[ Home Page ] [ Special Collections ] [ Directions ] [ Letter Index
APRIL 20, 1883

A Big Haul: What the Police Found in a Shop Lifter's Room One Thousand Dollars Worth of Stolen Goods.  How Mary Kershaw Plied Her Profession Creditable Work of the Police
On the evening of the 10th inst., Mary Kershaw was arrested by Capt. Howard for the larceny of a skirt from the store of Oswald & Aldred. She was taken before Judge Crosby on the following morning, but protested her innocence with a very great show of Indignation. Marshal McDonald had his suspicions regarding her and questioned her very closely. He finally concluded that she was a professional thief and so impressed the court with his suspicions that his request for a heavy sentence was granted, and she was sent to the house of correction for six months. Mary did not relish the sentence and expressed herself in language not over choice, quite freely to the officers. The marshal was not satisfied that the theft of the shawl was the only offense she had committed, and so he instructed the inspectors to endeavor to discover her haunt. This morning Inspector Morse obtained the much to be desired information. He had succeeded in tracing the woman to No. 6 John Street, and found that she had occupied a room in that building. The marshal, procuring a search warrant, took Deputy Wood and Inspectors Hayes and Morse with him, forced an entrance to the room, which proved a veritable storehouse of stolen goods. All the forenoon the officers labored, packing trunks and boxes with articles of every conceivable design and material. When they completed their task, they loaded a wagon with the spoils and took them to the station house, where they were arranged on tables for the inspection of those persons who may have missed goods from their stores. The seizure represents in round figures $1000, and is the greatest transaction of the kind that ever occurred in this city. 
Following is a list of some of the articles recovered:

1 box celluloid rings
1 plush picture frame
2 silk umbrellas
5 parasols
7 hats and bonnets
3 gilt easels
1 brass easel
1 doz. breast pins
4 pairs kid gloves
1 ulster
1 dolman
5 skirts, cotton and woolen
1 dress
2 wrappers
1 silk dress
1 waterproof
1 doz. aprons
5 pairs corsets
1/2 doz. towels
275 yards calico
30 pairs of woolen and cotton stockings
50 yards dress flannel
1 silk dolman
50 yards veiling
1/2 doz. fine night gowns
3 shawls
1 fur collar
100 yards of dress goods
30 yards silk
4 Russia - leather shopping bags
1 large album
4 pairs boots
1 pair overshoes
2 mirrors
50 yards silk and satin ribbon 
Silk handkerchiefs, cutlery, glass ware, silver spoons, ear - rings, bracelets, photographs, fancy cards, leather pocket books, rolls of gimp, needle cases, dinner pails, 'boss' coffee pots, China pitchers, glass decanters, perfumery, spools of silk, cotton thread, framed pictures, porcelain vases, elegant dessert plates, lines collars and cuffs, hair switches, China ornaments, hair - pins, Japanese cabinets, rolls of lace, fichus, neckties, tin dippers, wine glasses, egg cups, tumblers, card holders, jelly dishes, table spoons, and an infinity of articles too numerous to mention. 

The thief was careful to remove the tickets bearing the private marks from every article stolen, so that their identification will be very difficult. Mr. Aldred, of the firm Oswald & Aldred identified a hat as being his property, and no doubt the other dealers will be able to recognize goods that have been missed from the counters. Among the articles found were two professional shop lifter's bags, made of English goods. A number of letters from Blackpool, England addressed to Mary Fenton, were found and there were other letters from Rockdale, England. Fenton is Mrs. Kershaw's maiden name but she has not been living with her husband in this city. She is undoubtedly a professional English thief and her capture and the subsequent developments reflect much credit on the police. She will probably be brought up on a capias and taken before the grand jury at the next term.
A number of tickets have been recognized as having been attached to goods taken from H.J. Ryerson, Stuart & Reid, H.C. Church & Son, and Oswald & Aldred. An inspection and identification of the goods is invited.

[ Top Of Page ] [ Home Page ] [ Special Collections ] [ Letter Index ]