and Kept a Yacht 
with a Crew of 20 Men in the Mediterranean . . 37 

III. How I Escaped from Sing Sing, and Other Daring 

Escapes from Prison That Profited Us Nothing . 62 

IV. Women Criminals of Extraordinary Ability with 

Whom I Was in Partnership 89 

V. How I Faced Death, How My Husband Was Shot, and 

Some Narrow Escapes of My Companions . . 118 

VI. Behind the Scenes at a $3,000,000 Burglary—the 

Bobbery of the Manhattan Bank of New York . 14$ 

VII. Bank Burglars Who Disguised Themselves as Police- 
men and Other Ingenious Schemes Used by Thieves 
in Bold Attempts to Get Out Their Plunder . . 173 

Till. Promoters of Crime — People Who Plan Bobberies and 
Act as il Backers" for Professional Criminals — The 
Extraordinary "Mother" Mandelbaum, "Queen of 
the Thieves,' * and Grady, Who Had Half a 
Dozen Gangs of Cracksmen Working for Him . . 186 

IX. Surprising Methods of the Thieves Who Work Only 
During Business Hours and Walk Away with Thou- 
sands of Dollars Under the Very Eyes of the Bank 
Officials 212 



6 CONTENTS 

Chapter Page 

X Startling Surprises That Confront Criminals — How 
Unexpected Happenings Suddenly Develop and Up- 
set Carefully Laid Plans and Cause the Burglars Ar- 
rest or Prevent His Getting Expected Plunder . . 225 

XL Thrilling Events Which Crowded One Short Week of 
My Life — How I Profited Nothing from All the 
Risks I Faced 238* 

HL €*ood Deeds Which Criminals Do and Which Show 

That Even the Worst Thief Is Never Wholly Bad . 250 



INTRODUCTION 

The publishers believe that a picture of life 
sketched by a master hand — somebody who stands 
in the world of crime as Edison does in his field or 
as Morgan and Rockefeller do in theirs — could not 
fail to be impressive and valuable and prove the oft 
repeated statement that crime does not pay. 

Such a person is Sophie Lyons, the most remark- 
able and the greatest criminal of modern times. 
This extraordinary woman is herself a striking evi- 
dence that crime does not pay and that the same en- 
ergy and brains exerted in honest endeavor win en- 
during wealth and respectability. She has aban- 
doned her earlier career and has lately accumulated 
a fortune of half a million dollars, honestly acquired 
by her own unaided business ability. 

Sophie Lyons was a " thief from the cradle/ ' as 
one Chief of Police said; at the early age of six 
years she had already been trained by her step- 
mother to be a pickpocket and a shoplifter. A beau- 
tiful child with engaging manners, she was sent out 
every day into the stores and among the crowds of 
shoppers, and was soundly whipped if she came out 
of a shop with less than three pocketbooks. "I did 
not know it was wrong to steal ; nobody every taught 
me that," Sophie Lyons writes. "What I was told 

7 



8 INTRODUCTION 

was wrong and what I was punished for was when 
I came home with only one pocketbook instead of 
many." 

As the child grew into womanhood she was con- 
spicuously beautiful, and soon became known as 
'* Pretty Sophie." Then romance entered her life 
and she married Ned Lyons, the famous bank burg- 
lar. Her husband was a member of the great gang 
of expert safe-blowers who were the terror of the 
police and the big banks of some years ago. 

Women are regarded as dangerous and are sel- 
dom taken into the confidence of such criminals as 
these. But Sophie Lyons was not only welcomed to 
their councils, but was taken along with them to the 
actual scenes of their operations. Many of the most 
daring bank robberies were, indeed, planned by her 
and to her quick brain and resourcefulness the burg- 
lars often owed their success. 

Sophie Lyons became famous not only among the 
burglars who work with dark lantern and jimmy but 
also among those specialists who are called "bank 
sneaks" — the daring men who walk into banks in 
broad daylight, in the midst of business, and get 
away with great bundles of money. Her fame 
spread, too, among other specialists — the shoplift- 
ers, pickpockets, confidence women, jewelry rob- 
bers, importers of forbidden opium, and the men 
engaged in bringing Chinamen into the country (a 
very profitable and hazardous field). 

For twenty-five years Sophie Lyons was "The 
Queen of the Bank Burglars." the active leader of 



INTRODUCTION 9 

many expeditions in various parts of the world, and 
with her were associated about all of the great 
criminals of Europe and America. It has been said 
that she has been arrested in nearly every large 
city in America, and in every country in Europe ex- 
cept Turkey. She has served sentences in several 
prisons, and, on one occasion, her husband, Ned 
Lyons, was in Sing Sing while she herself was con- 
fined in the women's wing of the prison across the 
road. Ned Lyons managed to make his escape and 
very soon drove up to the women's prison and ef- 
fected the escape of his wife, Sophie Lyons. 

But all this belongs to the past. Sophie Lyons 
has learned that her new life as a respected woman 
is the only one that is really worth while. The com- 
fortable fortune she has now honestly accumulated 
has proved that it is not true that "once a thief 
always a thief." 

The actual happenings in her career have been 
more extraordinary than the imagination of any 
novelist has dreamed; more surprising than any 
scene on the stage. 

Yet nearly every one of those whose exploits she 
has recounted here is now an outcast, has served a 
good share of life in prison, is in poverty, or has 
died poor. Surely, as she has asserted again and 
again — and hopes to abundantly prove — CRIMjlI 
DOES NOT PAY. 

This great truth forced itself upon her after 
many, many years of profitless life in the Under- 
world. And her own life experience and her pres- 



10 INTRODUCTION 

ent fortune of half a million dollars, all honestly ac- 
quired, have demonstrated that half the industry 
and ability that great criminals expend will return 
them richer and more enduring success in honest 
fields of endeavor. 



SOPHIE LYONS 

QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 

CHAPTER I 

HOW I BEGAN MY CAREER OF CRIME 

I was not quite six years old when I stole my 
first pocketbook. I was very happy because I was 
petted and rewarded; my wretched stepmother 
patted my curly head, gave me a bag of candy, and 
said I was a "good girl." 

My stepmother was a thief. My good father 
never knew this. He went to the war at President 
Lincoln's c&ll for troops and left me with his second 
wife, my stepmother. 

Scarcely had my father 's regiment left New York 
than my stepmother began to busy herself with my 
education — not for a useful career, but for a career 
of crime. Patiently she instructed me, beginning 
with the very rudiments of thieving — how to help 
myself to things that lay unprotected in candy shops, 
drug stores and grocery stores. I was made to 
practice at home until my childish fingers had ac- 
quired considerable dexterity. 

Finally, I was told that money was the really valu- 

11 



12 SOPHIE LYONS 

able thing to possess, and that the successful men 
and women were those who could take pocketbooks. 
With my stepmother as the model to practice on I 
was taught how to open shopping bags, feel out the 
loose money or the pocketbook and get it into my lit- 
tle hands without attracting the attention of my vic- 
tims. In those days leather bags were not common 
— most women carried cloth or knitted shopping 
bags. I was provided with a very sharp little knife 
and was carefully instructed how to slit open the 
bags so that I could get my fingers in. 

And at last, when I had arrived at a sufficient de- 
gree of proficiency, I was taken out by my step- 
mother and we traveled over into New York's shop- 
ping district. I was sent into a store and soon came 
out with a pocketbook — my stepmother petted me 
and rewarded me. 



ARRESTED FOR PICKING POCKETS 

That was the beginning of my career as a pro- 
fessional criminal. I did not know it was wrong 
to steal ; nobody ever taught me that. What I was 
told was wrong, and what I was punished for was 
when I came home with only one pocketbook instead 
of many. 

All during my early childhood I did little but 
steal, and was never sent to school. I did not learn 
to read or write until I was twenty-five years old. 
If my stepmother brought me to a place where many 
persons congregated and I was slow in getting pock- 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 13 

etbooks and other articles, she would stick a pin 
into my arm to remind me that I must be more in- 
dustrious. If a pin was not convenient she would 
step on my toes or pinch me when occasion made her 
think I was in need of some such stimulant. 

One time we went over to Hoboken to a place 
where a merry-go-round was operating, and my step- 
mother sent me into the crowds to take pocketbooks 
and anything else I could put my hands on. A de- 
tective saw me take a woman's pocketbook and he 
carried me off to jail in his arms, my stepmother dis- 
appearing in the crowd. I remained in the Hoboken 
jail several days and was very happy there, for the 
policemen used to give me candy and let me play 
around the place, and did not beat me, as my step- 
mother used to do. A strange woman came and 
took me home, for my absence was felt because of 
the loss of the money I used to bring home every 
night. I was arrested very often when a small 
girl, but usually got out after a few days, as my step- 
mother Jaiew how to bring influence to bear in my 
favor. One time I was sent to Randall's Island and 
used to play with the daughters of the assistant 
superintendent, whose name was Jones. The little 
girls learned from their father that I was a thief, 
and they used to sympathize with me and make 
things pleasant, knowing that it was not my fault, 
but the fault of my stepmother, who forced me to 
do wrong. 



14 SOPHIE LYONS 

A THIEF FROM THE CRADLE 

I did most of my stealing when a little girl bj 
putting my hands into men's and women's pockets, 
but I also used to cut a hole in the bags carried by 
women — and then insert my fingers and take out 
the money or other things I found there, as I have 
already mentioned. Hardly a day passed when I 
did not steal a considerable sum of money, and many 
days I would take home more than a hundred dol- 
lars. Sometimes I would forget my work and be 
attracted to a store window and buy a doll for my- 
self to pet. When I went home to my house and sat 
down on the steps to cuddle my doll my stepmother 
or my brother would come out and catch me up and 
give me a good many hard knocks for neglecting 
my duty — and the only duty I knew in those days 
was to steal, and never stop stealing. 

More than once when I would dread going home I 
would have myself arrested by stealing so a police- 
man could see me do it. But it didn 't help me much, 
for my stepmother never failed to get me out of jail 
within a few days after my arrest. It seemed so 
natural for mc to steal that one time when I was 
arrested the policeman asked me what I was doing, 
and I said frankly, "Picking pockets." He asked 
me how many I got, and I said, "I don't know; J 
gave them all to my mama. ' ' 

Every day I would wear a different kind of dress 
so as not to attract attention, in case anybody who 
saw me steal something the day before happened to 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 15 

be around. My stepmother was wise enough to dis- 
guise me in this way, and it enabled me to keep 
working for a long time in the same place. My 
stepmother would take me into the department 
stores and wait outside for me. If I came out with 
enough money to satisfy her she would say nothing, 
ibut march me off home or to another store for 
more money, but if I came out with less than she 
expected, then I would get the pin pricks or pinches, 
and be made to feel that I had done something 
wrong in not working harder and stealing more. 

I was, indeed, as one chief of police once said, "A 
thief from the cradle.' ' Surrounding my childhood 
and youth there was not one wholesome or worthy 
influence. My friends and companions were always 
criminals, and it is not surprising that in my early 
womanhood I should have fallen in love with a bank 
burglar — Ned Lyons. 

Following this romance came motherhood and an 
awakening within me of at least one worthy resolve 
— that, whatever had been my career, I certainly 
would see that my children were given the benefit 
of a tender mother love, which I had never had, and 
that my little ones should be surrounded with every 
pure and wholesome influence. 

The first few years of my married life were di- 
vided between my little ones and the necessary ex- 
actions which my career imposed on me. Ned Ly- 
ons, my husband, was a member of the boldest ana 
busiest group of bank robbers in the world. Here 
and there, all over the Eastern States, we went 0:1 



16 SOPHIE LYONS 

expeditions, forcing the vaults of the biggest and 
richest banks in the country. We had money in 
plenty, but we spent money foolishly. When we 
crept out of the vaults of the great Manhattan Bank 
in the early morning hours of the night of that fa-f 
mous robbery, we had nearly $3,000,000 in money,' 
bonds and securities. And from the Northampton 
Bank we took $200,000, if I remember correctly. 

But we had our troubles. My husband, Ned Ly- 
ons, was a desperate scoundrel, and was constantly 
in difficulties. My desire was to be with my little 
ones, but the gang of burglars with whom I was as- 
sociated had learned to make me useful, and they in- 
sisted on my accompanying them on their expedi- 
tions. I will explain fully in following chapters just 
what my part was in many of their various exploits. 

Ned Lyons was hungry for money — money, more 
money — and the desperate risks he took and his con- 
tinual activity took me away from the children much 
of the time. 



MY ESCAPE FROM SING SING 

Always there was something going on, and I had 
rery little peace. Early one winter Ned Lyons, in 
connection with Jimmy Hope, George Bliss, Ira 
Kingsland and others, blew open the safe of the 
Waterford, New York, Bank, and secured $150,000. 
Lyons and two others were caught, convicted and 
sent to Sing Sing Prison. 

It was not long before I myself was captured, con- 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 17 

victed and also sent to Sing Sing for five years. But 
my husband managed to escape from the prison one 
December afternoon, and he lost no time in arrang- 
ing for my escape from the women's section of the 
prison, which was a separate building just across 
the road from the main prison. 

I was all ready, of course, and when my husbam 
drove up in a sleigh, wonderfully well disguised, 
wearing a handsome fur coat, and carrying a wom- 
an's fur coat on his arm, I made my escape an( 
joined him. I will tell the details of how my hus 
band and I got out of Sing Sing in a subsequen 
article. 

We both w T ent into hiding and made our way tb 
Canada, where Ned, being short of funds, broke into 
a pawnbroker's safe and helped himself to $20,000 
in money and diamonds. With these funds in our 
pockets we returned to New York, and I kept in hid- 
ing as well as I could until my husband, with George 
Mason and others, robbed the bank at Wellsboro, 
Pennsylvania. Shortly afterward my husband was 
arrested while engaged on a job at Riverhead, L. L, 
and $13,000 worth of railroad bonds were taken 
from his pockets. 

My husband could not let drink alone, and on» 
day he had a street fight with the notorious Jimm; 
Haggerty, a burglar, who was afterward killed b 
"Reddy the Blacksmith" in a saloon fight on Hous- 
ton Street and Broadway. During the fight be- 
tween Haggerty and Ned Lyons Haggerty managed 
to bite off the greater portion of my husband's left 



18 SOPHIE LYONS 

ear. This was a great misfortune to him as it served 

as a means of identification ever after. On another 

occasion, in a drunken dispute, Ned Lyons was shot 

i at the Star and Garter saloon on Sixth Avenue by 

( "Ham" Brock, a Boston character, who fired two 

; shots, one striking Lyons in the jaw and the other 

in the body. 

My husband soon had the bad luck to be caught 
in the act of breaking into a jewelry store in South 
Windham, Conn. As soon as he knew he was dis- 
covered, my husband tried to make his escape, and 
the police shot him as he ran, putting one bullet 
hole through his .body and imbedding another ball 
in his back. 

He was also caught in the burglary of a post- 
office at Palmer, Massachusetts, where they took the 
safe out of the store, carried it a short distance out 
of the village, broke it open, and took the valuables. 
As I have already said, the men had found me very 
helpful and insisted on my accompanying them on 
most of their expeditions. Always, if an arrest was 
made, I was relied upon to get them out of trouble. 
This took time, money, and resourcefulness, and 
kept me away from my little ones against my will. 
During this time my children were approaching 
an age when it would no longer do to have them in 
our home. Our unexplained absences, our mid- 
night departures, our hurried return in the early 
horning hours with masks, burglars' tools, and 
latchels full of stolen valuables would arouse curios- 
fcy in their little minds. One thing I had sworn to 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLAES 19 

do — to safeguard my little ones from such wretched 
influences as had surrounded my childhood. With 
this in view I sent my little boy and my little girl 
to schools where I felt sure of kind treatment and 
a religious atmosphere. And I paid handsomely to 
make sure that they would receive every care and 
consideration. 

I SEE WHY CRIME DOES NOT PAY 

I had scarcely gotten the children well placed in 
excellent schools in Canada when my husband was 
caught in one of his robberies. I busied myself 
with lawyers and spent all the money we had on 
hand, to no avail, and he was given a long prison 
sentence. Just at this unfortunate moment I was 
myself arrested in New York and given a six months' 
term of imprisonment. 

On my account I did not care — but what would 
become of my children? My sources of income had 
been brought to a sudden stop. I had no money 
to send to pay my children's expenses. Then, for 
the first time, I felt the full horror of a criminal's 
life. I resolved for my children's sake to find a way 
to support them honestly. I realized the full truth 
that crime does not pay. 

As I went on day after day serving my term in 
prison my thoughts were always about my little 
ones. The frightful recollections of my own child- 
hood had developed in me an abnormal mother love. 
At last I resolved to write to the institutions where 
my boy and girl were located and explain that I 



20 SOPHIE LYONS 

was unavoidably detained and out of funds, but 
promising to generously repay them for continuing 
to care for my children. 

But I was too late. The newspapers had printed 
an account of my arrest, and when it reached the 
ears of the convent and college authorities where 
my boy and girl were stopping it filled them with 
indignation to think that a professional thief had 
the audacity to place her children under their care. 
So they immediately took steps to get rid of the 
innocent youngsters, in spite of the fact that I had 
paid far in advance for their board and tuition. 
The boy was shipped off in haste to the poorhouse, 
and my dear little girl was sent to a public orphan- 
age, from which she was adopted by a man named 
Doyle, who was a customs inspector in Canada at 
the time. 

"When my six months were up my first thoughts 
were of my children, and I started off to visit them, 
thinking, of course, that they were still in the insti- 
tutions where I had placed them. I called at the 
convent, and when they saw me coming one of the 
sisters locked the door in my face. I was astounded 
at this, but determined to know what it meant. As 
my repeated knocks did not open the door, I resorted 
to a more drastic method and began to kick on the 
panels quite vigorously. The inmates of the con- 
vent became alarmed at my persistence and feared 
that the door would be broken open, so they thought 
it best to open and let me in. I then demanded to 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 21 

know the cause of their peculiar conduct, and one 
of them spoke up, saying: 

"You are a thief, and we do not want you here." 

"Oh, is that it!" I replied. "Well, where is my 
little girl? I want to see her." 

"Your child has been placed in a respectable 
family, and you will not be permitted to see her," 
answered the sister. 

Then my blood began to boil with fury, and I de- 
manded to know why they had sent my girl away 
without letting me know, especially as I had given 
them considerable money, and they knew all her 
expenses would be paid. But she refused to give 
me any satisfaction. In desperation I sprang at 
her. She screamed and called for help. The mother 
superior then made her appearance and, dismayed 
at the sight of the determination I had displayed, 
she reluctantly gave me the address of the man 
who had my little girl 

I did not have a dollar with me at the time, but 
started off to walk to Mr. Doyle 's house, which was 
some distance in the country. After a few hours' 
walking I met a man driving by in a buggy, and 
he stopped and offered me a ride. I, of course, ac- 
cepted his invitation and got into the buggy. He 
asked me where I was going, and I said I was search* 
Ing for a man named Doyle. He wanted my name 
and the nature of my business, but I said that in- 
formation would be given to Mr. Doyle himself, and 
nobody else. He then said his name was Doyle, and 
asked me my name, and I told him I was Sophie 



22 SOPHIE LYONS 

Lyons. As soon as lie heard this he stopped the 
horse and ordered me out of the buggy, and shouted : 
"You are a very bad woman. I have your little 
girl. I'm going to keep her. You are not a fit 
mother, and should be kept in jail, where you be- 
long. ' ' 

FOE MY CHILDREN'S SAKE 

1 1 We will not discuss that here, ' ' I replied. ' i What 
I want now is to see my little girl, and I wish you 
would drive me to your house." 

"You shall never see your child, and you had 
better not come near my house," he cried as he 
whipped up his horse and was soon out of sight, 
leaving me alone on the road. 

I continued my walk, however, and shortly after- 
ward reached the Doyle house and stood outside 
the gate, while Doyle, with his two sons and two 
hired men and a dog, watched me from the piazza. 
I stood there a few moments, and then Doyle came 
out and asked me what I was doing there, and de- 
manded that I leave the neighborhood at once. He 
said: "This is my home, and you must go away." 

"It may be your home, Mr. Doyle," I answered, 
"but my child is in there, and I am going to wait 
here until I see her." 

"I have adopted your girl," he said, "and she 
will be better off here than with you. ' ' 

"It takes two to make a bargain," I said, "and 
you did not get my consent when you adopted the 
girl." 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLAES 23 

Realizing that it was useless to try to persuade 
me, he went inside and left me at the gate, where I 
stood waiting developments. After another long 
wait Doyle came ont again and said: 

"Are you still there? What do you want? Yon 
know very well it is better for the girl that she re* 
main with us, and not with a thief like you. I will 
take good care of her, but you shall not see her." 

"I know my rights/ ' I replied, "and I will hire 
a lawyer and compel the convent authorities to 
show me their books and explain what they have 
done with the thousands of dollars I left with them 
to care for my girl. I will make it hot for you and 
for them before I finish.' ' 

This threat must have frightened him a little, for 
he then asked me if I had had anything to eat that 
day, and I told him I had not. Then he invited me 
into the house to get some food, and said he would 
hitch up the buggy and drive me back to town. I 
said: 



a mother's love wins at last 



1 ' No, you will not drive me back to town. I will 
not go back without my girl." 

"Now, be reasonable, Mrs. Lyons," he said. 
"Your little girl is happy here, and she does not 
like you because you are a bad woman. ' ' 

"Well," I answered, "if she does not like her 
mother then you have made her feel that way ; you 
have taught her to dislike me." 



24 SOPHIE LYONS 

After a little more parleying he went int# the 
house and sent out my little girl to talk to me. 

"My darling/ ' I said, " don't you want to kiss 
your own mother?" 

"No," she said; "I do not like you, because you 
kre a thief. You are not my mother at all." 

My eyes filled with tears at this, and with sobs in 
my voice I asked her if she did not remember the 
little prayers I had taught her and the many happy 
hours we had spent together. The little dear said: 

1 l Yes, I remember the prayers, but I do not want 
to see you. You are a thief! Go away, please!" 

Those words cut me to the heart — from my own 
)recious daughter. And again I was made to real- 
ze that crime does not pay ! 

I lost no time in setting matters in motion which 
very soon brought back to my arms my daughter. 
Meanwhile I hastened to the academy where my 
little boy had been left and demanded to see him. 
When my boy was brought out to me he was in a 
disgraceful condition, he seemed to have been ut- 
terly neglected, his clothing was ragged and his 
face as dirty as a chimney sweep's. I was shocked 
at this and demanded an explanation from the pro- 
fessor who had charge of the institution. He turned 
on me angrily, and said: 

"You have an amazing assurance to place your 

.good-for-nothing brat among honest children. How 

dare you give us an assumed name and impose on 

us in this manner? Get your brat out of here at 

once, for if honest parents knew your character 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 25 

they would take their children out of the school 
without delay.' * 

"A false name, is it?" I said to the proud pro- 
fessor. "What name did you give when you were 
caught in a disreputable house?" 

This remark startled him. He changed his man- 
ner at once and implored me to speak lower and 
not let anybody know what I said. I had recog- 
nized this professor as a man who had visited De- 
troit a year or so before and had been caught in 
a disreputable resort by the police on one of their 
raids. The professor, of course, did not imagine 
that anybody in Detroit had known him, and so he 
thought it perfectly safe to assume the role of su- 
perior virtue. He apologized for his neglect of my 
child and begged me to forget the abuse he had 
heaped upon me. I congratulated myself that the 
child had not heard his remarks to me, and I de- 
parted with my boy. 

But my joy over the fact that my little one had 
not had his mother's wickedness revealed to him 
was of short duration. I had brought the child to 
Detroit, where 1 had begun preparations to make a 
permanent home, honestly, 1 hoped. Several per- 
sons there owed me money, and among them a bar- 
ber I had befriended. I tried persistently to get 
•from him what he owed me, but without success. 

When I returned home after a little trip I was 
compelled to make to New York, my boy came up 
to me, crying, and said; 



26 SOPHIE LYONS 

" Mamma, I don't want to live around here any 
more. ' ' 

I wondered what conld have caused the poor boy 
to speak that way, so I patted him on the back and 
said: 

"Why, what is the matter, dearie! Don't yc\V 
like this street any more?" 

1 i Mamma, ' ' he sobbed, i ' 1 heard something about 
you which makes me feel awful bad, but I know it 
isn't true, is it, mamma?" 

"Tell me, child, what is it?" 

"Well," he answered, "Mr. Wilson, the barber, 
asked me the day after you left to go downtown on 
a trip with him, and I went along. He took me into 
a large building which I heard was the police sta- 
tion. He asked a man to let him see some pictures, 
and when he got the pictures he showed me one of 
them which he said was you; and he said you were 
a thief and the police had to keep your picture so 
they could find you when you stole things," and 
then the boy began to sob as if his poor heart would 
break. 

The man had taken my boy down to the police 
station and had shown him my picture in the rogues ' 
gallery. And again the realization was forced in 
on me by the reproachful gaze of my boy that crime 
does not pay. 

For a time I managed to get along fairly well 
and was able by honest efforts to have a little home 
and to have my children with me. But my old 
career came up to haunt me and many refused to 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 27 

have business dealings with me when they were 
informed of my earlier life. At last I was at the 
end of my resources — should I lose my little home 
and my children, or should I go back once more, 
just once more to my old life?" 

The struggle between my two impulses was finally 
settled by a visit from two of my old acquaintances 
of the underworld — Tom Bigelow and Johnny 
Meaney. They came to ask my help in a promising 
job which they felt sure would be a success if they 
could enlist my services — there would be at least 
$50,000 for me, they said. 

"Big Tom" Bigelow was an old-time professional 
bank burglar, who had learned his business under 
such leaders as Jimmy Hope and Langdon W. 
Moore — men who had never found any bank or any 
vault too much for their skill. Little Johnny 
Meaney was one of the cleverest l ' bank sneaks ' ' that 
ever lived. He would perform the most amazing 
feats in getting behind bank counters and walking 
off with large bundles of money. He was so quick 
and noiseless in his work that he would never have 
been arrested but for his fondness for women ami 
drink. When under the influence of champagne he 
would confide in s.ome strange woman he had met 
only a few days before, and in order to get the re- 
ward some of the women would tell the police where 
to find Johnny. 

He had granulated eyelids, and his inflamed eyes 
were so conspicuous that he could always be recog- 
nized easily. He was married and had several chiJ- 



28 SOPHIE LYONS 

dren. His wife never knew the kind of work he did 
He had a quarrelsome temper, and ahrays got into 
some dispute with every woman he met., and usually 
left them feeling unfavorably disposed toward him. 
Many of the girls who betrayed him did so more 
ihrough resentment than anything else. I mention 
f these things to show how personal peculiarities and 
temperament are often serious menaces to criminals. 
Meaney's specialty was day work. He would 
walk into a bank during business hours and sneak 
behind the counter and pick up everything he could 
lay his hands on. He never did any night work, and 
knew nothing about safe blowing. As a rule, a 
man who makes a specialty of night work, with dark 
lantern, mask, and jimmy, will not attempt any sneak 
work, and the first-class sneak will not undertake 
night work. The night robber is guided by the 
moon, and oftentimes a job will be called off be- 
cause the cracksmen think the moon is not right for 
the work. The darker the night the better. But 
the bank sneak prefers daylight of the brightest 
kind. He often works right under the eyes of a 
room full of clerks, and the bigger the crowd in the 
streets the easier for him to make his escape and 
lose himself among them. 

HOW I PLANNED A BANK ROBBERY 

It was a "bank Sneak'* job they had in mind. 
The bank was in a small New Jersey city, near 
enough to New York so that we could lose ourselves 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 29 

in our old haunts on the East Side before the de- 
tectives should get hot on our trail. 

I went to the town in advance of the other mem- 
bers of the party and rented a small cottage, posing 
as a widow who planned to settle down there and 
live on the income of her husband's insurance 
money. 

Soon after settling in my new quarters, I visited 
the bank and opened a small account. I found the 
cashier a man who fitted in perfectly with our dis- 
honest designs. He must have been nearly seventy 
years old and he could not hear or see so well as he 
should for the security of the funds in his charge. 

I saw right away that he was very susceptible 
to pretty women and was quite willing to drop his 
work at any time for a half hour's chat with such a 
comely widow as I looked to be. My task was to 
look the ground over, find out where the cash was 
kept, and how and when access to it could best be 
secured. It was the simplest thing in the world to 
get these facts after I had worked my way into 
the cashier's good graces. 

I quickly saw that the most favorable time for 
the robbery was between the hours of 12 and 1 
o'clock, when the other two men in the bank went 
to their homes for lunch, leaving the institution in 
the charge of the old cashier. At that time the* 
door of the vault was open, and the bundles of cur-\ 
rency and securities Irj there in full view, ready for 
us to take away. 

It would be an easy matter for Johnny Meaney, 



30 SOPHIE LYONS 

who was a small, wiry fellow, light and quiet on his 
feet as a cat, to slip in through a side entrance 
while I held the cashier's attention with one of my 
harmless flirtations and gain access to the vault 
through the door in the wire cage, which was almost 
invariably left unlocked. Even if it should be 
locked on the day we set for the robbery, it would 
be a simple matter for Johnny to get inside with 
the aid of one of his skeleton keys. 

Accordingly I sent word to my two comrades that 
the coast was clear and to come on at once. They 
arrived in due time and, after looking the ground 
over, confirmed my own judgment that the robbery 
was an easy one and could be carried out with littlo 
risk according to the plan I had made. 

The following Tuesday was the day set, because 
on that day, as I had found out, the bank generally 
had a large amount of cash on hand. The time fixed 
was between 12 and 12 :30 o 'clock, when the assistant 
cashier, the bookkeeper, and practically all the rest 
of the town were at their noonday meal. 

Everything was definitely settled unless my visit 
to the bank on Monday should reveal some unlooked- 
for hitch. 

The cashier had become thoroughly accustomed 
to the "pretty widow V habit of dropping in on 
him every day at the noon hour, and he was ex- 
ceedingly glad to see me when I entered as usual, 
Monday, and began a series of questions about some 
fictitious investments of mine in the West. Alas! 
how well I remember how that vain old mau en- 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 31 

joyed his innocent flirtation, little suspecting that 
the object of his regard was there only to make sure 
that nothing had happened to disarrange the plans 
for to-morrow's robbery. 



WHAK DELAYED OUR PLANS 

Luckily for me the bookkeeper was just starting 
for lunch when T took my accustomed place outside 
the cashier's window. I had seen the door through 
which he had to pass to get from inside the wire 
cage to the outer part of the bank opened and shut 
a hundred times r and I had always noted with satis- 
faction not only that it was seldom locked but also 
that its hinges never gave even the slightest squeak. 

But at this moment a most unexpected thing hap- 
pened. 

As the bookkeeper turned the knob of the wire- 
screen door and opened it a most unearthly scream 
came from the iron hinges. 

The clerk passed on, and the door lazily swung 
back behind him with another piercing screech that 
filled me with dismay. 

No watch-dog could have sounded a more certain 
alarm than those hinges. My heart sank as I real- 
ized how impossible it would be for Johnny Meaney 
to pass in and out i>f that creaking door without 
detection. Bringing my conversation to a hurried 
close, I went to tell my comrades how our hopes 
had been dashed by the unexpected development of 
a squeak in those both*?r«or»jy hinges. 



32 SOPHIE LYONS 

The difficulty seemed insurmountable until Johnny 
Meaney, always a quick-witted, resourceful thief, 
showed us a way out. His suggestion was that the 
robbery be postponed for a week and that in the 
meantime we call in the aid of another well-known 
bank sneak named Bill Taylor, to fix those refrac- 
tory hinges. 

This seemed the only possible solution of the 
problem, as that squeaking had to be stopped, and 
it was not safe for either of my companions to at- 
tempt it. Accordingly, Meaney went back to New 
York to make the necessary arrangements, and a 
few days later Taylor appeared on the scene as the 
suave, well dressed representative of the company 
which had built the vault for this bank. 

On presentation of his neatly engraved card, Tay- 
lor was readily given permission to inspect the 
vault. During the afternoon he spent in the bank 
he called attention to the squeaky hinges and sug- 
gested that he apply to them some very excellent 
machine oil he had with him. This he did and the 
door moved as noiselessly as before. 

And incidentally, while Taylor was masquerading 
as the traveling agent of the safe company and had 
the freedom of the bank that afternoon he took oc- 
casion to fit a key to the wire door. Not that Johnny) 
Meaney could not attend to this himself in case he ( 
found the door locked, but Taylor thought he might 
as well make everything as smooth as possible for 
"Meaney. 

Everything was now in shape, and we decided to 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLABS 33 

rob the bank next day. Just at noon, as the big 
(dock on the Municipal Building was striking 12, I 
came up the steps of the bank and greeted the old 
cashier with my customary smile. The bookkeeper 
and the four other clerks were passing out of the 
side door to their lunch. Suddenly I spilled out of 
my hand right in front of the cashier a handful of 
large coins in such a way that two silver dollars 
rolled past him and dropped on the floor inside the 
wire cage. As he laboriously stooped to pick them 
up I strained my neck and eyes to examine quickly 
everything inside the cage to make sure that all the 
bank clerks had gone out — that nobody remained 
behind the wire railing except the aged cashier. 

Moving over as far as possible to one side of tho 
cashier's window, I drew the old cashier's attention 
to a photograph of a little child in a locket. This 
brought the back of his head toward the side door 
of the bank. As he leaned his face down to see it 
more closely I caught a glimpse out of the corner 
of my eye of the shadow-like form of Johnny 
Mcaney. 

Noiselessly he had come in through the side door. 
.Mice a cat he crept to the wire door. With my ears 
* trained for the faintest alarm from those treacher- 
ous hinges, I listened as I kept up a rapid fire con- 
versation to hold the attention of the aged cashier. 

The wire door swung open noiselessly; Meaney 
was crouching low; I had lost my view of him as 
he crept toward the big open door of the bank vault. 

On the sidewalk, pacing slowly up and down in 



34 SOPHIE LYONS 

front of the side door, was "Big Tom" Bigelow. 
He was the "outside man" of the job and, although 
I could not see him, I knew he was on the alert to 
intercept anybody who might happen in. With 
some excuse he must stop any clerk who tried to 
enter through the side door — I myself must inter- 
cept any clerk who might chance to return from 
lunch and enter by the front entrance. 

WE GET OUR PLUNDER 

With increasing vivaciousness, I rattled along en- 
tertaining the cashier. In a few moments I saw 
the wire door gently open as if by a spirit hand. 
Creeping low along the floor, a shadow crossed the 
little corridor to the outside door; noiselessly it 
opened and closed — the work was done! 

And thus this job, which had taken us weeks to 
plan, was done in less than five minutes from the 
time I entered the bank until Meaney stole out of 
a back door with his satchel full of bank notes and 
securities. Then the three of us quickly made our 
way by separate routes to New York. 

The loss was not discovered until it came time 
to close the vault for the day, and we thus had 
nearly three hours' start of the police. A large 
reward was offered and numerous detectives en- 
gaged, but no one was ever arrested for this crime. 
I am just vain enough to think that the old cashier 
was probably very reluctant to believe his pretty 
widow had a share in the robbery, in spite of her 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 35 

mysterious disappearance on the very day it oc- 
curred. 

Our plunder amounted to $150,000, of which $20,- 

000 was cash and the rest good negotiable bonds. 
The money was divided and I undertook the mar- 
keting of the securities, which were finally disposed 
of through various channels for $78,000, or about 
60 per cent, of their value. 

Those squeaky door hinges cost Meaney, Bigelow, 
and myself about $6,000 apiece, for through the 
addition of Taylor to our party we had to divide the 
spoils among four persons instead of three. After 
paying my expenses, my share of these ill-gotten 
gains amounted to about $20,000. This I thought 
ample to provide for the wants of my children until 

1 could establish myself in some honorable busi- 
ness, and I returned to Detroit fully determined 
never again to risk, as I had, a long prison term. 

But my good resolutions were short lived. Two 
weeks later word came that my husband was in 
jail for complicity in an attempted bank robbery 
which had been nipped in the bud and urgently 
needed my assistance. It took several thousand 
dollars of the money for which I had paid so dear 
to secure his liberty, and the remainder soon melted 
away before the numerous needs of my little brood 
and my husband's unfortunate gambling propensi- 
ties. 

Here I was again just where I was before the 
robbery of that New Jersey bank. My money was 
gone, my old reputation still pursued me, nobody 



36 SOPHIE LYONS 

would trust me; "once a thief, always a thief," 
they said; nobody believed in my sincere? desire to 
abandon my early career and lead an honest life. 

I did not feel vindictive at the sneers at ray prot- 
estations of a desire to earn an honest living — L 
could not blame anybody for doubting my sincerity. 
But my home and my little ones, dearer to me than 
life, what was to become of them? Was there no 
way to escape from my wretched career? If ever 
a woman and a mother realized that crime does not 
pay, I was made to learn that truth. 

It is a long and difficult road — the narrow path 
that leads from crime to honest living. I have trav- 
eled it, thank heaven ! but it was hard, it was slow — 
and many times I strayed from the path. 

Some of my companions of the old days traveled 
that road with me. A few, a very few, succeeded 
as I did at last. Many gave it up, turned back. A 
thousand episodes of my career and of their mis- 
guided lives all illuminate the one great inevitable 
fact that crime does not pay I 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 37 



CHAPTER n 

THE SECRET OF THE STOLEN GAINSBOROUGH — AND TH1 
LESSON OP THE CAREER OF RAYMOND, THE "PRINCl 
OF SAFE BLOWERS/ ' WHO BUILT A MILLIONAIRE^ 
RESIDENCE IN A FASHIONABLE LONDON SUBURB AND 
KEPT A YACHT WITH A CREW OF 20 MEN IN THE 
MEDITERRANEAN 

It was on the morning of May 15, several years 
ago, that the manager of Agnew's great art gallery 
in London turned the key in the lock of the private 
gallery to show an art patron the famous "Gains- 
borough." His amiable smile faded from his lips 
as he came face to face with an empty gilt frame. 

The great $125,000 painting had been cut from 
its frame. 

Who stole this masterpiece? How was it stolen T 
Could it be recovered! 

The best detectives of Europe and America were 
asked to find answers to these questions. They 
never did. I will answer them here for the first 
time to-day. 

The man who cut the Gainsborough from its 
frame was a millionaire, he was an associate of 
J mine, he was a bank burglar. Adam Worth, or 
Harry Raymond, as he was known to his friends, 
did not need the money and he did not want the 
painting — he entered that London art gallery at 3 
o'clock in the morning and took that roll of canvas 



38 SOPHIE LYONS 

out under his arm for a purpose that nobody sus- 
pected. I will explain all this presently. 

I have said that Eaymond was a millionaire, and 
I said in previous chapters that crime does not 
pay — how is it possible to reconcile these two state- 
ments? We shall see. 

Among all my old acquaintances and associates 
in the criminal world, perhaps no one serves better 
as an example of the truth that crime does not pay 
than this very millionaire burglar, this man who 
had earned the title of the "Prince of Safe Blow- 
ers." For a time he seemed to have everything 
Ms heart could desire — a mansion, servants, liveried 
equipages, a yacht ; and it all crumbled away like a 
house of cards, vanished like the wealth of Aladdin 
in the Arabian Nights. And so Eaymond, most 
" successful' ' bank robber of the day, lived to learn 
the lesson that crime does not pay. 

Raymond was a Massachusetts boy — bright, wide 
awake, but headstrong. Born of an excellent family 
and well educated, he formed bad habits and de- 
veloped a passion for gambling. 

EAYMOND 's FIKST CRIMES 

Unable to earn honestly all he needed to gratify 
his passion for gambling, Raymond soon drifted 
into the companionship of some professional thieve ii 
he had met in the army. From that time his down . 
fall was rapid; he never earned another honest 
dollar. Like myself and many other criminals who 




HOW RAYMOND CUT THE FAMOUS ' ' GAINSBOROUGH " OUT OF 
ITS FRAME, 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 39 

later achieved notoriety in broader fields, he first 
tried picking pockets. He had good teachers and 
he was an apt pupil. His long, slender fingers 
seemed just made for the delicate task of slipping 
watches out of men's pockets and purses out of 
women's handbags. Soon he had plenty of money 
and a wide reputation for his cleverness in escap- 
ing arrest 

Aside from his love for faro and roulette, Ray- 
mond was always a prudent, thrifty man. In those 
early days he picked pockets so skillfully and dis- 
posed of his booty to the "fences" so shrewdly that 
it was not long before he had enough capital to 
finance other criminals. The first manifestation of 
the executive ability which was one day to make 
him a power in the underworld was his organization 
of a band of pickpockets. Raymond's word was 
law with the little group of young thieves he gath- 
ered around him. He furnished the brains to keep 
them out of trouble and the cash to get them out 
if by chance they got in. Every morning they met 
in a little Canal Street restaurant to take their 
orders from him — at night they came back *o hand 
him a liberal share of the day's earnings. 

But even the enormous profits of this syndicate 
of pickpockets were not enough to satisfy Ray- 
mond's restless ambition. He began to cast en- 
vious eyes at men like my husband (Ned Lyons), 
Big Jim Brady, Dan Noble, Tom Bigelow, and other 
bank sneaks and burglars whom he met in the places 
where criminals gathered. These men were big, 



40 SOPHIE LYONS 

strong, good-looking fellows. Their work looked 
easy — it was certainly exciting. They had long 
intervals of leisure and were always well supplied 
with money. "If these men can make a good living 
robbing banks,' ' thought Eaymond, "why can't I!" 
It was through Eaymond 's itching to get into 
bank work that I first met him. One day he came 
into a restaurant where my husband and I were 
sitting, and Mr. Lyons introduced him to me. I 
myself saw little in him to impress me, but when 
he had gone my husband said: "That fellow will 
be a great thief some day." 

AMBITIOUS TO BE A BANK BURGLAR 

It was hard for a young man to get a foothold 
with an organized party of bank robbers, for the 
more experienced men were reluctant to risk their 
chances of success by taking on a beginner. 

"No doubt you're all right," they told him, "but 
you can see yourself that we can't afford to have 
anybody around that hasn't had experience in our 
line of business. It's too risky for us, and it 
wouldn't be fair to you." 

"But how am I going to get experience if some 
of you chaps don't give me a chance?" Eaymond 
replied; but still he got no encouragement from 
my husband and his companions. 

"All right," he finally said one day. "I'll show 
you what I can do — I won't be asking to be taken 
in with you; you will be asking me." 



QUEEN OF THE BUEGLARS 41 

So Raymond, in order to get experience, cheer- 
fully made up his mind to make his first attempt in 
that line alone. He broke into an express company's 
office on Liberty Street and forced open a safe con- 
taining $30,000 in gold. The inner box, however, 
in which the money was kept, proved too much for 
Raymond's limited experience. To his great dis J 
gust, daylight came before he was able to get it 
open. 

