The case of the wallpaper thief

When Mrs Ellen Carpenter employed a young man to wallpaper her nursery she probably expected only to be paying for the paper and his time. Sadly for her (and her maid) she got a lot more than she bargained for.

John Anderson was only 16 but he arrived at the Ladbroke Grove address in late September 1873 and duly papered the children’s room. However, it seems he also helped himself to some of the household’s effects whilst he was at it.

The first person to realise something was wrong was the maid, a German woman who was not named in Anderson’s court appearance at Hammersmith. She noticed a ring of her’s attached to a scarf the lad was wearing and while he denied taking it she wrenched it back from him.

The maid’s discovery now set in motion a series of events. Mrs Carpenter soon discovered that her jewel case had been opened and she was missing a ring, a locket and a watch belonging to her husband. The police were called and Inspector Hocking made inquiries.

He soon found that the watch had been taken to as local shop (to be repaired) and several items of jewelry had ended up in the possession of a young lady named Adelaide Tillier (who was also charged in court with receiving them).

The young man claimed he had bought them for Adelaide but the pair had recently fallen out and ‘quarreled’. Whether he had taken them from the Carpenter’s home hoping to impress his girl or she was part of a more organised crime is unclear. The magistrate remanded them for trial.


[from The Morning Post, Friday, October 03, 1873]

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