Tired and mad, Raymond trudged home in the 
gray of the morning, dusty, greasy, and with his 
tools under his arm. The newspapers printed the 
full details of the curious failure to reach the funds 
in the express company's safe, and Ned Lyons and 
his companions guessed very quickly whose work 
it was. Meeting Raymond a few days later, they 
accused him of having done the bungling job. He 
admitted that the joke was on him, and they all 
laughed loudly at his effort to get some experience. 

" You're all right," said Big Jim Brady. "You've 
got the right idea — that's the only way to learn; 
keep at it and you will make a name for yourself 
some day." 

His next undertaking was more successful. Prom 
the safe of an insurance company in Cambridge, 
Mass., his native town, he took $20,000 in cash.' 
This established him as a bank burglar, and he 
soon became associated with a gang of expert 
cracksmen, including Ike Marsh, Bob Cochran, and 
Charley Bullard. 



42 



SOPHIE LYONS 



BOBBING THE BOYLSTON BANK 

Raymond was very proud of having gotten a foot- 
ing among the big bank burglars, whom he had 
long looked upon with respect and envy. After 
several minor robberies Raymond became uneasy, 
and declared that he wanted to do a really big job 




ROBBING THE BOYLSTON BANK 



mat would be worth while — something that would 
astonish the police and would merit the respect of 
the big professional bank burglars. 
• Being a native of Massachusetts, he decided to 
> give his attention to something in his own State. 
He made a tour of inspection of all the Boston 
banks, and decided that the famous Boylston Bank, 
the biggest in the city, would suit him. 

And, in picking this great bank, Raymond hac 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 43 

indeed selected an undertaking which was worthy 
of his skill and daring. 

On Washington Street Raymond's quick eye at 
once discovered a vacant shop adjoining the Boyls- 
ton Bank. He rented this shop, ostensibly for a 
patent medicine laboratory, filled the windows with 
bottles of bitters and built a partition across thej 
back of the shop. The partition was to hide the 
piles of debris which would accumulate as the rob- 
bers burrowed into the bank next door; the bottles 
in the window to prevent passersby seeing too much 
of the interior. 

When news of this clever ruse of Raymond's came 
out in the papers after the robbery, I made a note of 
it and used the same idea years later in robbing an 
Illinois bank at its president's request. That is an 
interesting chapter in my life which I will give you 
soon. 

Careful measurements had shown where the tun- 
neling through the thick walls of the bank could 
best be bored. Work was done only at night, and 
in a week's time only a thin coating of plaster sep- 
arated them from the treasure. The robbers en- 
tered the vault on Saturday night, broke open three 
safes which they found there and escaped with a 
million dollars in cash and securities. After this 
crime America was not safe for Raymond, so he, 
and his comrades, including Charley Bullard, fled 
to Europe. 

In Paris Bullard opened a gambling house, and 
there Raymond lived when the criminal ventures 



44 SOPHIE LYONS 

from which he was amassing his first fortune per- 
mitted. 

And now there entered into Raymond's life a 
very remarkable romance, which almost caused him 
to reform. 

In one of the big Parisian hotels at this time was 
an Irish barmaid named Kate Kelley. She was an 
unusually beautiful girl — a plump, dashing blonde 
of much the same type Lillian Eussell was years 
ago. Bullard and Raymond both fell madly in love 
with her. 

The race for her favor was a close one, despite 
the fact that Bullard was an accomplished musi- 
cian, spoke several languages fluently, and was in 
other ways Raymond's superior. The scales, how- 
ever, were surely turning in Raymond's favor 
when the rumor that he was a bank robber reached 
Kate's ears. 

Raymond admitted this was the truth. But he 
never attempted to take advantage of his friend 
Bullard by telling Kate that he also was a thief. 
That was characteristic of the man. Criminal 
though he was, he never stooped to anything mean 
or underhanded, and would stand by his friends 
through thick and thin. Instead of trying to drag 
Bullard to disappointment with him, he pleaded 
with Kate to forgive his past and to help him make 
a fresh start. 

" Marry me," he urged, "and I'll never commit 
another crime. We'll go to some distant land and 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 45 

I'll start all over again in some decent, honorable 
business. ' ' 

But Kate would not be persuaded. She could not 
marry a self-confessed thief — no, never! A month 
later she married Bullard, little dreaming how glad 
the American police would be to lay their hands on 
'him. Raymond was best man at the wedding, and 
to his credit it should be said that the bridal couple 
had no sincerer well-wisher than he. 



Raymond's great disappointment 

Kate never realized how she had been deceived 
until several years later, when Bullard was given a 
prison sentence for running a crooked gambling 
house. She got an inkling of the facts then and her 
husband confessed the rest. By this time, however, 
she had two little children, and her anxiety for 
them impelled her to become reconciled to the situ- 
ation and stick to her husband. After his release 
they left the children in a French school, returned 
to this country, and took a brown-stone house at the 
corner of Cumberland Street and De Kalb Avenue, 
in Brooklyn. Here they installed all the costly 
furniture, bric-a-brac, and paintings which had 
made Bullard 's gambling house one of the show 
■'j laces of Paris. 

Soon afterward Raymond also came to America, 
although there was a price on his head for his share 
in the Boylston Bank robbery. He lived with Kate 
and Bullard until the latter 's jealousy caused a 



4G SOPHIE LYONS 

quarrel. Then he went to London and laid the 
foundations for the international clearing house of 
crime which for years had its headquarters in his 
luxurious apartment in Piccadilly. 

With Raymond's cool, calculating brain no longer 
there to guide him, Bullard became reckless and fell 
into the hands of the police. He was sentenced to, 
twenty years in prison. For her own and her chil- 
dren's support his wife had nothing except the rich 
contents of the Brooklyn home. She tried various 
ways of making a living, with poor success, and was 
at last forced to offer a quantity of her paintings 
for sale in an art store on Twenty-third Street. 

In this store one day she met Antonio Terry. 
His father was an Irishman, his mother a native 
of Havana, and he had inherited millions of dollars 
in Cuban sugar plantations. Young Terry was in- 
fatuated with Kate's queenly beauty, and he laid 
siege to her heart so ardently that she divorced 
her convict husband and married him. Two chil- 
dren blessed this exceedingly happy marriage. Be- 
fore Terry died he divided his fortune equally 
among his wife, his own children, and the children 
she had by her first husband. Kate Terry lived 
until 1895, and left an estate valued at $6,000,000. 
She passed her last years in a magnificent mansion 
on Fifth Avenue, surrounded by every luxury. 

Kate Kelley's refusal to marry Raymond was 
one of the great disappointments of his unhappy 
life. He married another woman, but I am sure 
he never forgot the winsome Irish barmaid who 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 4? 

had won his heart in Paris. "What's the news or 
Kate?" used to be his first question whenever I 
arrived in London, and his face would fall if some- 
thing prevented my seeing her on my last visit to 
New York. Had this woman become Raymond's 
wife I am confident that the whole course of his 
life would have been changed, and that the world 
would have something to remember him for besides 
an unbroken record of crime. 

PLANNING THE GAINSBOROUGH ROBBERY 

As I have said, Raymond had not been long in 
London before he had forced his way into a com- 
manding position in the criminal world. The clev- 
erest thieves of every nation sought him out as soon 
as they set foot in England. They sought his ad- 
vice, carried out his orders, and gladly shared with 
him the profits of their illegal enterprises. Crimes 
in every corner of the globe were planned in his 
luxurious home — and there, often, the final division 
of booty was made. 

No crime seemed too difficult or too daring for 
Raymond to undertake. It was his almost unbroken 
record of success in getting large amounts of plun- 
der and in escaping punishment for crimes thai 
gave the underworld such confidence in him and 
made all the cleverest criminals his accomplices. 
Another reason for his leadership was his unwaver- 
ing loyalty to his friends. Raymond never 
" squealed" — he never deserted a friend. When 



48 SOPHIE LYONS 

one of his associates ran foul of the law he would 
give as freely of his brains and money to secure 
his release as if his own liberty were at stake. It 
was his loyalty to a friend — a thief named Tom 
Warren — which led to his bold theft of the famous 
Gainsborough portrait for which J. Pierpont Mor- 
gan later paid $125,000. Here is how it came about : 

Warren was in jail in London for his share in 
one of Raymond's forgeries. He was a great favor- 
ite of Raymond's and Harry vowed he would have 
him out before his case ever came to trial. This, 
however, was no easy matter, because England is 
not like this country, where almost anyone can 
furnish bond. The bondsman in England must be 
a freeholder and of good reputation. 

While Raymond was searching his fertile brain 
for some way out of the difficulty, he and an English 
thief named Jack Philips happened to be walking 
through Bond Street and noticed the large number 
of fashionable carriages stopping at Agnew & Com- 
pany's art gallery. To satisfy their curiosity they 
entered the gallery and found that everybody was 
crowding about a wonderful portrait of the Duchess 
of Devonshire, painted by the master hand of the 
great artist Gainsborough. 

It was Gainsborough's masterpiece, and the Ag- 
news were considering a number of bids that had 
been made for the painting. They had one offer 
of $100,000 from an American, but they were hold- 
ing it on exhibition in the belief that a still better 
bid would be made. 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLAES 49 

Raymond stood long and thoughtfully on the edge 
of the crowd, studied the painting, took in the doors, 
walls, windows, chatted with an attendant, and 
slowly sauntered out, swinging his cane. 

"I have the idea," exclaimed Raymond the instant 
they were in the street again. "We'll steal that 
picture and use it as a club to compel the Agnews 
to go bail for Tom Warren.' ' 

"You don't want that picture," said Philips. 
"It's a clumsy thing to do anything with." 

"Of course I don't want the picture — but Agnew 
does," Raymond replied. "If I get it and send 
word that Tom Warren, who is in jail, knows where 
it's hidden — don't you suppose Agnew will hurry 
down to Old Bailey Prison, bail poor Tom out 
mighty quick, and pay him something besides if 
Warren digs up the picture for him!" 

"He might," admitted Philips. 

"Why, of course he will," persisted Raymond. 
"And it's the only way I can see to make sure of 
getting Tom Warren out before he is called for 
trial. When they try him they'll convict him; and 
then it's too late." 

Philips was not enthusiastic over the scheme. In 
the first place he thought it too risky. Even if they 
did succeed in getting the picture he feared it would 
prove an elephant on their hands. Raymond, how- 
ever, was a man who seldom receded from a de- 
cision, no matter how quickly it had been made. He 
argued away Philip's objections and with the assist- 
ance of Joe Elliott, a forger whom they took into 



50 SOPHIE LYONS 

their confidence, they proceeded with their plans for 
the robbery. 

HOW THE GREAT MASTERPIECE WAS STOLEN 

It was decided to make the attempt on the first 
dark, foggy night. Elliott was to be the "lookout" 
and keep a watchful eye for any of the army of 
policemen and private detectives who guarded the 
gallery's treasures. Philips was to serve as the 
' * stepladder. \ ' On his broad, powerful shoulders, 
the light, agile Raymond would mount like a circus 
performer, climb through a window and cut the 
precious canvas out of the frame. It was a job 
fraught with the greatest danger, for the gallery 
was carefully protected with locks and bars and, 
besides, no one could tell when a policeman or de- 
tective might appear on the scene. 

A thick fog settled down on the city the night of 
May 15, 1876. Under its cover the thieves decided 
to make their descent on the gallery early the next 
morning. 

Just as the clocks were striking three, Raymond 
stole cautiously into the alley at the rear of the 
Agnew gallery. Then he was joined after a judi- 
cious interval by his two comrades. 

Elliott remained near the mouth of the alley to 
watch for "bobbies." Raymond and Philips 
stealthily made their way over the back fence and 
to a rear window, whose sill was about eight feet 
from the ground. 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLAES 51 

Stpfiining his ears for any ominous sound, Philips 
braced his big body to bear Raymond's weight 
Then he made a stirrup of his hand and Raymond 
sprang like a cat to his shoulders. 

Crouching in the darkness, Elliott watched and 
waited while Raymond applied his jimmy to the 
window. "Click" went the fastenings — but not too 
loud. The sash was cautiously raised and Harry 
Raymond dropped to the floor inside. 

Unluckily for the owners of the Gainsborough, 
the watchmen were* asleep on &«* upper floor. Ray- 
mond, with the clever thief's characteristic caution, 
first groped his way to the front door to see if he 
could unfasten it and thus provide a second avenue 
of escape for use in an emergency. But the locks 
and bars were too much for him and he gave up the 
attempt. 

By the dim rays of his dark lantern he could see 
the gallery's pride — the famous Gainsborough, 
hanging on what picture dealers know as "the line" 
— that is to say, about G.ve feet from the floor. 

The place was as quiet as the grave. A sudden 
sound gave Raymond a start — but it was only a cat 
that came mewing out of the darkness. Outside a 
cab rattled by and the heavy tread of a policeman's 
feet echoed through the street. 

Raymond procured a table, which he placed before 
the portrait. By star ding upon it he was barely 
able to reach the top. With a long, sharp knife he 
carefully slashed the precious canvas from its heavy 
gold frame. 



52 SOPHIE LYONS 

At one of the bottom corners Raymond's knife 
made a series of peculiar zigzags. Later he cut 
from the portrait a little piece that matched these 
jagged lines. This was to send to the Agnews as 
evidence that he really had the picture. 

After cutting the^ picture out, Raymond rolled it 
up carefully, tied it with a string, and buttoned it 
imderneath his coat. Then he went out the same 
way he had entered, being careful to close the win- 
dow behind him. With his companions he returned 
to his Piccadilly house and hid in a closet the picture 
which he hoped would prove his friend's ransom. 

Next morning all London was in a fever of excite- 
ment over the loss of the Gainsborough. The Ag- 
news offered $5,000 for its return and soon increased 
the reward to $15,000. A hundred of the best de- 
tectives in Scotland Yard scoured the city for clews. 

The crime was shrouded in mystery. The doors 
of the gallery had not been tampered with. The 
fastenings of a rear window were broken, but the 
watchmen averred that no thief could have entered 
there as they had been sitting close by all night. 

In all London the only persons who had no the- 
ories to advance as to the Gainsborough's fate were 
Raymond, Philips, and Elliott. They quietly waited 
for the excitement to subside, realizing that with 
the public mind in its present state it was altogether 
too hazardous to think of attempting to negotiate 
for the picture's return. 

Mem-Yhile eo^iething happened to make the 
Gainsborough of no use to Kaymond— his friend 



QUEEN OF THE BUEGLAES 53 

Warren was released from jail through the dis- 
covery of a technicality in his indictment. The 
famous portrait now became a veritable " white ele- 
phant.' ' Eaymond dared not return it — he feared 
'to leave it in storage lest some one recognize it. 
So he carried the roll of canvas with him about 
the world until later, when, through "Pat" Sheedy 's 
aid, he returned it to the Agnews and secured $25,- 
000 for his pains. 

PAT SHEEDY *S PABT 

And that is the history of what happened to 
Gainsborough's famous "Duchess of Devonshire' * 
painting, which is now in J. Pierpont Morgan's pri- 
vate art gallery on Madison Avenue, New York. 
As I said earlier in this article, Eaymond, who 
stole it, neither wanted the picture nor the money 
it represented. Eaymond cut that painting from 
its frame as an act of loyalty to a fellow thief who 
was in trouble — to use it as a powerful lever to 
make sure of getting Tom Warren cut of prisor 

And right here, before going further with the 
episodes of Eaymond's remarkable career, let me 
explain the mystery of how "Pat" Sheedy, the New 
York gambler, happened to be the person who sold 
the stolen Gainsborough back to the Agnews. 

Long before that "Pat" Sheedy and Harry Eay- 
mond had done much business together. After 
Sheedy had accumulated a fortune by gambling, he 
built up a large and exceedingly profitable business 



54 SOPHIE LYONS 

in the sale of stolen paintings. Through his wide 
acquaintance he formed a convenient connecting 
link between the rich men who could afford to buy 
rare paintings and the clever criminals who knew 
how to steal them. Raymond took up the stealing 
3f paintings when he became too old and too well 
imown to the police to attempt more profitable kinds 
of robbery, and it was through Sheedy that he dis- 
posed of most of them. 

A number of years before Raymond died he met 
me in London and asked if I could do some business 
for him. Being in need of ready money, I readily 
agreed. He took me to his apartments and handed 
me two paintings which showed at a glance that 
they had been cut from their frames. 

"I got these from a cathedral in Antwerp," said 
Raymond. "I want you to take them to New York 
and sell them to Pat Sheedy for $75,000. If he 
won't give that, bring them back to me. I'll pay 
you well for your time and trouble." 

Accordingly I sailed for New York. By wrap- 
ping the pictures in some old clothes at the bottom 
of my trunk, I got them by the customs inspectors 
without any trouble. I had then never met Sheedy 
and it occurred to me that if I had to leave the pic- 
tures with him he might try to take advantage of 
my ignorance of art by substituting copies for the 
originals. So, before setting out for Sheedy 's office 
in Forty-second Street, I took an indelible pencil 
and marked my initials, very small, on the back of 
each canva3. 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 55 

As I had expected, Slieedy asked me to leave the 
pictures until the next day as he was not sure he 
could afford to pay $75,000 for them. The next day 
he put me off with some other excuse, and so it went 
on for two weeks until I felt sure something was 
vvrong. Then one morning he handed me two pic- 
tures, saying: 

" Sorry, but I don't think these are worth more 
than $10,000. If you'll take that for them, I'll buy 
them." 

RAYMOND AND HIS YACHT 

Of course, I told him my instructions were not to 
accept a cent less than $75,000, and if he didn't want 
to pay that I would have to take them back to Lon- 
don. I was about to roll them up when I chanced 
to think of looking for my initials. They were not 
there — Sheedy was trying to palm off cheap copies 
on me in place of the originals. Quick as a flash, I 
pulled out the revolver I always carried in those 
days ; shoved it right under Sheedy 's nose, and said: 

"Come, Mr. Sheedy — hand over the original 
paintings I left with you, or I'll blow your head 
off!" 

He was considerably amazed at this warlike nerve 
on my part, but still had nerve enough left to argue 
that those were the pictures I had given him. But 
I was not to be tricked like that. Finally he went 
into an adjoining room — I after him with the gun 
in my hand — pulled open a drawer and took out 
the canvasses which had my initials on the back. 



56 SOPHIE LYONS 

I carried them back to London, where Raymond sold 
them for $75,000, of which he gave me $10,000. I 
sold many stolen paintings to Sheedy after that, 
but he never tried to take advantage of me again. 

Raymond often used to tell me that all his bad 
luck dated from the night he stole the famous Gains- 
borough. If the portrait really was a " hoodoo' ' its 
evil influence was a long time in taking effect. The 
two or three years after his robbery of the Agnew 
gallery saw the most daring crimes of his life and 
the money they yielded made him a multi-million- 
aire. Even his heavy losses at Monte Carlo could 
not seriously affect a fortune which was being stead- 
ily increased by all sorts of illegal undertakings. 

He lived like a prince in London and Paris, owned 
several race horses and maintained, besides a sailing 
yacht, a palatial steam yacht with a crew of twenty 
men. He liked to vary the monotony of his cruises 
by deeds of piracy as sensational as any Captain 
Kidd ever attempted. On one such occasion he 
robbed a post-office on the island of Malta; on an- 
other he attempted to loot a warehouse on the docks 
at Kingston, Jamaica. This last exploit would have 
ended in his capture by a British gunboat which 
pursued him for twenty miles had his yacht not 
been a remarkably speedy craft. 



Raymond's expeet on safe cracking 

Raymond was a natural leader of men, and he 
had a sharp eye for able assistants. In his gang* 



<SUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 57 

were the greatest experts he could collect around 
him. Raymond was not a technically educated ma- 
chinist, and he felt the need of an expert mechanic. 
For a number of years he watched the work of 
various other bank burglars and gave especial at- 
tention to any work that showed peculiar mechani- 
cal skill in getting into locks and steel safes. 

Finally Raymond got his eye on a very promising 
young burglar named Mark Shinburn, who turned 
out to be a perfect wonder as a safe opener. Shin- 
burn had served an apprenticeship in a machine 
shop and soon got a job in the factory of the Lilly 
Safe Company. Locks and safes had a peculiar 
fascination for Shinburn and he rapidly mastered 
the whole scheme, theory, and practice of lock- 
making, and knew the weak points not only of 
the locks his own company made but also of all the 
other big safe makers whose locks and safes were 
on the market. 

Shinburn was just the man to fit into Raymond's 
band of experts. He had the peculiar and valuable 
technical knowledge that Raymond lacked. Ray- 
mond would select a bank, study the habits of the 
bank clerks, survey the situation, and lay out the 
plans for the job. Raymond would execute all these 
preliminaries and would lead his men into the bank 
and face to face with the safe; but at this point 
Shinburn would bring his genius into action and ; 
Raymond would stand by holding his dark lantern 
and watching Shinburn with silent admiration. 

Raymond and Shinburn were the moving spirits 



58 SOPHIE LYONS 

of the bold gang which robbed the Ocean Bank in 
New York of a million dollars. With them were 
associated Jimmy Hope, who later led the attack 
on the Manhattan Bank; my hnsband, Ned Lyons, 
Gteorge Bliss, and several others. 

On his return from a series of bank robberies on 
the Continent, Eaymond took apartments in the 
honse of a widow who lived with her two daughters 
in Bayswater, a suburb of London. He became 
in time much attached to this woman and her chil- 
dren, and lavished every luxury on them, including 
the education of the girls in the best French schools. 
For years this family never suspected their bene- 
factor was a criminal, but supposed him to be a 
prosperous diamond importer. 

"When the eldest daughter's education was fin- 
ished Eaymond married her. She was a beautiful 
woman, but a weak, clinging sort of creature — very 
different from strong, self-willed Kate Kelley. Al- 
though passionately fond of her, Eaymond 's atti- 
tude toward her was always that of the devoted 
father rather than the loving husband. 

After his marriage Eaymond made many sincere 
attempts to reform. Ho became a student of art 
and literature, and for months at a time would live 
\ quietly in his London home or on board his yacht. 
Then the old life would call him — he would mysteri- 
ously drop out of sight for a few weeks, and with 
the aid of some of his old associates add another 
crime to his record. 

On one of these occasions he and John Curtin, a 



QUEEN OP THE BURGLARS S9 

desperate burglar, went to Liege, Belgium. Their 
object was the robbery of a wagon which carried 
a large amount of valuable registered mail. 

Raymond had fitted a key to the lock on the wagoa 
ind had sent a decoy package, whose delivery would 
necessitate the driver leaving the mail unguarded, 
at a certain place. Curtin was to delay the driver 'si 
return while Raymond climbed up on the front of 
the wagon and rifled the pouches. 



TREACHERY AND TRAGEDY 

But Curtin carelessly failed to carry out part of 
this arrangement and the driver caught Raymond 
in the act He was arrested, convicted, and given 
the first and only prison sentence he ever received— 
eight years at hard labor. With the loyalty for 
which he was famous Raymond steadfastly refused 
to reveal the identity of the confederate to whose 
folly he owed his own arrest, and Curtin escaped to 
England. 

Soon after his sentence began, rumors reached 
Raymond in prison of the undue intimacy of his 
wife and Curtin. He investigated the reports and 
found them true. Raging with indignation at his 
wife's weakness and his friend's treachery, he broke 
his lifelong habit of loyalty, confessed to the author- 
ities Curtin's share in the attempted robbery and 
told them where he could be found. Curtin was 
brought back to Belgium and sentenced to five years 
in prison. 



60 SOPHIE LYONS 

Mrs. Raymond's mind gave way under its weight 
of remorse, and soon after her husband's release 
she died in an asylum. This was not the only crush- 
ing misfortune the released convict had to face. 
Through unfortunate investments and the dishon 
esty of friends he had trusted, his fortune had 
dwindled to almost nothing. He had to sell his 
yachts, his horses, and his London house with its 
fine library and art galleries in order to raise enough 
to provide for the education of his three children. 
He sent them to America, where they grew to man- 
hood and womanhood in ignorance of the truth 
about their father. 

With an energy worthy of a better cause, Ray- 
mond at once set about making a new fortune. The 
whole world was his field — forgeries, bank robber- 
ies, and jewel thefts his favorite methods. But the 
nervous strain under which he had always lived and 
the long prison term were beginning to tell on him. 
His health was poor — his hand and brain were los- 
ing much of their cunning. Each crime made the 
next one more difficult, as the police got to know 
him and his methods better, and at last he was 
forced to abandon the bolder forms of robbery and 
devote his time entirely to the theft of famous paint- 
ings. 

Yet, in the face of these handicaps, Raymond 
made in those last years of his life several for- 
tunes. But one after another they were all swept 
away as quickly as they were made, and he died, as 
I have said, penniless. 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 61 

Did crime pay Harry Raymond? He invested his 
natural endowment of brains, resourcefulness, dar- 
ing, energy, and perseverance in criminal enter- 
prises — and died a hunted, hungry, trembling out- 
?ast. One-half his industry and intelligence ex- 
pended in honest business would have insured him 
a great and enduring fortune and a respected name. 
If crime does not pay for the really great criminals, 
how can the small criminals have any hop©? 



62 SOPHIE LYONS 



CHAPTER III 

HOW I ESCAPED FROM SING SING, AND OTHER DARING 
ESCAPES FROM PRISON THAT PROFITED US NOTHING. 

It is not easy to get out of Sing Sing Prison. Ned 
Lyons, the bank burglar, my husband, got out, and 
so did I. We were both serving sentences of five 
years at the same time. 

Ned Lyons was a desperate man, and he had no 
notion of remaining long in any prison. Although 
his body was already considerably punctured with 
pistol bullets, he did not welcome the idea of invit- 
ing the rifle balls from the armed sentries who pa- 
troled the prison walls on all sides. A dash for 
liberty was out of the question — if he was to escape 
it must be through some adroit scheme which would 
not make him a target for the riflemen who surround 
the prison. 

My husband and I had a comfortable home on 
the East Side in New York, but I had very little 
peace of mind because of the activities of Lyons 
and his energetic companions. As I have said be- 
fore, these men had found it very convenient to have 
my assistance in their various enterprises, and so 
it was that my husband and I both got into Sing* 
Sing at the same time — Lyons was confined in the 
men's prison and I was in the women's prison just 
across the road. 

It was the Waterford, N. Y., bank that had been 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 63 

robbed of $150,000, and in the party were George 
Bliss, Ira Kingsland, and the famous Jimmy Hope. 
Of the whole party, Hope alone was not caught. 
Just how my husband got out of Sing Sing I am 
able to explain, because I myself planned the escape. 
The day I reached Sing Sing I was turned over 
to the prison physician for him to find out what my 
physical condition was, and what kind of work I was 
best fitted to do. This doctor's name was Collins. 
I shall never forget him for he was one of the kind- 
est hearted men I ever knew. In my hope of being 
assigned to some easy work where I would be able 
to assist in my husband's plans for escape, I pre- 
tended to him I was suffering from all sorts of ail- 
ments. 

PLANNING LYONS *S ESCAPE 

"Why, Doctor," I said, "I'm a sick woman, and 
besides I don't know how to do any kind of work, 
I've never had to work for a living." 

"Well, my good little woman," the doctor re- 
plied, "you'll have to learn to work. You're in here 
for five years, and nobody is allowed to play the 
lady in Sing Sing Prison, you know." 

"But, Doctor," I said, "you wouldn't have Sophie 
Lyons be anything but a lady, would youf " 

"I'd like to make an honest woman of you, Sophie 
-—that's more important than being a lady," he 
answered gravely, "and I'm going to try. I've got 
' nough confidence in your sense of honor to give 
you a position as assistant nurse in the prison hos- 



64 SOPHIE LYONS 

pital. If you profit by your opportunities there, you 
can learn a good trade which will enable you to make 
an honest living when your term is up." 

Nothing could have suited me better. A position 
in the hospital is the easiest work the prison offers, 
and it would give me just the opportunities I needed 
to help my husband escape. But I tried not to let 
Dr. Collins see how delighted I was and pretended 
to be very tearful and penitent as I thanked him 
for his kindness. 

My husband was allowed to come and see me 
once a week under guard of a prison keeper. My 
conduct was so good and had given the matron and 
Dr. Collins such confidence in me that Ned and I 
were soon permitted to talk without any prison offi- 
cial being present to listen, as the prison rules re- 
quired. 

On these visits we had opportunity for discussing 
various plans for escape, but we both agreed that 
no one of them would probably succeed. I favored 
trying to get a forged pass — a counterfeit of the 
passes given to visitors, which the keeper at the 
prison door must have before he allows anybody 
to leave the building. But my husband had serious 
doubts. 

About this time the matron's two children were 
; taken sick and I was assigned to her house to take 
care of them. So faithfully did I nurse them back 
to health that the matron became quite fond of me 
and wanted me to remain there permanently as her 
personal servant. 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 65 

When Ned Lyons came to see me again he was 
amazed at my good fortune in receiving a position 
which was the next best thing to liberty itself. It 
not only gave me all sorts of liberties but it enabled 
me to dress like any servant girl instead of in the 
regulation prison costume. This last fact would 
prove of tremendous advantage when my oppor- 
tunity to make a break for liberty came. 

"BED" liEABY LENDS AID 

Besides this I was allowed a little pocket money 
to buy candies, fruit, and occasional trinkets for 
the children. 

Ned brought good news this time. He had pon- 
dered over my suggestion of a forged pass and 
the more he thought of it the more it seemed a prom- 
ising scheme. But there were several important 
things that must be done, and done well, to make 
the plan reasonably sure of success. 

Lyons, in prison, could not personally attend to 
the necessary details. He must have outside help. 
Usually, in such emergencies, I was the one who was 
relied upon to attend to matters of this kind — but, 
unfortunately, I, too, was in prison and under close 
watch. 

I So, in casting about for a reliable friend, Lyons 

! decided to ask the help of "Red" Leary, the bank 

burglar, who had been associated with my husband 

in the famous $3,000,000 Manhattan Bank robbery. 

Word was sent to Leary and, on the next "visitors 1 



66 SOPHIE LYONS 

day," a gentleman with high silk hat and black 
gloves and a lawyer's green bag drove up to the 
prison and sent in his card to the Warden — could 
Ned Lyons 's "lawyer" see his imprisoned client? 

In this guise "Red" Leary, high hat, lawyer's 
bag and gloves, swept into the prison and was 
courteously allowed an interview with my husband. 
Ned explained that two important things were 
needed — a visitor's pass properly signed with the 
Warden's signature, and a carefully selected dis- 
guise for the escaping man to use. Could "Red" 
Leary attend to these two matters? "Red" Leary 
could, and with much pleasure — and the first move 
in the proceedings then and there was to carefully 
chew up his pass into a wad and tuck it behind his 
upper molar teeth. 

Ned Lyons was led back to his cell and his "law- 
yer" put on his silk hat and arose to leave. He 
began searching his pockets and his green bag for 
his missing pass. An attendant helped him. Then 
the keeper at the door took a hand and looked 
through his pocketbook and papers while the "law- 
yer," in much distress, turned his pockets inside 
out. But no pass could be found. 

At last the principal keeper, Connaughton, was 
called and he reprimanded the "lawyer" severely 
for his carelessness, but finally allowed the visitor 
to depart — and behind "Red" Leary 's back teeth 
was the pass that was so much needed in forging 
a fresh one, with the proper day and date on it. 
Leary retwri>ed to New York and enlisted the ser- 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 67 

rices of a friend who was an expert check forger 
and soon had a pass that the Warden of Sing Sing 
himself would not know was a forgery. And this 
precious piece of paper was smuggled in to Lyons 
and he hid it in a crack in the floor of his cell. Ned 
planned to use this pass in making his escape if he 
could get a wig to cover his closely cropped heaor, 
a false beard to disguise his face, and a suit of 
clothes to replace his prison stripes in time for 
the next visitors ' day. 

"Red" Leary was to call to see me the next day 
and I was to arrange with him about securing these 
necessaries. They were to be left in an obscure 
corner grocery outside the prison where a * ' trusty, ' ' 
whom my husband had befriended, would claim 
them and smuggle them into Ned's cell. 

It was a Wednesday I had my last call fvom Ned. 
Through one of those mysterious underground chan- 
nels which keep the inmates of every prison in such 
close touch with the outside world, my husband had 
learned that on the following Tuesday, which was 
a visitors ' day, the Warden and several other prom- 
inent officials of the prison were to be away attend- 
ing a political meeting. That was the day he had 
set for his escape, provided our friend Leary could 
deliver the necessary disguise in time. 

I had my doubts about "Red" Leary, who was 
good hearted enough and meant well, but was prone 
to be careless about keeping appointments. To my 
delight, however, he was on hand next day and he 
got permission from the matron to see me. Wbfc»t 



68 SOPHIE LYONS 

I asked him if he had everything in readiness he 
burst into a torrent of eager explanations. 

"It's all out there in the buggy, Sophie," he said, 
"tied up in a bundle that you'd take for anything 
but what it is. Everything's there and every- 
thing's right. Why, even the shirt and collar are 
Ned's right size, and, say, I bet they'll feel goodl 
after rubbing his neck for months against that rough 
prison stuff." 

THE PRISON BELL SOUNDS ALARM 

Leary was a talkative fellow and he was going on 
with a detailed description of the wig and false 
beard which he had had made to order for the occa- 
sion, when Dr. Collins and the matron appeared at 
the end of the corridor where we were sitting. I 
signaled "Ned" to keep quiet and led him over to a 
window. 

There, under pretext of showing him some gera- 
niums I was trying to coax into bloom, I hurriedly 
explained where he was to leave the things and sent 
him away on the errand which meant so much to 
Ned and me. 

The next Tuesday was the longest, most nerve- 
racking day of my life. I had slept little the night 
before, All night long my mind was turning over 
Ned's plans — how, by feigning sickness, he would 
get permission to leave the shop and go to his cell ; 
how he would change his clothes and put on the 
wig and false beard "Bed" Leary had bought; and 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 69 

how, just as his fellow prisoners were being marched 
in to their noonday meal, he would mingle with the 
little crowd of departing visitors, surrender his 
forged pass at the gate and walk out of the main 
entrance of the prison a free man. 

I had approved every bit of this plan — in fact, I 
myself had mapped out a large part of it. Yet now, 
when I considered on what narrow margins its suc- 
cess depended, I felt it was foredoomed to failure. 
Ned would be caught in the act — he would be put in 
solitary confinement — perhaps he would be shot 
dead by some vigilant guard. 

I arose unusually early that Tuesday morning and 
worked unusually hard — to hide my nervousness. 

Nothing out of the ordinary happened to relieve 
the awful tension. Early in the morning I heard 
from one of the other prisoners that the Warden 
and his assistants had gone away for the day. This, 
of course, coincided with Ned's plans, but it brought 
me little relief, for I feared that perhaps the offi- 
cers left in charge might, in the absence of their 
superiors, be unusually careful in guarding their 
convict charges. 

Noon came and went and still I heard nothing to 
relieve my anxiety. "No news is good news," I 
kept saying to myself, and in this case the old adage 
really spoke the truth. If there was no excitement j 
about the prison it was good evidence that Ned's 
absence had not been noted. And if they did not 
discover his absence until they came to lock the pris- 
oners up for the night all was well, for by that time 



76 SOPHIE LYONS 

I knew Ned would be safe in his old haunts on the 
East Side, in New York City. 

But there still remained the discouraging possi- 
bility that at the last minute some of his plans had 
miscarried and he had been obliged to postpone the 
attempt. 

Night came and I was setting the table for the 
evening meal when I heard the sounds of some un- 
usual excitement over in the men's prison, across 
the road. There was much running to and fro, keep- 
ers were shouting to each other and presently the 
prison bell began to ring frantically. The sound of 
the bell made my heart jump — it was never rung, I 
knew, except in case of fire or when a prisoner es- 
caped. 

"What on earth is that bell ringing for?" said 
the matron. I was just saying that I didn't know 
and was trying to hide my excitement when in rushed 
Dr. Collins, all breathless and worried. 

"Heard the news?" he shouted. And before the 
■aatron could say yes or no out he burst with the 
whole story. 

"Ned Lyons, the bank robber, has escaped!" he 
said. "He's been gone since noon and they never 
knew it until just now, when they went to lock him 
in his cell and found nothing there but his suit of 
stripes. It's the boldest escape there's been in 
years. 

"According to all accounts he walked right out 
of the main gate, stepped into a buggy that was 
waiting, and drove off like a gentleman. Of course 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLAES 71 

he was disguised, and so cleverly they say that one 
of the head gatekeepers bowed to him at the gate, 
thinking he was a member of that new legislative 
commission from Albany.' ' 

A great weight rolled from my heart — Ned was 
free ! I managed to control my feelings and it was 
lucky I did, for the next instant I saw the matron 
point a warning finger in my direction, and at that 
the doctor lowered his voice so that I could hear no 
more. 

NED LYONS IN DISGUISE 

The next morning, of course, the whole prison 
knew of the escape. 

"If I get out I'll have you out in a few weeks,' f 
Ned had promised, and every day I was expecting 
some word from him. 

As time went on, the confidence the matron and 
the doctor had in me seemed to increase rather than 
diminish. Soon I was allowed to accompany the 
matron's little daughters on long walks through the 
grounds outside the prison, and even as far as the 
village. 

On one of these walks my attention was attracted 
by the peculiar actions of an old Indian peddler. 
He was a copper-colored, long-haired old chief, with 
Indian baskets and strings of beads on his arms. 
As soon as the girls and I stepped out of the prison 
gate this queer looking, bent old man singled us out 
from all the rest of the crowd and began following 
us about, urging us with muffled grunts to buy some 



72 SOPHIE LYONS 

of the bead goods lie carried in a basket strapped 
around his neck. 

I thought he was crazy and told him very em- 
phatically that I didn't want any of his trash. But 
this did not discourage him in the least, and he 
dogged our footsteps wherever we went. 

At last — more to be rid of the old fellow than be- 
cause I wanted anything he had — I selected from 
his stock a pair of bead slippers. 

As I handed him the money I felt him press a 
little folded slip of paper into the hollow of my 
hand. 

Quick as a flash I closed my fingers over it, and 
in that instant I recognized — under the old Indian 
peddler's clever disguise — my husband, Ned Lyons. 

He had come back to the very gates of the prison 
from which he had escaped to bring this message 
to me! 

Kate Leary, wife of "Red" Leary, the bank 
burglar, was coming to see me soon — so the note 
said. I was to have my plans for escape all ready 
to discuss with her. 

Now, the only way of getting out of my prison 
I had been able to discover was through a door which 
led from a little used passageway in the basement 
of the matron's house to a point just outside the 
prison walls. 

This door — a massive, iron-barred affair — was- 
seldom if ever opened. The big brass key which 
unlocked it hung with other keys from a ring sus- 
pended at the matron's belt. 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 73 

Kate Leary could easily have a duplicate of that 
key made, but first I must secure a model of the 
original. This wasn't a difficult task — I had often 
done similar tricks to aid my husband in his bank 
robberies. I slipped into the matron's room while 
she was taking a nap and took a careful impression' 
of the key on a piece of wax. 

In due time Kate Leary brought the key which 
had been carefully made from my wax model. At 
the first opportunity I tried it — it fitted the rusty 
old lock perfectly ! Hiding the key away as care- 
fully as I ever hid any stolen diamonds, I waited 
impatiently for the night set for my escape. 

It came at last. Between 6 and 7 o'clock was the 
hour, because then my household duties frequently 
took me into the vicinity of the basement door. It 
was a crisp December evening. It had snowed heav- 
ily all day, and it was still snowing and was grow- 
ing colder. 

About 6 :30 I heard a peculiar low whistle. That 
was the signal that the pair of horses and the sleigh 
which were to carry me away were waiting outside. 

There was, of course, no opportunity to get my 
hat and coat. Luckily I was all alone in the lower 
house — upstairs I could hear the matron and her 
family laughing and talking over their dinner. 

Putting down the tray of dishes I was carrying I 
snatched the key from its hiding place under a flour 
barrel and hurried noiselessly along the dark pas- 
sageway to the door that led to liberty. 

My heart was thumping with excitement — my 



74 SOPHIE LYONS 

fingers were trembling so that I could hardly find 
the keyhole. It seemed ages before the lock turned 
and I stepped out into the cold winter night. 

Although every second was precious, I took the 
time to close the door behind me and lock it. By 
ithus concealing the way I had gone I would delay 
pry pursuers just so much. 

From an open window above me floated the voice 
of one of the matron's little daughters as I picked 
my way through the snow, bareheaded and with 
house slippers, avoiding the regular path. 

"Mamma," she was saying; "why doesn't Sophie 
bring the rest of my dinner V 

"She'll bring it in a minute," the mother replied. 

I heaved a sigh of relief — quite evidently my ab- 
sence had not yet caused any suspicion. 

Hurling the key into a snowdrift, I ran to the 
waiting sleigh. Ned was standing beside the sleigh 
with a big warm fur coat outstretched in his arms. 
Without a word I slipped into the coat, hopped into 
the sleigh, and Ned gave the horses a clip with the 
whip and away we dashed toward Poughkeepsie. 

The long fur coat and stylish hat which Ned had 
brought made me look like anything but an escaped 
convict After a good warm supper at Poughkeep- 
sie, we took the night train for New York and 
[reached there safely the next morning. 

And so we were free! 

But what had we gained by our escape? We 
shall see. 

When my husband first suggested his escape from 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 75 

Sing Sing lie promised me that if he ever succeeded 
in getting out he would give up crime and turn to 
some honest and honorable work. That promise 
was made while his remorse was sharpened by his 
sudden change from high living to poor prison fare, 
and I was now to see how weak his good intentions 
really were. 

After a few weeks in New York, where we re- 
ceived the warm congratulations of many friends 
on our escape from Sing Sing, we went to Canada 
to visit our children who were in school there. It 
was not long before our funds began to get low. I 
thought this a favorable time to remind my hus- 
band of his promises and to urge him to get some 
honest employment. But he would not listen to me. 

1 ' That would be all very well if I had any money, ' ' 
he said ; "but I can't settle down until I have enough 
capital to give me a decent start. Wait until I do 
one more good bank job and then I will think about 
living differently. ' 7 

AN EASY BANK EOBBEBY 

I agreed to this reluctantly, for I felt a premo- 
nition that when this "one more job" was finished , 
we should both find ourselves back in Sing Sing, 
again. And, as it turned out, I was right. 

It was not altogether lack of money or the desire 
to live a decent life which made me plead with Ned 
to reform. The fact that there was a reward on 
both our heads and that at any minute some am 



76 SOPHIE LYONS 

bitioua detective was liable to recognize us was be- 
ginning to tell on my nerves. Ned used to try to 
laugh my fears away by saying that I saw police- 
men in my sleep. Probably I did — at any rate, I 
know that for months, asleep or awake, I would 
jump at the slightest sound, thinking it was an offi- 
cer come to take us back to Sing Sing. We could 
not live natural lives but had to be constantly dodg- 
ing about, and occasionally running to cover for long 
intervals. 

The "one more job" my husband had in mind 
was the robbery of a Montreal bank. He looked 
the ground over, found it to his liking, and then sent 
for a friend of ours, Dave Cummings, an experi- 
enced bank robber, to come on from New York and 
help us. 

It was really a very simple undertaking for three 
such expert criminals as we were. My part of it 
was merely to stand in the shadow of an alley and 
watch for the possible return of one of the bank's 
two watchmen. There was small chance of his put- 
ting in an appearance, for my husband had previ- 
ously cultivated his acquaintance, and on this par- 
ticular evening had been plying him with mugs of 
ale until he had left him fast asleep in a nearby 
saloon. 

Inside the bank there was a second watchman. 
iHe was an old man, but when he discovered Ned and 
Dave crawling through the rear window, which they 
had opened with their jimmies, he put up such a 
stiff fight that they had all they could do to stua 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 77 

him with a blow on the head, stuff a handkerchief 
down his throat, and tie his hands and feet with a 
piece of rope. As it was, they made so much noise 
that I nearly had nervous prostration in the alley 
where I was crouching half a block away. 

"I think I'd better keep an eye on this old chap 
while you get the coin, Dave," my husband said, 
ruefully rubbing a bruised cheek he had received 
in the tussle with the faithful guardian of the bank. 

So, as a matter of precaution, my husband 
mounted guard with his revolver over the watch- 
man, while Dave solved the combination of the safe. 
Nothing further happened to interfere with our 
plans and by daybreak we were well on our way to- 
ward the Canadian border. 

We had expected to get at least $30,000 from 
this robbery, but when we came to empty the satchel 
in which Dave had placed the plunder, we found 
there was not quite half that amount. It was all 
Dave's fault, as we learned later from the news- 
papers. He had carelessly overlooked a bundle of 
currency containing $25,000. I had always consid- 
ered Dave Cummings a thoroughly careful and re- 
liable man, but this expensive oversight of his rather 
shook my confidence in him. 

! My husband and I returned to New York with 
our share of the booty. There, a few days later, 
we were arrested, but not for the bank robbery in 
Montreal. The detectives who had been searching 
for us ever since our escape from Sing Sing had 



78 SOPHIE LYONS 

•found our hiding place at last, and they took us 
back to prison to serve out our terms. 

In our prison cells, once more, we had ample op- 
portunity to consider how fruitless of results our 
escape had been. For all the risks we had run in 
getting out and for all the worrisome months we had 
spent in dodging detectives we had nothing to show 
except the fleeting satisfaction of a few days with 
our children. What had we gained? Nothing. 

HOW BULLARD GOT OUT 

A criminal's reputation for cleverness among his 
fellows depends very largely upon his ability to 
escape — or to help his friends to escape. Mark 
Shinburn used to take more pride in the way he 
broke into the jail at White Plains, New York, to 
free Charley Bullard and Ike Marsh, two friends of 
his, than he did in some of his boldest robberies. 

After reconnoitering the ground and carefully 
planning the jail delivery, Shinburn and his com- 
panion, Eaymond, put in a hard nights work bur- 
rowing into the jail. They took Marsh and Bullard 
out, but what was gained? Marsh was soon in 
trouble again and Bullard was taken again and 
ended his days in prison. 

And now one more instance — a very curious one. 

Of all the ways by which thieves have cheated the 
law out of its due, the most ingenious was probably 
the way "Sheeney Mike" brought about his release 
from the Massachusetts State Prison. He feigned 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 79 

illness so cleverly that the eminent physicians of 
the State Medical Board pronounced him suffering 
from a mysterious and incurable disease and ord- 
ered his release after he had served only three years 
of his twelve-year sentence for one of his daring 
burglaries. 

It was the robbery of Scott & Co.'s silk ware- 
house in Boston that sent "Sheeney Mike" to 
Charlestown Prison, from which he so ingeniously 
escaped. He discovered that the watchman was 
vigilant all through the night except between the 
hours of 12 and 1 o'clock, when he went out to get 
something to eat. Mike secured a false key whicl 
unlocked a door to the warehouse, and arranged for 
two trucks to be on hand at a few minutes past 12 
one night. 

When the truckmen arrived they found Mike at 
the door of the warehouse coolly smoking a cigar. 
Quite naturally they thought he was the proprietor. 
After helping the men to load the trucks with $20,- 
000 worth of expensive silks, "Sheeney Mike" 
turned out the lights, locked the door, and drove 
away to Medford, a suburb of Boston, where the 
goods were unloaded. 

Before Mike found an opportunity to ship hif 
plunder to New York he was arrested, found guilt] 
and sentenced to fifteen years in prison. 

He tried every means of escape he could think 
of without avail. At last, in his desperation to get 
out, he began drinking large quantities of strong 
soap suds. This made him deathly sick and unable 



80 SOPHIE LYONS 

to retain any nourishment. His sufferings became 
so intense that he had to be removed from his cell 
to the prison hospital. 

In the prison hospital the doctor in charge began 
i watching his patient to be sure that some trick was 
not being played on him. A careful examination 
of Mike revealed no organic trouble — the doctor 
could find no reason for the strange symptoms. And 
yet right in front of his eyes Mike would be taken 
with violent pains in the stomach, followed by vom- 
iting. 

The prison doctor was worried. He gave stomach 
tonics. Still the spasms and nausea continued. He 
put his patient on a cereal diet — but his vomiting 
was not lessened. He changed the diet; he gave 
beef juice ; he changed it to milk and brandy — noth- 
ing brought relief. 

The prison doetor was worried. Here was this 
once vigorous man wasting away to a pallid skele- 
ton in spite of his best efforts. The doctor was a 
eonscientious man and he called a consultation of 
two outside physicians at his own expense. They 
patiently went over the record of the case and ex- 
amined "Sheeney Mike" minutely — there was noth- 
ing to account for the patient's alarming condition. 
\ Still, M might possibly be this or that, and so they 
would recommend trying a few things that had not 
yet been tried by the prison doctor. 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLAEa 81 



"Sheeney Mike" thought that the tim« nad come 
for some new manifestation of his mysterious dis- 
ease which would still further puzzle and frighten 
the doctor, so, as the new treatment of the consult- 
ing doctors was begun, Mike made preparation for 
some new symptoms. He scraped an opening in his 
right side and each night rubbed salt and pepper 
into it. He soon had an angry looking inflammation 
which shortly produced a flow of pus. When Mike 
had reached this achievement with his sore he lan- 
guidly called the doctor's attention to it. 

This new development was enough. The doctor 
sadly shook his head. Things were going from bad 
to worse. 

"My poor man," he said, "you probably haven't 
& month to live — certainly not in this prison. You 
might improve if you had your freedom; I don't 
know. I am convinced that it would be murder to 
keep you here. I shall at once recommend to Gov- 
ernor Butler that you be pardoned. I decline to 
have your death on my conscience any longer." 

On the ground that the patient could not possibly 
live more than a few weeks in prison all three doc- 
tors solemnly certified to the Governor that "Shee- 
ney Mike" was a dying man and recommended im- 
mediate pardon. Governor Butler approved the 
recommendation, and next day out walked ' ' Sheeney 
Mike" free, pardoned and restored to full citizen- 



82 SOPHIE LYONS 

ship. Soap suds, a little salt and a sprinkling of 
pepper had opened the bars for him. 

But what did "Sheeney Mike" gain by all this? 
' Nothing. 

1 He had his freedom and a laugh on the doctors — 
but his astonishing persistence in his soap-sud poi- 
soning had so undermined his health that he never 
recovered his strength and he finally died in Belle- 
vue Hospital in great agony after a long and pain- 
ful illness. 

And now one more case — also unusual and re- 
markable. 

Of course, the escape of Eddie Guerin, a few years 
ago from Devil 's Island surprised everybody and 
attracted a great deal of attention. Guerin is a 
well-known thief who has operated in England, 
America and more or less all over Europe. Guerin, 
with a companion, robbed a bank in Lyons, France, 
of $50,000, and a little later stole $30,000 from the 
American Express Company in Paris. These two 
jobs were too much for the French police, and they 
grabbed Guerin. 

Guerin, traveling under the name of Walter Mil- 
ler, and assisted by an accomplice, entered the 
American Express Company's office in Paris under 
the pretense of transacting some business. The 
other man busied himself attracting the attention of 
the agent while Guerin sprang across the counter 
with a drawn pistol. At this moment the agent and 
a couple of clerks noticed Guerin's peculiar activity, 
but they were unable to make any outcry or move 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 83 

because Guerin 's accomplice kept the express com- 
pany's employees covered with a couple of revolvers. 
Guerin helped himself to $30,000 which was lying 
within reach in an open safe, and then the two 
thieves coolly walked out the door. 

Guerin was caught and convicted of the express 
company robbery, and sentenced to fourteen years' 
imprisonment in the French penal colony on Devil's 
Island, off the coast of South America. This is the 
place where Captain Dreyfus, the French army of- 
ficer, was imprisoned, and it has been the boast of 
the French police that nobody can escape from 
Devil's Island. 

Guerin had served four years of his sentence be- 
fore he succeeded in maturing a plan for escape. He 
had the friendship of a notorious woman known as 
"Chicago May," who collected a fund in New York's 
underworld and managed to get the money into 
Guerin 's hands on Devil's Island. By the judicious 
use of this money Guerin arranged for the escape 
of himself and two other prisoners, French convicts, 
whom he decided would be helpful to him in the jour- 
ney through the swamps and wildernesses after they 
left the penal colony. 

The prison officials who had been reached by 
j Guerin 's fund arranged to have him and his fellow 
convicts sent under guard to the outermost part of 
the Island, which is a dense swamp, full of malaria 
and poisonous snakes and insects. The next day 
the guards, who had been well paid, buried a dead 
convict in the prison cemetery, and over the grave 



U SOPHIE LYONS 

they set tip a headboard bearing the name " Eddie 
Guerin." This was to complete the records of the 
prison, and a dnly certified copy of the prison rec- 
ord, telling of Guerin 's death and burial, was for- 
warded to France. 

This much accomplished, Guerin and his two com- 
panions were allowed to get away from the guards 
and they were soon lost in the swamp. They were 
allowed to carry some tools, water, and provisions. 
While the guards made a feeble and perfunctory 
search in the swamps the three convicts set to work 
busily completing a boat and paddles. When these 
were finished they loaded the boat with their food 
supplies, launched it and headed along the South 
American coast for Dutch Guiana, the three men 
paddling and sleeping by turns. 

I have heard Guerin 's own account of his escape, 
and I will repeat it just as he told it. 

Guerin was armed with a revolver and cartridges, 
fortunately, as otherwise all his planning would have 
been in vain. After a day or two in the boat he 
noticed that his two companions were growing very 
chummy. They were astonishingly willing to do the 
paddling and let him sleep. 

So one night Guerin feigned to be asleep but kept 
an eye and both ears open. Presently he heard his 
companions talking together in Spanish, which they 
had no reason to believe he understood. 

The men whom he had helped out of prison had 
made up their minds that he had a lot of money left. 
They were conspiring to slit his throat as he slept, 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS' 85 

rob his body and feed him to the sharks. The men 
lost no time in putting the enterprise into opera- 
tion. But, as they crept upon him, knives in hand, 
they found themselves looking into the muzzle of his 
revolver. 

"For three days and nights," Guerin has told, 
"I could hardly lower the muzzle of my revolver, 
and for them to stop paddling would mean only pro- 
longation of the agony of our escape.' 9 

At last all were so exhausted that they decided to 
try to rig a sail by tying their shirts to an oar. A 
breeze had sprung up and a moderately large sea 
was now endangering the craft. Everywhere about 
the boat were big man-eating sharks. These crea- 
tures swam around the boat, frequently whirling 
over on their backs and snapping their jaws within 
reaching distance of the little craft. 

One of Guerin *s companions began to complain 
about his eyes, and the reflection of the fierce tropi- 
cal sun on the water had almost blinded all three 
convicts. Suddenly this man stood up in the boat 
and pressed his sun-burned hands to his eyes. He 
groped for a moment about him like a blind man, 
and then lost his balance and fell to the side of the 
canoe. The boat heeled over and began to take 
water over the side and Guerin and this companion 
were thrown into the water. A shark close by mad( ' 
a dash for Guerin 's companion, and this gave Guerin 
a chance to clamber back into the canoe, as another 
shark swept around the stern, narrowly missing tike 
American burglar. 



86 SOPHIE LYONS 

HORRORS WORSE THAN DEATH 

The tragic end of one of the party terrified Guerin 
and the remaining convict, and put an end to the con- 
spiracy against Guerin. But the straining of the 
canoe when it had nearly upset and the rising sea 
had made the boat begin to leak. Guerin and his 
fellow voyager decided that they could not risk it 
any longer in the boat, but must make a landing and 
continue their journey through the swamps and 
wildernesses and run the risk of encountering hostile 
natives. 

After the canoe was beached they hauled it up 
on shore and hid it among the trees so as to leave 
no track in case a searching party should follow 
after them. They had no very definite idea of the 
proper direction to follow — knowing only that they 
were on the wild coast of Dutch Guiana, and must 
travel inland several miles to find a settlement. 
Both men were as thin as skeletons, worn out with 
bailing and paddling the leaky boat, and their scanty 
food supply was scarcely fit to eat. They plunged 
haphazard into the tropical forest and swamp. They 
had nothing to mark the time but the sun, which was 
sometimes completely hidden by the dense foliage. 
Threading cautiously through the swamps and for- 
ests filled with treacherous death traps, they were 
terrified and tortured by the constant presence of 
poisonous snakes and venomous insects and lizards. 
Describing this trip, which lasted several days, 
Guerin said: 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 87 

"After a while we seemed to be struggling 
through an endless maze, that was leading in the 
end to nowhere, and this sort of thing went on and 
on. Sometimes the undergrowth, waist high, would 
rustle as an invisible snake took flight before us. 
The next moment we would be floundering in a 
quagmire, not knowing whether to go back or to 
the left or to the right, and conscious of sinking 
deeper with each second of indecision. 

"With throbbing head, burning skin, chattering 
teeth, aching and leaden limbs, we were inclined to 
throw ourselves down to miserably die, and we 
knew that the swamp fever was upon us." 

Finally, Guerin and his companion reached a river 
and concluded that they would follow its bank in 
the hope of coming upon a native camp, where they 
would take chances of a friendly or unfriendly re- 
ception. Before long their bloodshot eyes beheld a 
hut. As they approached it, swaying and trembling 
from their hunger and hardships and fever, a black 
native emerged and set up a shout which soon col- 
lected many other blacks from neighboring huts, 
who rushed at them with spears. 

Guerin could not understand their language, but 
endeavored to explain to them that they wanted 
food, rest, and a guide. Guerin 's companion, in an 
effort to make plain their willingness to pay for 
what they wanted, showed a couple of francs in sil- 
ver. This was an unfortunate move, because it ex- 
cited the cupidity of the blacks, who promptly fell 
upon them and searched them and took away every- 



88 SOPHIE LYONS 

thing they had of value, after which they were 
pushed into a hut and kept prisoners. 

Sick, weak, almost discouraged, Guerin and his 
companion managed to escape, and, stumbling 
through the treacherous morasses, emerged in the 
neighborhood of an Indian village. Unlike the 
blacks, these natives greeted the strangers in a 
friendly manner and invited Guerin and his com- 
panion to stay with them until they were rested 
and able to continue their journey. After a few 
days Guerin and the other convict were given a 
guide by the Indians and he piloted them to a sea- 
port, where they embarked on a boat loading for 
New Orleans. From New Orleans Guerin went 
to Boston, and then took passage for England, hop- 
ing to find the woman he had been in love with when 
he was sent away to Devil's Island. Guerin found 
her, but she was then the sweetheart of another. 
In the row that followed this woman and her lover 
tried to shoot Guerin. 

And so Eddie Guerin escaped — but he purchased 
his freedom at a frightful cost of agony and ruined 
health. 

Does crime pay? Nobody will claim that it does 
if the criminal gets into prison. But criminals often 
escape from prison, it is urged — what then? And 
it is to answer this question that I have endeavored 
to take the public behind the scenes and show them 
the real truth about a few famous escapes from pris- 
on, and how the esoaped convicts profited nothing, 
tout were, indeed, worse off than they were before. 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLAES 89 



CHAPTER IV 

WOMEN CRIMINALS OF EXTRAORDINARY ABILITY WITH 

WHOM I WAS IN PARTNERSHIP 

f 

Sophie Lyons, bank president — can you imagine 
it? Strange as it may seem, I actually held such a 
position in New York City for several months, and 
the experience proved one of the most surprising 
in my whole career. 

Although this venture in high finance yielded me 
only a bare living and nearly landed me in a prison 
cell, it gave me a remarkable insight into the meth- 
ods used by clever women to swindle the public, and 
showed me how these women are able to carry 
through schemes which the most skillful men in the 
underworld would never dare undertake. 

All this happened in the days before I had won 
the wide reputation which my crimes later gave 
me. I had come to New York with very little money 
and with no definite plans for getting any — my 
husband was serving a term in prison and I was 
temporarily alone and on my own resources. 

Walking up Broadway one day, I came face to 
face with Carrie Morse, a woman I knew by reputa- 
tion as one of the most successful swindlers in the 
business. Friends of mine had often pointed her 
©ut to me, but we had never been introduced, and I 
had no idea that she knew me. 

I was, therefore, greatly surprised when she 
stepped up to me and called me by name : 



90 SOPHIE LYONS 

"Why, Sophie Lyons, how do you do?" she said, 
with the well-bred cordiality which was such an im- 
portant part of her stock in trade. "Come in and 
have some tea with me." 

As we entered a well known restaurant I noted 
with envious eyes the evidences of prosperity which 
Carrie flaunted. From the long ostrich plume which 
drooped from her Parisian hat to the shiny tips of 
her high-heeled shoes she was dressed in the height 
of fashion and expense. At her throat sparkled a 
valuable diamond brooch, and, when she removed 
her gloves, there flashed into view a princely array 
of rings which made my own few jewels look quite 
cheap and insignificant. 

WE PLAN TO STABT A BANK 

And yet, except for this somewhat too lavish dis- 
play of jewelry, there was nothing loud or over- 
dressed about her. It was plain that she knew how 
to buy clothes, and her tall, well-rounded figure set 
off her stylish garments admirably. In every detail 
— her well kept hands, her gentle voice, her superb 
complexion, and the dainty way she had of wearing 
her mass of chestnut hair — she was the personifica- 
tion of luxury and refinement. As she looked that 
;day Carrie Morse would have passed anywhere with- 
out the slightest question for the beautiful and 
cultured wife of some millionaire. 

All these facts, which I took in at a glance, made 
me less inclined to question too closely the motives 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 91 

which had prompted her to hail me as an old friend 
when we had never had even a speaking acquaint- 
ance. Quite evidently she had lots of money or an 
unlimited line of credit. How did she get it? That 
was what I was curious to find out. I made up my 
mind that I would be just as nice to her as I knew, 
how — hoping that I might learn from her a new and' 
easy road to wealth. 

By the time our tea was served we were chatting 
away like old friends. 

" Sophie,' ' she said, "I'm going to take you into 
my confidence and help you make a lot of money. 
You and I will start a bank." 

"You mean, rob a bank, don't you?" I said, not 
quite able to believe my ears. 

"I mean nothing of the sort," she said, setting 
down her teacup with a thump. "You and I will 
start a bank. It will be a bank for ladies only. Any 
woman who has a little money saved up can come 
to us for advice. We will take her money and show 
her where she can invest it so that she will get 
more interest than she could in any other way." 

"But I don't know anything about running a 
bank, ' ' I protested. " I 'm Ned Lyons 's wife — he and 
I are bank robbers, not bank owners." 

"That's all right," she reassured me. "It's not 4 
necessary for you to know anything about running! 
banks in order to hold the position I have in mind. 
All you have to do is to follow my instructions — 
and you'll soon be wearing as many diamonds as 
lam." 



92 SOPHIE LYONS 

A half hour before I should have thought it the 
height of absurdity for any one to suggest my en- 
gaging in a wild-cat banking scheme with Carrie 
Morse. Yet now I sat spellbound by her magnetic 
power — patiently listening to details which were all 
\ Greek to me and getting from every word she ut- 
tered renewed confidence in the reality of the finan- 
cial castles in the air which were to make us both 
millionaires. 

What a business woman Carrie Morse would have 
made I With her personal charms, her eloquence, 
and her quick ingenuity she had no need to depend 
on crime for a living — she could have accumulated 
a fortune in any legitimate line of work. 



I ENTEB "HIGH FINANCE* 1 

The upshot of it all was that I agreed heart and 
soul to Carrie Morse's plans for taking a short cut 
to fortune. First, she had excited my avarice by 
her stories of the ease with which money could be 
made ; then she dazed me by her apparent familiar- 
ity with the intricacies of finance. At last I became 
as credulous as any farmer is when he comes to the 
city to exchange a few hard earned dollars for ten 
times their value in green goods. 
' I accompanied Carrie to the door of her hotel. 
The fact that she was staying at the fashionable 
Brunswick, while I was finding it hard work to raise 
the price of a room at a modest hotel f arther down 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLAKS 93 

town, proved another argument in favor of my fol- 
lowing the leadership of my new found friend. 

"Meet me at 9 o'clock to-morrow/ ' Carrie had 

said, "at No. West Twenty-third street.' ' I 

was on hand a few minutes before the appointed 
hour. The address she had given me was a three- 
story brownstone-front house just beyond the busi- 
ness section of the street. But I was barely able to 
see it through the clouds of mortar dust raised by 
a gang of workmen who were busily engaged in 
tearing out the whole front of the building. 

"Yes, this is No. ," said one of the workmen 

to whom I addressed a rather startled inquiry. 
"We're making it over into offices.' ' I was con- 
vinced that I had made a mistake in the address and 
was just on the point of turning away when I saw 
Carrie Morse coming down the steps. 

"Good morning," she called cheerily. "This is 
the new bank — or, rather, it will be when these 
workmen get it finished. And you, my dear, are no 
longer Sophie Lyons, but Mrs. Celia Rigsby, the 
president of this rich and prosperous institution 
for the amelioration of the finances of the women 
of New York." 

"But," I said, beginning now for the first time 
to feel some doubts about the undertaking in which 
I had so suddenly embarked, "where is all the money 
coming from to start this bank?" 

"Money?" said Carrie, lowering her voice to a 
hoarse whisper. "Don't speak of that so loud — the 
workmen might hear you. I 've leased this house and 



94 SOPHIE LYONS 

I'm having all these alterations made on credit. 
I haven't a cent to my name — that's why I'm start- 
ing this bank. I need money and this is the easiest 
way I know to make it. ' ' 

Carrie's easy confidence allayed most of my fears 
and I forgot the rest when, from some mysterious 
source, she produced money enough to support me 
in comparative luxury during the ten days we had 
to wait for the bank to be completed. She insisted 
that there was absolutely nothing for me to do in 
the meantime and that she didn't want to see me in 
Twenty-third street until the bank was ready for 
business. 

I was hardly prepared for the surprises which I 
found when I visited the bank on the appointed day. 
Over the entrance hung a huge brass sign reading, 
"New York Women's Banking and Investment 
Company." The entire front of the building had 
been remodeled into a commodious and up-to-date 
counting room. This was lighted by two large plate 
glass windows and the entrance was through a mas- 
sive door whose glass was protected by heavy bars. 
These bars looked for all the world like iron, but 
Carrie assured me that they were only wood covered 
with tin and painted black. 

Inside were all the appurtenances of a first-clas6 
banking establishment — brass railings, desks, coun * 
ters, chairs, and, in the most conspicuous position, 
an enormous "burglar proof" safe. In the rear 
were partitioned off two little private offices, their 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 95 

doors labeled "Mrs. Celia Rigsby, President,' ' and 
"Mrs. Carrie Morse, General Manager." 

"All this quite took my breath away, but what im- 
pressed me most of all was the sight of half a dozen 
old graybeards who were busily engaged on some 
bulky account books. Not one of these men could 
have been less than sixty years old and all were of 
venerable aspect, with spectacles, white hair, and 
long, white beards. 

"Why do you hire such old men?" I asked Carrie 
at the first opportunity, "And where do you get 
the money to pay all of them?" 

"S-s-sh!" she whispered. "Don't you know 
there 's nothing that inspires people 's confidence like 
old men? Many people who would never trust their 
money to a young, active man will gladly hand it 
over to an old, venerable appearing fellow. And 
the next best thing to an old man is a pretty woman 
■ — that's why I think you and I shall make such a 
success of this business. As for paying these old 
men, they don't get a cent. They are all working 
for nothing in the hope of getting a chance to in- 
rest some money in the business." 

HOW WE FOOLED THE PUBLJO 

I was so impressed by these fresh evidences of 
Carrie 's business ability and my own ignorance that 
I felt quite relieved when she informed me that I 
would not have to remain at the bank, but would 
fulfill my duties as president at some apartments 



96 SOPHIE LYONS 

she had taken for me in a fashionable quarter or 4 
Fifth avenue. These apartments were furnished 
in splendid style and Carrie handed me a roll of 
bills with which to purchase some gowns that would 
be in keeping with my new home. 

After my wardrobe was purchased and my trunks 
moved over from the hotel, I was not long in learn- 
ing just what Carrie expected of me. She began 
inserting advertisements in all the leading news- 
papers offering "widows and other women of 
means' ' investments which were guaranteed to net 
them from 15 to 20 per cent, on their money. ' ' 

When women called in answer to the advertise- 
ment at the bank on Twenty-third street many of 
them would want more evidence than Carrie could 
supply before they would part with their money. 
These doubting ones were referred to me — Mrs. 
Celia Eigsby, if you please, who had made a fortune 
by investing her late husband's $1,500 insurance 
money in the securities offered by the Women's 
Banking and Investment Company. 

The advertisements were kept going in the news- 
papers, and more and more women kept coming to 
the bank on Twenty-third street. Mrs. Morse re- 
ceived them all, talked many of them into leaving 
their money with her right then and there, and to 
those who had misgivings she said sweetly: 

"But I would rather you would not be influenced 
by anything I have said. It is your duty to your- 
self to investigate and assure yourself as to just 
what profits we are really paying on investments. 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 97 

Perhaps you would like to see and talk with one of 
our customers who has done so well with our in- 
vestments that she has taken an interest in our 
bank. I'm sure you'd be interested in talking with 
Mrs. Rigsby." 

The style in which I lived on Fifth avenue left no 
doubt of my wealth, and, with Carrie 's help, I soon 
had a glib and convincing story to tell of my previ- 
ous poverty and the steps I had taken to reach my 
present prosperity. 

Of course, I explained, I took no active part in 
the bank's affairs. I allowed the use of my name 
as president and permitted Mrs. Morse to refer 
prospective investors to me merely because I was 
&o well satisfied with the way my own investments 
bad turned out and felt a philanthropic desire to 
share my good fortune with other women. 

Business increased rapidly and greater crowds of 
women came in reply to my partner's glowing ad- 
vertisements. Many of them would hand over their 
money right away in exchange for a handful of the 
crinkly stock certificates which filled a whole room 
in the rear of the bank. These certificates were 
printed in all the colors of the rainbow, for, as Car- 
rie naively explained, "some of the ladies prefer 
green, some blue, some black, and so on." 

Carrie was jubiliant. She kept me liberally sup- 
plied with money for clothes and the heavy expenses 
of my apartment, but when I asked her about a 
further share of the profits she said: 

"Sophie, you're as ignorant as a new born babe 



98 SOPHIE LYONS 

of business methods. It's always customary to 
leave all the money in a new business until the end 
of six months. Then we '11 divide what we Ve made, 
turn the bank over to someone else and go to Eu- 
rope for a long rest." 

I had my doubts about the truth of this, but, as I 
was making a good living with little effort and had 
nothing better in sight just then, I determined to 
continue under Carrie's leadership. She continually 
reassured me by insisting that what we were doing 
was just as legitimate as any business and that there 
was nothing in it for which the police could take us 
to task. 

Although I foolishly had confidence in Carrie's 
ability to keep out of trouble, I did not for a minute 
believe that the securities she was selling were worth 
the paper they were printed on. Still, as most of 
the women who called to see me seemed to be persons 
of means who could well afford to contribute toward 
our support, I did not feel any serious compunc- 
tions at advising them to invest. It seemed no worse 
than picking a rich man's pocket or robbing a 
wealthy bank — and it was not half so difficult or so 
hazardous to life and liberty. 

OUR BANKING BUBBLE BURSTS 

One day, however, something happened that filled 
me with honest indignation at Carrie Morse and her 
schemes. A poor, bent old widow called to see me 
— a woman whose threadbare clothes and rough 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 99 

hands plainly showed how she had to struggle to 
make a living. Tied up in her handkerchief she had 
$500 which she had just drawn from a savings bank. 

"It's all I have in the world/ ' she said with tears 
in her eyes, "and I've had to scrimp and slave for 
every cent of it. I saw Mrs. Morse 's advertisements 
and IVe been to see her this morning. She says it 4 
I'll give my money to her she can double it for me 
in two years. Would I better do it? I'm only a 
poor old woman and I want you to give me your 
advice V 

As diplomatically as I could I explained to her 
that, while Mrs. Morse's scheme was an excellent 
one, it would be much wiser for a woman in her cir- 
cumstances to keep her money in the savings bank, 
and I made her promise that she would put it back 
there at once. Then I put on my hat and coat and 
hurried over to the bank to see Carrie Morse. 

As usual Carrie was in the midst of an enthusias- 
tic description of her stocks while a long line of 
women anxiously awaited their turn with her. I 
took her by the arm, led her into one of the private 
offices, and shut the door. 

"Carrie Morse, this sort of business has got to 
stop," I said with all the emphasis I could. "I'm 
willing to help you swindle women who can afford 
to lose the money, but I positively will not have any 
part in taking the bread out of the mouths of poor 
widows like the one you just sent over to see me. 
Sooner than do that I'll starve — or go back to rob- 
bing banks or picking pockets." 



100 SOPHIE LYONS 

"There, there — don't get excited," she said sooth' 
ingly. " Perhaps I did make a mistake in encourage 
ing the poor widow. But this is a business where 
you can't help being deceived sometimes. Often 
the women who plead poverty the hardest and dress 
the poorest really have the most money hidden away. 
I'll give you my word of honor, though, that I won't 
accept any money from that widow even if she tries 
to force it on me." 

Somewhat mollified at this I started back home to 
renew my interviews with the prospective investors 
who came daily in crowds. 

For several weeks things went on as before. Then 
one day I chanced to meet the poor widow who had 
so excited my sympathies. To my surprise she con- 
fessed that she had finally yielded to the lures of 
Mrs. Morse's advertisements and had given her 
$500 for some shares in a bogus western oil com- 
pany. 

I was indignant that Carrie should have forgot- 
ten her promise in that way, and I set out at once 
to demand an explanation. As I was approaching 
the bank my attention was attracted by some un- 
usual excitement just outside the entrance. 

Scenting trouble and thinking perhaps it would 
be just as well if I were not recognized in that vi- 
cinity I slipped into a doorway across the street 
where I could see what was going on without being 
seen. 

Around the doors of the bank surged a crowd of 
several hundred very excited persons, mostly 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS l&l 

women. Among them I recognized many of the 
ladies whom I had urged to invest in Carried se- 
curities. I also noticed our landlord, the contractor 
who had altered the building, the man who had sup- 
plied the furniture, a collector for the gas company, 
and numerous other creditors of the bank. 

The doors of the bank were closed and the closely 
drawn shades revealed no sign of life inside. In 
front of the doors stood three blue-coated policemen 
vainly trying to keep the pushing crowd back. 

What interested me most was two Central Office 
detectives who mingled with the crowd trying to 
get some information from the hysterical women. 
They made slow progress, for the women were too 
excited to do more than repeat over and over again 
the sad refrain: "My money's gone!" But the 
sight of those plain clothes men showed me the 
wisdom of getting out of the way before they had 
time to get too deep into the cause of all the trouble. 

Quite plainly the bubble had burst. Some inves- 
tor had become suspicious and the investigation 
which she or her husband had started had demol- 
ished the flimsy structure which Carrie's vivid im- 
agination had reared. 

Bitterly I thought of Carrie's treachery to me. 
Without a word of warning she had fled, leaving me 
alone and almost penniless to face arrest. By now 
she was doubtless on her way to Europe or Canada 
with all the money in which I should rightfully have 
shared. 

There was only one thing for me to do — get away 



102 SOPHIE LYONS 

from my Fifth avenue house before any of the 
women investors recovered enough of their senses 
to put the police on my trail. Hurriedly throwing 
a few of my possessions into a trunk I shipped it to 
my friend Mr. Rowe's hotel and followed there my- 
self on foot. 

To Mr. Eowe I poured out the whole story of my 
troubles and asked his help. He was very willing 
to do all in his power to aid me. 

"It looks bad for you, Sophie," he said. "A de- 
tective was here less than fifteen minutes ago in- 
quiring for you and the chances are that he'll be 
back again before long. But I can easily hide you 
until night, and then we'll try to find some way of 
smuggling you to the station. I'll loan you what- 
ever money you need and will ship your trunk to 
you when you get to Detroit. ' ' 

Mr. Rowe was right — the detective returned and 
posted himself at the front door of the hotel. With 
him came another headquarters man to guard the 
side entrance. They were evidently convinced that 
Sophie Lyons was in the hotel or that she would 
soon return there. 

HOW I ESCAPED ARREST 

Night came and the two sleuths showed no signs 
of leaving. The only avenue of escape from the 
upper room where I had been hiding all day was 
by the window. 

With Mr. Rowe 's kind help I securely fastened to 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 103 

the window frame one end of a long rope, which was 
kept for use in case of fire. Down this I slid in 
the darkness to the roof of a one-story building ad- 
joining the hotel. From there it was an easy drop 
to a little alley, which finally brought me out on 
Broadway. 

; After an agonizing wait of several minutes at the 
station I got safely on board a train and was soon 
speeding toward Detroit. Then I drew the first 
long breath I had taken since morning, when I had 
seen that tearful crowd of investors and creditors 
in front of the closed bank. 

Carrie Morse was never caught or punished for 
the ladies ' bank swindle, which the newspapers later 
said must have netted her at least $50,000. Years 
after I met her in Chicago where she was operating 
a matrimonial agency which was almost as crooked 
as the bank had been. She never mentioned our 
banking venture nor offered me my share of the 
profits, and, as I was prosperous then, I never asked 
her for it. 

She was a swindler to her dying day ana served 
many long prison terms. As she grew old it took 
all the money she could make to keep out of jail and 
she finally died in poverty. With all her cleverness 
she never seemed able to see what expensive folly 
lit was to waste her really brilliant abilities in a life 
of crime. 

This was my first experience with clever women 
swindlers. I was surprised to learn, to my sorrow, 
that the standards of good faith which are main- 



£04 SOPHIE LYONS 

tained among men of the underworld do not hold 
good among most women criminals. I fully de- 
termined to have no more dealings with criminals 
of my own sex. 

But this wise resolve was broken quite by accident 
a few years later, while I was traveling in the south 
of Europe and became acquainted with Mrs. Helen 
Gardner, an English swindler and confidence opera- 
tor. Mrs. Gardner was a woman of fine presence, 
a finely modulated voice, all the manners, graces, 
and charms of a well-bred English woman, and an 
amazingly inspiring and persuasive conversational- 
ist. 

In daring and ingenuity this remarkable woman 
surpassed any man I ever knew. Crimes which the 
cleverest men in the underworld would have declared 
impossible or too foolhardy to undertake she not 
only attempted, but carried through to success. 

For years the boldest schemes followed one an- 
other in rapid succession from Mrs. Gardner's fer- 
tile brain. Swindling was as natural to her as 
breathing is to normal persons. She was the most 
successful confidence woman who ever operated in 
England or on the Continent, and no rich man was 
safe once she got her traps set for him. 

I first met Mrs. Gardner in Nice, where I was 
enjoying a little vacation after a long, arduous 
bank robbing campaign in America. She was then 
traveling under the name of Lady Temple. 

To make a long story short, we soon became great 
friends. We went everywhere together and she 



Q0EEN OF THE BUKGLAKS 105 

generously shared with me the luxuries with which 
she was so plentifully supplied. She finally even 
induced me to take rooms in the hotel adjoining her 
own suite. 

I did not know at that time that she was Mrs. 
Gardner, the famous English confidence swindler. 

She told me little of her personal affairs except) 
that her husband, Sir Edward Temple, had been a 
prominent physician in London and that she was in 
Nice to recover from the shock incident to his sudden 
death. The deep mourning she habitually wore and 
the heavy black band on her visiting cards bore out 
this story, but, to tell the truth, I didn't bother my 
head much about its truth or falsity. 

I did not at that time happen to know that it is 
the custom in England for a doctor's practice to be 
sold when he retires from business or dies. 

There was no doubt that she had money and that 
she was giving me a liberal share of its benefits — 
why should I worry about where it came from or 
how long it would last? 

I, in turn, kept her in equal ignorance of my own 
past life and of my means of support. 

But there was one thing about which I couldn't 
help being very curious — the number of doctors who 
were calling at the hotel to see Lady Temple. Every 
day there was at least one and some days there were 
three or four — each came alone and the same one 
seldom appeared a second time. 



106 SOPHIE LYONS 

mrs. Gardner's clever scheme 

Lady Temple invariably saw all of them. When 
a physician's card came np she would ask me to 
retire to my own rooms and then would be closeted 
for a long time with the visitor. It could not be 
professional calls these doctors were making, for 
there was nothing about her ladyship's health to 
call for such a varied assortment of medical atten- 
tion. 

What could be the meaning of all these visits from 
physicians? My curiosity got the better of me and 
I determined to do a little eavesdropping. 

My opportunity came when the maid brought in 
the card of "Dr. Eobert Mackenzie, of Edinburgh, 
Scotland." As usual, Lady Temple said, "Show 
him up," and asked me if I would be good enough 
to retire. Instead of closing the door which led 
from Lady Temple's sitting room to my own I left 
it open a trifle and stood there with my ear to the 
crack, where I could hear every word that was said 
and also get an occasional peep at the lady and her 
visitor. 

Dr. Mackenzie was a grave, pompous appearing 
man, slightly under middle age. He was dressed 
in the conventional garb of the old school physician 
and carried a small medicine case. 

"I have come to see you, Lady Temple," he said, 
after the usual polite preliminaries, "in relation to 
your advertisement in the current number of the 
Lancet. Your late husband's practice seems to 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 107 

offer just the opportunity I have long been seeking 
to establish myself in London. May I a^k if it is 
still for sale!" 

"My husband was a very distinguished man and 
had a very lucrative practice/ p the bogus Lady 
Temple replied. "You must read these notices in 
the papers which were printed when he died. Here 
is one from the London Times — oh! my poor dear 
husband! " 

At this point Mrs. Gardner burst into tears. She 
covered her face with her black-bordered handker- 
chief and her charming figure shook convulsively 
with her sobs. Her visitor, Dr. Mackenzie, stood 
with head bowed in silent respect. 

Presently Mrs. Gardner recovered herself with 
an effort, and, gazing appealingly at her visitor 
through her tear-stained eyes, said: 

1 l Will you pardon me ? I know it is very weak of 
me to give way to my grief like this. 

"As I was saying/ ' she finally resumed, "my hus- 
band was so dear to me that I cannot bear to think 
of living in London now he is gone. That is why 
I am anxious to dispose of my interests there at 
once. Did you know the late Sir Edward, doctor f " 

1 ' I never had the honor of his acquaintance, but I 
have often heard him lecture, and I have in my 
library all the books he ever published. I was al- 
ways a great admirer of his abilities. His discov- 
eries about the circulation of the blood seem to me 
the most valuable recent contribution to medical 
science. " 



108 SOPHIE LYONS * — 

"It pleases me to have you say that," said Lady 
Temple, warming into cordiality at this tribute to 
her late husband. "I have had many good offers 
for the practice, but none so far from a man such 
as my husband would have wished to see succeed 
him. You are a man after Sir Edward's own heart, 
and, if you can furnish satisfactory references, I 
feel confident matters can be arranged to our mu- 
tual satisfaction." 

From an inner pocket the doctor produced a 
packet of letters, which he carefully unfolded and 
handed to Lady Temple. 

"Very, very satisfactory," she murmured, after 
studying them intently. ' ' If my husband were here 
he would be so gratified to see what an able succes- 
sor I have found for him. And now as to terms." 

The doctor did not seem at all disturbed by this 
abrupt introduction of monetary considerations. 
Indeed, he was growing quite ;merry under the 
warming influence of her ladyship's bright smiles. 
These smiles, by the way, were all the more effective 
because of their background of widow's weeds and 
tear-stained cheeks. 

"Then I may really have the practice?" he asked 
eagerly. 

"Indeed you may," Lady Temple replied. "The 
price is $25,000, but I do not want to accept that 
amount or sign the final papers until I get back 
to London. My solicitors, however, say it will be 
perfectly satisfactory to give you an option now, 
provided you are willing to pay just a small amount 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 109 

on the purchase price — say $1,000. Is that agree- 
able, doctor f " 
Agreeable! Indeed it was! 



SWINDLING ONE DOCTOB A DAY 

The doctor counted out $1,000 in crisp bank notes. 
Her ladyship produced two copies of an agreement 
which, she said, her solicitors had prepared, and 
these they both signed. Then she bade the depart- 
ing doctor an almost affectionate farewell and gave 
him the most minute directions about meeting her 
in London a month later. 

The next day I overheard an almost similar inter- 
view with a doctor from Glasgow! The only point 
of difference was that he paid $1,200 for the option 
instead of $1,000. 

There was no necessity for further eavesdrop- 
ping. I understood now why Lady Temple read all 
the medical papers and why so many doctors came 
to see her. No wonder we lived in luxury with some 
ambitious doctor contributing at least $1,000 every 
day to our support! 

I said nothing of what I had seen or heard, and, 
although I continued to live with Lady Temple for 
several months, she never explained her affairs with 
the doctors. This seems to be a characteristic of 
all women swindlers — to deceive even their closest 
friends and never to tell any one the whole truth 
about their nefarious schemes. 

It was from others that I later learned the com- 



110 SOPHIE LYONS 

plete details of this swindle. There really had been 
a Sir Edward Temple, who was a great London 
physician. 

Mrs. Gardner, learning of his death from the 
newspapers, familiarized herself with his career 
from the obituary notices, secured some photo-, 
graphs of him, and began posing as his widow. 

Her advertisements in the medical journals did 
not mention Sir Edward by name, but it was to be 
inferred that the practice offered for sale was his, 
because of his recent death and because the an- 
nouncements were signed ' ' Lady Temple. ' ' 

Doctors interested were invited to write her at a 
post office box address. She replied from Nice, 
where she had "gone for her health," and invited 
them to come there and see her. What happened to 
the unfortunate doctors who made the trip I have 
already told you. 

The supply of physicians willing to pay for an 
option on a London practice seemed inexhaustible 
and in a few weeks my friend must easily have 
cleared $20,000. But she began to tire of Nice and 
invited me to accompany her to London. 

When we reached there we went to Claridge's, in 
Mayfair, and took one of the finest suites in that 
exclusive hotel. The morning after our arrival she 
suggested a shopping expedition. 

To my amazement there stood at the hotel door 
waiting for us a splendid carriage drawn by u 
prancing pair of horses in heavy silver-plated har - 
ness. 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 



111 



On the doors of the carriage was emblazoned a 
brilliant coat of arms. On the box sat a pompous 




THERE STOOD A SPLENDID CARRIAGE DRAWN BY A PAIR OP 
PRANCING HORSES 

coachman in livery. A liveried footman stood at at- 
tention ready to assist us. 

I had hard work to believe it wasn't all a dream 



112 SOPHIE LYONS 

as I settled back against the soft silken cushions 
and heard my friend order us driven to Bond street. 

We stopped in front of a famous jewelry store — > 
I made ready to alight, but that, it seems, was not 
the plan. Instead, her ladyship whispered a mes- 
sage to the footman and he went into the store. 

Out came the proprietor, a dignified old English- 
•man. At sight of this splendid equipage with its 
crests on the door and the two fine ladies inside, he 
was all bows and smiles. 

"It is not customary,' ' he said, rubbing his hands 
in gleeful anticipation of big sales to come, "to let 
our trays of diamonds go out of the store, but I 
shall be glad to arrange it for your lady ship.' ' 

A clerk appeared carrying two trays full of dia- 
mond necklaces, rings, and other jewelry which Lady 
Temple had asked to see. 

"Have you nothing better than these V said Lady 
Temple, rather contemptuously, after a casual 
glance at them. 

The eager clerk hurried back to the store and re- 
turned with a tray of more elaborate specimens of 
the jeweler's art. 

Lady Temple leisurely selected a necklace, two 
rings, and a locket — worth in all more than $5,000. 

1 ' Send these to Lady Temple 's apartments at Cla- 
ridge's," she said, "and include them in my bill] 
the first of next month. Doubtless you knew my 
dear husband, the late Sir Edward' ' — her voice 
caught as it always did when she spoke his name — ■ 
"he had an account here for years.' ' 






<$UEEN OF THE BURGLARS 113 

OUR EXPERIENCE IN LONDON 

The clerk smirked his gratitude, promised prompt 
delivery, and we drove on to a fashionable dress- 
maker's. There we secured on credit, which had 
nothing more substantial for its basis than the stolen 
crest our hired carriage bore, several costly gowns. 

This sort of thing went on for two weeks. The 
magic of my friend's methods opened to us all the 
treasures of London's finest shops. A never-ending 
line of messengers brought to Claridge's the most 
expensive goods of every description — and not a 
penny of real money was involved in any of the 
transactions. 

I discarded all my old gowns and had to get addi- 
tional trunks to hold the new ones. Soon I had ac- 
cumulated three or four times as much jewelry as 
I could wear at one time. With the prudence for 
which I was always famous, I put the surplus rings 
and brooches in a safe deposit box. 

All this time you may be sure I felt considerable 
apprehension. Although I took no active part in 
these swindling operations, I shared in the plunder, 
and knew I would be held as an accomplice in case 
there was trouble. 

The trouble came sooner than I expected. We 
had been "buying" some linens — making our selec- 
tions, as usual, without leaving our carriage. Just 
as we were about to drive away the clerk who had 
taken our order came rushing out. 

"Your ladyship's pardon," he stammered, "but 



114 SOPHIE LYONS 

would you please step inside the store. The man- 
ager thinks there's some mistake — that is, he 
thought Lady Temple was in Egypt.' ' 

I gave a gasp — now we'd be arrested! 

But my friend showed not the slightest emotion, 
except a little annoyance, such as was quite natural 
under the circumstances to a lady of rank. She 
calmly walked into the store — and I have never laid 
eyes on her since. 

After waiting an hour I decided she must have 
escaped by a side entrance. I returned to Claridge 's 
and found she had been there before me. She was 
gone, bag and baggage — and in a great hurry, as the 
disorder of the rooms showed. 

I lost no time in arranging my own departure and 
did not feel safe until I was well on my way to New 
York with my trunks full of more finery than I had 
ever possessed. 

Two or three years later Helen Gardner, alias 
Lady Temple, was convicted in France for obtaining 
money under false pretenses. Her prison term 
brought her to her senses — showed her how foolish 
it was to waste her life in crime. When she was re- 
leased she settled down to an honest career and later 
became the wife of a prosperous merchant. 

The account of my experiences with famous woul 
en swindlers would not be complete without some 
mention of the greatest of them all — the notorious 
Ellen Peek, long known as the "Confidence Queen.' ' 

Mrs. Peck's exploits during the many years when 
ahe defrauded everybody who came within her 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 115 

reach would fill a book. One swindle would hardly 
be finished before another would be begun, and 
often she would have several entirely different 
schemes under way at once. 

She paid her lawyers several fortunes in her per- 
sistent efforts to keep out of jail and to retain 
possession of the property she had stolen. At one 
time, when she was in her prime, she was defendant 
in twenty-eight civil and criminal suits. 

One of Ellen Peck's many peculiarities was her 
fondness for practicing her skilful arts on her fel- 
low criminals. She found more satisfaction in 
cheating a thief out of a ten-dollar bill than in de- 
frauding some banker of $1,000. 

Even I, trained in crime from childhood, was not 
proof against Ellen's wiles. Several times I be- 
came her victim as completely as I did Carrie 
Morse's — and I can vouch for the fact that no 
shrewder fox ever lived. 

Each time she tricked me I would make a solemn 
vow never to have anything to do with her again. 
Then along she would come with some story, oh, so 
plausible! — and I would swallow it as readily as I 
had the previous one and as much to my sorrow. 

Once she actually cheated me out of the very 
shawl on my back. It was a fine cashmere shawl — 
one I had secured in Europe at a great bargain. 

1 ' Come, ' ' said Ellen, ' ' let me have that shawl. I 
know a rich woman who will give you $500 for it." 

"No," I said, grimly, "1 don't want to sell it." 
But Ellen turned her hypnotic eye on me, began her 



116 SOPHIE LYONS 

irresistible flow of smooth argument and — got the 
shawl. 

That was the last I saw of her for six months. 
When I did succeed in running her down she said 
she had been able to get only $100 for the shawl — 
and she had left that at home on the sideboard! 

Grabbing her by the arm I told her I would not 
let her go until she gave me what money she had. 
After considerable argument she emptied $37.50 
out of her purse — which was all I ever got for my 
$500 shawl. 

Ellen Peck conceived a very simple scheme of 
piano swindling, and I was in partnership with her 
in it. She had been working this swindle alone until 
she had become known to all the piano dealers. Then 
she invited me to join her. Here is how we man- 
aged it: 

I would go to a store and buy a piano on the in- 
stallment plan, paying five or ten dollars down. 
The instrument would be delivered at some one of 
the twenty furnished rooms which Ellen had en- 
gaged for just this purpose in various parts of the 
city. 

As soon as the piano was installed at one of 
these rooms we would promptly advertise it for sale 
at a greatly reduced price. If the first purchaser 
did not move the piano at once we would sometimes 
be able to sell the same instrument to five or six 
different persons. When we had squeezed as much 
money as we could out of a piano we would disap- 
pear — only to repeat the same trick at another fur- 



QUEEN OF THE BUEGLARS 117 

aished room and with a piano from another store. 

It sometimes happened that, when the several 
persons to whom we had sold a single piano came to 
claim it, the merchant from whom we had secured it 
and to whom it still belonged would also put in an 
appearance. Then there would be the liveliest kind 
of a squabble, which would have to be settled in the 
courts. 

Crafty Ellen Peck supplied the brains for this 
enterprise but made me do most of the hard work 
and gave me only a meager share of the profits. It 
was a despicable swindle, for the loss did not fall 
on the dealer, but on the poor families to whom we 
sold the pianos and who could ill afford the money 
we took from them. I am thankful to say that I did 
not long make my living in this mean way. 

I hope that Ellen Peck may be alive to read these 
lines. In her declining years wisdom and charity 
have doubtless come to her just as they have to me. 
I feel sure that she shares my sincere repentance 
for past errors, and that she will give me her hearty 
indorsement when I say, as I constantly do, that un- 
der no circumstances does crime pay. 



118 SOPHIE LYONS 



CHAPTER V 

HOW I FACED DEATH, HOW MY HUSBAND WAS SHOT, AND 
SOME NARROW ESCAPES OP MY COMPANIONS 

From the moment when he commits his first crime 
the professional criminal never knows what it is to 
enjoy real peace of mind. His crimes hang over 
him like the sword of Damocles, and, unless he re- 
forms, he can never be free from the fear of some 
day being found out and sent away to prison for a 
long term. 

And arrest is not the only thing he has to fear — 
he is continually face to face with the danger of 
serious injury or death. Whatever the crime he 
undertakes, he must run the most desperate risks— ^ 
He has to stake not only his liberty, but life itself 
on the narrowest of margins. 

The powerful explosive he is using to blow open 
a safe may go off prematurely, as it did one night 
when George Mason and I were robbing a bank in 
Illinois, and leave the robber half dead. 

Perhaps an indignant mob may decide to take 
justice into its own hands by lynching the criminal. 
This is what happened to one of my comrades in 
Kentucky. They had the noose around his neck 
and were all ready to string him up when I arrived 
in the nick of time to save his life. 

Perhaps he will be caught in the act at one of 
his crimes and shot down like a dog, as my husband, 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS i» 

Ned Lyons, was in Connecticut one night. That wag 
the narrowest escape my husband ever had — I saw 
it with my own eyes, and, if I live to be a hundred, 
I shall never forget the agony of it all. 

At the time of this thrilling adventure the police 
wanted us so badly for our share in several famous 
jrobberies that Ned and I did not dare to undertake 
any operations in the large cities which usually 
formed our most profitable fields. So, being in need 
of ready money, we had decided to take a little trip 
through some of the smaller towns of New England. 
The amount of cash to be had from the banks, stores 
and postoffices in these places was not large, but, 
on the other hand, it was not hard to get and we 
thought we ought to be able to spend two or three 
weeks quite profitably in the nearby towns of Con- 
necticut and Massachusetts. 

As my health that summer was not very good and 
Ned did not want me to take any very active part 
in the robberies, we invited George Mason to go 
along with us. 

From the start we seemed to be ill-fated. Ned 
and George succeeded in getting into a bank in 
Fitchburg, Mass., but were frightened away by a 
watchman before they had time to open the safe. 
From the postoffice in a little village just outside 
Fitchburg we secured only eight or ten dollars to 
pay us for our trouble. Quite discouraged and des- 
perately in need of money we went on to Palmer, 
Mass. 

There I scouted around and discovered that the 



120 SOPHIE LYONS 

most likely place for us to rob was G. L. Hitchcock's 
drug store, which was also the village postoffice. 
A storm came up to hide the full moon, and this en- 
abled us to make the attempt that very night. It 
was not the easiest job in the world, for Mr. Hitch- 
cock and his family lived directly above the store 
and the least noise was sure to rouse them. 



HOW WE BOBBED A STOEE 

Shortly after midnight I took up my position in 
an alley in the rear of the store to stand guard while 
Ned and George removed a pane of glass from a 
cellar window. Through this opening the men 
squeezed, and presently the dim reflection of their 
dark lanterns showed me that they had safely 
reached the store above. 

I had been standing there in the rain for nearly 
twenty minutes when a low rumble from inside the 
store made me prick up my ears. Just as I was 
puckering my lips to whistle a shrill warning to my 
comrades I saw them appear at the back door of the 
store carrying between them a small iron safe. It 
was this safe rolling over the floor which I had 
heard. 

The safe was a small affair, but so well made that 
it had successfully resisted all their efforts to drillj 
it open. Finding it was not too heavy to be carried 
they had decided to take it outside the town, where 
they could blow it open without fear of arousing the 
sleeping village. 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 121 

We must have made a strange procession as we 
drudged along through the darkness — the two men 
partly carrying and partly rolling the safe along, 
and all of us wading through mud half way to our 
knees. 

At last we reached a meadow far enough removed 
from any houses for our purpose. George Mason? 
filled one of the holes he had drilled with black pow- 
der and wrapped the safe with some old sacks to 
protect the fuse from the wet and also to muffle 
the noise of the explosion. 

Ned touched a match to the fuse and we scurried 
to a safe distance. The charge went off with a dull 
boom — the shattered door of the safe flew high into 
the air and landed several yards away. 

Waiting a few minutes to make sure that no one 
in the village had been awakened, we hurried back 
to get our plunder. There were $350 in cash, a dia- 
mond ring, some gold pens, and fifteen or twenty 
dollars' worth of postage stamps. With the few 
dollars the boys had taken from the till this made a 
trifle more than four hundred dollars for our night's 
work — a pitifully small sum compared with what 
some of our bank robberies brought us, but enough 
to support us until we could plan some more ambi- 
tious undertaking. 

Just as we were dividing our plunder into three j 
equal shares a freight train whistled in the dis- 
tance. 

"George and I will jump on this train," said my 
husband, giving me a hurried kiss. "It's safer than 



122 SOPHIE LYONS 

for the three of us to stick together. Good-bye— 
and take care of yourself. We'll meet you in South 
Windham, Conn., late to-night or early to-morrow." 
Wet, bedraggled, and so tired that I could have 
fallen asleep standing up, I groped my way to the 
railroad station and curled myself up on a bench 
to snatch what rest I could. Just before daybreak 
a milk train came along. I boarded this and trav- 
eled by a roundabout route to South Windham. 

MY HUSBAND IS SHOT 

I reached there late in the afternoon and went 
straight to the postoffice. This was always the ac- 
cepted rendezvous for professional criminals when 
no other place had been agreed upon. Detectives 
in every city might very profitably spend more of 
their time watching the postofiice, for wherever the 
criminal is he makes a point of calling there at leaut 
once every twenty-four hours to keep appointments 
with his friends or in the hope of running across 
lome acquaintance. 

Ned and George were there waiting for me, and 
mighty glad they were to see me, for they had heard 
vague rumors of a woman having been arrested on 
suspicion that she knew something about the Pal- 
mer robbery. 

{ The best opportunity the sleepy little town af- 
forded seemed to be a general store run by a man 
named Johnson. I dropped in there late one even- 
ing, and, on the pretext of buying a crochet hook, 



QUEEN OP THE BURGLARS 123 

saw the old proprietor locking the day's receipts — 
quite a respectable bundle of money — in a ram- 
shackle safe which offered about as much security as 
a cheese box. 

We got everything in readiness to break into the 
store the following night. It was a foolhardy time 
for such a job, as there was a bright moon — but we 
were hungry for money, and one more good haul 
would supply enough to keep us in comfort until 
we could lay our plans for some robbery really 
worthy of our skill. 

There was really little I could do to help the men, 
but 1 could not bear to be left behind. Just after 
midnight I stole out of the railroad station, where 
I had been waiting ostensibly for the night train to 
New York, and hid myself in the doorway of a 
livery stable, where I had a good view of the store 
we were going to rob. 

Pretty soon I saw my two comrades come cau- 
tiously down the main street from opposite direc- 
tions. They met underneath a window of the store 
on the side which was in the dark shadow of a tree. 

The window was so high above the ground that 
my husband had to climb up on George Mason's 
shoulders to reach it. I could hear the gentle rasp 
of his jimmy as it worked against the fastenings. 

At last he raised the sash gently and stepped into 
the store. Then he leaned far out across the sill 
and stretched his brawny arms down toward Lis 
companion. 

Mason gave a leap, caught hold of Ned's wrists, 



124 SOPHIE LYONS 

and, with the agility of a circus performer, swung 
himself up into the window. 

All was as silent as the grave. The only sign of 
life I could see in the peaceful street were two cats 
enjoying a nocturnal gambol on a nearby piazza 
roof. I shivered for fear they might start yowling 
and awaken somebody to spoil our plans. 

Just at that instant one of the cats upset a flower 
pot which stood at a window opening on the porch 
roof. To my horror that pot went rolling down the 
roof with a tremendous clatter, hung suspended for 
a second on the eaves, then fell to the stone steps 
with a crash that woke the echoes. 

At once the whole town awoke. In every direction 
I could hear windows being thrown open, children 
crying, and sleepy voices asking what the trouble 
was. 

At a window directly over the store where my 
two friends were a night-capped head appeared and 
a frightened woman screamed, "Help! Burglars !" 
at the top of her lungs. 

That completed the havoc which the playful oats 
and the flower pot had begun. From every house 
half-dressed men armed with rifles, shotguns, and 
all sorts of weapons poured into the street. 

All this racket had started too suddenly for me 

to give Ned and George any warning. I could only 

' crouch farther back in the shadow of my doorway 

and trust to Providence that the villagers would 

overlook me in their excitement. 

"There goes the burglar now!" some one shouted, 



QUEEN OF THE BUKGLAKS 125 

and just then I saw my husband dash past my hid- 
ing place so close that I could have touched him. 
He was headed for the open country beyond the 
railroad tracks and was running faster than I had 
ever supposed a man of his weight could. 

"Stop, or I'll shoot !" yelled an old white-whisk- 
ered farmer, who stood, rifle in hand, not a dozen 
yards away. 

But Ned, if he heard the command, made no move 
to obey. Instead, he only ran all the faster, hunch- 
ing his head down between his shoulders and zig- 
zagging back and forth across the road as if to 
make his bulky form a less favorable target. 

The old farmer raised his rifle as deliberately as 
if he had been aiming at a squirrel instead of a 
fellow man. Three shots blazed out in rapid suc- 
cession. 

The first shot went wild. At the second my hus- 
band stumbled. At the third he threw up his hands 
and pitched forward headlong in the road. 

"We've got him! ,, the crowd shouted with what 
seemed to me fiendish glee, and rushed up to where 
Ned's body lay in a quivering, bloody heap. 

I supposed he was dead, but, whether dead or 
alive, I knew there was nothing I could do to aid 
him. Nervous and trembling at the awful sight 
I had seen, I slipped out of town unnoticed. 

WHAT CAME OP OTJE CEIMES 

I saw nothing of George Mason and for months 
afterward did not know how he had escaped. With 



126 SOPHIE LYONS 

better judgment than my husband showed Me bact 
remained quietly in the store after the outcry 
started. He saw the shooting, and, in the confusion 
which followed, he found little difficulty in getting 
out of town. 

Friends of mine in New London aided me to re-/ 
turn to the hospital in Hartford, where Ned had 
been taken after the shooting. His recovery was 
slow, for there was a bullet imbedded nine inches 
deep in his back which the surgeons were unable to 
remove. As soon as he was able to stand trial he 
was sentenced to three years in State prison, and, 
when he had completed this term, he was given threa 
years in Massachusetts for the robbery at Palmer, 

This was the result of our crimes in New England 
— my husband nearly killed and sentenced to six 
long years in prison. Can you wonder why I have 
learned the lesson that crime does not pay? 

But, to my sorrow, I did not learn the lesson then 
—no, not for many years after that. With my hus- 
band in prison the support of my little ones felX 
wholly on my shoulders, and I promptly turned to 
bank robbing as the easiest way I knew of making 
a living. 

My early training under such expert bank robbers 
as Ned Lyons, Mark Shinburn, and Harry Raymond 
made me extraordinarily successful in this variety 
of crime. The cleverest men in the business began 
to have respect for my judgment and were con- 
tinually inviting me to take an important part in 
their risky but very profitable ventures. Soon, as 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 127 

I am going to tell you, my reputation for skill in 
organizing the most daring robberies and carrying 
them through without detection had spread even be- 
yond the limits of the underworld. 

One day, when I was trying to enjoy the novel 
experience of living honestly for a few weeks, a 
distinguished looking gentleman called at my home. 
He saw my look of incredulity when he announced 
himself as a bank president and promptly produced 
a heavy engraved card which confirmed the truth 
of his statement 

Instantly I was on my guard. In those days my 
house was the headquarters for all sorts of strange 
persons — receivers of stolen goods, professional 
bondsmen, criminal lawyers, escaped prisoners — 
but I had never before been honored by a visit from 
a bank president. What on earth could the president 
of a bank want of a bank robber? 

"I understand that you are one of the most suc- 
cessful bank robbers in America,' ' he said without 
any delay in coming to the point. "I want your ad- 
vice in a little undertaking I have in mind, and, if 
possible, your help." 

"My advice and help!" I exclaimed, thinking the 
man must be out of his head. 

"That's exactly what I want," he replied coolly. 
"I want you to tell me how I can have my bank 
robbed, and, if possible, I want you to take charge 
of the robbery yourself." 

As he explained, he was more than $150,000 short 
in his accounts. He had taken this amount from 



128 SOPHIE LYONS 

the bank within the past year and lost every dolla* 
of it in speculation. He could not return this money 
and it was only a matter of a few weeks before his 
embezzlement would be discovered. 

Being a man of prominence in his community — a 
deacon in the church, his wife a society leader, his 
children in college — running away was out of the 
question. For months he had been racking his brain 
for some way of averting the ruin which he had 
brought upon himself. 

The plan he had finally devised for retaining his 
good name and keeping out of prison was to have 
his bank robbed. On the night of the robbery he 
would leave $50,000 in the vault to pay the robbers 
for their trouble, but, when he came to announce 
the robbery to the police and the newspapers, he 
would declare that $200,000 had been taken. 

In this way his thefts would be covered up and 
he could continue to enjoy the respect and confidence 
of the community where he had always lived. 

A BANKER HIRES US TO ROB 

I was amazed at the bold ingenuity of this plan 
and the matter-of-fact way in which he presented it ' 
to me. This was the first I had ever heard of a 
v bank being robbed by request of one of its officials. 
Later I came to know that it is not an uncommon 
thing for dishonest presidents and cashiers to con- 
ceal their thefts by hiring robbers to break into their 
banks. The difference between what is actually 




WHAT HAPPENED WHEN WE ROBBED A BANK " BY REQUEST." 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 129 

taken in one of these robberies by request and 
what the police and the newspapers say is taken 
covers the amount which the embezzling official has 
lost in Wall Street or some other speculation. 

At that time such an idea was so new to me that 
all sorts of suspicions crowded into my mind. Prob- 
ably it was a trap for me, I thought, and I posi- 
tively declined to have anything to do with it. 

But the old banker would not take no for an an- 
swer. He urged me to think it over and a week 
later he called again. 

By this time the fear of the disgrace which threat- 
ened him and his family had made him a nervous 
wreck. He begged so piteously for me to help him 
save his good name that my womanly sympathies 
got the better of me and I finally consented. 

All my feeling for him, however, did not quite free 
my mind of the fear that the whole affair might be 
a trick, and I determined to protect myself and the 
robbers who would assist me with all the shrewdness 
I could. 

"We must have a written agreement/' I said at 
the very start. 

The banker objected to this, fearing, I suppose, 
that I might use the paper against him later for 
blackmail. But I insisted that I would not do a 
thing until I had it. 

"If you can't trust me to that extent I can't trust 
you, ' ' I said firmly — and at last he told me to draw 
up the paper and he would sign it. 

According to the contract which I prepared, the 



130 SOPHIE LYONS 

banker paid five thousand dollars down and was to 
pay me an equal amount as soon as I had completed 
my arrangements and set the date for the robbery. 
He further agreed that there should be at least 
$50,000 in cash in the bank vault on the night of 
our visit. 

It was further provided that the banker should co- 
operate with me and my fellow robbers in every pos- 
sible way, and that he should do nothing to aid in 
our arrest or conviction for the crime, which, as was 
expressly stated, was committed at his suggestion, 
and not ours. In case the robbery was interrupted 
before we could get inside the vault the banker was 
to pay us $25,000 in cash in addition to the $10,000 
already advanced. 

I agreed to leave no stone unturned to carry out 
the robbery and promised to return the agreement 
to the banker as soon as all its provisions had been 
fulfilled. 

All this I set down on paper in as businesslike way 
as I knew how. It was a document which would have 
made the poor old banker's ruin even greater than 
his thievings had done if I had been the sort of 
woman to break faith with him. With trembling 
fingers he signed it and counted out $5,000 in bills. 

From the banker I had gained a good idea of the 
bank and the sort of vault we would have to enter. 
Now, to get some good, reliable men to help me do 
the job. 

Of all the bank burglars in my acquaintance 
George Mason seemed best fitted for this particular 



QUEEN OP THE BURGLARS 131 

crime. He was a cool, resourceful fellow and had 
had wide experience in blowing open bank vaults. 

George readily agreed to join me, and for the rest 
of the party he recommended two younger men — 
Tom Smith and Frank Jones, I will call them, al- 
Uiough those were not their names. I do not like 
to reveal their identity here because they later re- 
formed and led honest lives. 

Right here let me say that I never told these three 
men of my arrangements with the banker or that I 
was to receive from him $10,000 in addition to what 
wo expected to find in the vault. If they are alive 
to-day and read these lines they will learn here for 
tho first time that the bank in Quincy, 111., which they 
helped Sophie Lyons rob was robbed by request of 
its president. 

BORING INTO THE BANK VAULT 

I sent word to the banker that we were ready and 
he came to my house and paid me $5,000 more. 
Th<sn, by different routes, George Mason, the other 
two robbers and I proceeded to Quincy. 

I was the first to arrive. I went to the leading 
hotel, announced my plan to add a patent medicine 
laboratory to the town 's industries and began to look 
around for a suitable location for my enterprise. 
As I believe I mentioned in a previous chapter, this! 
ruse of the patent medicine laboratory was one I 
had borrowed from my friend, Harry Raymond — he 
had used it to splendid advantage in his robbery of 
the Boylston Bank in Boston. 



132 SOPHIE LYONS 

Of course, it was a part of my prearranged plan 
with the banker that the quarters I should finally 
find best suited for my purpose would be a room on 
the second floor of the bank building, directly over; 
the vault we were going to rob. 

I made several visits to the bank before I com- 
pleted my arrangements with the president — partly 
to carry out my role of the cautious business woman 
and partly to study the construction of the vault and 
see where we could best bore our way into it. 

By the time the lease was signed the three men 
who were to be associated with me in the new busi- 
ness arrived. With their help I secured a quantity 
of bottles, labels, jars of chemicals, chairs, desks, 
tables, and other things we would need if we were 
really making patent medicine. 

Among the articles of furniture we moved in was 
an unusually large oak wardrobe. We removed the 
bottom from this and placed it over the exact spot 
in the floor where we planned to dig our opening into 
the bank vault. 

Then, while one of the men and I ostentatiously 
pasted labels on endless bottles of " Golden Bit- 
ters," the other two men crawled into the wardrobe 
where no chance visitor could see them and day after 
day continued the work of removing the layers of 
brick and timber which separated us from the vault. 
We stored the debris as it accumulated in bags and 
carried it away every night. 

It was was a long job and a hard one. The floor 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 133 

timbers were seasoned oak and beneath them were 
two layers of brick. 

In the cramped space inside the wardrobe it was 
hard to work to the best advantage and, besides, 
the men never knew just how far they had pro- 
gressed and were in constant fear that an extra 
vigorous blow would loosen a big strip of plaster in 
the ceiling of the bank. 

To our disgust we found, after we had passed 
through the floor itself, that the vault had a sort 
of false roof composed of short lengths of railroad 
iron placed irregularly in a setting of mortar and 
brick. This made our task three days longer than 
we had expected. 

Late one afternoon George Mason cleared away a 
space which left only a thin layer of lath and plaster 
between us and the inside of the vault. 

There was too much danger of the gaping hole we 
had dug under the wardrobe being discovered to 
admit of any further delay. We made our arrange- 
ments to rob the bank that very night. 

While the rest of the town was going to bed we 
waited impatiently for it to get late enough for us 
to lay our hands on the $50,000 which I had every 
reason to believe was waiting below that thin layer 
of lath and plaster. Luckily enough the bank's 
watchman was at a christening party that evening 
and was not likely to return until the wee small 
hours. This prevented the necessity of my remain- 
ing on guard outside. 

Shortly after midnight we turned out our lamps 



134 SOPHIE LYONS 

and lighted our dark lanterns. I peered out @f tke 
window — the streets were deserted. 

George Mason took a small sledge hammer and 
with one or two well directed blows opened up the 
hole in the floor wide enough to admit his body. 
Then he tied one end of a long rope under his arms 
and we lowered him down into the vault. 



MY COMRADE'S NARROW ESCAPE 

To the best of my knowledge^ and belief the cash 
which had been promised would be found right on 
the shelves of the vault, and all George would have 
to do would be to stuff it into his pockets and climb 
back up the way he had come. 

But, whether through intent or an oversight on 
the president's part, that was not the case. For 
several minutes we waited breathlessly listening to 
George as he fumbled around the vault by the light 
of his dark-lantern. Then we heard him call in a 
hoarse whisper: 

"Sophie, it's just as I was afraid it would be. 
Every cent of the money is locked up in the small 
steel safe. I'll have to come back up and get my 
tools.' ' 

It is the custom in big bank vaults to have a small 
and separate steel safe to put the actual cash into. 
Leases, documents, account books, and sometimes 
bonds and stock certificates are kept in the big vault, 
but money and things of special value are usually 
locked up in the inside steel compartment. 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 135 

With some difficulty we hauled him back up. From 
his bag he selected the drills he thought he would 
need and from a bottle poured out what seemed to 
me an extra generous quantity of black powder. 

"Be careful and not use too much of that stuff,' ' 
I called as he disappeared again through the hole.. 
"Ned always said that was your worst f ailing.' 9 

"Don't you worry, Sophie," he replied; "it will 
take a good big dose to open this safe. ' ' 

For several minutes we sat there listening to the 
rasping of his drills against the door of the safe. 
Just as we felt that tug on the rope which was the 
signal to haul him up, we saw the flare of his lighted 
match and heard the sputter of the fuse. 

We pulled on the rope for all we were worth but 
before George 's body was within two feet of the hole 
in the floor there came a blinding flash, followed by 
an explosion that shook the building. 

Although dazed by the shock and half blinded by 
the cloud of dust and poisonous fumes which poured 
up through the hole, we managed to keep our hold 
on the rope and haul our helpless comrade out of 
the death trap in which the premature explosion had 
caught him. 

"George!" I called, as we lifted the rope from 
under his arms. But he never answered and I 
thought it was only a corpse that we laid gently on 
the floor. His hair and eyebrows were completely 
burned off, his face and hands were as black as coal 
and he was bleeding from an ugly wound in the 
head. 



136 SOPHIE LYONS 

We forgot the money we were after — we forgot 
the danger of being caught — in our anxiety for our 
wounded friend. One of the men brought water 
while I tried to force a drink of brandy down his 
throat. It seemed an age before he came to his 
senses, raised himself on one elbow and roughly 
pushed me aside. 

"It went off too quick for me," he said; "but 
don't be foolish — I'll be all right in a minute. Look 
and see if the noise has roused the town." 

I looked out — there was not a soul in sight. The 
bank's thick walls and the fact that it stood at some 
distance from any other building had evidently pre- 
vented the explosion being heard outside. 



Although suffering intense pain George insisted 
on going back to get the money. It was no easy 
task, for the vault was full of suffocating smoke. 
There was no time to lose, as the watchman might 
return at any minute. 

After a few minutes we hauled him up for the 
third time. 

"That charge blew the safe door to splinters, but 
here's every dollar it contained," he said, handing 
me several packages of bills. 

' I counted the money and had hard work to conceal 
my surprise when I found there was only $30,000. 
But, as Mason thought himself lucky to escape with 
his life and, as the other two men seemed well satis- 
fied with the amount, I said nothing. 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 13> 

We started at once for Chicago, where a few days 
later we divided the spoils. As I had expected, the 
bank's loss was placed by the newspapers at $200,- 
000. A large reward was offered for the capture 
of the robbers. I was pleased to note that the presi- 
dent's story of the amount taken and of the complete 
mystery in which the affair was shrouded seemed to 
be generally accepted. 

After the excitement had died down the bank 
president came to Detroit to see me. Worry over 
the possibility of his crime being discovered had 
shattered his nerves and he was such a poor broken 
specimen of an old man that I did not have the 
heart fb demand the additional $20,000 which he had 
promised us. As I tore up our agreement and 
handed him the pieces, he said : 

FACING A LYNCHING MOB 

"My criminal folly has ruined my peace of mind. 
Thanks to your help, I have saved my family from 
disgrace, but the worries and nervous strain of my 
defalcation and the bank robbery have killed me. 
My doctors say I have heart disease, and have but 
a few months to live. I wish I had known two years 
ago what I have since learned — that crime does not. 
pay." f 

The desperate risks every criminal has to run 
often come through no crime of his own, but 
through his association with other criminals. Two 
of the most exciting events in my varied career hap- 



13S SOPHIE LYONS 

pened to me through my loyal effort to save the life 
of my friend, Tom Bigelow, a well-known bank sneak 
and burglar. 

It was in Mount Sterling, Kentucky, that all this 
(happened. I was there on a perfectly legitimate 
; errand and had no idea that any of my criminal 
friends were in the vicinity. 

There was a circus in town that day and the long 
main street was crowded with sightseers. I had 
been watching the parade with the rest and was on 
my way back to the hotel for dinner when I heard 
some one call my name. 

Looking around in surprise I saw Johnny Meaney, 
a young bank sneak, whom I knew well, pressing his 
way through the crowd toward me. He was all out 
of breath and in the greatest agitation. 

" Sophie,' ' he whispered in my ear, "they're just 
caught Tom Bigelow with the bank's money on him 
and they're going to lynch him." 

There was no time to ask him more — before the 
last word was fairly out of his mouth he had disap- 
peared in the crowd. 

As I afterward learned, Tom and Johnny had 
taken advantage of the excitement created by the 
circus parade to rob the Mount Sterling Bank. 
While the cashier was standing upon the counter to 
see the passing parade, Johnny had crawled in un- 
der his legs and taken a bundle of money out of the 
vault. 

He got safely out with his plunder and was just 
banding it to Tom, who had been waiting in a buggy 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLAES 139 

outside, when the cashier discovered his loss and 
raised a great outcry. Before Tom had time to stir 
out of his tracks a hundred willing hands in the 
crowd had made him a prisoner — then some one 
started the cry, " Lynch the Yankee robber !" and 
some one else brought a rope. 

In the excitement nimble John Meaney had man- 
aged to escape. As he dashed down the street he 
had chanced to catch sight of me and had passed 
me the word of our friend's peril. 

The crowd was already hurrying in the direction 
of the square in the center of the town where the 
court house stood and I followed as fast as my legs 
could carry me. 

As I entered the square I could see Tom's familiar 
form looming above the heads of the yelling mob 
which surrounded him. He was mounted on a soap 
box under an oak tree which stood in front of the 
court house. 

I shall never forget how he looked — pale as a 
sheet, his feet tied with rope, his arms securely 
bound behind him. He was bareheaded and they 
had removed his coat and collar in order to adjust 
the noose which hung around his neck. 

Quite plainly, if there was anything I could do 
to save my friend, it must be done quickly. The 
mob was loudly clamoring for his life. Already a 
young man was climbing up the tree in search of a 
convenient limb over which to throw the end of the 
rope. 

I shuddered to think that, unless I could devise 



140 SOPHIE LYONS 

some plan of action, Tom Bigelow's lifeless body 
would soon be dangling before my eyes. 

Summoning every ounce of the nervous energy I 
possessed I pressed my way through the crowd, 
screaming frantically : 

1 l That man is my sweetheart ! Don 't lynch him— 
oh, please don 't lynch him ! f ' 

My action took the crowd by surprise — they made 
a lane for me and pushed me along until finally I 
stood right at Tom's feet. 

HOW I SAVED TOM'S LIFE 

I climbed up on the box beside Tom; I threw my 
arms around his neck, although the feel of that 
ugly noose against my flesh made me shudder. 

"This man is innocent — he is my sweetheart," I 
kept shouting. "You must let him go." 

I hugged Tom Bigelow, I kissed him, I wept over 
him — I did everything I could imagine a woman 
doing when the man she loves is about to be hung 
before her eyes. 

"If you hang him you'll have to hang me, too," I 
screamed between my heart-rending sobs. 

The crowd was amazed. Lynchings were no un- 
common occurrence in that region, but nothing like 
this had ever happened before. 

The cooler heads in the crowd began to have their 
say. "Take that noose off his neck and lock them 
both up," some one shouted. 

The Sheriff put handcuffs on us and led us away. 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 141 

My ruse had succeeded. Tom Bigelow's life was 
saved ! 

Tom and I were lodged in jail, indicted by the 
Grand Jury and held without bail for trial. Of 
course, I was innocent of any share in the robbery, 
but, as the authorities believed my story that I was 
Tom's sweetheart, they thought I must know more, 
about it than I admitted. 

It was while we were confined in the jail at Mount 
Sterling that I had an opportunity to see for myself 
how it feels to face a desperate lynching mob. That 
was one of the most horrid nightmares I ever ex- 
perienced. 

One of our fellow inmates in the jail was a man 
named Murphy Logan, who was awaiting trial for 
the murder of his father. He was a sullen, weak- 
minded fellow, who had several killings to his dis- 
credit. The general opinion was that he belonged 
in an insane asylum. 

In another neighboring cell was a young man 
named Charlie Steele. He was exceedingly popular 
in the community. His worst fault was love of 
liquor and he was in jail for some minor offense 
which he had committed on one of his sprees. The 
other prisoners shunned Logan on account of hi 
disagreeable ways, but Steele good naturedly mad 
quite a friend of him and they often played card 
together. 

In this jail the prisoners were allowed the free- 
dom of the long corridor on which the cells opened. 
One afternoon Tom Bigelow and I sut just outside 



142 SOPHIE LYONS 

my cell trying to devise some way to regain our 
liberty. Down at the other end of the corridor, 
Charlie Steele and Murphy Logan were enjoying 
their usual game of cards. 

Suddenly we were startled by a piercing scream. 
I jumped to my feet, and looked around to see poor 
Steele lying on the floor with the blood streaming 
from a long wound in his throat. Over him, glaring 
like the madman he was, stood Murphy Logan, 
brandishing in one hand a heavy piece of tin which 
he had fashioned into a crude sort of dagger. 

Forgetful of my own danger, I rushed up and 
seized Logan's arm, just as he was about to plunge 
the weapon into Steele's body again. He turned 
on me, but I managed to keep him from wounding 
me until Tom and some of the other prisoners came 
to my assistance. 

Steele lived only a few hours. The Sheriff placed 
the murderer in solitary confinement, and chained 
him to the floor of his cell. His ravings were some- 
thing terrible to hear. He continually threatened 
vengeance on any of his fellow prisoners who would 
tell how he had slain his friend. 

After listening to these threats all night long we 
were in terror of our lives, and when the inquest 
was held next day not a single prisoner would ad- 
mit that he had seen the killing. 

" Didn't you see this happen V 9 the Sheriff asked 
me. 

"No," I lied, "I was in my cell at the time, and 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 143 

don't know anything about how Steele came to his 
end." 

"You lie!" shouted Logan, when he heard this. 
1 1 If you hadn 't interfered I would have cut him up 
worse than I did. I will make you suffer for stick- 
ing your nose into my affairs." 
' The town was in a fever of excitement, and from 
the windows of our cells we could see excited groups 
discussing the murder on every corner. Feeling 
ran particularly high, because the dead man had 
been so popular in the community while nobody 
liked Murphy Logan. 

Late that night Logan became so exhausted with 
his ravings that he fell asleep. I was just preparing 
to try to get some rest myself when I heard the 
tramp of heavy feet coming up the jail stairs. 

By the dim light of the one smoky kerosene lamp 
I saw a crowd of masked men trooping into the cor- 
ridor. The leaders carried heavy sledge hammers, 
and with these, having been unable to make the 
Sheriff give up his keys, they attacked the iron door 
of Logan's cell. 

It quickly fell to pieces before their sturdy blows. 
Then they broke the murderer's shackles and 
dragged him, shrieking curses with every breath, 
down the stairs and out into the street. 

They strung him up to a tree, riddled him with 
bullets, and left his body hanging there in the moon- 
light in full view of my cell window. This was too 
much for my overwrought nerves. I threw myself 
on my ©ouch and wept. Tom Bigelow did his best 



144 SOPHIE LYONS 

to console me, but I could not sleep — my head ached 
and I trembled in every limb. 

About an hour later I heard that ominous tramp 
of feet again! This time the masked men cam© 
straight to the door of my cell. 

"Is this where that woman isf" a rough voice, 
called. 

I cowered in a corner, too frightened to reply, 
They pounded the door down just as they had 
Murphy Logan's. A man seized me by the arm and 
pulled me out, none too gently. 

They were going to lynch me — I was convinced 
of that. With tears streaming down my cheeks I 
pleaded, as I never had before, that I was innocent 
of any crime, and begged to be allowed to go back 
home to my children. 

They took me downstairs into the Sheriff's office, 
where sat a man who seemed io be the leader of the 
mob. 

"So you tried to save Charlie Steele's life, did 
your' he said to me. 

Then for the first time it dawned on me that per- 
haps I was not going to be hanged after all. I told 
the whole truth about what I had done when I saw 
Logan waving his dagger over his victim. When 
I had finished the leader said: 

"That's all we want to know, young woman. We 
liked Charlie Steele, and we like you for what you 
tried to do for him. Now you're free to get out of 
town — that's your reward for trying to save poor 
Charlie. We'll see you safely to the depot." 



QUEEN OF THE BUEGLARS 145 

I was overjoyed. The leader handed me enough 
money for my traveling expenses and permitted me 
to go up to Tom's cell and tell him of my good 
fortune. Before day broke I was on a train for 
Detroit. 

These are only a few of the desperate risks which 
my husband, my friends, and I were constantly fac- 
ing during the years when I was active in crime. 

If every business man and merchant faced prison, 
bullets, or a lynching as a necessary risk of trade, 
would anybody regard business life as attractive! 

The incidents from my own experiences give one 
more illuminative reason why I maintain that 

CHIME DOES KOT PAY! 



146 SOPHIE LYONS 



CHAPTER VI 

BEHIND THE SCENES AT A $3,000,000 BURGLARY THE 

BOBBERY OF THE MANHATTAN BANK OP NEW YORK 

Of course, crimes, like business operations, are 
sometimes big and sometimes small. They vary in 
importance from the pickpockets capture of an 
empty pocketbook to the robbery of a big bank. I 
will tell you the secrets of the greatest bank rob- 
bery in the history of the world — the robbery of 
$2,758,700 from the vaults of the Manhattan Bank 
in New York, on the corner of Broadway and 
Bleecker Street, several years ago. 

Every man in that remarkable gang of bank 
burglars was an associate of mine — I knew them, 
knew their wives, was in partnership with them. 
It was an extraordinary enterprise, carefully con- 
sidered, thoroughly planned, and ably executed; 
and it yielded nearly $3,000,000 in stolen securities 
and money. There has never been a bank robbery 
of such magnitude, either before or since. It was 
complicated by the difficulty of disposing of the 
great bundles of valuable bonds, many of which I 
had to look after. 

In my long and varied experiences in the under- 
world I have never been associated with an enter- 
prise so remarkable in so many different ways as 
the Manhattan Bank robbery. There were alto- 
gether twelve men in this robbery, and every single 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 147 

one of them, with the exception of one, got into 
trouble through it — one, in fact, was murdered. 
And here, then, in the biggest, richest robbery of 
modern times, we learn the lesson that even in a 
$3,000,000 robbery CRIME DOES NOT PAY! 

Bank burglars, of course, are constantly casting 
about for promising fields for their operations, and 
this great, rich Broadway bank had long been 
viewed with hungry eyes by Jimmy Hope, Ned 
Lyons, my husband, and other great professionals. 
But not only were its vaults of the newest and 
strongest construction, but there was a night watch- 
man awake and active all night in the bank. This 
watchman was locked in behind the steel gratings 
of the bank, and Hope and my husband could not 
figure out any way to get at him and silence him. 

It remained for a thief named "Big Jim" Tracy 
to solve the difficulty. Now the curious part of this 
is that Tracy was not a bank robber at all. Traey 
was a general all-around thief, and specialized more 
particularly in second-story residence burglaries 
and highway robberies. Tracy was not even a me- 
chanic and was entirely ignorant of the way to use 
safe-blowers' tools. But Tracy was ambitious and 
decided to surprise his acquaintances in the bank 
burglary line by doing a job which would give him 
standing among the high-class experts. 

STALKING THE WATCHMAN 

Tracy had one great advantage — he had been a 
schoolmate of Patrick Shevelin, one of the bank 



148 SOPHIE LYONS 

watchmen. Knowing Shevelin, he was able to renew 
into intimacy his old acquaintance, and soon 
broached the subject of the contemplated robbery. 
Shevelin was a married man, rather proud of the 
trust reposed in him, and would not consent to have 
any part in the scheme. If Jimmy Hope or my 
husband had approached the watchman he would 
have exposed them to the bank officials, but he had 
a friendly feeling toward Tracy. Tracy was per- 
sistent, held out pictures of a fabulous fortune, and 
finally gained the watchman's consent. 

When all was agreed upon, Tracy decided to get 
an outfit of burglar's tools and practice up for the 
job. By this time "Big Jim" was out of money, 
and he ran up to Troy to pull off a job and put him- 
self in funds. He selected an out of town city be- 
cause he didn't want any trouble in the neighbor- 
hood of the scene of the projected bank robbery. 

It was in July that Tracy, with a fellow thief, 
"Mush" Eeilly, followed a man named John Buck- 
ley out of a bank in Troy, where he had drawn a 
considerable sum of money. Mr. Buckley got on a 
street car and Tracy and Reilly crowded in and be- 
gan work. They were not able to get the man's 
money without disturbing him, and the result was 
that Buckley put up a fight. "Big Jim" and 
"Mush" fought back, but were surrounded by other 
passengers in the car and arrested. They were 
tried, convicted, and sent to Clinton Prison for five 
years. 

TWs misfortune to "Big Jim" Tracy put am end 



QUEEN OP THE BURGLARS 149 

to his designs upon the great Manhattan Bank. But 
the missionary work which Tracy had already done 
with Shevelin, the watchman, was destined to bear 
fruit for others. While "Big Jim" was serving hig 
long sentence in Clinton Prison for the Troy rob- 
bery, it became known somehow to Jimmy Hope 
that Tracy and the watchman of the bank had ar- 
rived at an understanding. This was very important 
news, and Hope at once started in to pick up the 
thread which had been so suddenly broken by 
Tracy's mishap in Troy. 

But this was not so easy to accomplish. Shevelin 
had confidence in his old schoolmate Tracy, but he 
was afraid of strangers. Jimmy Hope was the Na- 
poleon of bank burglars, and he had in his gang the 
foremost bank experts of the whole world. Hope 
found a way to make the acquaintance of Shevelin 
and he tried every device to win the watchman's 
confidence. But the shock of "Big Jim" Tracy's 
long prison sentence had thoroughly frightened the 
watchman. 

With great patience, Hope began a campaign to 
remove Shevelin 's misgivings and make him feel 
that with such partners he need have no fear. One 
after another of Hope's great experts were intro- 
duced to Shevelin. At dinner one day in a Third 
Avenue restaurant, Johnny Dobbs was produced, 
and the exploits of this famous burglar were re- 
counted. Next was introduced George Howard, 
known as "Western George," and Shevelin was 
told of this man's extraordinary skill on safes and 



150 SOPHIE LYONS 

vaults. And then came George Mason and Ned 
Lyons, whose amazing boldness and quickness with 
a revolver were already known to Shevelin. 



A few days later, John Nugent, an able operator 
and a policeman in good standing, was presented, 
and a little later on Abe Coakley, the venerable 
cracksman, was introduced. Finally, the famous 
1 'Banjo Pete" Emerson and Billy Kelly and Eddie 
Goodey were brought to bear on the wavering fears 
of the watchman. 

Shevelin was finally overawed by this powerful 
aggregation of skill, persistence, and audacity, and 
consented to join Hope's band of operators. As I 
look back over that group of burglars, I am sure 
there was never before gathered together on one 
enterprise such a galaxy of talent. With such ex- 
pert skill and such abundant experience as were 
there represented and all under the able leadership 
of such a veteran cracksman as Jimmy Hope, surely 
it was impossible that their enterprise could fail. 
Shevelin finally realized this, and, as he gave his 
pledge of help and loyalty, Jimmy Hope shook his 
hand warmly and said: 

' ' And if we get the stuff, Patrick, your share will 
be just a quarter of a million dollars. And that's 
more than you will ever make working as a watch > 
man." 

Jimmy Hope now lost no time in setting about 
his plans for the robbery. 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 151 

While Shevelin's aid was absolutely necessary, it 
vas only a very short step in itself toward Jimmy 
Hope's goal, the currency and securities lying in 
separate steel safes inside the great vault. The 
entire system of steel plates and locks was the lat- 
est, most completely burglar-proof devised. It was 
universally supposed to be not only burglar-proof 
but mob-proof. It had been demonstrated theoretic- 
ally that burglars working undisturbed could not 
obtain access inside of forty-eight hours. Indeed, 
it was the very impregnability of the vault which 
helped in its undoing. 

Shevelin could give the band entrance to the build- 
ing and could bring them to the door of the great 
vault. But here, in plain view of the street, it would 
be impossible to study out and assault the combina- 
tion lock. As the lock could not be studied inside 
the bank it was evident that the problem must be 
solved outside. 

For this task Hope employed a woman very in- 
timately related to one of the band. While I do 
not care to give her name, as she is still alive, I may 
Bay that she was considered a very attractive woman. 

Elegantly dressed she called at the bank and 
opened an account with the deposit of a few hun- 
dred dollars. She made clear to everyone her 
charming ignorance of banking. She was as amus- 
ing as pretty, and before long she was talking to 
President Schell himself. 

It was in fact the president who proudly showed 
her the massive steel doors and the mighty combi- 



152 SOPHIE LYONS 

nation lock which would guard her small deposit. 
With innocent baby stare she noted the make of 
the lock and its date. 

Possessed of this information, Hope, who was 
nothing if not thorough, proceeded to buy from the 
manufacturer a counterpart of the lock. As soon as 
it arrived the lock was turned over to the inquiring 
eyes and fingers of George Howard. Ensconced in 
a little house in a quiet part of Brooklyn, " West- 
ern George" made an intimate investigation of the 
lock's vitals. 

Howard undoubtedly was the greatest inventive 
genius in locks that ever lived, unless, perhaps, 
Mark Shinburn, a burglar of a similar mechanical 
turn of mind. He could have made no end of money 
designing burglar-proof devices, but preferred dem- 
onstrating the weakness of the existing ones in a 
practical way. Hope's confidence in Howard was 
not misplaced. Within a few days George told the 
leader he could open the lock by the simple pro- 
cedure of drilling a small hole just below it and 
inserting a wire. 

Hope watched Howard demonstrate on their own 
lock and at once planned a prospective tour of the 
bank to see if the performance could be duplicated 
on the lock in the Manhattan Bank. If so, they were 
in sight of their goal. 

While the band was waiting for a convenient oc- 
casion when Shevelin would be on duty at the bank 
and could admit them safely to test Howard's grand 
discovery, a great blow fell upon the whole plan. 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 153 

It was the mysterious murder of Howard himself. 

If, as some have suggested, the taking off of 
Howard was the hand of Providence, I can only- 
point out that the hand was a little bit slow. If 
Howard had been killed two days earlier, I can't 
see how the band could have gotten into the vault. 
Hope, with all his ingenuity and executive ability, 
was no great mechanical genius on an up-to-date 
lock, nor was any other member equal to the task. 

Howard was on bad terms with several very force- 
ful members of the underworld, at least one of 
whom was in the dozen who were secretly besieging 
the Manhattan Bank. While the gang was rejoicing 
and waiting, a letter came to Howard requesting his 
immediate presence on important business at a place 
near Brooklyn. 

OPENING THE GREAT VAULT 

The following week Howard's body was foiand in 
the woods of Yonkers, with a pistol in his hand and 
a bullet in his breast. The suicide theory was dis- 
pelled by finding another bullet in the back of his 
head. Investigation brought to light that a wagon 
containing a heap of sacking had been seen driving 
through the woods and had later returned empty. 

Hope and others suspected Johnny Dobbs, of the 
gang, of doing the shooting, but nothing was ever 
proved about it. 

Dobbs and Hope soon after were let in by Sheve- 



154 SOPHIE LYONS 

lin and they put Howard's theory into practice. 
They bored a hole about the diameter of a 22-eali- 
ber bullet just under the lock, inserted a wire, threw 
back the tumblers, and had no trouble in getting 
into the vault. 

There stood the safes and from three to six mil- 
lion dollars in money and securities. But this was 
only a prospecting tour and the two burglars were 
careful to disturb nothing. Returning, they softly 
closed the huge door and, Hope manipulating the 
wire, threw back the tumblers. But Hope lacked 
the mechrnical skill and fine sense of touch pos- 
sessed by the late lamented Howard, and he pushed 
one of the tumblers the wrong way. He knew he 
had made a mistake but was unable to correct it. 
This meant that the bank employees the next morn- 
ing would be unable to open the door. 

There was nothing to do but fill the hole with 
putty so that it would not show from the outside 
and see what the morning would develop. Quite 
naturally Hope assumed that the lock-tampering 
would be discovered and his whole plan be ruined. 
The gang prepared to scatter, but as it turned out 
they need not have worried. 

Sure enough, in the morning the doors refused 
to respond to the cashier's manipulations. The 
makers of the lock were sent for, and after infinite' 
labor the door was opened. The experts from the 
factory who performed the feat were curious to see 
what had gone wrong with their mechanism. It 
was in "apple pie" order with the exception of one 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 155 

tumbler which, for no apparent reason, had moved 
in the wrong direction. 



A TIP TO THE POLICE 

Jimmy Hope's drill hole, puttied up and nicely- 
hidden on the outside showed black and conspicuous 
from the inside. The lock mechanics observed the 
hole and asked the officers of the bank how the hole 
came there. They all shook their heads and the 
Subject was dropped. A portly and prosperous 
looking gentleman who had been standing at the 
paying teller's window after changing a one hun- 
dred dollar bill, heaved a sigh and walked away. 
It was Jimmy Hope ! 

"Boys," be said to the band, who were all pre- 
pared to abandon the job, "it's a shame to take that 
money. Those simple souls have found our hole 
and it doesn 't even interest them. They are worry- 
ing about a little $20,000 loan on some doubtful se- 
curity, and here we are within a few inches of from 
three to six millions." 

"Such faith is beautiful," said Johnny Dobbs. 
with mock piety, "let us pray that it be justified." 

Nevertheless the job was postponed for a year 
on account of information furnished by John Nu- 
gent. Nugent, being a member of the New York 
police force in good standing, was able to keep in 
close touch with headquarters. He learned that 
the presence of a dozen of the ablest bank burglars 
in the world had become known to the police. Not 



156 SOPHIE LYONS 

that the police had discovered their presence by de- 
tective work, for this happens only in novels or de- 
tective plays. When the " sleuth' ' in actual life 
gets any real information it is because somebody 
for fear, hatred, or reward has told him. 

As I have said, there was bad feeling in the band 
and I think someone interested in Howard's death 
gave the tip. At any rate, the band took pains to 
scatter, and the various members were careful to 
record themselves at different cities remote from 
New York. The New York police were much re- 
lieved and promptly forgot the tip that " something 
big" was to be "pulled off." 

Just about a year later Shevelin, who was not by 
nature intended for a crook, looked up from a 
drunken doze at a saloon table into the keen eyes 
of Jimmy Hope. Shevelin had neither the instinc- 
tive inclination nor the nervous system which be- 
long to the natural criminal. The bare fact that he 
was connected with the projected robbery had made 
a drinking man of him. 

He was in debt and in other trouble, and was 
genuinely pleased to open negotiations again with 
the able and confidence-inspiring leader. Every- 
thing was now in order to go on with the undertak- 
ing. There were no dissensions in the gang, there- 
fore the police had no inkling, the bank was smugly 
confident of their steel fortress, and it only remained 
to name the hour. 

Hope's operations were much embarrassed by 
the fact that Patrick Shevelin was only a supple- 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 157 

mentary watchman. Daniel Keely, his brother-in- 
law, was the regular night watchman, and abso- 
lutely honest, as Hope knew, both from his own 
investigations and from Shevelin *s assurances. 
Shevelin 's duty was as day watchman, chiefly dur- 
ing banking hours. The only time when he did not 
share his watch with either Keely or the equally 
incorruptible janitor of the building, Louis Werkle, 
was on Sunday. Therefore, the morning of a beau- 
tiful October Sabbath was chosen. 

Hope saw that the weak spot of the bank was 
also the vulnerable point in his own operations, 
namely, the nervous and somewhat alcoholic Sheve- 
lin. Hope decided it would be best for Shevelin to 
not be on duty at the bank that Sunday, but to ar- 
range with Werkle, the janitor, to take his place. 

THE NIGHT BEFORE 

Had Shevelin been of sterner stuff, the robbers 
would have bound and gagged him and left him 
with a carefully rehearsed tale of a plucky fight 
against fearful odds to relate to his rescuers. But 
it was more than probable that Shevelin would be- 
tray himself in the inevitable ordeal of hours and 
hours of tiresome examination. Therefore, it 
seemed best to have him at home, sick, where he 
could establish an unshakable alibi and answer, "I 
don't know" to all questions. 

Shevelin admitted the band Saturday night and 
concealed them in a storeroom in an upper part of 



158 SOPHIE LYONS 

the building. There they sat crowded, cramped, and 
uncomfortable through the entire night. They dared 
not smoke nor even eat for fear Keely, the regular 
night watchman, who occasionally poked his nose 
into the room during his rounds, might notice an un- 
accustomed smell. ( 

This matter of smell illustrates how carefully 
Jimmy Hope worked out the minutest details of 
his plan. He foresaw that ten men packed into a 
rather small room would, even without food or 
smoke, make the atmosphere seem close to the nos- 
trils of the watchman familiar with the usual empty 
smell of the place. 

For this reason Hope ordered his men to bathe 
before the job and wear clean clothing without any 
scent whatever. No tobacco, drink, or onions passed 
their lips on Saturday. As a last precaution, at 
Hope's order, Shevelin broke a bottle of smelly 
©ough medicine on the floor in the presence of his 
brother-in-law. 

As I have said, the regular night watchman was 
Keely — an honest, incorruptible man. Shevelin was 
day watchman. Shevelin worked from six in the 
morning until six at night, when Keely came on duty 
for the night job. 

The janitor of the building, who lived over the 
bank with his family, was a worthy, honest man ' 
named Werkle. Everybody trusted Werkle, and so 
it had come about that Werkle was now and then 
made temporary day or night watchman, whenever 
Shevelin or Keely were sick or wanted a day ©ff. 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 159 

Though, as I have said, the genius of "Western 
George' ' Howard in discovering a simple and speedy- 
method of opening the lock by inserting a wire 
through a small hole bored beneath it was the one 
thing which made Hope's plans feasible, yet, at the 
last minute, this method became unnecessary. 



CONSULTATION IN THE DAEK 

As if the bank had not done enough in the way of 
kindness to the burglars by ignoring their little hole, 
they gave Werkle, the janitor, the numbers of the 
combination and keys to unlock it. Neither Keely 
nor Shevelin were trusted to this extent, and Sheve- 
lin only learned of the janitor's secret in time to 
tell Hope the night before the robbery. 

This new information was discussed in whispers 
throughout the night by the gang. Hope had mis- 
givings about using the wire and the hole. The 
fact that he had failed to return one of the tumblers 
to its proper place on the previous occasion wor- 
ried him. It was quite possible he might make a 
wrong move and, instead of opening the door, lock 
it irrevocably. In that case it was not to be hoped 
that the easy going bank officials would give him a 
third chance. 

On the other hand, forcing the janitor to surren- 
der his keys and reveal the combination had great 
disadvantages. It meant delay. He might give the 
wrong set of numbers from fear or loyalty. At 
any rate he was certain to hesitate. As it proved, 



160 SOPHIE LYONS 

time was worth about $100,000 a minute, and ten 
extra minutes would have doubled the value of the 
"haul." 

Shevelin went home with the understanding that 
Werkle, the janitor, would take his watch in the 
morning, when Keely, the night watchman, went 
off duty. At 10 o'clock, Werkle and his wife went 
to sleep in their little bedroom above the bank, and 
Keely made his rounds uneventfully. At 6 o'clock, 
Sunday morning, Keely waked Werkle, the janitor, 
and departed by the back door. The closing of the 
back door was the cue for the gang to take their 
places and they had no time to lose. 

Jimmy Hope and Johnny Dobbs, with Billy Kel- 
ly and Eddie Goodey, Johnny Hope, son of Jimmy 
Hope, Mason, and Nugent, and my husband, Ned 
Lyons, rapidly but stealthily advanced upon the 
janitor's bedroom. To reach it they had to ~»ass 
through another bedroom, where slept the agea and 
feeble-minded mother of Mrs. Werkle. 

While gagging and binding the old woman a 
slight amount of noise was made. Werkle paused 
in his dressing and remarked that he would step 
in and see what was doing. 

The robbers forestalled him by entering and cov- 
ering him with their revolvers. They presented a 
terrifying spectacle, each man wearing a hideous 
black mask. Rubber shoes on their feet made their 
steps noiseless. They were received in silent horror. 

The tableau was broken by a faint scream from 
Mrs. Werkle. Instantly cold muzzles were placed 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 161 

to their temples and instant death threatened in 
return for the slightest sound. Werkle 's keys and 
the combination of the lock were demanded. 

Poor Werkle attempted to delay complying, but 
a few savage prods in his ear with the point of 
Hope's gun scattered the last thought of resistance. 
He delivered the keys and told them the combina- 
tion. Hope had decided at the last moment that as 
long as he had to tackle the janitor he might as well 
make him surrender the combination, if possible, and 
save the trouble and uncertainty of working with 
the wire and the hole which the bank had obligingly 
neglected to repair. 

Werkle volunteered the objection that the com- 
bination numbers would be no use unless they knew 
bow to operate them. Hope inserted a gag in the 
janitor's mouth and assured him that he need not 
worry on that score as he was in possession of all 
the information he needed. 

Leaving Johnny Hope and Nugent, the police- 
man, with cocked pistols watching the bound and 
gagged janitor and wife and the silent and mysteri- 
ous Eddy Goodey mounting guard over the helpless 
old woman, Jimmy Hope and Johnny Dobbs hurried 
downstairs to the vault, accompanied by Ned Lyons. 

Lyons was always a desperate man, who could 
tkink and act quickly. In emergency he was gov-/ 
erned by instinct, which is quicker than the quickest 
intellect. In time of trouble, Lyons was always a 
tower of strength. He would not hesitate at mur- 
der, if necessary, and his sudden hand would bolster 



162 SOPHIE LYONS 

up a hesitating member of the gang. For this rea- 
son he was held in reserve and worked in the vault 
with Jimmy and Dobbs. 

Downstairs, they found, as expected^ " Banjo 
Pete" Emerson in overalls and false whiskers, 
armed with a feather duster and made up to look 
exactly like the janitor, Werkle. " Banjo Pete," as 
his name implies, was a musician, in fact had been 
a member of a negro minstrel troupe, and was an 
actor of no mean ability. It was the ability to make- 
up and act which made Hope cast him for the part 
of counterfeit janitor. During the entire proceed- 
ing, he walked about the front of the bank in full 
view from the street, dusting the furniture and 
keeping an eye out for signals from old Abe Coak- 
ley, dean of the burglars, who had the responsible 
position of watching all that went on outside. 

FOOLING THE PATROLMAN 

A policeman was in sight of the bank during the 
entire activities, and actually walked up and gazed 
in the window. " Banjo Pete" looked up from his 
dusting and waved his hand to the policeman, who 
thought he recognized his old friend Werkle, nodded 
"good morning," and then passed on. 

Meanwhile, Billy Kelly had taken his place just 
inside the back door with a pistol and a lead pipe 
and seated himself on the back stairs, while George 
Mason was sauntering about outside the door to give 
warning and prevent interruption from that point 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 163 

All these men covered the operations of Jimmy 
Hope and Johnny Dobbs, who opened the vault door 
with Werkle's key and combination, and fell to 
work on the steel safes within. There were three, 
one on either side and one in the back. With the 
sledge hammer and knife-edged wedges the two 
burglars spread the crack of one of the safe doors 
wide enough to force in the necessary explosive. 
Pausing only long enough to learn from his con- 
federates that the coast was clear, Hope touched it 
off. A muffled reverberation reached the policeman 
across the street. He glanced over at the bank. 

" Banjo Pete" dropped his duster, crossed to the 
window, and peered out as if the explosion were 
from outdoors somewhere, and he were mildly won- 
dering. The policeman resumed his reflections and 
the work went on. Fifteen minutes later another 
muffled boom marked the blowing of the second safe. 

At this point Hope and Dobbs paused to collect 
the booty. It was more than they could carry, so 
half a peck of bonds was passed out to the vigilant 
Billy Kelly on the back stairs, as much more to the 
silent Goodey, unwelcome watcher by the bedside of 
the feeble old woman. 

With bulging eyes, Mr. and Mrs. Werkle saw a 
few bags of gold tossed in to their guardians and 
pocketed. The gang had been growing richer at 
the rate of about a hundred thousand dollars a min- 
ute for some time. 

As Hope and Dobbs returned to attack the third 
safe, which stood in the rear, there came a threat- 



204 SOPHIE LYONS 

ened interruption. George Mason, outside, gave the 
signal to Billy Kelly, inside the back door, to be 
on guard. A milk wagon stopped, the driver de- 
scended with a quart of milk, opened the back door, 
and was about to ascend the stairs with it to deliver 
to the janitor. 

Billy Kelly, on guard on the stairs for just such 
an emergency, politely informed him that the jani- 
tor and his family had gone away and would need 
no more milk for some time. The milkman replaced 
the bottle in his wagon and went on, while Hope 
drove home his wedges. 

But now came a serious interruption, the wily old 
Coakley signaled that the end of their operations 
had come. It was inevitable that Kohlman, the 
barber, would soon open up his little shop beneath 
the bank. This was what Coakley signaled to 
" Banjo Pete," who called the news to the workers 
within the vault. 

Immediately Hope, Dobbs, and Lyons laid down 
their tools, put on their coats, stuffed the remainder 
of the undisturbed plunder inside their clothes, and 
told the band to quit. 

Johnny Hope and Nugent, with a last bloodthirsty 
threat, left the Werkles. Eddy Goodey pocketed his 
revolver and joined the group collecting around 
Billy Kelly on the back stairs, where " Banjo Pete" 
was getting out of his overalls and pocketing hii5 
false whiskers. 

George Mason gave the "get away" signal oa 
the outside, and one by one the gang, carrying nearly 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 165 

$3,000,000 in money and securities, mingled with 
the crowd and vanished. 

Coakley, on watch in front, stayed around and 
waited for further developments. 

About ten minutes later the early customers of 
Kohlman's barber shop heard someone leaping 
down the stairs from the bank. In burst apparently 
a madman, half -dressed, his hands handcuffed be- 
hind him. 

THE JANITOR'S ESCAPE 

A gag in his mouth added to his strange appear- 
ance. Unable to speak or use his hands, he danced 
up and down and made growling sounds like a mad 
dog. 

The barber shop emptied itself and Kohlman was 
not able at once to recognize behind the gag and 
the jaunty disarray of clothing his old friend Wer- 
kle, janitor of the bank. 

The gag removed, Werkle was able to blurt out 
the fact that the bank had been robbed. The police- 
man across the street was summoned, and with him 
came Coakley. They heard an amazing and some- 
what incoherent tale. The policeman, being rather 
young and inexperienced, listened open mouthed 
and did not know what to do. 

Coakley, the elderly and rather distinguished 
looking gentleman, suggested that the story sounded 
4 * fishy,' ' and the policeman ought to investigate. 
He did so. The whole party entered the bank and 
Coakley was able to note that no telltale clues had 



166 SOPHIE LYONS 

been left behind. He observed with regret that, 
while two of the safes gaped wide open and the 
third contained several wedges, it was still shut 
tight. 

The policeman held the half -crazed Werkle pris- 
oner and guarded the safe while he sent Coakley to 
the police station to call out the reserves. This er- 
rand Coakley neglected and, instead, looked up 
Jimmy Hope, who, like most robbers, was leading 
a double life. He had a wife and children in one 
part of the city, and in another a fashionable apart- 
ment where he was known as Mr. Hopely, a retired 
capitalist, and had quite a circle of friends, mostly 
prosperous business men. 

From this point luck turned against the band. 
The tremendous proportions of the robbery caught 
everyone's imagination. The underworld was as 
much excited as the police, and talk and speculation 
would not die down. The neglected hole in the lock 
came to view again, and it was now appreciated in 
its full significance. 

The police recollected their tip about Hope and 
his gang which had come to them at the same time 
as the discovery of the hole and their suspicions 
began to grow against some of the real perpetrator?. 
Still, for many weeks, there was not an atom of 
evidence against any member. Patrick Shevelin, the 
weak link of the chain, began to feel the pressure. 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 167 

THE WEAK SPOT 

Not only was he a man lacking in the robust 
nerves essential to a successful criminal, and also 
one who drank too much, but he was cruelly dis- 
appointed as well. He had been led to believe that 
a quarter of a million dollars in cold cash would 
be handed to him within a day or two after the rob- 
bery. He was going to buy a castle in Ireland and 
a few other things with the money. 

Instead of all this, Hope gave him only $1,200. 
He explained at the time that this was only his 
share of the cash stolen, and that the balance of the 
quarter million would be forthcoming as soon as the 
bonds and stocks had been converted into cash. 

But alas for poor Shevelin. The bonds never 
were converted and, instead of more money, Hope 
brought him bad news and actually forced him to 
return half of the $1,200. He told Shevelin that a 
bill was being prepared at Washington to compel 
the issuance of duplicate securities in place of those 
stolen. This would, of course, make the original* 
worthless and kill the sale of them and make the 
robbery a financial failure. 

There was truth in Hope's plea, for the bill was 
actually passed, but it is doubtful if poor Shevelin's 
$600 was used, as Hope promised, to bribe Senators 
and Congressmen to obstruct the bill. 

The horse being stolen, the bank took pains to 
lock the barn door. They not only rearranged their 
locks and filled up the hole, but investigated Werkle, 



168 SOPHIE LYONS 

Keely, and Shevelin. Finding that Shevelin was 
drinking and frequenting disreputable places, they 
were about to discharge him. But the detectives 
persuaded the bank to retain him for fear discharge 
might excite the suspicions of the gang. 

Detectives shadowed Shevelin night and day. 
Some of them became acquainted with him under 
one guise or another. They even became intoxicated 
with him. On one or two occasions he let slip re- 
marks that he was connected with some big secret 
affair. One day they saw a bartender get a package 
from a drawer and hand it to Shevelin, who opened 
it and took out some bills, and then returned the 
package. The detective was able to see that the 
package contained several hundred dollars. This 
was more than Shevelin, in all probability, would 
have saved out of his small salary with all his bad 
habits. 

In spite of all this they knew Shevelin was not 
ripe for arrest. Finally, in a maudlin moment he 
conveyed the information that he had been the 
means of making a great achievement possible and 
that he had been treated very shabbily. 

The detectives at once had the bank discharge 
him on some pretext foreign to the robbery. This 
added to Shevelin 's gloom. When, on top of this, 
he was arrested, he was quite ripe to confess. That 
the gang might not become suspicious, he was ar- 
rested for intoxication, taken to court the next day, 
and discharged. As soon as he stepped out of the 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLAKS 169 

courtroom he was rearrested, and this procedure 
was repeated day after day. 

Still Shevelin refused to confess until a detective, 
telling him how much the authorities knew about 
the case, informed him that all the gang were rich 
beyond measure except Shevelin. 

"What a sucker you were, Pat," he concluded, 
"to accept a measly $10,000." 

Shevelin leaped to his feet and shouted. 

"It's a lie. I never got any $10,000, so help m© 
heaven. I never got more than $600 for it." 

"I apologize," said the detective, "you are a ten 
times bigger fool than any one supposed." 

Shevelin realized he made a hopelessly damaging 
confession and within a few hours the police were 
in possession of the complete details of the case. 

THE WATCHMAN'S CONFESSION 

For fear anyone should not believe the actual 
amount that was taken from the bank, I refer you 
to the following official list of just what we got from 
the Manhattan Bank as it was announced by the 
president of the bank : 

NOTICE 

THE MANHATTAN SAVINGS INSTITUTION 

was, on the morning of Sunday, October 27, robbed 
of securities to the amount of $2,747,700, and $11,- 
000 in cash, as follows : 



170 SOPHIE LYONS 

THE STOLEN SECURITIES 

United States 5's of 1881, 8 of $50,000 each, 10 of 

10,000 each $500,000 

United States 6's of 1881, 20 of $10,000 each 200,000 

United States 10-40 bonds, 60 of 10,000 each 600,000 

United States 4 per cents, 30 of $10,000 each 300,000 

United States 5-20's of July, 1865; 26 of $500 eaeh, 

35 of $1,000 each 48,000 

New York State sinking fund gold 6's, registered, 

No. 32 32,000 

New York City Central Park fund stock, certificate 

No. 724 22,700 

New York County Court House stock, 6 per cent 202,000 

New York City, accumulated debt, 7 per cent bonds, 

two of $100,000 each, and one of $50,000 250,000 

New York City Improvement stock, 10 certificates of 

$20,000 each 200,000 

New York City Revenue Bond, registered 200,000 

Yonkers City 7 per cent coupon bonds, 118 of $1,000 

each 118,000 

Brooklyn City Water Loan coupon bonds, 25 of $1,000 

each 25,000 

East Chester Town coupon bonds, 50 of $1,000 each. . . 50,000 
Cash 11,000 

Total amount stolen $2,758,700 

Charles F. Alford, Secretary. 

Edward Schell, President. 

If Hope had found ten minutes more time at his 
disposal he would have entered the third safe, and, 
as it happened, come upon almost three million 
more. However, as it stood, this was the greatest 
robbery ever achieved, and, as things were, each man 
of the gang should have been rich. 



QUEEN OF THE BUEGLARS 171 

HUNTING DOWN THE GANG 

Now we will see how much crime, even in the 
most successful case, profited the criminals. In 
the first place, Tracy was in prison before it hap- 
pened. "Western George,' ' who solved the lock, 
was murdered. Patrick Shevelin, the watchman, 
received, instead of the quarter of a million, actually 
$1,200 in cash. Within a few days Jimmy Hope took 
half of this back again on the plea that it was needed 
at Washington to buy off legislators who were to 
pass a bill through Congress ordering the issue of 
duplicates in place of the stolen securities. As an 
actual fact, all Shevelin ever profited from this rob- 
bery was $600. 

Jimmy Hope and John D. Grady, the fence, quar- 
reled over the disposition of the bonds and stocks, 
which Hope spirited away and hid in the Middle 
West. The dissension spread to other members of 
the gang and the underworld began to hear details 
of the robbery. 

Hope failed in his efforts to prevent the passage 
of the bill canceling the stolen securities, and then 
came the final blow — the confession of Shevelin. 

Hope was caught in San Francisco, his son, 
Johnny Hope, was captured in Philadelphia while 
trying to dispose of some of the bonds — and one 
after another the gang was run down. 

Considered from a technical viewpoint, this rob 
bery was the most Napoleonic feat ever achieved. 
My husband, Ned Lyons, said Hope ought to have 



172 SOPHIE LYONS 

managed without the aid of Shevelin or, if his aid 
was absolutely necessary, he should have been killed. 
This point of view regarding murder is one of the 
distinguishing differences between my husband and 
Jimmy Hope. 

And thus we find that the greatest bank robbery 
in the history of the world, which enlisted the time, 
brains, and special skill of a dozen able men over a 
long period of time, resulted in failure to dispose 
>f the valuable securities, and landed sooner or 
later most of the operators in prison. If an enter- 
prise of such magnitude, successfully accomplished, 
was not worth while, then surely crime dobs not 
pat! 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 173 
CHAPTER Vn 

BANK BURGLARS WHO DISGUISED THEMSELVES AS POLICE- 
MEN, AND OTHER INGENIOUS SCHEMES USED BY 
THIEVES IN BOLD ATTEMPTS TO GET THEIR PLUNDER 

No honest man can accumulate a million dollars 
without constant industry, self-denial, perseverance, 
and ability. 

The same is true of the professional criminal. 
In addition, he must possess ingenuity, tact, and 
resourcefulness of a high order. 

I have mentioned a number of professional crim- 
inals who, in the course of their careers, obtained 
over a million dollars apiece. Although these men 
accumulated vast fortunes, there was not a single 
one of them who really derived any lasting benefit 
out of his ill-gotten gains. Many of them spent a 
large portion of their lives in jail. Behind prison 
walls, their buried loot availed them nothing. Oth- 
ers dissipated their fortunes almost as rapidly as 
they made them and their last years were spent in 
poverty. Some of them died violent deaths. 

Yet every one of these men, as I have intimated, 
possessed valuable qualities which, had they been 
put to a legitimate use, would undoubtedly have 
brought them wealth without any of the penalties 
incident to a life of crime. Living honestly they 
might not have accumulated millions, but their skill, 
ingenuity, and perseverance would undoubtedly 



174 SOPHIE LYONS 

have netted them large incomes, and they might 
have enjoyed the peace of mind which none but the 
law-abiding can know. 

Without the ability which these men possessed, it 
would be useless for anyone to hope to achieve the 
"success" which attended their criminal operations. 
But anyone possessing their ability would be most 
ill-advised to attempt to follow in their footsteps 
when their careers have so clearly demonstrated 
that crime cannot pay. Whereas, if properly ap- 
plied, such ability must inevitably bring success. 

I intend to give you some idea of the skill and 
resourcefulness these men possessed by referring 
in detail to some of their more remarkable exploits. 

In the course of a criminal career covering some 
forty years, Harry Eaymond, all-round burglar, 
committed several hundred important burglaries. 
It was he who stole the famous Gainsborough paint- 
ing, as I have previously related. The magnitude 
of his crimes will be indicated by the fact that his 
booty aggregated between two and three million 
dollars. Yet, despite the number and importance of 
this man's offenses, he was caught only once in the 
whole forty years, and then through the carelessness 
of an accomplice. No better proof of the judgment 
and resourcefulness of a professional criminal could 
be presented than such a record as that. 

His robbery of the Cape Town Post Office will 
illustrate this point more concretely. 

His first step was to cultivate the friendship of 
the Postmaster of the Cape Town Post Office. He 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLAKS 175 

went a'*, if, very systematically and patiently, but at 
the end of two or three months he had made such 
progress that he readily found an opportunity to 
get temporary possession of the post office keys. 
That was all that was necessary. He made a wax 
impression of them and put the keys back without 
arousing any suspicion. 

His next step was to prepare three parcels ad- 
dressed to himself, and mailed them by registered 
mail from out of town. He came in on the same 
train with the packages. He waited until the reg- 
istered mail sacks had been delivered to the Post- 
master and locked up for the night, and then, just 
as his friend, the Postmaster, was leaving for the 
day, he stopped hurriedly into the post office and 
explained that it was of great importance for him 
to get that night certain packages he understood 
were arriving by that day's registered mail. The 
Postmaster readily consented and went back into 
the office with the burglar. He opened the safe and 
ascertained that the packages Raymond had de- 
scribed were there, and while he was making certain 
entries in his book, Raymond succeeded in making 
wax impressions of the keys to the safe. 

Raymond now had wax impressions of the keys 
to the post office itself and of the keys in which the 
registered mail and other valuables were kept. 
Making the keys from the impressions was not a 
very difficult task, although it required many sub- 
sequent visits to the post office and the exercise of 
a considerable amount of patience before the keys 



176 SOPHIE LYONS 

were properly fitted. Then Raymond waited for 
the diamonds to come from the mines, his plan to 
get them into the post office safe having been very 
carefully thought out. 

At one stage of the trip the diamond coach had 
to make, it was necessary for it to cross a river. 
This was accomplished by means of a ferry which 
was operated by a wire-rope cable. Raymond de- 
cided to spoil this plan. Before the coach arrived 
at the ferry he succeeded in severing the wire cable. 
There was a strong current running and the ferry- 
boat naturally drifted down the stream. 

"When the coach arrived at the river, there was no 
ferryboat to take it across, and there was no other 
means of fording the stream. As I have mentioned, 
the schedule of the coach had been arranged so that 
it would reach the docks just in time to catch the 
steamer for England. The delay at the river re- 
sulted, as Raymond had known it would, in the 
coach missing the steamer, and the next steamer 
wouldn't sail for a week. In the meanwhile, the 
diamonds were deposited in the post office safe. 

It was an easy matter for Raymond to get into 
the post office the following night, and the keys he 
had made gave him access to the safe. The diamonds 
and other valuables he had planned so cleverly to 
get were worth $500,000. He abstracted them all 
and buried them. 

Instead of fleeing the country with his booty, his 
prudence dictated that he was safest right there, 
and he remained there for months. Subsequently, 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 177 

he disposed of the stolen diamonds in London, but 
he was blackmailed out of a large portion of the 
proceeds by the accomplice with whom he had made 
his first attempt to rob the diamond coach, and who 
at once concluded when he heard of the successful 
robbery that it was Raymond who had committed it. 

Although it netted the burglars only $100,000, the 
robbery of the Kensington Savings Bank of Phila- 
delphia was one of the most cleverly arranged 
crimes of modern times. 

The theft was committed by a band of the most 
notorious bank burglars of the time, including Tom 
MoCormack, Big John Casey, Joe Howard, Jimmy 
Hope, Worcester Sam, George Bliss, and Johnny 
Dobbs. No more competent crew of safe cracks- 
men could possibly have been gotten together. 

On the day these burglars planned to rob the 
bank, the president received information that the 
crime was contemplated and would probably be com- 
mitted that night or the night following. 

This information came apparently from the Phila- 
delphia Chief of Police, the messenger stating that 
the Chief would send down half a dozen uniformed 
men that afternoon, who were to be locked in the 
bank that night. The president was told to keep 
the information to himself as it was desired to catch 
the burglars red-handed, and it was feared thai 
Ajrord might reach them of the plan to trap them and 
they would be scared off. 

That afternoon half a dozen uniformed police- 
men called at the bank shortly before the closing 



178 SOPHIE LYONS 

hour. They were called into the office of the presi- 
dent and introduced to the bank's two watchmen. 
After the bank was closed the six men were secreted 
in different parts of the building and the watchmen 
were told to obey whatever orders the policemen 
might give. 

Nothing happened until about midnight, when 
some of the policemen came out of their hiding 
places and suggested to one of the watchmen that 
it might be a good idea to send out for some beer. 
One of the policemen volunteered to take off his 
uniform, but changed his mind, saying that it would 
perhaps be safer for one of the watchmen to go. 

"If the burglars see one of you fellows going out 
of the building," he said to the watchmen, "they 
will suspect nothing, but if they see a strange face 
leaving the bank at this hour they will know there 
is something unusual going on." The watchmen 
agreed. 

No sooner had the watchman left the building than 
one of the policemen raised his nightstick and 
Drought it down with all his might on the head of 
the other watchman. The man dropped to the floor 
like a log. He was quickly bound and gagged and 
taken inside the cashier's cage. 

A few minutes later the other watchman returned 
l with the beer, and as he set foot in the room where 
the policemen were congregated he was accorded 
the same treatment. 

The watchmen out of the way/ the six policemen 
made their way to the bank safe and there a remark- 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 179 

able scene was enacted. Attired in the regulation 
uniform of the city police, with helmets, shields, 
and nightsticks of the official style, the six "police- 
men" proceeded to break into the bank safe. As 
their work progressed, some of the men removed 
their hats and loosened their heavy coats, but there 




SOON AFTER MIDNIGHT A STRANGE SCENE WAS ENACTED 

was nothing to indicate to anyone who might have 
witnessed this remarkable piece of work that the 
men engaged in the cracking of the safe were not 
genuine policemen. As a matter of fact, of course, 
♦they were six of the cleverest bank burglars in the 
business. 

"When the safe was blown and the bank's funds, 
amounting to some $100,000, removed, the " police- 
men' ' buttoned up their uniforms, put on their hats 



180 SOPHIE LYONS 

and, opening the front doors of the bank with the 
keys they took from the unconscious watchmen, they 
boldly marched in single file into the public street. 

In planning out a bank robbery, or, indeed, any 
kind of robbery, a great deal of time must be given 
over to study of the situation so that when the day 
of the robbery comes the burglars will know just 
what to do and be able to do it promptly. Often- 
times it is necessary to wear a disguise so as to 
more surely carry out the prearranged plans. 

I remember once disguising myself as a Quaker 
farmer's wife when we did a job in the section of 
Pennsylvania where the Quakers abound. We had 
been over the territory very carefully and picked 
out a bank where a considerable amount of money 
was on display, scattered around on the different 
counters of the bank, and we decided that we could 
go into that bank in broad daylight and get most of 
the cash. 

For several weeks we had studied the methods in 
vogue in the bank and knew pretty accurately where 
the cashier and other employees would be at certain 
hours, and which hour would be the most favorable 
for our work. 

There were four of us working on this particular 
robbery, and it was decided that I should disguise 
myself as a Quaker woman and pass the bank at a 
certain hour. I went around the town for several 
days studying the costumes of the women and finally 
rigged myself out in the typical Quaker housewife 
atyle. 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLAKS 181 

I purchased a small milk can and, as its newness 
might attract attention, I rubbed the can with dirt 
until it took on a time-worn appearance. Then I 
secured one of the common baskets carried very 
often by the women who go to market to dispose 
of small lots of vegetables. For several days my 
pals and myself rehearsed the work we had to do 
so that when the time of action came we were per- 
fect in our parts. 

We had found out from our daily observations of 
the bank that the cashier, who was a good deal of 
a dandy, went out every day at half past twelve and 
returned about 1 o 'clock. Several of the other clerks 
in the bank went out for their lunch at the same 
time. At fifteen minutes to one there were fewer 
clerks in the bank than at any other period of the 
day, and if we were to do our work at all it must be 
accomplished at that time. 

There was only one drawback to this arrange- 
ment — the cashier occasionally came back at five or 
ten minutes to one, and we could not be certain that 
he would stay out the full half hour on the day we 
operated. If he came back before 1 o'clock our 
scheme would be frustrated and we would probably 
be arrested. So it was decided that I should lay 
outside the bank and intercept the cashier if he 
should happen along before my pals made their get- 
away from the bank. 

On the day of the robbery we were near the bank 
at half past twelve, and waited till a quarter of 
one, when we saw several other clerks go out. Then 



182 SOPHIE LYONS 

the rest of my band hastened into the bank, and I 
kept my eyes fixed on the direction in which the 
cashier usually came. The robbers who went into 
the bank had a number of little formalities to get 
over before it was possible to grab the money, and 
this took time. 

/They had been inside nearly ten minutes when I 
spied the cashier walking up the street toward the 
bank. As luck would have it, he was getting back 
five minutes ahead of his usual time. I strolled 
leisurely to meet him, dressed up, of course, as the 
Quaker housewife, with my basket full of vegetables 
and can of milk on my arm. 

The cashier and I came together in the middle 
of the block, about a hundred feet from the bank. 
I accosted him and asked for some fictitious address, 
in a broken English kind of lingo, which he could 
not at first understand. He was a very polite young 
man, and, of course, stopped to help me out of my 
little difficulty. 

"While I was engaging the cashier in this fashion, 
I kept my eyes rambling to the bank to see if my 
pals were getting away, for if the cashier had gone 
down at that moment he would see them in the act 
of robbing, and all would be lost. 

After holding the cashier for a minute or two, 
he became impatient at my unintelligible talk and 
said he was sorry he could not help me and would 
have to be going. Now, under no circumstances 
could I permit that cashier to leave then. If neces- 
sary I would have grabbed him about the neck and 



QUEEN OP THE BURGLARS 183 

held him by force until my companions escaped. 
But a better scheme than this suggested itself; I 
deliberately spilled the can of milk over the cash- 
ier's clothes, doing it, of course, in an apparently 
innocent way. 

The nice white milk settled all over the young 
man's vest and coat, and he looked a sorry sight 
indeed. He was exasperated at my awkwardness, 
as he called it, and took out his handkerchief to 
wipe off the milk, and I, full of sympathy for his de- 
plorable plight, also took out my handkerchief and 
gave my assistance. While we were trying to get 
rid of the milk I saw the robbers hurry out of the 
bank and walk rapidly up the street. Then I knew 
they had gotten the cash, and it was no longer neces- 
sary for me to detain the cashier. I mumbled my 
apologies to the poor, milk-bespattered cashier, and 
then hurried off down the street. 

I went into a doorway — which I had picked out in 
advance, of course — and took off my Quaker dis- 
guise. Under the disguise I had on my regular 
clothes. I left the Quaker outfit, milk ean and all, 
in this strange doorway and then hustled off to meet 
my pals at the rendezvous previously agreed upon. 
We divided the money — we had obtained $90,000 — 
and stayed in the town a few days. 

In the papers the next morning there was a big 
account of the robbery, and the additional state- 
ment that the robbers had overlooked another pack- 
age of moiir?/ containing $150,000. We were shocked 
by this piece of information, and the poor robber 



184 SOPHIE LYONS 

whose duty it was to collect the money in the bank 
was roundly upbraided for getting a miserable 
ninety thousand when he could also have taken the 
$150,000 if he had not been such a bungler. He 
swore by every deity that the papers were wrong, 
for he had searched very carefully and there was 
no other money in sight when he left the place. How- 
ever, we could never forgive this chap for his over- 
Bight, because we believed the papers had the thing 
right, and we disputed about the matter so much 
that the gang, or " party,' ' as we of the criminal 
fraternity call it, had to be disbanded, and we went 
our separate ways, good friends, of course, but no 
longer co-workers. 

It is the custom among bank robbers to demand 
that each member of a party do his work properly. 
If any one of them makes a failure, or does not 
come up to expectations, he is discharged from the 
party. The method of discharging a member ia 
peculiar. The leader will say to him: "When are 
you going home, Jack? " and he will hand him some 
money. "When are you going home!" means we 
don't want you with us any more. I might say, in 
concluding this experience, that one of the men who 
took part in this robbery is now living in Philadel- 
phia and highly respected. He long since gave up 
his criminal associations and went into business for 
himself and has made a great deal of monr.y by his 
own honest efforts. 

The other man died in prison. His was thft fate 
of many another professional criminal. Ke had 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 185 

gambled away most of the money lie secured from 
his illegal trade and, in addition, he served twenty 
years of his life behind prison walls. 

Not even the cleverest men in the business have 
profited by their skill. They may prosper for a 
brief hour, but in the end they are forced to tke 
conclusion that ceime does not pay! 



186 SOPHIE LYONS 



chapter vrn 

PROMOTERS OF CRIME — PEOPLE WHO PLAN ROBBERIES AND 
ACT AS "BACKERS' ' FOR PROFESSIONAL CRIMINALS; 
THE EXTRAORDINARY " MOTHER" MANDELBAT7M, 
"QUEEN OF THE THIEVES," AND GRADY, WHO HAD 
HALF A DOZEN GANGS OF CRACKSMEN WORKING FOE 
HIM 

If there is any one familiar adage that fits every 
criminal in the underworld it is "Easy come, easy 
go." Surely there is a curse on stolen money. 
More than once in my former life I have received 
$50,000 as my share in a Sunday morning bank 
burglary — and by the next Saturday night not even 
a five-dollar bill remained. 

Professional thieves are rich one day and poor 
the iiext. The fact that more money is always to 
be had without the hard labor which brings honest 
reward makes thieves as improvident as children. 
All thieves are gamblers — scarcely in all my ac- 
quaintances can I recall even one exception. Some- 
times the entire proceeds of a robbery are lost in a 
gambling house within twenty-four hours after the 
crime. 

And this is how it has come about that all over 
the world, in every big city, there are "backers" 
of thieves; men, and sometimes women, who take 
the stolen goods off their hands, find hiding places 
for criminals who are being pursued, advance money 



^ ■^ T >> ^^*^,J^^,»-^.^-^vu ^ ^^; ' : f ^.J,, l ^ ;^M^u,;,, . l . . . 




MOTHER" MANDELBAUM'S FAKE CHIMNEY AND SECRET HIDIKG 
PLACE FOR STOLEN JEWELS. 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLAKS 187 

to them when they are out of funds, and even pay 
the expenses of their families when the burglars 
get into prison. 

Some of these friends of thieves are really pro- 
moters of criminal enterprises. They name the 
banks and jewelry shops that are to be robbed and 
select the residences of wealthy persons that are 
to be entered. They are like the backers of the- 
atrical enterprises who put up the money for the 
necessary expenses and advance the salaries of the 
actors; they are like the promoters in the mining 
world who pay for the tools, the pack animals, and 
who " grub-stake' ' the miners to outfit them on 
prospecting tours in the mountains. 

QUEEN OP THE THIEVES 

Curiously enough the greatest crime promoter of 
modern times was a New York woman, " Mother' ' 
Mandelbaum. Alas ! I knew her well — too well. A 
hundred, yes, perhaps near five hundred transac- 
tions I have had with her, little and big. Many were 
entirely on my own account, oftentimes I dealt with 
her in behalf of thieves who were in hiding or in 
need of help or were in jail. 

Nobody anywhere did such a wholesale business 
in stolen goods or had such valuable associations 
among big criminals. " Mother" Mandelbaum, of 
course, cracked no safes, she did not risk her skin 
in house burglaries, her fat hand was never caught 
in anybody's pocket, no policeman's bullet was ever 



188 SOPHIE LYONS 

sent after her fleeing figure. Here, then, we nave 
a dealer in erime pretty shrewdly protected from 
the dangers that beset criminals. And yet I shall 
once again prove to my readers and from this very 
woman who was the uncrowned " Queen of the 
Thieves,' ' rich, powerful, and protected by the po- 
lice — from this very u Mother" Mandelbaum I shall 
again show that ckime does not pay ! 

But was this woman exceptionally unlucky! No. 
I will recount to you also the career of John D. 
Grady, her very remarkable rival in the same field 
of criminal promotion — the man who financed the 
great $3,000,000 Manhattan Bank robbery and had 
the famous Jimmy Hope and his band of expert 
cracksmen in his employ. From Grady I will also 
prove the great moral truth that surely crime does 
not pay ! 

" Mother' ' Mandelbaum's real name was Mrs. 
William Mandelbaum. She was born in Germany 
of poor but respectable parentage. As a young 
woman she arrived in America without a friend or 
relative. But her coarse, heavy features, powerful 
physique, and penetrating eye were sufficient pro- 
tection and chaperone for anyone. It is »ot likely 
that anyone ever forced unwelcome attentions on 
this particular immigrant. 

Arrived in New York she was compelled to pawn 
one or two gold trinkets while looking for work. 
This brought her in touch with the flourishing pawn- 
shop business. 



QUEEN OF THE BUR&LARS 189 

ENCOURAGING PICKPOCKETS 

The pawn shops were practically unregulated by 
law in those days and the German girl's painful ex- 
perience as a customer, instead of making her an- 
gry, impressed her with great admiration. There 
was a field for an ambitious person, and if ambition 
is a virtue none was ever more virtuous in that par- 
ticular than ' ' Mother.' ' 

But how to enter this profitable industry was 
the question. To be a pawn-broker has always re- 
quired capital. That is, it always has for anyone 
but this woman, who had none. She made a hurried 
survey of the pawn shops along the Bowery and 
elsewhere, and among others noticed the place of 
one William Mandelbaum. 

William was unmarried, rather weak willed for a 
man of his calling, lazy, and afflicted with chronic 
dyspepsia. He cooked his own meals over a kero- 
sene lamp, which was undoubtedly the cause of his 
indigestion. "Mother" Mandelbaum introduced 
herself as Fredericka Goldberg, and offered to cook 
and tend store at nominal wages. 

The "nominal wages" item secured her the posi- 
tion and the cooking made her firm in it. Within 
a week, William's digestion was better than he could 
ever remember since boyhood ; he had gained seven 
pounds in weight and business was growing beauti- 
fully — all on account of the capable Fredericka. 

At the end of the week, William and Fredericka 
had a business talk. Fredericka didn't want an in- 



190 SOPHIE LYONS 

crease in wages. She didn't want any wages at all. 
It was partnership or nothing. William ate one 
meal cooked by himself and then surrendered. 
Within a few weeks they were married. Mrs. Man- 
delbaum forever afterward was the head of the 
house of Mandelbaum. 

Among her customers Mrs. Mandelbaum noticed 
an occasional one who would hurry in and get what 
he could on a miscellany of watches and small pieces 
of jewelry. These hasty, furtive young men and 
boys took what they could get and showed little dis- 
position to haggle. Also, they never returned to 
redeem their pledges. 

The new head of the house encouraged these cus- 
tomers, who were, of course, pickpockets. At first, 
through ignorance, and later, as a matter of policy, 
Mrs. Mandelbaum was more liberal in her terms 
than was customary. Some pawn-brokers would 
not accept anything from a pickpocket if they knew 
it. The others took advantage of the pickpocket's 
peril of the law to drive the hardest possible terms. 

It was not long before Mandelbaum 's had the 
lion's share of the pickpocket business. One who 
disposes of stolen goods is known as a " fence," and 
Mrs. Mandelbaum soon became one of tfye most im- 
portant "fences" for pickpockets in the city. 

As the pawn shop grew more and more notorious, 
the weight of the police grew heavier and heavier 
on the proprietress. She dealt less liberally with 
pickpockets than before. She squeezed them to the 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 191 

last notch, but they still remained her customer^ 
for she was no harder than the other fences. 

In order to meet the ever increasing blackmail 
of the police, Mrs. Mandelbanm found it necessary 
to steadily enlarge her business. Carefully she de- 
veloped a system for scattering her stock so that 
her New York headquarters never contained a very 
large stock of stolen goods. She kept men busy 
melting down gold and silver and disguising jewelry 
and others ferreting out supposedly honest mer- 
chants who were willing to buy her wares and ask 
no questions. 

It must always be borne in mind in these articles 
that crime cannot be carried on by individuals. It 
requires an elaborate permanent organization. 
While the individual operators, from pickpockets to 
bank burglars, come and go, working from coast 
to coast, they must be affiliated with some perma- 
nent substantial person who is in touch with the 
police. Such a permanent head was " Mother* *. 
Mandelbaum. 

The field of usefulness to thieves of the big 
"fences" like " Mother" Mandelbaum and Grady 
are infinite. Suppose you are a burglar and last- 
night's labors resulted mostly in jewelry and silver- 
ware, you would have neither the time nor the plant 
to melt down the silver and disguise or unset the 
stones. "Mother" Mandelbaum would attend to alJ 
that for you on about a 75 per cent, commission. 

This wonderful woman kept certain persons busy 
on salary melting down silver. Others worked stead- 



192 SOPHIE LYONS 

ily altering, unsetting, and otherwise disguising 
jewelry. 

What would you do with a stolen watch which 
bore, deeply engraved on the back, the name and 
address of its rightful owner? You might melt 
down the case and get a little something for the 
works, but "Mother" would do better. She would 
turn it over to one of her engravers who would 
rapidly and not inartistically engrave a little scene 
or decoration on the watch case, completely mask- 
ing the name and address. 

A stolen automobile is the worst kind of a "white 
elephant* ' on your hands unless you know where 
to take it. Every city has its plants where a stolen 
car is quickly made over, usually into a taxicab, and 
so well disguised that its former owner may pay 
for a ride in it without suspicion. 

The force of artisans and mechanics employed 
on the fruits of burglaries and pocket picking is sev- 
eral thousand in a city the size of New York or Chi- 
cago. 

All burglars and thieves are busy with their own 
enterprises, and have no time to look after all these 
matters. Somebody there must be who will organize 
these first aids to the captured criminals — the 
"squarers of squealers/ ' the lawyers, the men to 
provide bail, etc. Such a one was "Mother" Man- 
delbaum. 

Hacks, taxicabs, express wagons, and even mov- 
ing vans must be readily available. Peddlers are 
extremely useful. They prowl about wherever they 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 193 

please and act as advance men for the burglars. 
Keeping peddlers and tramps off your premises is 
one of the best forms of burglar insurance. 

The army of enemies of society must have its gen- 
eral, and I believe that probably the greatest of 
them all was "Mother" Mandelbaum. 

BOBBING TIFFANY 

Of all the stolen things brought into her shop, 
Mrs. Mandelbaum preferred diamonds. She rap- 
idly became an expert on stones and they presented 
few difficulties. 

A stone once outside its setting usually bears no 
11 earmarks" by which it can be identified. Nothing 
is so easily hidden nor so imperishable as a diamond, 
and, as everyone knows, they have an unfailing 
market She exhorted her pickpocket customers to 
specialize on stickpins, and doubtless they did their 
best to please her. 

While pickpockets are "pickers," they cannot al- 
ways be choosers, and the percentage of diamonds 
remained disappointingly low. This interest in 
diamonds brought the "fence" to visit Tiffany's 
several times. She stole nothing, in fact, I am sure 
"Mother" never stole anything in her life. But 
it cost her nothing to examine and admire the beau- 
tiful stones, and during one of her visits she was 
struck with an ingenious idea which marked the 
•econd step in her career. She planned a robbery. 

In the rear of the Mandelbaum store a consulta- 



194 SOPHIE LYONS 

tion was held between the proprietress, a confidence 
man known as "Swell" Kobinson, and a shoplifter, 
just arrived from Chicago, by the name of Mary 
Wallenstein. 

Robrnson, as his name would indicate, was a man 
of good clothes and presence. He walked into Tif- 
fany's, went to the diamond counter, and spent a 
long time examining the big stones. After about 
twenty minutes of questioning he was unable to 
make up his mind and decided to think the matter 
over and return later. 

One of the stones valued at about $8,000 was miss- 
ing, and the clerk very apologetically asked Robin- 
son to wait a moment while he searched for it. A 
dozen employees hunted and counted the stones 
while Robinson grew more and more indignant at 
the evident suspicion that he had taken the stone. 

At last things came to a head and Robinson was 
led to a room and searched. 

Nothing was found and the store, knowing they 
had been somehow robbed, were compelled to let 
him go. The excitement had not quieted down when 
Mary appeared. 

She went to the same counter and stood exactly 
where Robinson had been. She examined one or 
two small diamonds and, like Robinson, she con- 
eluded to go home and think it over. There was no 
objection made, for there was nothing missing this 
time. An hour later she handed the $8,000 gem to 
"Mother" Mandelbaum. 

The following morning the man who polished the 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 195 

counters at Tiffany's found a piece of chewing gum 
wedged underneath the counter where nobody would 
see it. Inspection of the gum revealed the impres- 
sion of the facets of a diamond of the general size 
of the missing stone. Then everyone understood. 
The man had placed the gum beneath the counter 
when he came in. At his first opportunity he stuck 
the diamond in it. The girl coming in later had 
only to feel along the counter and remove the gem 
to make the theft complete. 

This first robbery planned by " Mother' ' Man- 
delbaum was so delightfully successful that the pick- 
pocket industry seemed slow by comparison. The 
chewing gum trick could not be worked again, be- 
cause the jewelers' association had notified all its 
members of the new scheme. It was a short step 
from jewel-stealing to sneak-thief operations in 
banks. Sneak thieves and confidence men began to 
frequent the back rooms of the Mandelbaum estab- 
lishment. It became a clearing house for crimes of 
larceny — big and small. 

Many able and successful burglars are unimagi- 
native, and, left to their own devices, would never 
discover anything to rob. These earnest but un- 
imaginative souls hung about the premises as if it 
were an employment agency waiting for the "boss" 
to find a job suited to their particular talents. 

DRY GOODS STORE THIEVES 

On the other hand, timid but shrewd and observ- 
ant persons frequently saw chances to steal which 



196 SOPHIE LYONS 

they dared not undertake. Servants of wealthy- 
New York families learned that " Mother' ' Mandel- 
baum paid well for tips and plans of houses. 

Next came employees of wholesale and retail dry 
goods houses. 

To handle bales of silk and woolen, furs, blankets, 
and other bulky but valuable merchandise presented 
new problems. To meet these Mrs. Mandelbaum 
moved her establishment to larger quarters. She 
retained the pawnbroking department, but added a 
miscellaneous store, in which she carried for sale 
most all the articles found in a country store. 

She was now the mother of three children, two 
daughters and a son — Julius. One of the daughters 
married a Twelfth Ward Tammany politician. This 
political alliance was extremely valuable. It made 
the police more moderate in their extortion for im- 
munity, and was the means of obtaining pardons, 
light sentences, and general miscarriage of justice 
on the part of judges. 

I shall never forget the atmosphere of "Mother" 
Mandelbaum's place on the corner of Clinton and 
Eivington Streets. In the front was the general 
store, innocent enough in appearance; and, in fact, 
the goods were only part stolen, and these of such a 
character that they could not possibly be identified. 

" Mother' ' Mandelbaum led a life which left her 
open to many dangers from many different direc- 
tions. Every member of the underworld knew that 
stolen goods of great value were constantly coming 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 197 

into her resort and from time to time schemes were 
devised to plunder the famous old "fence." 

Mrs. Mandelbaum always sat inside of a window 
which was protected by strong steel slats. The 
door to the room was of heavy oak. It was impos- 
sible, thus protected, for anybody to make a sudden 
rush and catch "Mother" Mandelbaum off her 
guard. 

But, realizing that thieves might at any moment 
raid her establishment and finally force their way 
into her den, she provided still another safeguard. 

THE SECEET OF THE CHIMNEY 

"Mother" Mandelbaum had a special chimney 
built in her den, where she kept a little wood fire 
burning during the winter and kept the fireplace 
filled with old trash during the hot season. This 
chimney was peculiarly constructed, and had a false 
back behind the fire, and in this cavity was hidden 
a little dumb-waiter. In front of the dumb-waiter 
was a false iron chimney back on a hinge that could 
be let dawn. She constructed a special brick wall 
so that it appeared to be the regular wall of the 
house. 

In case of sudden emergency, "Mother" Mandel- 
baum could gather up any diamonds or stolen goods 
which might be incriminating, pull down the false 
chimney back, which fell down over the fire, stow 
away the telltale valuable in the hidden dumb- 
waiter, push the dumb-waiter up out of sight into 



198 SOPHIE LYONS 

the chimney, and push back into place the false 
chimney back. This simple operation concluded) 
"Mother" Mandelbaum was then ready to face a 
search or a holdup. 

If ever anybody lived in the proverbial "glass 
house," surely it was "Mother" Mandelbaum — and 
she knew it. Her establishment was ostensibly a 
general store and a pawnbroker's office, which she 
maintained in the front room, but Mrs. Mandelbaum 
also dealt in stolen goods of all kinds and planned 
robberies with thieves and often sheltered, protected, 
and hid thieves in times of trouble. 

"Mother" Mandelbaum was never seen in the 
front room, where a clerk was always kept on guard. 
She kept out of reach in an inside room, behind the 
window with the steel grating. Her false chimney 
and secret dumb-waiter arrangement, as already 
explained, was in this room. In another room, 
"Mother" Mandelbaum kept two or three employees 
busy removing stolen jewels from their settings and 
engraving designs to cover up and hide monograms 
and identification marks on watches, jewelry, and 
silverware. 

"mother's" glass house 

In an adjoining room were kept bulky articles 
and stolen goods, such as fur coats, etc. Here, too, 
the price tags, factory numbers, and other marks 
were always removed from stolen furs, laces, and 
silks. One of the back rooms contained beds where 
thieves were lodged when occasion demanded. Still 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 199 

another room was a store room where crates and 
cases of stolen goods were packed up for shipment 
to her customers. At the end of the passageway 
leading to one of the rooms was a secret trap door. 
In case of a raid by the police, and if her front and 
back doors were guarded by detectives, she could 
use the trap door to let thieves escape down through' 
a hole in the basement wall which led up into the 
house next door, which " Mother' ' Mandelbaum also 
owned under another name. 

Gradually "Mother" Mandelbaum 's clientele of 
crooks increased in number and importance until 
she had only one real rival, John D. Grady, knows 
as "Old Supers and Slangs." 

Grady had a more distinguished body of bank 
burglars under his sway than had "Mother." Bank 
burglars are the aristocrats of the underworld, just 
as pickpockets are the lowest. 

When the Manhattan Bank robbery was planned 
and executed, "Mother" Mandelbaum was much 
humiliated that she could not command the financing 
and planning of the splendid project. It was 
Grady's funds which financed the undertaking, and 
poor "Mother" lost her one pet and star, "Western 
George" Howard. Howard, in many ways, was thf 
greatest of bank burglars, and he was rated bj 
many as superior to Grady's Jimmy Hope. In an 
other chapter I told you how "Western George" 
made the Manhattan Bank robbery possible and 
then was murdered. 

After Grady's tragic death, "Mother" Mandel- 



200 SOPHIE LYONS 

baum was the undisputed financier, guide, counsellor, 
and friend of crime in New York. 

For twenty-five years she lived on the proceeds 
of other people's crimes. During that time she 
made many millions. But these millions slipped 
away for the most part in bribing, fixing, and silenc- 
ing people. 

Still she was a very wealthy, fat, ugly old woman 
when the blow fell. Mary Holbrook, a shoplifter 
and old-time ally of Mrs. Mandelbaum, had a serious 
row with her. This row was the beginning of 
"Mother's" end. 

Soon after Mary was arrested, and, of course, 
applied for help from the usual source. Not a cent 
would the old woman give her for bail, counsel fees, 
or even for special meals in the Tombs. Mary was 
desperate, and sent for the District Attorney. It 
just happened that District Attorney Olney was an 
honest man. He listened to Mary's tale about 
"Mother" Mandelbaum, and acted. 

"Mother" Mandelbaum, her son Julius, and Her* 
man Stoude, one of her employees, were arrested, 

"Abe" Hummel did his best, but the indictment 
held, and there was a mass of evidence sure to 
swamp her at the trial. But "Mother" did not 
wait for the trial. She and the others "jumped" 
their bail and escaped to Canada. 

Here she lived a few years a wretched and broke* 
figure, yearning and working to get back to the 
haunts she loved. But neither her money nor her 
political friends were able to secure her immunity* 



QUEEN OF THE BUEGLAKS 201 

Once she did sneak to New York for a few hours 
and escaped unnoticed. It was at the time of her 
daughter's funeral, which she watched from a dis- 
tance, unable to attend publicly. 

Though " Mother' ' Mandelbaum had money when 

she died, yet she was an exiled, broken-hearted old 

rtwoman, whose money did her no good. Unusually 

'talented woman that she was, it took most of her 

lifetime for her to learn the lesson that crime does 

not pay! 

And now let us take a look at Grady, Mrs. Mandel- 
baum 's great rival. Did this remarkable man find 
that crime paid in the long run? 

GRADY THE DARING 

John D. Grady, known to the police and the under- 
world as "Old Supers and Slangs,' ' probably never 
handled as much money or had his finger in quite 
so many crimes as "Mother" Mandelbaum. His 
career, too, was somewhat shorter, but it made up 
for these defects in the unequaled daring and mag- 
nitude of his exploits. 

"Mother" Mandelbaum "played safe." Not so 
John D. Grady. His was a desperate game, well 
played for splendid stakes, with risks few men would 
care to take, and with all the elements of romance 
and a tragic death to cap it. 

Grady, like "Mother" Mandelbaum, was a 
"fence," but, while she dealt in everything, Grady 
specialized in diamonds. He had an office opposite 



202 SOPHIE LYONS 

the Manhattan Bank, which bore the sign, "John 
D. Grady, Diamond Merchant." ' From the windows 
of this office, Grady, Jimmy Hope, and his gang 
gazed hungrily across at the bank and plotted its 
ruin. Up to the actual day of the robbery, Hope 
and Grady were in accord on all plans. Afterward 
the two leaders quarreled over the disposition of 
the bonds. Hope had his way and there is little 
doubt that had Grady taken charge of the two mil- 
lion dollars of securities he would have succeeded 
in selling them, whereas Hope failed. 

"While " Mother' ' Mandelbaum was building up 
her trade with pickpockets and shoplifters, Grady 
was carrying his business about in a satchel. No 
man ever took greater chances. At all hours of the 
night this short, stocky man went about the darkest 
and most dangerous parts of New York. In the 
little black satchel, as every criminal knew, was a 
fortune in diamonds. 

When a thief had made a haul, Grady would meet 
him at any time or place he pleased and take the 
diamonds off his hands. Only once was he " sand- 
bagged' ' and robbed of several thousand dollars 
worth of the stones. He took the misfortune in 
good part, said it was his own fault, and never took 
revenge on the men who robbed him. 

STEAM-DRILL BURGLARY 

While " Mother' ' Mandelbaum engineered house 
and dry goods store robberies, Grady set his mind 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 203 

and energies on the great banks. As bold as the 
Manhattan affair was his assault on a West Side 
bank. The vaults of this bank were surrounded 
by a three-foot wall of solid concrete. 

Grady opened a first-class saloon next door, and 
as soon as he got his bearings installed a steam 
'engine in the cellar. This engine was supposed to 
run the electric light dynamo and an air pump. In 
reality it was there to drill a hole into the bank next 
door. 

Selecting a Saturday which happened to be a holi- 
day, he commenced operations Friday night, and 
there was every prospect of being inside the vault 
long before Monday morning. But, unfortunately, 
a wide-awake policeman of inquiring mind heard the 
unfamiliar buzzing out in the street. He prowled 
around and finally discovered that something un- 
usual was going on in the cellar under the saloon. 
No answer coming to his knocks, he burst in the 
door and descended to the cellar. The thieves ran 
out, but two were caught in the street. Though 
Grady financed and planned this scheme, he escaped 
untouched, for there was no evidence against him. 

Criminals, successful and unsuccessful, rarely 
lack women to love them. Strangely enough, this 
grim, daring, successful general of crime was per- 
petually spurned and flouted by my sex. Finally 
there came to him like an angel from heaven a very 
beautiful, well-bred daughter of the rich. Of course, 
John fell in love with her — any man would have — 
and things looked favorable for him. 



204 SOPHIE LYONS 

This woman was the young and almost penniless 
widow of a member of the "four hundred." She 
had involved herself in a financial situation from 
which there was no honest escape. Just as servants 
of the rich ran to ' ' Mother ' ' Mandelbaum with their 
secrets, so this woman went to Grady with her in- 
side knowledge. 

A sort of partnership sprang up between them 
which was profitable to both, but particularly to 
the woman, who used her sex unhesitatingly to get 
the better of her bargains with the cunning old mas- 
ter of the underworld. Grady's passion grew 
stronger and stronger, and the young widow, who 
really despised him, found it harder and harder to 
keep him at a distance. 

Finally things came to a head. Grady knew that 
the secret of the Manhattan Bank was soon to come 
out and that his position in New York would be no 
longer safe. He was ready to flee, but his passion 
for the woman had become so completely his master 
that he would not mova without her. It was a pe- 
culiar duel of wits that followed. The woman was 
financially dependent on Grady and dared not hide 
from him nor pretend that she did not return his 
passion. 

The night came when she must either elope with 
him or lose his aid. The thought of either was 
unbearable, yet she met him in his empty house at 
midnight prepared. She knew that Grady would 
have his entire fortune with him in the form of 
the diamonds and her plan was nothing less than to 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 205 

murder him and take his jewels. She had brought 
a little vial of poison with her and held it in 
trembling fingers within her muff. She knew Grady 
had a bottle of yellow wine, and she knew it would 
not be hard to have him drink a toast to their elope- 
ment. 

Grady produced the bottle but also only one dirty I 
tumbler. They were both to drink from that, it 
seemed. The woman, at her wits' ends, glanced 
about the room and spied a battered tin cup. 

"There," she cried, pointing, "the very thing." 



GRADY 's ROMANTIC DEATH 



While Grady went to get it she emptied the vial 
into the dirty glass. Grady soon poured a quantity 
of the yellow wine on top of it, and then filled the 
cup. But to her horror, he handed her the glass 
and took the cup. 

"No, no, John," she gasped, "you take the glass. 
I'll drink from the cup." 

"Why," asked Grady, his eyes aflame with sud- 
den suspicion, "what's the matter?" 

"Oh, only that I left a kiss for you on the glass," 
she faltered. 

Grady took the glass and slowly, very slowly, he 
raised it toward his lips, all the while gazing un- 
winkingly at the woman. Just at his lips the glass 
stopped and the woman could not avoid a shudder, 
she covered her eyes and Grady, used to reading 



206 SOPHIE LYONS 

people's minds, read hers. He let the glass fall 
and shouted: 

"So, it's murder you want — well, murder it shall 
be, but I'll do the murdering." 

She saw death in his eyes as he seized her arm, 
but before death he would first have his way with 
her. She screamed and, pulling with the strength 
of despair, twisted the arm out of Grady's grasp, 
leaving half her sleeve in his hand. 

Still, there could surely be no hope for her, and 
yet at that very instant when he poised himself to 
plunge after her again, his eyes turned glassy; 
paralysis seized him, and he sank slowly into his 
chair while the fainting woman tottered out of the 
door. 

The next day, it so happened, Shevelin, the watch- 
man, confessed to his connection with the Manhattan 
Bank robbery. The police were just taking up the 
trail that led to Grady's connection with the affair 
when the news came to headquarters that Grady 
was dead. 

He was found with the sleeve of a woman's dress 
grasped convulsively in his hand. On the table were 
a bottle of wine and a cup. A broken glass and 
spilled wine on the floor showed traces of poison. 



CBEED OF THE " FENCES' ' 



An autopsy performed on Grady's body showed 
no sign of poison. His death had been caused by 
apoplexy. The woman who meant to kill him by 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 207 

poison had actually done so by means of the furious 
emotions she had aroused. She could have taken 
the diamonds had she only dared to wait. 

Thus died Grady, still free from the law, and 
with his great fortune in diamonds in his pockets. 
Yet he died in an agony of furious disappointment 
as miserably as it is the lot of man to die. For 
him, as for ' l Mother ' ' Mandelbaum, it was destined 
that the lesson should be finally but tragically im- 
pressed — that crime does not pay ! 

As a general thing the receiver of stolen goods 
is the greediest, tightest-fisted individual who ever 
squeezed a dollar. The bargains he drives are so 
one-sided that unless the thief is unusually shrewd 
he will find his profits dwindling to almost nothing 
by the time he has disposed of his plunder. The 
margin between what the thief gets for his stealings 
and the price they finally bring is enormous, and 
even with only a few thieves working regularly for 
him the "fence" finds it easy to get rich in a very 
short time. 

The greed of the "fences" is one important rea- 
son why many criminals find it difficult to reform. 
The more thieves a "fence" has working for him 
the greater his profits, and naturally the longer 
they remain in the business the more valuable they 
are. When a thief reforms, the "fence" is put to 
the trouble and expense of training a new man — 
and there is always the danger that the new mem- 
ber of the staff will prove less capable or industrious 
than the one whose place he takes. 



208 SOPHIE LYONS 

The "fence," therefore, tries to make crime so 
attractive or so necessary to the clever thief that 
he will continue stealing until death or arrest over- 
takes him. He keeps close watch for signs of a de- 
sire to reform, and does all he can to discourage it 

The "fence" studies the special weaknesses of 
his thieves and understands just how to play on 
them to his advantage. If a thief suggests "turn- 
ing over a new leaf," the "fence" pays him more 
liberally for his next lot of goods, or loans him 
money to satisfy his craving for liquor, drugs, fine 
clothes, or whatever may be his failing. 

This last is a favorite method of getting a thief 
into a "fence's" power. The "fence" advances 
money freely, with the " always-glad- to-help-an-old- 
friend" spirit. But he keeps careful count of every 
dollar loaned, and when the inevitable day of reck- 
oning comes the debt is usually so large that the 
thief can never hope to pay it except by crime. 



SHINBURN AND THE " FENCE " 



After living an honest life for fifteen years, Mark 
Shinburn might never have turned burglar again 
had he not fallen into the hands of one of these 
avaricious receivers of stolen goods, 

Shinburn — as I will tell you in a later chapter- 
had accumulated from his early robberies a million 
dollars. With this fortune he went to Belgium, 
bought an estate and the title of count, and settled 



QUEEN OF THE BUEGLAKS 209 

down to the life of a prosperous country gentle- 
man. 

But the evil fortune which seems to follow every 
thief never forsook Shinburn. His mania for 
gambling and an unlucky series of speculations in 
the stock market at last left him penniless. 

In the hope of restoring his fallen fortunes, Shin- 
burn went to London. There he met an old ac- 
quaintance of his — a wealthy receiver of stolen 
goods. This wily trickster, eager to get Shinburn, 
the greatest of burglars, to stealing for him again, 
received him with open arms. 

"Glad to accommodate you, Mark," said the 
"fence" when a loan was suggested. "Your word 
is good for whatever you need — and pay it back 
whenever you are able." 

The money Shinburn received in this way went 
where much of his original fortune had gone — at 
Monte Carlo. He returned to the London "fence" 
for another loan, and another — and all were willing- 
ly granted. But when he sought money the fourth 
time he found the "fence's" attitude strangely 
changed. 

HE TURNS BURGLAR AGAIN 

"Really," said the "fence," "I don't see how I 
can let you have any more money. It seems peculiar 
that you should be in such straitened circumstances. 
In the old days you used to have all the money 
you needed — why don't you use your wits and get 
»ome now!" 



210 SOPHIE LYONS 

After touching Shinburn's pride in this crafty- 
way, the ' 'fence' ' casually mentioned an excellent 
opportunity which had come to his ears for robbing 
a bank in Belgium. It was, he said, a rather delicate 
undertaking, but there was a great deal of money 
involved — and Shinburn was the one man in the 
world who could carry it through. 

Shinburn 's shame at being obliged to borrow 
money made him an easy victim of the "fence's" 
wiles. He went to Belgium, was caught in the act 
of entering the bank, and was sent to prison for a 
long term. As soon as he was released the London 
"fence" began pressing him for money, and Shin- 
burn became a confirmed criminal again, primarily 
to pay this debt. 

And this same "fence," Einstein by name, paid 
the penalty of his wretched practices with a bullet 
in his brain, which was sent there by a desperate 
burglar who had tried vainly to reform but was 
held in criminal bondage by Einstein. 

The promoter of crime is not always a receiver 
of stolen goods. Sometimes he is himself a thief, 
who has mastered some branch of the business so 
thoroughly that he is able to sit back and let others 
do the active work. 

Such a man was "Dutch Dan" Watson, who was 
long considered one of the most expert makers of 
duplicate keys in America. His specialty was en- 
tering buildings and taking wax impressions of the 
key«^ which he often found hanging up in surpris- 
xiigly convenient places. 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 211 

From these impressions Watson, in his own work- 
shop, would make the duplicate keys and file them 
away for future use. To each key he would attach 
a tag bearing the address of the building and a little 
diagram showing the exact location of the door 
which the key unlocked. 

" Dutch Dan's" active part in the proposed crime 
ended as soon as the keys were made. Then, from 
the wide circle of criminals that he knew, he would 
select a number of expert burglars and hand them 
a set of the keys and diagrams, showing just how 
the robbery was to be carried out. 

If the burglars were successful they turned over 
to " Dutch Dan" 20 per cent, of the proceeds. This 
mode of operation proved very profitable for Wat- 
son, and I remember that he often had as many as 
eight different parties of burglars working for him 
at one time. 

And Watson, like Einstein, was sent to his grave 
by a fellow criminal, who had been discarded from 
his gang and killed him in revenge. 

Will any reader who has reviewed with me the 
lives of the famous criminals recounted above dis- 
pute my assertion that, truly, ckime does not pay? 



212 SOPHIE LYONS 



CHAPTER IX 

SURPRISING METHODS OF THE THIEVES WHO WORK ONLY 

DURING BUSINESS HOURS AND WALK AWAY 

WITH THOUSANDS OP DOLLARS UNDER 

THE VERY EYES OF THE BANK 

OFFICIALS 

One day before I was as well known to the police 
as I later became I was walking down Broadway in 
New York when I met a prominent citizen of the 
underworld with whom I had been associated in 
numerous burglaries. So far as I knew at that 
time he was still a burglar. After we had stood 
chatting for several minutes I was surprised to have 
him press a hundred-dollar bill into my hand and 
say: 

■ 1 Just as the clocks strike noon to-day I want you 
to go into the Manhattan Bank and have this bill 
changed. Walk right up to the paying teller's win- 
dow and ask for some silver and small bills. When 
he hands you the money take your time about count- 
ing it, and keep his attention engaged just as long 
as you can." 

"But what do I get for running errands for you?" 
I jokingly inquired. 

He refused to explain any further, and, as I was 
just dying with curiosity to find out what sort of 
game he was up to, I agreed to do as I was told. 
Of course, I knew it was some crime he was inveig- 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 213 

ling me into, but just what it was, or what part I 
was playing in it, I had no more idea than a babe 
unborn when I strolled into the bank promptly on 
the stroke of twelve. 

The paying teller proved to be a very susceptible 
man, and I found no difficulty in getting him into 
conversation. As there were few people in the bank 
at that hour, he was glad enough to relieve the mo- 
notony of his day's work by a little chat with a 
pretty young woman. 

Well, to make a long story short, we talked busily 
for fully fifteen minutes, and during all that time I 
succeeded in keeping his eyes riveted on me. When, 
at last, a man approached the window to transact 
some business I put my money away in my satchel, 
gave the courteous teller a parting smile, and 
strolled leisurely out of the bank. While I was in 
the bank I had seen nothing of the man who had 
sent me on this mysterious errand, and I did not 
see him until I called at his hotel that evening. 

"We've done a good day's work, Sophie, and 
here is your share of the profits," he said, handing 
me a fatter roll of crisp bank notes than I had laid 
my hands on for several weeks. As I hurriedly 
counted the bills over I was amazed to find that the 
roll contained $2,000. 

"While you were flirting so deliciously with the 
paying teller," my friend explained, "I slipped into 
the bank by a side entrance, reached my hand 
through a gate in the wire cage and grabbed a bun- 
dle of bills, which I later found to contain $4,000.' ' 



214 SOPHIE LYONS 

That was my introduction to the work of the 
"bank sneak" — a thief whose methods were then 
in their infancy, but who developed ingenuity and 
boldness so rapidly that he soon became the terror 
of the banks and every business man who ever has 
to handle large sums of money or securities. 

What I have to tell you to-day about "bank 
sneaks ' ' and their methods will furnish as good an 
example as anything I know of the fact that CRIME 
DOES NOT PAY. 

The stealings of a clever " sneak 7 ' often run as 
high as $100,000 in a single year. But what benefit 
does he get out of this easily acquired wealth! It 
invariably goes as easily as it comes, and, after a 
few months, he is as badly in need of money as he 
was before. I can count on the fingers of one hand 
the " sneaks' ' who are getting any real happiness 
out of life — and they are all men and women who, 
like myself, have seen the error of their ways and 
reformed. 

If crime could ever prove profitable to any man, 
it would have proved so to Walter Sheridan, long 
the foremost "bank sneak' ' in America. So varied 
and far reaching were his adroit schemes that with- 
in twenty years the gangs which he organized and 
led stole more than a million dollars. He was a 
past master in the art of escaping punishment foe 
his crimes, and he was also a shrewd, close-fisted 
financier, who claimed the lion's share of all the 
booty and carefully hoarded his savings. 

Yet what did all his cleverness avail this prince 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 215 

of ' ' sneaks ' y ? His fortune was swept away, and be 
finally died a pauper in the prison cell to which he 
was sent when he was picked up starving in the 
streets of Montreal. 

Sheridan introduced many ingenious new methods 
in "bank sneaking/ ' just as Mark Shinburn did in 
burglary. He was the first to conceal a pair of 
tweezers in the end of his cane and use them to 
pick up bundles of money which were beyond the 
reach of his arms. 

This cane was a really wonderful device. To all 
appearances it was only a fine, straight piece of 
bamboo, nicely polished and fitted with an ivory 
handle — the sort of walking stick any prosperous 
man might carry. 

Only when you unscrewed its heavy brass ferrule 
was the dishonest purpose for which it was intended 
revealed. The bamboo stick was hollow, and in it 
were two narrow strips of steel which dropped down 
below the end of the cane and could be operated like 
tweezers when you released the spring, which was 
concealed under a heavy band of solid silver just 
below the handle. 

When Sheridan was his natural self he was a 
stout, good looking man of dignified presence and 
refined manners who would readily pass for a well- 
to-do merchant or manufacturer. But when occa- 
sion required he could change his appearance so 
that even his closest friends wouldn't recognize 
him. 

Once when he was arrested in New York he ef- 



216 SOPHIE LYONS 

fected in his cell in the Tombs a transformation 
which mystified the authorities and nearly resulted 
in his release on the ground of mistaken identity. 

He exchanged his expensively tailored suit and 
fine linen for the dirty rags of a tramp who was 
locked up in the adjoining cell. With a broken 
knife blade he hacked off every bit of his long flow- 
ing beard. He dyed his reddish brown hair with 
coffee grounds and clipped and twisted it to make 
it look a life-long stranger to comb and brush. By 
eating soap he managed to reduce his portly figure 
to a thin, sickly shadow of skin and bones. 

"When the prison keepers came to take him into 
court for trial they were amazed to find in place 
of the well-dressed, well-fed broker they had locked 
up a few days before a repulsively dirty, ragged, 
emaciated tramp, whose actions indicated that he 
was not more than half witted. 

This ruse of Sheridan's failed, however, through 
the persistence of William A. Pinkerton, head of 
the Pinkerton Detective Agency. Mr. Pinkerton, 
who had been on Sheridan's trail for years, identi- 
fied him positively in spite of his changed appear- 
ance, and succeeded in having him convicted and 
sentenced to five years in Sing Sing prison. 

It was from this wizard of crime, Walter Sheri- 
dan, that I learned the value of the clever disguises 
which so often stood me in good stead and which 
enabled my comrades and me to get our hands on 
hundreds of thousands of dollars that didn't belong 
to us. 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 217 

Early in my career I conceived the idea of fur- 
thering my dishonest plans by posing as a wealthy 
old widow, bo crippled that she had to transact 
whatever business she had with the bank from her 
seat in her carriage. This plan succeeded beyond 
.my fondest expectations, and I am ashamed to think 
how many thousands of dollars I stole through this 
simple but extremely effective little expedient 

This ruse proved its merits the first time we tried 
it — in the daylight robbery of a Brooklyn, New 
York, bank, where one of my two companions walked 
away with $40,000 while I sat outside in my carriage 
listening to the old cashier's advice about investing 
the money my lamented husband had left me. 

But let me go back to the very beginning and 
show you just how this bold robbery was planned 
and carried out 

We had had our eyes on this bank for a week — 
Johnny Meaney, Tom Bigelow, and I. Between the 
hours of 12 and 1 each day we found there were few 
customers in the bank and the institution was left in 
charge of the old cashier and a young bookkeeper. 

But the cashier, although over sixty years old, 
was a keen-eyed, nervous man, whose suspicions 
were apt to be easily aroused. And, besides, the 
window in the wire cage where he did business with 
the bank's customers was so situated that he could 
always see out of the corner of his eye the vault 
and the long counter where the money was piled. 

We all agreed that it was not safe to attempt the 
robbery while the cashier was in his usual place. 



218 



SOPHIE LYONS 



If I could only devise some way of getting him out- 
side the bank for a few minutes it would be easy for 
one of the men to hold the young bookkeeper in con- 
versation at the paying teller's window, which was 
so placed that while he stood there his back was 




POSING AS A WEALTHY CRIPPLED OLD WIDOW 



toward the vault. That would give just the oppor- 
tunity we needed for the third member of the party 
to step unnoticed through a convenient side door, 
and get the plunder. 

But how to lure the cashier out of the bank 7 
That was the question, and it was while I was 
racking my brains for some solution of the difficulty 
that I blundered upon the idea of posing as a 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 219 

wealthy widow who was too lame to leave her car- 
riage when she called at the bank. 

During my stay in this city I had heard of the 
death in Europe of a rich and prominent Brooklyn 
man. He had been living abroad for the last ten 
years and had married there an English woman 
'who had never visited Brooklyn and was entirely 
unknown there except by name. 

Nothing could have suited my purpose better. I 
would pose as this wealthy Brooklyn man's widow, 
and in this guise would induce the bank cashier to 
come out to my carriage and talk with me. 

You may be sure that I laid my plans with the 
greatest care, for I knew what a bold undertaking 
this was and that the least oversight on my part 
would spoil everything. 

First I bought a silver gray wig to cover my chest- 
nut hair. It was a beautiful specimen of the wig- 
maker's art and cost me sixty-five dollars. 

Then I made up my plump, rosy cheeks to look as 
pale and wrinkled as an invalid woman's should 
at the age of seventy and dressed myself in the 
gloomiest, most expensive widow's weeds I could 
find. 

A pair of hideous blue goggles and two crutches 
t completed my disguise. The glasses were to hide 
my bright eyes, whose habit of roaming incessantly 
from side to side I had an idea often made people 
suspicious of me; and the crutches were to bear 
ont my story of the paralyzed limbs which made 



220 SOPHIE LYONS 

"my leaving my carriage except when absolutely 
necessary out of the question. 

My costume was not the only detail which had 
to be arranged to make my plan complete. I must 
have some visiting cards — cards with a heavy 
mourning border and the name of the Brooklyn, 
man's widow engraved on them. I 

I also didn't forget to place with these cards in 
my handbag some worthless mining stock which had 
been my share of a western bank robbery, and which 
even Ellen Peck's shrewd magic couldn't turn into 
cash. This would be useful, I thought, in holding 
the old cashier's attention. 

Then there were my horses and a carriage befit- 
ting my wealth which the men hired from a livery 
stable. I called on two young thieves whom I knew 
over in New York, and, by promising them a small 
percentage of whatever we succeeded in stealing, 
induced them to dress up in some borrowed livery 
and act as my driver and footman. 

At last everything was arranged and the day was 
set for the robbery. The morning dawned warm and 
bright — just the sort of weather which would make 
an invalid widow feel like venturing out to transact 
a little business. 

I had not seen Bigelow and Meaney since the night 
before. They had called then at my rooms to go 
over our plans for the last time. Bigelow was to 
engage the attention of the bookkeeper, who would 
be left alone in the bank after the cashier's de- 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 221 

parture, while wiry little Johnny Meaney made his 
way through the side door and got the money. 

At a few minutes past twelve my carriage drew 
up in front of the bank. Two or three of the of- 
ficials were just going to lunch. If nothing un- 
expected had happened to change the bank's routine/ 
the eashier and one bookkeeper were alone in the 
counting-room and the coast was clear. 

Through my blue glasses I could see Tom Bige- 
low's big form swinging down the street as uncon- 
cernedly as if he had not a care in the world. And 
from the opposite direction, although I could not see 
him, I felt positive that Meaney was on his way to 
carry out his part in our crime. 

The footman jumped down and stood at attention 
while I fumbled in my bag for one of my black 
bordered cards. With hands which trembled natur- 
ally enough to give the last touch of reality to my 
feeble appearance I handed him the card and tremu- 
lously whispered my instructions. He bowed re- 
spectfully and disappeared inside the bank. 

Would the cashier be good enough to step outside 
and discuss a little matter of business with a lady 
who was unable to leave her carriage? 

The cashier is very sorry, but he is extremely 
busy and, as he is practically alone in the bank just 
now, it will be impossible for him to leave his desk. 
Can't the lady arrange to step inside for a minute? 

Before the nervous footman has time to explain 
that the lady is a cripple and cannot leave her car- 
riage the cashier has taken another look at the card, 



222 SOPHIE LYONS 

has recognized the name, and realizes that it is the 
widow of a millionaire who is waiting outside for an 
audience with him. 

"Oh, I beg your pardon," he says nervously;! 
"the light is so poor here that I could hardly see' 
that name. Tell the lady that I will be out directly. ' ' 

As the footman walks out to report to his mistress 
that her wishes are going to be fulfilled the cashier 
hurriedly changes the linen jacket he wears at his 
desk for a solemn frock coat, gives his scanty hair 
a quick part and calls to the bookkeeper to look out 
for things while he is gone. 

All this time I am sitting primly there in the 
carriage trying as hard as I know how to live up to 
the dignity of a millionaire's widow and to conceal 
my fears that something is going to happen to dis- 
arrange our carefully laid plans. 

But, the next instant, I am relieved to see the 
cashier coming toward me all bows and smiles. And, 
as he comes out of the bank he almost brushes el- 
bows with Tom Bigelow, who, with a punctuality 
worthy of a better cause, is going into the bank at 
that very moment. 

Yes, indeed, the cashier remembers my husband 
and he is proud of the opportunity to be of some 
service to his widow. I can see the avarice shining 
in his eyes as he thinks of the profits his bank will 
make if he can get the handling of my property. 

Our interview is, of course, a tedious affair fox* 
I am very feeble and have all sorts of difficulty in 
finding the mining stock about which I want to con- 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 223 

suit him. But the cashier shows not the slightest 
impatience and humors my whims with all the con- 
sideration my wealth and position deserve. 

And, when he sees what a worthless lot of stock 
I have invested in, his interest in me becomes all 
the greater. 

Out of the corner of my eye I can just see Tom 
Bigelow as he stands talking with the bookkeeper 
inside the bank. And, by this time, if no unforeseen 
difficulty has arisen, I know that Johnny Meaney 
is in the vault making a quick but judicious selection 
of the cash and securities which we can most easily 
dispose of. 

After what seemed an eternity, but was in reality 
only four or five minutes, I saw Bigelow come out 
of the bank and stroll leisurely up the street. This 
was the signal that the money had been secured and 
that Meaney was making his escape in the opposite 
direction. 

Now everything depended on my holding the cash- 
ier just as much longer as I could. Every minute 
he remained there talking with me meant that much 
delay in the discovery of the bank's loss and the 
starting of the police on our trail. 

Another five minutes dragged along before I had 
exhausted the supply of questions which I wanted 
answered. Then I said good-bye, promising to re- 
turn on the next day, and told my coachman to drive 
on. The cashier whom I had duped so successfully 
stood there on the sidewalk bowing and smiling as 
my carriage rolled down the street. 



224 SOPHIE LYONS 

I went to the house of a friend, where I exchanged 
my disguise for my ordinary clothes. Then I 
boarded a train for Montreal and there a few days 
later Bigelow and Meaney divided with me booty 
amounting to $40,000. 

It was nothing unusual for the clever bands of 
"bank sneaks" with which I "worked" to steal as 
much or more than that in as short order. But, 
as I have told you, a relentless curse followed our 
dishonestly acquired wealth and, sooner or later, 
taught those who would learn the lesson that honesty 
m the only polioy and that crime does not pay. 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLAES 225 



CHAPTER X 

STARTLING SURPRISES THAT CONFRONT CRIMINALS — HOW 
UNEXPECTED HAPPENINGS SUDDENLY DEVELOP 
AND UPSET CAREFULLY LAID PLANS AND 
CAUSE THE BURGLARS ARREST OR PRE- 
VENT HIS GETTING EXPECTED 
PLUNDER 

Only one who has been, as I have, for years be- 
hind the scenes at all sorts of crimes can appreciate 
how often every criminal is brought face to face 
with the most startling surprises. 

No matter how clever a robber is he can never 
tell when arrest, serious injury, or death will bring 
his dishonest career to a sudden end. And, even if 
he escapes these fatal disasters, there are always 
a thousand and one chances which may develop at 
any moment to spoil his carefully laid plans and pre- 
vent his getting his plunder. Most of these are 
things which it is absolutely impossible to foresee 
and guard against. This is why only a small per- 
centage of the crimes which are attempted ever suc- 
ceed and why their success hangs trembling in the 
balance until the very last minute. 

The brains we criminals expended in saving some 
robbery from failure or in escaping the consequences 
of our deeds would have won us lasting success and 
happiness in any honorable pursuit — used, as they 
were, for crime, they brought us in the end only daa- 



226 SOPHIE LYONS 

grace and remorse. That is the lesson which these 
experiences have taught me and which I hope every 
reader of this page will learn. 

If there was ever a thief who planned his crimes 
with greater attention to the smallest details than 
Harry Eaymond, the man who stole the famous 
Gainsborough, I never knew him. 

But even Raymond's painstaking care was not 
proof against all the startling surprises which con- 
fronted him and his plans were often completely 
ruined by one of these unexpected happenings. 

Raymond was always a restless man — never con- 
tent to remain long in one place. When stories of 
the rich gold and diamond mines in South Africa 
reached his ears he began to cast longing eyes in 
that direction. Where there was so much treasure 
he thought there surely ought to be an opportunity 
to get his hands on a share of it. 

He tried to induce Mark Shinburn to go with him, 
but Shinburn had his eye on several big robberies 
nearer home, and so Raymond set out alone. On 
the way he met Charley King, a noted English thief, 
and the two joined forces. 

Raymond hadn't been in South Africa twenty- 
four hours before he learned that a steamer left 
Cape Town foi* England every week with a heavy 
shipment of gold and diamonds on board. His next 
step was to find out just how this treasure was 
brought down from the mines. 

As he soon learned, it came by stage each week, 
the day before the steamer sailed. The bags of gold 



QUEEN OF THE BUEGLARS 227 

dust and uncut diamonds were locked in a strong 
box which was carried under the driver's seat. 
There was only one other man on the coach besides 
the driver — a big, powerful Boer, who carried a 
brace of revolvers and a repeating rifle and had the 
reputation of being a dead shot. f 

There was just one difficulty in the way — Ray- 
mond really needed a third man to assist King and 
him. Among all the criminals in Cape Town whom 
he knew there was none he could trust, and so he 
at last decided to ask a wholly inexperienced man 
to join the party. The man he selected was an 
American sea captain who had been obliged to flee 
from his native land after setting fire to his ship 
for the insurance. He was desperately in need of 
money and was, therefore, only too glad of the op- 
portunity to share in the fortune Raymond proposed 
to steal. 

Raymond, with his customary caution, studied the 
proposition from every angle. At last he was con- 
vinced that he had provided for every contingency 
which could possibly arise to prevent his robbery of 
the coach. 

This was his plan — to stretch a rope across some 
lonely spot in the road and trip the horses. Before 
the driver and the guard could recover from their 
astonishment and extricate themselves from the 
overturned coach, Raymond and his companions 
would leap from their ambush and overpower them. 

Half way up a long hill, down which the coach 
would come, the three men concealed themselves — • 



228 SOPHIE LYONS 

i 

Raymend and the captain on one side of tke road, 
King on the other. 

Around a tree on either side of the road they 
fastened the rope with a slip noose, letting its length 
lie loose on the ground directly in the path of the 
coach. Carefully loading their revolvers they settled 
down to wait for its approach. 

At last their ears caught the rumble of its wheels 
and presently the four horses which drew the heavy 
vehicle and its precious contents appeared above 
the crest of the hill. They were making good time 
on the last lap of their long journey from the mines. 

On they came, until the hoofs of the leaders were 
within a foot of the rope. Eaymond gave a shrill 
whistle and his companions stretched the rope tight 
across the road at a distance of about two feet above 
the ground. 

As the forward horses struck the barrier they fell 
in a heap and the ones behind came tumbling on 
top of them. The wagon pole snapped like a pipe 
stem. 

The heavy coach stopped short, reeled uncertainly 
for a second, then keeled over on its side, hurling 
both the driver and the guard several feet away. 

The three robbers sprang from their hiding place 
and covered the prostrate men with their revolvers. 

As they did so one of the fallen horses scrambled 
to his feet, broke the remnants of the harness that 
clung to him and dashed down the hill, furious with 
pain and fear. 

Not one of the robbers paid any heed to this in- 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 229 

feident — for who would have suspected that a fright- 
ened stage horse could interfere with their carefully 
laid plans? 

The driver was easily disposed of, but the guard 
showed fight and it required the combined efforts 
of the three men to bind and gag him so that he 
could do no harm. 

They were just knotting a piece of rope around 
his struggling legs when a shot rang out and a rifle 
bullet whizzed by their heads — followed by another 
and another. 

An instant before the moon had broken through 
the clouds. By its light they saw six sturdy Boer 
farmers advancing up the hill, firing their repeating 
rifles as they came. 

Resistance was useless — they were outnumbered 
two to one and they had all been in South Africa 
long enough to have a wholesome respect for a 
Boer's marksmanship. 

Covering their retreat with a few shots from their 
revolvers, they took to their heels. In the rain of 
bullets which was falling around them it was suicide 
to think of trying to take the heavy strong box with 
them, and they had to leave it there in the coach 
with all its treasure untouched. 

Raymond was completely mystified. He and his 
companions had not fired a shot in their struggle 
with the men on the coach. How had those Boer 
farmers, who lived in a house at the foot of the hill 
nearty half a mile away, happened to be aroused 
just in time to spoil the robbery? 



230 SOPHIE LYONS 

The account the newspapers gave of the robbery 
cleared up the mystery. It seemed that the fright- 
ened horse which had dashed down the hill had 
plunged through the lattice gate in the front of the 
Boer's house. 

The crash of the woodwork and the wounded ani- < 
mal's cries of pain as he struggled to free himself i 
had awakened the farmers. As they rushed out half 
dressed to see what the trouble was the moon shone 
out and revealed to them the overturned coach on 
the hillside above and the robbers struggling with 
the guard and driver. 

You see what a surprising thing it all was and how 
impossible it was for Kaymond to have foreseen that 
anything like this would happen. But these two lit- 
tle incidents — the runaway horse and the moon's 
sudden appearance — were all that was needed to 
snatch away $250,000 in gold and diamonds just as 
Kaymond thought he had it safely in his hands. 

Even more surprising was what happened when 
Tom Smith and I, with Dan Nugent and George 
Mason, were trying to rob a little bank down in 
Virginia. 

The fact that the cashier and his family lived on 
the floor above this bank made it a rather ticklish 
undertaking. 

There was, however, no vault to enter, and the 
safe was such a ramshackle affair that the men felt 
sure they could open it without the use of a charge 
of powder. So we decided to make the attempt. 

As Tom Smith had sprained his wrist in escaping 




SURPRISED BY A SI,83P WAI,K*R. 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLAKS 231 

from a Pennsylvania sheriff a few nights before he 
was to remain on guard outside the bank, while I 
entered with Dan and George and rendered what 
assistance I could in opening the safe. This was 
the first time I had ever been on the "inside" of a 
bank burglary and I was quite purled up with my 
own importance. 

Dan opened one of the bank windows with his 
jimmy and held his hands for me to step on as I 
drew myself up over the high sill. Then he handed 
the tools to me and he and George climbed up. 

The bank in which we found ourselves was one 
large room. A door led into it from the broad porch 
which extended along the front of the building. At 
the rear was another door opening into a long pas- 
sageway, at the end of which was a staircase leading 
to the cashier's apartments overhead. 

While the two men were looking the safe over I 
unlocked the front door to provide an avenue of es- 
cape in case we should have to beat a hasty retreat 

I also opened the door at the rear and peered 
into the darkness of the passageway. There was no 
sign of life — no sound except the heavy breathing 
of the sleeping cashier and his family in the rooms 
above. I closed the door gently for fear the rasping 
of the drills on the metal of the safe would be heard. 

Just then my quick ears caught the sound of some 
1 one in the passageway. I tiptoed over to the door 
and pressed my ear against it. 

I had barely time to draw away from the door 
before it opened wide and I stood speechless with 



232 SOPHIE LYONS 

amazement at the apparition I saw standing there 
within an arm's length of me. 

I am not a superstitious woman, but what I saw in 
that doorway set my heart to thumping madly, and 
sent the cold shivers up and down my back. And 
I am not ashamed to confess how startled I was, for 
Dan Nugent and George Mason, the veterans of a 
hundred burglaries, later admitted that nothing had 
ever given them such a scare as this. 

What we saw facing us, like a ghost, was a beauti- 
ful young woman. The filmy white night robe she 
wore left her snowy arms and shoulders bare and 
revealed her bare feet. 

Her face looked pale and ghastly in the light of 
the kerosene lamp she carried high in one hand. 
The mass of jet black hair which crowned her head 
and hung in a long braid down her back made her 
pallor all the more death-like. 

Her eyes were shut tight. 

For a minute we stood blinking like frightened 
children at this uncanny, white, silent figure. Then, 
gradually, it dawned on us that this apparition was 
the cashier's eldest daughter, and that she was walk- 
ing in her sleep. 

As we recovered our senses it didn't take us long 
to see what a dangerous situation we were in. At 
any moment our unwelcome visitor might awaken. 
By the time we could bind and gag her the rest of 
the family might discover her absence and start in 
search of her. 

Tke girl looked so innocent and helpless and so 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 233 

strangely beautiful that, for my part, I was heartily 
glad when George Mason nodded his head toward 
the door to indicate that we would better be going. 

The two men climbed out of the window and I 
made my escape by the front door. The last I saw 
of the sleep-walking girl she was groping her way 
across the bank with slow cautious steps, still hold- 
ing the lamp high above her head and looking more 
than ever like a graveyard specter. 

Whether anybody except ourselves ever knew what 
a strange chance saved the bank from robbery that 
night I never heard. It was a costly experience 
for us as, according to what we learned later from 
the newspapers, that safe contained $20,000 in cash. 

We missed that tidy little bit of plunder just be- 
cause a young woman was addicted to the habit of 
walking in her sleep. 

And now another instance — the very remarkable 
chain of surprises which resulted in the murder of 
a bank cashier, the blackening of a dead man's repu- 
tation, and, finally, the imprisonment of two des- 
perate burglars for life. 

For many years the robbery of the bank in Dex- 
ter, Maine, puzzled everybody. This was a job of 
national importance, because Mr. Barron, the cash- 
ier of the bank, was accidentally murdered, and the 
detectives, after failing to get any clue to the burg- 
lars, buncoed the bank officials by inventing the 
theory that the unfortunate cashier had murdered 
himself ! 

They managed to fix up the books of the bank 



234 SOPHIE LYONS 

in such a way as to show some trivial pretended de- 
falcation, which amounted, as I remember it, to about 
$1,100. On the strength of this barefaced frame-up 
the memory of the poor cashier was defamed and the 
bank actually brought suit against the widow for 
some small sum. 

The real facts I will now tell you. Jimmy Hope, 
the famous bank burglar, first got his eye on the 
Dexter bank as a promising prospect, and made all 
his plans to enter the bank when, to his disgust, he 
was grabbed for another matter and given a prison 
term. In Jimmy Hope's gang was an ambitious 
burglar named David L. Stain, and Stain decided 
that there was no reason why the Dexter bank 
should escape simply because Hope was serving a 
sentence. 

So Stain looked over the ground and decided to 
rob the bank with a little band of his own, consisting 
of Oliver Cromwell and a man named Harvey, and 
somebody else whose name I do not now recall. They 
selected Washington's Birthday because it was a 
holiday, and there was every reason to believe that 
nobody would be in the bank. 

Late in the afternoon Stain and his associates 
forced their way into the building and sprung the 
lock of the back door of the bank. The burglars 
stood for a moment to put on their masks and rub- 
ber shoes, and then Stain moved forward toward 
the inner room of the bank, where the bank vaults 
were. 

Just at the moment that Stain put his hand on 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 235 

the doorknob Cashier Barron on the other side of the 
door put his own hand on the inside knob as he un- 
suspectingly started to leave the inside room, where 
he had been going over some of the books that were 
in the vaults. 




AS THE DOOR OPENED STAIN AND BARRON CAME FACE TO FACE 



As the door opened Dave Stain and Cashier Bar- 
ron suddenly came face to face without the slightest 
warning. Barron stood paralyzed with astonish- 
ment as he peered into the masked face of the leader. 
Stain, with perfect composure, struck Barron a 
quick blow with a slung-shot, landing the weapon 
exactly in the center of Mr. Barron 's forehead. 

The cashier dropped to the floor stunned and Stain 
imagined that his victim's skull was crushed, or that, 
if the blow had not been fatal, Barron would come to 



236 SOPHIE LYONS 

his senses and make an outcry. In either case the 
burglars realized that they had done a bad job. 
Murder was not intended, and none of the gang had 
any stomach for going on with the robbery, even 
though the doors of the big vault stood invitingly 
open. 

After a few moments' hasty consultation the 
cracksmen picked up the unconscious but still breath- 
ing form of the faithful cashier and laid it in the 
vault, and closed and locked the big doors. Stain 
and his gang made their way noiselessly out of the 
building, strolling, one by one, through the town 
and out into the country, where a span of horses 
was waiting for them. They drove across country, 
keeping away from the railroad, and made their 
escape without leaving a clue of any kind. 

When Cashier Barron failed to turn up at home 
at supper time a search was made and somebody 
went to the bank. The cashier's hat and coat were 
found in the inner room, and a faint sound of heavy 
breathing could be heard from the interior of the 
closed vault. Blacksmiths were hastily called, and, 
after several hours' work, succeeded in freeing the 
imprisoned cashier — but, although Barron was still 
alive and breathing, his face was black from his 
having breathed over and over again the poisoned 
air of the vault, and he died without recovering con- 
aciousness. 

Several years later a clue to the real truth of the 
tragedy was picked up by a newspaper reporter, 
who devoted several weeks of painstaking work to 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 237 

piecing together the scraps of evidence he was able 
to collect. This reporter then had himself appointed 
a Massachusetts State detective and arrested Stain 
and Cromwell, brought them to Bangor, Maine, was 
able to have them identified by several townspeople 
who had seen them in Dexter on the day of the mur- 
der, and Stain and Cromwell were both convicted 
of murder in the first degree, and the conviction was 
unanimously confirmed by the Supreme Court of the 
State of Maine. They were sentenced to life im- 
prisonment. 

I could go on indefinitely recounting instances as 
surprising as any of these of the unexpected things 
which are constantly happening to prevent criminals 
succeeding in their undertakings. But these which 
I have mentioned are enough to show any thoughtful 
man or woman how hazardous and how profitless 
crime always is. 

Success in crime is achieved only at the risk of 
life and liberty. In a few rare cases the criminal 
escapes these penalties, but, even so, his ill gotten 
gains melt rapidly away and bring him no lasting 
happiness. And, as I have shown here to-day, a 
large percentage of the crimes he undertakes yield 
him nothing for all the time, thought, and effort he 
has to give them. 

Each chapter of my own life, as I am now recalling 
it, and the lives of all the criminals I have ever 
known, only give added emphasis to the fact which 
I want to impress on you — that ckime does not pay. 



238 SOPHIE LYONS 



CHAPTER XI 

THRILLING EVENTS WHICH CROWDED ONE SHORT WEEK 

OF MY LIFE HOW I PROFITED NOTHING FROM 

ALL THE RISKS I FACED 

Not all the crimes the professional criminal com- 
mits are carefully planned in advance. Very often 
they are committed on the spur of the moment, when 
the opportunity to steal some article of value with- 
out detection suddenly presents itself. The habit 
of wrongdoing becomes so strongly developed that 
the thief is unable to resist the temptation to steal 
even when he is not in need of money and when there 
is every incentive for him to avoid the risk of ar- 
rest. 

This was exactly what happened to me in Spring- 
field, Mass., one day. The fact that I was unable 
to withstand the glittering lure of a tray full of 
diamonds proved the starting point of one of the 
most eventful weeks of my life. 

What happened to me during the week which be- 
gan with my bold robbery of a Springfield diamond 
merchant is as good an example as I can select from 
my past career to give point to the lesson I have 
learned and am trying to teach — that crime in the 
long run can never be made to pay. 

Just think of it — in the seven days that followed 
the unlucky moment when I thrust my hand into that 
open showcase in Springfield I was arrested three 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 239 

times, jumped my bail once, and successfully made 
my escape from a Boston cell. During all that time 
I was never free from fear of arrest — asleep or 
awake, I would start at the slightest sound, fearful 
that it was a detective coming to snap those hateful 
handcuffs on my wrists again. 

And what did I have to show for all the nervous 
strain, all the suffering and hardship I underwent 
during that week? Worse than nothing at all. Al- 
though I stole cash and valuables amounting to more 
than seven thousand dollars, I was penniless when 
I finally succeeded in getting back to New York. 

A good share of the money had gone to the law- 
yers. A thousand dollars of it I had been obliged 
to leave behind when I made my escape from the 
Boston police, and the trayful of diamond rings I 
had stolen was hidden in Springfield, where I would 
not dare show my face for many months. Even 
the rings on my own fingers had gone to pay my 
lawyers' fees and my bail. 

But let me go back to the very beginning and ex- 
plain just how all these things came about. 

It was when I was on my way back from an un- 
successful bank robbing expedition to a Canadian 
town. I was feeling tired, out of sorts and generally 
disgusted with myself. "If I ever get back to my 
home in New York," I said to myself remorsefully, 
"I will surely settle down to an honest life." 

But alas for all my good intentions ! Just before 
I reached Springfield I happened to recall that this 
was where an old school friend of mine lived. She 



240 SOPHIE LYONS 

was a thoroughly respectable woman, the wife of a 
hard working tradesman, and I determined to stop 
off and surprise her with a visit. 

As luck would have it, I found her house locked, 
and one of her neighbors told me that she was away 
visiting her mother in "Worcester. Knowing no one 
else in Springfield, there was nothing for me to do 
but kill time for two or three hours until another 
train left for New York. 

I was strolling leisurely along one of the main 
streets as innocent as one of my babies of any in- 
tention of wrongdoing, when I happened to notice 
something wrong with my watch. The hands had 
evidently stuck together, and it had stopped more 
than an hour before. Just across the street I saw 
a large jewelry store. I walked over there to see 
about my watch. It was the noon hour and the store 
was deserted except for an old man whom I judged 
to be the proprietor, and, at his bench far in the rear, 
a lone watchmaker. 

The proprietor was arranging some trays of dia- 
monds in one of the showcases when I approached 
him and stated my errand. He said my watch could 
be fixed in two minutes, and started off with it to 
the watchmaker's bench. His back was no sooner 
turned than I took in the fact that he had neglected 
to close the sliding door of the showcase. Inside 
there, within easy reach of my long arms, were two, 
three, a dozen trays of costly diamond rings, 
brooches, and necklaces. 

Forgetting all my recent resolutions and regard- 



QUEEN OP THE BURGLARS 241 

less of the consequences I reached my hand across 
the showcase and down inside. It took a powerful 
stretch of my muscles to reach the nearest of the 
trays. But at last my fingers closed securely over 
its edge, and, with a skill born of long experience, 
I drew my arm back and the tray of rings came 
with it. 

This was an operation that required a good deal 
of care, because in my position the tray was not an 
easy thing to handle without letting some of its 
precious contents fall clattering to the floor and give 
the alarm. In less time than it takes to tell, how- 
ever, and before the proprietor had fairly reached 
the watchmaker's bench, I had the tray safely con- 
cealed in my handbag. 

The proprietor returned with my watch. It was 
only a trivial matter to adjust it, he said, and there 
would be no charge whatever. I thanked him and 
hurried out, shaking inwardly for fear he would 
discover the absence of the tray of rings before I 
could lose myself in the streets. 

After getting his plunder a thief's first thought is 
to get it out of his possession. What he wants is a 
temporary hiding place — a place where he can con- 
ceal it until whatever outcry the theft may have 
caused has had time to die down and he can safely 
dispose of his booty to one of the numerous "fences" 
who are to be found in every large city. Whenever 
possible, the prudent thief selects a temporary hid- 
ing place ociVit iie avtUaAy Iay» his iiAxids on his 
plunder, and loses no time in getting it out of his 



242 SOPHIE LYONS 

possession, so that, in case the police arrest him 
soon after the robbery, they will find nothing in- 
criminating. 

This crime of mine, however, was so entirely un- 
premeditated that I had not the faintest idea what I 
was going to do with my tray of rings when I walked 
out of the store. Down the street a few blocks I 
saw the railroad station, and this suggested a plan. 
I would check my bag there and hide the check in 
some place where I could easily recover it whenever 
the coast was clear. 

This was a plan I had often followed with success, 
and it is a favorite with thieves even to this day. I 
saw by the newspapers that the misguided young 
man who robbed the New York jewelry firm of $100,- 
000 worth of gems the other day went straight to 
the Pennsylvania Eailroad Station and checked the 
suitcase containing the plunder which had tempted 
him to his ruin. 

By this time all intention of reform had left my 
mind, and I thought only of the ways I could use 
the money the diamonds would bring. The hurried 
inspection I had been able to give them placed their 
value at fully $3,000. 

I walked quickly, but with no outward signs of 
excitement to the station, where I locked my hand- 
bag and exchanged it for a brass check. Then I 
walked out of the station and seated myself on a 
bench in the public square. It was the work of only 
a minute to dig a little cavity in the gravel under 
one of the legs of the bench with the pointed heel 



QUEEN OF. THE BURGLARS 243 

of my French boot. A big red-faced policeman was 
standing uncomfortably near all the while, but soon 
he turned his back. I bent over quickly, placed the 
check in the little hole I had dug, and quickly cov- 
ered it with earth. I continued sitting there for 
some minutes, making a mental photograph of the 
spot so that I would be able to locate it again, even 
if I had to wait months. 

As I rose and crossed the square to a department 
store I realized that I had not acted a bit too quickly, 
for I overheard some men discussing the daring 
robbery of the jewelry store. It had just been dis- 
covered, so they said, and the police were already 
scouring the city for the thieves. 

I made haste to purchase a satchel very similar 
in appearance to the one containing the diamonds. 
In this I placed a few trinkets and such things as a 
woman might naturally carry, and returned to the 
railroad station. I checked this satchel just as I 
had the other, and walked away — my mind somewhat 
at rest 

Walking along the main street I encountered a 
detective who was convoying a couple of men to the 
station. The face of one of the men was familiar, 
and he recognized me before I could town away. 
Using a store window as a mirror I was able to see 
that all three had stopped across the street and 
were looking at me, I lost no time in getting away, 
and the detective, of course, had his hands fulL 
But I knew my chances of getting out of town were 
mighty slim, and it was no surprise an hour later 



244 SOPHIE LYONS 

when two detectives confronted me at the station. 

1 ' How do you do 1 ' ' said one ; ' ' do you live here ! ' 9 

"I live in New Haven," I said, rapidly adding a 
fiotitious name and address. I explained my visit 
to town, but they were not satisfied and to the police 
station I went. 

In searching me the detectives held up my satchel 
check and hurried off gleefully to the depot, quite 
certain that they had found the missing diamonds. 

They returned crestfallen, but the captain had an 
instinct that told him I had those diamonds and he 
ordered me locked up over night. 

From a neighboring cell the two men arrested ear- 
lier in the day called out: 

' i Hello, Sophie, how did you get in 1 ' ' 

I did not answer, and pretended not to know them. 
The police unlocked my cell door and invited me to 
come out and meet my friends, hoping, of course, 
to learn something. 

But I said in a loud voice that I never saw the 
men before, and that they must have mistaken me. 
The two men were good enough to take the hint at 
this point that I was in trouble, and soon after I 
heard one of them saying that from a distance 1 
looked like Sophie Lyons. 

In the morning the police captain reluctantly re- 
leased me. But he sent a detective to make sure I 
got out of town, and he gave me his parting promise 
to run me in if I ever came within his reach. 

There was nothing for me to do but to take the 
train and hope to return some day for the diamonds. 



QUEEN OF THE BUKGLARS 245 

I got off at New Haven and sat in the railroad sta- 
tion pondering ways and means. 

My thoughts were interrupted by the appearance 
of Lizzie Saunders, a woman criminal of no mean 
ability. From the effusiveness of her welcome I 
suspected that she was "broke" and wanted a loan, 
as, indeed, proved to be the case. 

I hadn't much to spare, and was forced to listen 
to her schemes. She told me that the town of Hol- 
yoke was a splendid place to pick up money, as it 
was crowded with farmers attending a fair. 

I was tired and disgusted and wanted to return 
to New York. Yet I did not want to go so far from 
the diamonds, and, foolishly, I listened and was 
persuaded. 

Arrived at Holyoke we investigated the banks, but 
saw no chance of snatching anything. We were both 
very much in need of raising some funds right 
away, and something had to be done. 

A sure-enough farmer cashed a large check, 
counted the money five times, laid it in a huge wal- 
let, and tied the wallet together with a piece of 
string. Then he placed it in the breast pocket of 
his coat and marched out. Of course, we followed. 
Lizzie, who was known as "The Woman in Black," 
jecause she never wore anything else, kept a lookout 
while I operated. 

The old man was watching the street parade, 
hands in his trousers pockets, chin stuck out, and 
whiskers projecting a foot in front of him. 

I reached my hand into his pocket, got a grip on 



24G SOPHIE LYONS 

the wallet, and was about to give the quick snap of 
the wrist and jostle, which is part of the pickpocket's 
technique, when I felt a heavy hand on my shoulder. 
I knew instinctively that it was a detective. Quickly 
thrusting the bulky wallet back into the old man's 




I PELT A HAND ON MY SHOULDER 

pocket, I threw my arms around his neck and kissed 
him. 

"'Oh, Uncle Dan!" I cried between the kisses, with 
which I fairly smothered the astonished old man; 
" where in the world did you come from?" 

The old man almost got apoplexy, for I kissed him 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 247 

and hugged him with a vehemence that made every- 
body forget the parade. I can remember the sea of 
whiskers I dived into. 

"Gosh all hemlock, who are you!" he gasped 
when I let him go. ' ' I ain 't Dan, I 'm Abijah. ' ' 

The detective really believed that I knew Abijah, 
but he remembered Lizzie and took her away. I 
was about to escape when a redfaced woman arrived 
and shouted: 

"You hussy, what do you mean by hugging my 

husband!" 

The detective hesitated and looked back, but he 
would have let me go if Lizzy hadn't been fool 
enough to call out : 

1 * Sophie, find me a lawyer and get me out of this. '■ f 

That was enough even for the thick-headed police 
detective, and he took us both away. The old man 
refused to testify against us. He was afraid he 
would not be believed and the scandal would get back 
to his home town. He was right ; it would have. 

Arrived at the station, no talk or acting was of the 
slightest avail, and the judge next day held us each 
in $500 bail. 

We raised that amount on jewelry, and, of course, 
"jumped" it and arrived at Boston together. 

I was thoroughly disgusted with Lizzie, but she 
stuck to me like a leech, in spite of a dozen tricks 
that would have rid me of a detective. 

At last I succeeded in getting away from her and 
happened to meet an all-round knight of the under- 
world known as "Frisco Farley." Together we 



248 SOPHIE LYONS 

worked the soda fountain trick, which was new then, 
and which I will explain in a later article. 

In the course of the day we took in considerable 
profits, which had not been divided or even counted 
when we foolishly stepped into a jewelry store, 
merely to look at a new-fangled thief -proof show- j 
case. 

The first thing I knew, Farley was gone and I was 
arrested. It seems Farley had operated in that 
store a year ago, had been noticed and had escaped 
just in time. I was arrested as his accomplice. 

On the way to the station what worried me most 
was the fact that I had in my pocket a ticket to New 
York. In Boston, for some reason, a ticket to New 
York is looked upon by the police as conclusive evi- 
dence of guilt. 

I burst into tears and wailed and sobbed at the 
shame and humiliation of my arrest. By concealing 
the ticket in my handkerchief I managed to get it 
into my mouth as I wiped away my tears. Long 
before we reached the station house I had chewed 
up the small piece of pasteboard and swallowed it. 

The story I told had only one weak spot. There 
was $400 more in my pocketbook than I though t> 
and this one discrepancy made them lock me up. 

That night I was placed in a cell with an in- 
toxicated woman. I was able to send out and get 
a bottle of whiskey, but not for myself. About mid- 
night the woman woke up and was glad of a drink. 
I not only gave her one, but many, until she was in 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 249 

a stupor and made no protest when I changed clothes 
with her. 

In those days, in Boston, it was usually the cus- 
tom to let intoxicated persons sleep in a cell and 
then to put them out on the street in the morning 
without bringing them to court. 

In the morning I pretended to be half sober and 
protested violently against being thrown out in the 
cold. But they pushed me out onto the sidewalk, 
much to my outward grief and inward joy. 

I borrowed the price of a ticket to New York, 
leaving my money in the police station and my 
jewels at Springfield. Thus a week of hard, nerve- 
wrecking work netted me absolutely not one cent, 
but in reality the loss of my jewels, my time, and 
considerable money. 



250 SOPHIE LYONS 



CHAPTEE XII 

GOOD DEEDS WHICH CEIMINALS DO AND WHICH SHOW 
THAT EVEN THE WORST THIEF IS NEVER WHOLLY BAD 

A life of crime is a life of hard work, great risk, 
and, comparatively speaking, small pay. Anyone 
who has followed these articles will agree at once 
that whatever the criminal gets out of his existence 
he pays very dearly for. Not only is he constantly 
running great physical dangers — the risk of being 
shot or otherwise injured and of being caught and 
imprisoned — but many of his most carefully planned 
criminal enterprises are doomed to failure and he 
has only his labor for his pains. 

Quite frequently bank burglars devote as much as 
three or four months of hard labor in preparing for 
an important robbery .and, in a large percentage 
of cases, they find that, after all their patience and 
industry, it is impossible for them to execute the 
robbery they have so carefully planned and all their 
work goes for nought. Sometimes, too, they are in- 
terrupted in their work and have to flee, leaving be- 
hind their kits of valuable tools. Watchmen's bul- 
lets are ever threatening their lives and prison walls 
constantly loom up before them. 

In view of these facts one would imagine that the 
money which the professional criminal makes at such 
great risk and expense and with so much difficulty 
would have an enhanced value in his eyes. But this 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 251 

is not so. Not only is the professional criminal an 
inveterate gambler, as I have repeatedly pointed out, 
but the great majority of them are generous to a 
fault. 

While this generosity is almost universal in the 
underworld, those unfamiliar with the workings of 
the criminal heart would give it very little credit for 
such impulses. 

My experience in the underworld has thoroughly 
convinced me that no criminal is wholly bad. I 
know that beneath the rough exterior of many of the 
desperate criminals with whom I came in contact 
beat hearts that were tender. To-day I shall relate 
some of the more striking incidents which come back 
to me and which illustrate some of the good qualities 
possessed by the notorious criminals with whom I 
associated. 

I am reminded of an experience I had with Dan 
Nugent, the bank burglar. I may say incidentally 
that this man Nugent was absolutely fearless and 
would resort to any measure, however desperate, to 
accomplish his purpose. He was a man to be feared 
and it was dangerous to cross him. But that this 
criminal had some very excellent qualities will ap- 
pear from the following incident, now told for the 
first time. 

While in Kansas City I robbed a bank, securing 
some four thousand dollars. As I was leaving the 
bank — it was in the day time — I saw Nugent going 
in. Evidently he had planned to rob the bank him- 
self. We did not speak. 



252 SOPHIE LYONS 

Within a few minutes after my departure the rob- 
bery was discovered. The doors were at once closed 
and no one was allowed to leave without first under- 
going the scrutiny of the detectives who had been 
summoned by telephone. Poor Dan was caught in 
the trap and his identity being established he was at 
once arrested on suspicion of having been implicated 
in the robbery, if not the actual perpetrator of it, 
although the only evidence against him was the fact 
of being on the premises. 

Dan was kept in custody for some hours, but at 
length the police were compelled to let him go, be- 
ing unable to strengthen their case against him. 

Later that day I happened to run into him. 

" Sophie,' ' he said threateningly, "you owe me 
two thousand dollars !" 

"How do you make that out?" I asked quite in- 
nocently, not knowing to what he was referring. 
I didn't know then that the robbery I had committed 
had been discovered and that Nugent had been ar- 
rested for it. 

"You got four thousand dollars in the bank this 
morning/ ' he replied bitterly, "and I got arrested 
for it" 

He seemed to be in a very ugly frame of mind 
and I knew he was not a man to be trifled with. I 
asked him to step into a cafe and talk it over. We 
entered the back room of a nearby saloon and Nu- 
gent ordered some drinks. 

There were various persons seated at other tables 
in the place, but we attracted no particular atten- 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLAKS 253 

tion. After tlie waiter had served us and left the 
room, Nugent took off his hat, held it across the 
table as though he were handing it to me, and be- 
neath the shelter it afforded pointed a gun at me. 




SOPHIE, IF YOU DON'T HAND ME $2,000, I'LL BLOW YOUR 



4 "Sophie, if you don't divide up on that job, I will 
blow your head off !" he threatened in a low voice. 
I admit I was frightened, but I did not lose my 
head. Instead I began to cry copiously. 
I "Dan," I sobbed, "I declare by all I hold holy 
I didn't get any money in the bank this morning. 
IVe just gotten out of jail and I'm dead broke. 
My poor children need lots of things I can't buy 
them. I wish I had got that money at the bank this 



254 SOPHIE LYONS 

morning, but I didn't. It must have been some one 
else who made a safe get-away, and I think it's 
pretty mean of you to treat me this way," and I 
began to cry more strenuously than ever. 

Dan looked at me a moment searchingly and then, 
deciding that my grief was genuine, put up his 
gun. 

1 ! Don't cry, Sophie. I thought you got the money, 
and I wanted my bit, that's all. I'm sorry to have 
scared you. Forget it, old girl, and cheer up." 

Nugent then asked me what the kids at home 
needed, and I told him everything I could think of. 
He took me by the arm and marched me into a dry 
goods store and made a number of purchases of 
the things he thought the children would want, and 
gave them to me, along with a little money for my- 
self. "We then parted, Nugent wishing me all kinds 
of luck and firmly believing in my fairy tale. 

I really ought to have shared the money with Nu- 
gent because I had stolen a march on him in robbing 
the bank before he got a chance, and he got into 
trouble through me. But I knew he had made a big 
haul in a bank a month previous, and I was prac- 
tically without funds, so he could more easily afford 
the loss of the two thousand than I could. But, like 
most criminals, Nugent had a kind heart, and, when 
his finer nature was appealed to, he could not help 
being noble and generous. 

As another illustration of the kindness of heart 
of some criminals, let me tell of a letter I received 
ft om a world-renowned criminal, whose name I will 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 255 

mot now disclose. This unfortunate man is now serv- 
ing a term in a foreign prison for a daring bank 
robbery in which he was caught through his anxiety 
to help a pal — although if he had thought only of 
himself he would have been free. I will quote from 
his letter to me and you will see the kindness that 
dwells in his big heart: 

My dear Pal : — Now, I want you to do me a little 
favor. Don't send me any money or presents at 
Christmas, but take the money that you would use 
on me, and go out and buy some turkeys and give 
them to some of the poor people who live around 
your place. It will make them feel good, and it will 
be a better way to use the money than to waste it 
by sending it over to me." 

A man who can write such a thoughtful letter as 
the above and can sympathize with others in dis- 
tress is not entirely a bad man, even though he is 
a convicted criminal. It is sad, indeed, to think that 
such a large hearted man should have to spend most 
of his days behind prison bars instead of being at 
some kind of labor where he could be of service to 
mankind and do all the decent things which his 
kindly thoughts of others would prompt him to do. 

Not because I want to convey the impression that 
I am better than any of the other criminals whose 
exploits I am narrating, but, on the contrary, be- 
cause the incident I am about to relate is typical of 
what notorious criminals are doing every day, I 



256 SOPHIE LYONS 

am going to tell of another experience in which I 
figured. 

It was when I was in New York. One day, while 
loitering in a bank in the vicinity of Broadway and 
Chambers street, I observed a woman draw some 
money. She put it in a handkerchief and then placed 
jthe handkerchief in her pocket. I was in need of 
money pretty badly just then and decided to follow 
the woman and get the money. 

After she came out of the bank I got close to her 
and had no trouble in taking out the handkerchief 
and the money. She was walking down toward the 
river front and, having started in that direction, too, 
I had to continue for a block or so in order not to 
excite suspicion by turning back. I walked a little 
behind the woman, and, when we reached the middle 
of the block, she stopped and spoke to me: 

"I beg your pardon, madame, but can you tell 
me where the French line steamboats dock?" 

I directed her to the proper place and we got into 
conversation. She told me that she was going home 
to her mother in France in order to die there. She 
had been given up by the doctors here as an incur- 
able consumptive and had sold all her goods for a 
few hundred dollars with which she was to pay her 
fare and give the rest to her mother. I became in- 
terested in this, for it seemed to me that I had 
robbed a woman in distress of her last dollar, and 
that was something I did not like to do. 

I asked her if she had money besides the amount 
she drew out of the bank (she had told me of taking 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 257 

the money from the bank), and she said that was all 
she had in the world. I could not think of keeping 
her money after that, because, when the poor wom- 
an reached the ticket office and found her money 
gone and her trip abroad impossible, she would prob- 
ably have died of the shock. So I determined to put $ 
the money back in the poor Freneh woman's pocket 
I walked along with her to the ticket office and, 
while she was talking to the agent, I slipped the 
money back in her pocket. She bought her ticket 
and went aboard the boat and I felt pleased that 
I had not kept the money. 

That evening I told some of my criminal friends 
of the transaction, and several of them seemed dis- 
gusted with me because I had not put in some money 
of my own along with the small mite the woman had 
80 that she would be cheered up a bit. They thought 
it mean of me not to do more than I did to help 
along a woman so unfortunate as this sick woman. 

On several other occasions I voluntarily returned 
stolen money to people when I found out that they 
were more in need of it than myself. I stole a satchel 
from a woman in a bank once and it contained a few 
hundred dollars. The next day I discovered in the 
paper that the woman was blind and I was referred 
to as the meanest kind of a thief. When I learned 
this I hastened to return the money to the unfortu- 
nate woman. I never could sleep easy if I thought 
that any really deserving person suffered from my 
thieving. I tried to confine my work to people who 
could afford to lose their money and would soon 



258 SOPHIE LYONS 

forget tlie affair. A very poor person who loses 
the savings of a lifetime never gets over the shock 
of his or her loss and it causes real suffering. It 
didn't worry me any to make people feel resentful 
and indignant, but I could not bear the thought of 
making anybody unhappy. 

I was in Paris many years ago and stopping at 
one of the most fashionable hotels in the city. Mrs. 
Lorillard, the society woman, was occupying rooms 
adjoining mine, and I was trying to get her jewelry. 
She always carried a great amount of jewelry with 
her, and I knew the prize was a good one. She had 
two maids with her, one of whom had to keep watch 
over two satchels in which the jewelry was secreted. 

The maids were honest girls and we could not 
do any business through them, but we followed the 
party from place to place expecting that some time 
the girl would forget to take proper care of her 
satchels, and then our opportunity to steal them 
would arrive. A few days after Mrs. Lorillard had 
settled at this hotel she attended some reception in 
Paris and, of course, her jewelry bags had to be 
taken from the hotel safe, where they had been 
placed for safety. 

Mrs. Lorillard picked out the particular pieces of 
jewelry she wanted to wear at the reception, and 
closed up the two bags, turning them over to the 
maid to place in the safe. The maid came out of 
the apartment with the two bags, and I met her in 
the hall and began to ask her some trivial question. 
She stopped to talk with me and laid down the bags. 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 259 

While I kept her engaged in conversation a comrade 
of mine crept up, substituted another bag for one 
of the jewelry receptacles and skipped off. I con- 
tinued to talk a little longer and then the girl and 
I parted, she going downstairs to the safe with the 
two bags, not suspecting that I had deliberately held 
her in conversation while my friend had taken one 
of the precious bags. 

My associate went to another hotel and concealed 
the jewelry, while I stayed there in my room, not 
wishing to attract attention by leaving at such a 
critical time, for, after the robbery was discovered, 
if it had been found that I had left at the same 
time it would have been natural for suspicion to be 
directed at me. 

The following day, when the bags were sent for 
in order for Mrs. Lorillard to put back the jewels 
she had worn at the reception, it was found that one 
of the bags was missmg and there was great excite- 
ment. Detectives by the score were sent for and 
the whole hotel was searched top and bottom for 
a clew. 

That evening, after I had retired, I heard a woman 
sobbing in the adjoining room, and, as the sobs con- 
tinued for some time, I knocked and asked if I could 
be of assistance to her. She opened the door and 
invited me into her room. It was Mrs. Lorillard. 
She told me of the robbery and said that it was not 
the jewelry she worried about but the loss of a pic- 
ture of her dead child which was very dear to her. 
She thought more of the picture than the jewels 



260 SOPHIE LYONS 

and her grief over its disappearance was pathetic 
I consoled her as best I conld, and told her I had 
had some experience as a detective and thought I 
could secure the return of the picture without any- 
trouble, especially as it was not valuable to the 
thieves. The following day I took back the picture ] 
to the woman and she was overjoyed at its return. 
After remaining in the hotel long enough not to 
excite suspicion by my departure, I left to meet my 
pals and divide the proceeds of the job. The jewels 
we had taken were the best in the Lorillard collec- 
tion, and each one of the party made a good profit 
on the transaction. A number of years after this 
event Mrs. Lorillard committed suicide, which was 
induced by a spell of melancholy, brought on prob- 
ably by thoughts of her dead boy, whom she dearly 
loved. 

I have already mentioned how Langdon W. Moore, 
the notorious bank burglar, whose activities in New 
England made him more feared throughout that sec- 
tion than any other criminal who ever operated, 
once frustrated an attempt to rob a bank at France- 
town, New Hampshire, after having consented to 
participate in it, because the bank was located near 
his own birthplace and he did not feel like robbing 
his parents' old neighbors. 

This man Langdon, like many other criminals of 
the same caliber, made it a rule of his life never 
to use violence. Frequently he abandoned a con- 
templated criminal enterprise upon which he had 
spent months of hard work because he found that 



QUEEN OF THE BUEGLAES 261 

he could not carry out his original plan without in- 
juring a watchman or other person. 

Of course, when hard pressed it was sometimes 
necessary for Langdon to fight his way to liberty, 
but in such cases he always made reparation to the 
injured man as far as lay in his power. On one 
occasion, when he had fractured the skull of an of- 
ficer who had sought to capture him, he caused 
$2,500 in cash to be sent to the injured man. 

Other criminals frequently exhibit similar noble 
qualities. 

Loyalty to his comrades is another trait found in 
almost every professional criminal. "Honor amon£ 
thieves ' ' is a phrase commonly used, but few realize 
upon what a strong foundation it rests. I know of 
innumerable instances where criminals risked their 
own liberty and even their lives in order to assist 
a comrade in danger. 

Mark Shinburn, the noted bank burglar, once dis- 
played bravery and loyalty of a character which is 
seldom excelled even on the battlefield. He had 
participated with Eddie Quinn and a third bank 
burglar in the robbery of a Western bank. Just 
as the three were leaving the bank the watchman 
appeared upon the scene. There was nothing to dt 
but run. The watchman opened fire. Quin 
dropped. Without a moment's hesitation Shinbu:- 
stopped in his flight, although the watchman wfca 
close upon them, and, lifting his fallen comrade to 
xiis broad shoulders, continued his flight at reduced 
speed. 



262 SOPHIE LYONS 

Shinburn was a very powerful fellow and even 
with his wounded comrade on his shoulders he was 
able to outrun the watchman. He soon caught up 
with the third man of the party and they made for 
the woods. When they lowered Quinn to the ground 
they found that he was dying. The burglar had only 
a few minutes to live. Quinn was conscious and 
begged his comrades to get a priest to administer 
the last rites, realizing that his end was near. 

The two men with him knew it was impossible to 
get a priest, but they wanted to make the last mo- 
ments of Quinn 's life as happy as possible. To 
leave the woods at this time, however, was to invite 
capture, for the watchman had undoubtedly aroused 
the neighborhood and the woods would naturally 
be the first place searched for the fugitives. Never- 
theless Shinburn decided to take a chance and left 
the dying man to comply with his last wish. He 
knew that it would be almost impossible to get a 
priest, but he broke into a furnishing store on the 
outskirts of the woods and went back to his dying 
comrade wearing a costume very much like that of 
a priest. 

The approaching hand of death had dimmed the 
dying burglar's sight and he had no suspicion that 
the "priest" was his big-hearted comrade. In a 
slow, solemn tone Shinburn spoke words of en- 
couragement to his dying friend, and the unfortu- 
nate man passed away, comforted by what he 
thought were the sacred words of a priest. 

But instances of noble deeds among criminals 



^UEEN OF THE BUEGLARS 263 

whose souls are generally believed to be wholly 
black might be narrated without end. These men 
and women who declare war against society only to 
find that CRIME DOES NOT PAY are not without 
their redeeming qualities. 

Their evil deeds are published far and wide, but 
\ne good that they do seldom comes to light. 

SOPHIE LYONS. 



THE END. 



264 SOPHIE LYONS 



AN INTERVIEW WITH SOPHIE LYONS 

FORMER QUEEN OF CRIMINALS, WHO ANNOUNCES THAT SHf 

WILL DEVOTE THE REST OP HER LIFE AND HER 

FORTUNE OF $500,000 TO SAVING 

FIRST OFFENDERS. 

Sophie Lyons has turned reformer. 

With the mellowing influence of years, she is now 66, 
the erstwhile queen of women criminals has decided that 
crime does not pay and intends to devote her fortune and 
remaining days to saving others from paths that have 
been hers. 

Her new resolution, she says, probably will alienate her 
husband, ' 'Billy' ' Burke, who recently completed a prison 
term in Stockholm, Sweden. "I want to accomplish his 
reformation more than I do any other person's, no matter 
what the cost," she declared. "He is weak and easily 
tempted, and his criminal operations were not induced by 
necessity, as were mine. If my plans will help to make 
him a good man I shall feel they are not in vain." 

In her modest little home Mrs. Lyons-Burke, who for 
40 years was known intimately to the police of two conti- 
nents and whose acquaintance with the interior of jails and 
prisons is world-wide, outlined to a representative her 
plans for the redemption of criminals. 

"I haven't a great many years to live and I am worth 
half a million dollars," Mrs. Burke said. "I want to 
make amends as far as possible for what I have done in 
the past. I have lived a straight life for 25 years, and 
have accumulated much property by legitimate means 
But there is something I crave more than money. Do 
you know what that is? It is the respect of good people. 
Maybe I can get some of this by showing that I am not 
all bad and that I am sincere in my effort to help others. ' ' 

Great tears coursed down Mrs. Burke's face as she told 
of recent efforts to Obtain the good-will and friendship of 
persons whose respectability is unquestioned. One of these 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 265 

is a p.istor of a Detroit church, who, she said, had urged 
her to talk to his congregation on the futility of a life of 
crime. She declined, feeling that she had no right to in- 
trude herself among church people. 

In her scheme for the saving of criminals, Mrs. Burke 
said that she intends to pay particular attention to first 
offenders and will exert every effort to prevail upon them 
to return to a life of respectability. "You know how 
hard it is for a man or woman to secure permanent work 
after leaving prison? I am going to help some of these. 
They will find a friend in Sophie Lyons/ 

Mrs. Burke said that she was considering an offer from 
a vaudeville booking concern to give 20-minute talks from 
the stage. "Do you think this would be a good idea?" sho 
inquired eagerly. "I have had the same proposition from 
a lyceum lecture bureau, but I believe I can better reach 
those I want to reach in the theaters. If I decide to go on 
the stage every cent of the money I get will go to carry 
out my plans for reformation and to charity. ' ' 

That she has an ambition to accomplish much good and 
to die poor, was Mrs. Burke's declaration. "My children 
are grown and self-supporting, and all my money and real 
estate will go to save criminals and to other charities," she 
said. The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Chil- 
dren was mentioned by Mrs. Burke as being one of her fa- 
vorite charities. "I am doing something for this organi- 
zation right along," she said, "and I expect to leave it a 
substantial bequest. ' ' 

SOPHIE LYONS AIDS EVICTED FAMILY 

REFORMED CONFIDENCE WOMAN TAKES IN WHEBLE18, WHO 
LIVED IN TENT 

VT2RSES IN JEWISH BIBLE INFLUENCE HER TO ACTION — WANT3 
TO SHOW CHARITY 

Mrs. Sophie Lyons-Burke was reading a Jewish prayer 
book in her home at 42 Twenty-third Street yesterday 
afternoon. She had just completed the following, which 
is a prayer for joyful occasions, when she had a visitor: 



266 SOPHIE LYONS 

"Thou, O God, hast always been gracious unto me and 
hast often sent me joys even when I least deserved them. 
For all this abundance of Thy goodness I humbly thank 
Thee, and for the new happiness that comes to me (and 
my household) my soul is filled with gratitude. Let me 
not grow overbearing in prosperity nor arrogant because 
of my success, but let me enjoy Thy blessings with becom- 
ing gratitude and humility. Nor let me ever forget that 
the most acceptable thank-offering is to bring light and joy 
to those that sit in darkness and affliction, and give heed to 
the hungry and comfort the broken-hearted. May I, by 
doing what is pleasing to Thee, continue to find grace and 
favor in Thy sight. ' ' 

Everybody knows Sophie Lyons. They know about her 
past and about her present husband, who got into a Swed- 
ish prison through a little affair over diamonds, causing 
Sophie to cross the sea to cheer him up. They know of her 
utterance that a husband should be allowed an affinity 
now and then to add to the zest of his life, but in this in- 
stance she appears in a different light. Long ago she 
"squared it" with the police. Now she is evidently trying 
to "square it" with a higher authority. And this con- 
nects the prayer with the visitor. 

The man who rapped on her door was A. H. Jones, 
inspector for the city poor commission. He was weary 
and almost discouraged, having been out since early 
morning looking for a home for the Wheelers. The 
Wheelers, husband, wife and six children, had been evicted 
from their residence at 92 Cahalan Street Monday, the 
owner desiring to sell and not to rent the place. From 
then on they lived in a tent-like structure in a vacant lot 
alongside the house they had inhabited. 

"You own a cottage at 51 Twenty-third Street?" asked 
Mr. Jones. 

"Yes," was the reply; "but it is rented, I guess. Any- 
way, a man has agreed to take it. ' ' 

Then followed the recital of the troubles of the Wheel- 
ers, the attempts of the city agent to find shelter, the offer 
of $10 a month for the barn and the failure because of the 
children. 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 267 

Mrs. Burke thought for a moment. Then she smiled : 

"See here what I was reading,'* she said. " 'The most 
acceptable thank-offering is to bring light and joy to those 
that sit in darkness.' You may put that family in that 
house. It has been remodeled, and is just about new. It 
has seven rooms and a bathroom, and will be all right, I 
guess. I will tell you why I am doing this. 

"If I have all the world and have not charity I can 
never enter the gates of heaven.' ' 

The Wheelers moved to-day. Their furniture was all 
arranged about the tent, so there was no taking up of 
carpets or anything like that, loading into a van being all 
that was necessary. If it rains to-night, the man, incapaci- 
tated from work, won't lie awake and shiver and wonder 
how long it will take the downpour to soak through his 
shelter. He and his will be safe beneath a roof, a roof be- 
longing to Sophie Lyons-Burke. 



SOPHIE LYONS RETURNS 

"CONFIDENCE QUEEN* ■ ENDS HER TWENTIETH TOUB ©P THE 

WORLD 

Sophie Lyons, once called the "cleverest crook in the 
world" and the Confidence Queen, arrived recently in the 
first cabin of the French liner La Lorraine, attired in the 
latest Parisian style of dress for an elderly woman, several 
trunks and a jewel case that the customs men made her 
open, unwilling to take her word that there was nothing 
dutiable in it. 

Sophie is worth a half million, she says, and she has been 
for the last several years living "on the level" and looking 
over the world from the viewpoint of one who has or be- 
lieves she has a taste for literature. Her trip on the Lot 
mine was the end, she said, of her twentieth tour of th« 
world. 

The customs men who insisted on the opening of the 
jewel case, made fast by a padlock, were surprised to 
find nothing in it except a Jewish prayer book. One of 
the prayers that Sophie had marked ran thus: 



268 SOPHIE LYONS 

"Thou, O Lord, hast always been gracious to me, and 
hast often sent me joys when I did least deserve them. 
For all this abundance of Thy goodness I humbly thank 
thee." 

Sophie said she was a Jewess, despite her name, which is 
supplemented legitimately by Burke, Christian name Billy, 
who is in a Swedish prison. Sophie admitted yesterday 
that she was 65, but the records give her a few more years. 
She looks younger. She said she had spent the last seven 
months in leisurely circling the globe, and that she was 
engaged in writing another book to be called "Crime 
Queen, ' ' which would be in a measure autobiographical. 

Sophie is the daughter of a Holland Jew named Van 
Elkan, she says, and her grandfather was a rabbi. 



SOME LETTERS 

St. Mary's Hospital, Detroit, Mich. 
Mrs. Sophie Lyons Burke, 

City. 
Dear Madam: — 

I just learned that God was pleased to call home Mr. 
Burke early this morning. I know that you submit to God's 
holy will. 

May the soul of Mr. Burke rest in peace. In the language 
of the church, "I commend to Thee, Lord, the soul of 
thy servant William, and I pray Thee that Thou who earnest 
to this earth for his sake refuse him not to rest on the bosom 
cf Thy Patriarch Abraham.' ' 
You have my sympathy in your loss. 

Fr. Kaupmann. 



"WHEN DREAMS COME TRUE." 

Detroit, Mich., Dec. 30, 1919. 
My Dear Madam : — 

Yesterday I read the following local item in The Detroit 
Free Press: "Mrs. Sophie Lyons spoke Sunday afternoon 



QUEEN OP THE BURGLARS 269 

at the House of Correction. Crime was her subject. She 
contributed $500, to be used for relief of families of men 
confined in the institution; $500 to the inmates of Sing 
Sing, and $500 for the inmates of Auburn Prison, Auburn, 
New York, and to many other institutions in this country." 
You certainly have cast your bread upon the waters. 

I pondered over this passing notice for a long time, and 
tried to connect the act with some experience of yours in 
the long ago, when you, like those you are now aiding, felt 
the pangs of penury and hunger gnawing at your heart 
and dreamed your dreams of what you would do should 
fortune ever lift you from the depths and put you in a 
position to be independent of adversity's stings. 

The majority of men in prison with the capacity for in- 
telligent thinking, dream along philanthropical lines — they 
get so little of what little would make them happy, that 
born of their deprivations is their thought of what they 
would do should fortune smile, so subjectively they build 
asylums, aid the helpless and feed the hungry. But when 
fortune does come to them, the dreams that they dreamed 
when they were groping in shadowland are forgotten, or 
are put off by the old procrastinating thought, "when I get 
a little more, thus and thus shall I do, ' ' so in self-deception 
they wend their way and finally "go down to the vile dust 
from whence they sprung, unwept, unhonored and un- 
sung.' ' 

But you dreamed true — and your acts of generosity and 
helpful words to the closed-ins will bear fruit that will 
shed fragrance on your name when earth shall know you 
no more. No matter what I or any one think of you, your 
unpretentious deeds in the behalf of suffering humanity 
will be your monument. As a good lady said in my pres- 
ence, "You, Sophie Lyons, are joy to those that sit in dark- 
ness and affliction, and God will bless you ever more," so 
say I. 

Needing nothing, wanting nothing, I hope you will accept 
this letter as a sincere expression of my appreciation of 
your labor and its purpose. I am, 

Yours faithfully, 

Benjamin Williams. 



270 SOPHIE LYONS 

Detroit, Mich., April 28, 1921. 
Mrs. Sophia Lyons, 
Detroit, Mich. 
My Dear Mrs. Lyons: — 

I cannot resist the temptation of writing yon and ex-i 
pressing my sincere gratitude towards yon for the kind 
and noble work you are performing daily among so many 
broken-hearted, unfortunate people who feel that they are 
by the world forgotten and no one cares. 

When in the most gloomy moments a kind little form will 
come and scatter seeds of kindness (by words and deeds), 
making them feel that it is not all of life to live nor all of 
death to die. 

In my mind I can picture you before them in your own 
sweet little way, telling them that crime does not pay, and 
no matter how dark and gloomy it has been, Our Father 
can wash it all away, never thinking of what you are to- 
day, nor of all your wealth, and the pleasures you might 
derive from it, instead of spending your time lifting up the 
fallen. 

But to me it seems the only joy and happiness you find 
is in uplifting and trying to help, no matter what creed or 
color, to leave the past behind and come forth with a clean 
and honest heart, to start the world anew and not fall 
again in sin. 

Words cannot express the good you are doing and what 
I myself have witnessed not only in words, my dear Mrs. 
Lyons, but in actions as well. Never have I seen anyone 
so willing to help financially. Recalling to mind one in- 
stance at the County Jail, when you gave $10.00 to help a 
poor girl, and I can still hear your words echoing in my 
ears when you said, "It does not matter whether you need 
twenty-five, fifty or one hundred dollars, it does not matter 
so long as the girl goes straight." And patiently here at 
the Detroit House of Correction, where so many are de- 
prived of the pleasure of the world, we hear them speaking 
among themselves of their one true pal and her last visit 
and anticipating with pleasure the time for her next visit, 
and hear them singing the song, not Oh, What a Pal Is 
Mary, but Oh, What a Pal Is Sophie. My dear Mrs. Lyons, 
I could keep on writing for several hours and then not 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 271 

explain half, but I know yon will understand that I appre- 
ciate not only what you have done for the girls, but also 
your kind and noble advice to me. I think them, over and 
over and try to follow your footprints and hope God will 
spare you to us, to encourage and guide us for many years 
to come. 

Hoping I will soon have the pleasure of seeing you, I 
close now, remaining as ever your true friend. 

Gratefully, 

Catherine Ulrich. 



Detroit, Mich., May 18, 1921. 
My Dear Mrs. Lyons : 

Remembrances of the past, running through my mind 
to-day, I cannot resist the temptation of writing to you. 

Old memories give me new hope and more strength to 
work with a hearty will among the poor unfortunates that 
surround me, as I recall to mind your teachings, and I am 
daily trying to follow your footsteps and to learn your way 
of bringing sunshine to the dear girls who have had the 
misfortune to be here under our own care. 

God knows, and you, my dear, know only too well, what 
it all means and just what will touch the heart of one and 
every one so they will be content while here and long for 
an earnest uplift and straight and honest start, when 
the iron bars turn them to their freedom. 

What a Godsend to have a dear little lady like you who 
is always willing to share all our sorrows and cares, and to 
turn all darkness and sadness to sunshine. It seems as if 
you were an angel from above, never tiring nor discour- 
aged, with so many laying their burdens on your shoul- 
ders, just seems the same as saying, Let the little ones come 
unto me, and I will give them rest. 

I just feel as if I would like a heart to heart talk, and 
I know it would be answered and it means all the world 
to me. 

I was just thinking of the evening you called me up con- 
cerning Mr. Burke's illness, how faithfully you struggled 
and worked until you got him to see that crime does not 



272 SOPHIE LYONS 

pay, and to turn to his Creator and Maker. Night and 
day your little body never rested until your struggles had 
been rewarded, and he had clung to his Father in Heaven. 
A true and loving wife in life and at the time of death a 
comforting angel. 

Not only here at the Detroit House of Correction and at 
the County Jail, but all the hospitals are visited by you, 
gliding gently from bed to bed of sorrow and sickness, giv- 
ing comforting words and the little tokens that mean so 
much at such times, brightening many broken hearts. But 
few know the little lady of the noble deeds, but God knows, 
and what a noble reward you shall reap some day. 

Just comes to my mind an evening in the County Jail, 
after having talked and remembering all the girls, when 
the woman who had charge of the church services for years 
came by and you handed her $100, saying, " Just a remem- 
brance from us girls for the many kindnesses you have 
shown us." I could recall many more instances, but I do 
not wish to tire you, so with best wishes and hoping to 
see yoa or hear from you soon, I beg to remain your true 
friend, believe me. 

Catherine Ulrich. 



Detroit, Mich., April 22, 1921. 
Mrs. Sophia Burke-Lyons, 

908 23d Street, Detroit, Mich. 
Dear Mrs. Sophy : 

Please accept my sincerest congratulations to the great 
Holy-days which you are going to celebrate this evening. 
May God give that very soon your people will be free from 
the cruel persecution which they have to undergo at the 
present time in the different parts of the world and that 
they may enjoy the blessings of Almighty God as they did 
in the days of old. For you I pray especially every day 
that God may continue to bless you and to support you in 
the noble work that you have done in the past for the 
relief of the poorest of the poor. I am sure that God is 
more than pleased with your work and that in response 
to it He will give to your noble heart that peace and heav- 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 273 

only joy which the world with its crimes and sins will 
never give to anyone. Again, may God bless you, dear 
Mrs. Sophy, and may He give you still many years to con- 
tinue the great work that you have started for His greater 
honor and for the salvation of your soul. 

May I tell you the reason why I did not yet call you up 
in regard to our visit to the Rt. Rev. Bishop? His Lord- 
ship was out of town up to to-day, but as soon as lie has 
made the appointment to see him I will let you know by 
'phone. 

Repeating again my participation in the joy of your great 
holy-days, I remain very respectfully, 
Your friend, 

Rev. Ferd. Grentzkampf. 



ct 



BEATING THE GAME. 



BEAD WHAT HERBERT KAUFMAN, PUBLISHER OP M'CLURE'S 
MAGAZINE, SAYS ABOUT SOPHIE LYONS. 

She didn't stand a show — the cards were stacked against 
her at birth. She entered life by a crooked path. Her 
mother was a receiver of stolen goods. Their home was a 
thieves' meeting place. She played on the sidewalks of 
an unspeakable street. When she was old enough, they 
sent her out as a shoplifter and in time she married a 
cracksman. 

Nobody ever more strongly vindicated the theory that 
criminals are born, not made. 

But you folks who are cock-sure that it's so may prepare 
for a jolt on the solar plexus of that particular conviction. 

Sophie Lyons beat the game. She bucked the odds and 
won — triumphed over environment, ancestry and rearing 
— turned the past into a doormat, wiped the mud off her 
feet and took the clean, straight road. Her talents, legiti- 
mately directed, made her a rich woman. She established 
herself in business and accumulated a fortune. Now she 
is building a wonderful home for wayward girls. 



274 SOPHIE LYONS 

What^s that — unfair to dig into her record at this late 
day? Why, bless you, she's been telling all about it her- 
self. Sophie Lyons isn't ashamed to acknowledge what she 
was — 'she's far too proud of what she is. A wrong start 
doesn't count when you finish right. 

Herbert Kaufman. 



Detroit, Mich., March 24, 1921. 
Mrs. Sophie Lyons, 
My Dear Friend: 

I have been reading some press clippings telling of your 
addresses recently made by you in the House of Correction 
and various other prison's throughout this country, and 
also in the Capitol at Lansing, Mich., on the subject of 
capital punishment and the duty of the public towards the 
criminal. "What results come as the reward of your untir- 
ing, unselfish efforts I am not in a position to know, but 
if your work is to be measured only by its influence upon 
one, the writer, you may truly feel that your labors have 
not been in vain. 

You know that to-day I am not without respect and honor 
among men. Few people to-day know as you do what I 
once was — a man pointed out by criminologists as a per- 
fect type of the habitual irreclaimable criminal. Years 
ago, when you said to me, "Find yourself, win out as I 
have done," I laughed at you. What you saw in me God 
alone knows, but you had faith that was lacking in myself, 
not because of weak willing power. The incentive was 
lacking. I who had listened to Eloquence pleading for 
my life as forfeit for an act done in a mad moment — to re- 
form, to rise like the fabled bird of old from my own ashes 
and become a new and better man. Absurd. But you 
persisted, encouraged and gave of your means to aid me in 
the initial steps. To-day I can truly say, "You Created a 
Man." 

I, who know the intensity of your appeal, your untiring 
efforts night and day, in behalf of poor souls groping in 
the shadows of want and sin, can appreciate the sacrifice 
you make for fallen men and women. But does society 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 275 

appreciate ? I fear not — fully. But I know there are hearts 
that experience a warm glow at mention of your name — 
the ones to whom you gave of your strength until they 
were strong enough to stand alone. Your belief is that 
there is a little germ of good in every man, and that it is 
far better to cultivate this little seed until it shall ripen 
into the heart of an honest, upright man — God's highest 
work — than to bury it from the glory of God's sun till it 
shall moulder and die. 

As I finished the last sentence the voice of my little 
daughter, my only child, so precious to my heart, came 
echoing in from a nearby room — "Papa, don't leave us 
any more. Mama cries all night when you don't come 
home." I was chilled by a strangely awesome thought: 
What might have been had not twelve men in an unfriendly 
atmosphere been brave enough to return a just verdict? 
1 ' Thou shalt not kill ' ' is the biblical admonition, yet to-day 
there are men who would throw civilization backwards hun- 
dreds of years by enacting a law in Michigan to restore the 
death penalty. 

Strange that our law-makers do not recognize the fact 
that the men that the courts sentence to the " chair' ' or the 
hangman's knot are but in few instances from the ranks 
of the known criminal. 

The majority of men arrested for killing their fellow 
men are just children grown up. I am glad that you stand 
ready to use your voice, pen and means in opposition to 
all measures that make for retrogression — not progress. 

God certainly calls you to do this noble work, and if the 
many who listen to your pleadings will make the spirit of 
your counsels their guide, and will reform, lead good, up- 
right lives, they will find when they are placed in God's 
great crucible and the final analysis is made they will be 
pronounced pure gold. 

In your efforts in the behalf of the down and outers — 
many perhaps more sinned against than sinning — you have 
the good wishes and the good thought of your 
Sincere friend, 



276 SOPHIE LYONS 

Detroit, Mich., April 7, 1921. 
Mrs. Sophie Lyons Burke, 

908 Twenty-third Street, Detroit, Mich. 
Dear Mrs. Burke: — 

Detroit owes you a debt of gratitude and praise for the 
splendid, self-sacrificing work of love and mercy you are 
doing for the criminals and poor unfortunates in the jails 
and penal institutions in our city. The value of the saving 
and genuine reformation of a criminal cannot be valued 
in dollars and cents. 

Many of us do not realize the distress and suffering exist- 
ing, especially among the women unfortunates, who per- 
haps through a lack of proper home training and environ- 
ment and other circumstances, over which they have had 
no control, have gone astray. 

Women and girls have to contend against greater odds 
than man, and surely too much help cannot be bestowed 
upon them. 

It is sincerely hoped that your life may be spared many 
years to continue your noble, philanthropic work, and that 
many more will follow your example to help make Detroit 
the best and safest city in which to live. 
Respectfully yours, 

Jno. S. Henry. 



THE DAUGHTER OF AN AMERICAN SOLDIER. 

Third Army Corps Union, Kingston, May 30, 1917. 
Mrs. Burke: 

In compliance with your request by mail, your flag was 
spread over the "low green tent" where your father sleeps, 
and Mr. Downs, the caretaker of Willwyck Cemetery, as- 
sures me that he will take care of it and spread it on your 
father's grave on each recurring Memorial Day. 

The regulation marks and flag mark this grave as that 
of all members of Pratt Post. 

Respectfully yours, 

James H. Everett, 
Comd. Pratt Post, G. A. R. 



QUEEN OF THE BURGLARS 277 

Seattle, Wash., March 29, 1921. 
To My Sorrowing Mother: 

Have just received your very kind letter with terrible 
news of the anticipated action by the Michigan State Legis- 
lature in reference to death penalty, etc. 

I must confess that this is very disappointing, and I can 
fully realize the terrible shock that it has given my mother, 
also the grief and sorrow that you have suffered in finding 
that your efforts to help inculcate the spirit of charity and 
kindliness in modern legislation have been unavailing at this 
time. 

In your ■sorrows and trials, believe me, Mother dear, I 
join you, but as our Lord said, Father, forgive them. They 
know not what they do. So we likewise must be charitable 
and forgiving too. 

Not long ago we had the very same question come before 
the people of this State. Everybody had the right to vote 
for or against the death penalty, and I can assure my 
Mother that I voted No. Furthermore, I persuaded many 
others to do the same, but nevertheless it was passed and 
now stands as a relic of the dark ages and a black mark 
of barbarism on the statutes of this sovereign common- 
wealth. 

As you have so often said, the lash and scaffold do not 
make for good citizenship, but education and kindly Chris- 
tian teaching are the methods by which our people and the 
whole world can be brought to a higher plane of civiliza- 
tion, and I believe as my Mother has so often started, that 
no other means will avail. 

While our lives have been lived apart, I still have the 
most beautiful recollection of my Angel Mother teaching 
me to lisp my baby prayers, also the many examples of 
those who were not living properly pointed out as beinfc 
wrong, and that if I wished to grow up to be a good man 
who would gladden your declining years, that I would also 
remember your teachings and be governed accordingly, and 
to-day you have the assurance from your son that he has 
never forgotten those wonderful words of wisdom, and I 
regret that others have not done so, too, because a Mother 
can impress upon the minds of her babies those principles 
which make for? the highest and best types of citizenship. 



27, 



8 SOPHIE LYONS 

Well, Mother dear, you have the satisfaction and con- 
solation of knowing that you left no stone unturned in 
your efforts to prevent this barbarous act of legislation from 
disgracing the statutes of our State, and when one has done 
all that could be done and there is nothing more that you 
can do in the matter, therefore I should suggest that the 
subject be dismissed, otherwise it will worry you to the 
extreme, and, as you know, nothing can be accomplished 
by brooding. It is better that we take up some other sub- 
ject and probably success will crown our efforts the next 
time. 

Will close now with love and affection, 
Your most devoted son, 

Victor. 



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ARSENE LUPIN 

Gentleman Burglar. 
By MAURICE LEBLANC 



So lovable a rascal aj 
ARSENE LUPIN hai 

not appeared in fictioi 
since "Raffles" anc 
" Sherlock Holmes ' 
made a nar~ e for them 
selves, a^i brough' 
fame and fortune tc 
their creators. 

This book sets fortr. 
at length the extraordi- 
nary and entertaining 
adventures of a viva- 
cious prince of rascals, 
who, withal, is so sym- 
pathetic that all he doe! 
seems just, and in spite 
of one's-self, one sc 
hopes for the success oj 
his enterprises, thai 
morality itself seems tc 
be on his side. 

Those who appreciate 
exciting, absorbing 
tales of adventure, anc 
who enjoy a contest oi 
brains rather than 61 
brawn, should not fat 
to read this book. 



12mo, cloth bound. 
Price s $1.00 postpaid, 



BERKELEY LIBRARIES 




/-mu 3i Dnqi 



TWO GREAT DETECTIVE STORIES 

The Adventures of 

ARSENE LUPIN 

GENTLEMAN BURGLAR, 

. , . AND . . . 

ARSENE LUPIN 

versus 

HERLOCK SHOLMES. 

By M AURICE LEB LANC. 

Not since the great success and wide popularity of <; Sherlock 
Holmes," has there appeared in rktion a character so interesting, 
so vivacious, full of gaiety of irony, and of the unexpected as 
ARSENE LUPIN. Maurice Leblanc can be compared only to 
A. Conan Doyle, They have the lame power of recital, the same 
capacity in intrigue, the same science of mystery, the same rigor- 
ous chain of facts, tr-3 same sobriety of means. 

With Sherlock Holmes one is each time facing a new robbery 
and a new crime. With ARSENE LUPIN we know in advance 
he is the gui^ one. We know, thnt when we shall have un- 
ravelled ths tangled threads of the story, we shall find ourselves 
facing the famous Gentleman Burglar. But with the aid of 
processes which the most adept are not able to fathom, the author 
holds your attention to the very end of each adventure, and the 
dramatic termination is always the unexpected. 

ARSENE LUPIN does cot steal, he simply amuses himself 
by stealing. He chooses, at need he restores. He is noble, 
charming, chivalrous, delicate, Thidf and burglar, robber and 
confidence man, anything you could wish, but so sympathetic — 
the bandit ! If you appreciate skill, ability, resourcefulness, and 
a battle between master-minds, do not fail to read these books, 
which we have just published in two vol.imes under the titles as 
given above. i2mo, cloth bound, 300 pages, new, large type„ 
PRICE, $1.00 PER COPY, POSTPAID. 
Yow can buy these at any bookstore or direct from us. 

J. 5. OQILVIE PUBLISHING COflPANV, 

57 Rose Street. New York