17th October 1781
Theft - pocketpicking
618. WILLIAM STATIA was indicted for stealing 5 s. in monies numbered, the property of Michael Tooley, privately from his person, September the 4th.
MICHAEL TOOLEY sworn.
O Going over Moorfields, in my way home, at past eleven at night, on the 4th of September, the prisoner came upon me unawares, and said something about the clock. It a little surprised me. I did not know what he said. He shoved me and hustled me about. At last, I catched hold of his hand coming out of my waistcoat pocket. He broke his hold, and ran across Moorfields; and he took 5 s. I pursued him, and went down a lane.
I cried out, Stop thief! When I followed him down this lane, he turned back again, and came to me, and said, Hush! here is 2 s. for you. I said, You rascal, what do you offer me 2 s. when you have taken 5 s.! Upon which he said, Blast you! and catched me hold by the collar, and said, Now call out Watchman as fast as you will. He followed me, and called, Watch! The watch came. Then he charged me. He said that he was making water, and I attempted to lay hold of his private parts. Upon searching him, there were 4 s. and some odd halfpence found upon him.
WILLIAM BOWMAN sworn.
O The prosecutor was in another room, in custody, when the prisoner was searched. The prisoner charged him with attempting sodomy. The prosecutor said, You villain, how can you charge me with that, when you robbed me of 5 s.! He had 3 s. in silver. They charged one another; but the prisoner is the man that cried out, Watch! three different times.
O The prosecutor met me. I stopped to make water. He behaved in an indecent manner. I halloa'd out, Watch! He took to his heels, and ran. The watchmen ran after us. He ran down Horse-shoe alley. I followed him, and brought him back to the watchman, and gave charge of him for what he had done. After that, he said I robbed him of 5 s.
Prisoner to Bowman.
O Did you run after us both?
O I did. They were both in Horseshoe alley. The prisoner had hold of Tooley's collar.
Court. Which called out Watch first?
O The prisoner did twice before I got up to him; and when I came up, the prisoner had hold of his collar. I believe, upon my oath, the prisoner would have left me three times in going to the watch-house, if I had not kept a good look-out upon him.
To the Prosecutor. How came you to put your silver in your waistcoat pocket?
O Because my breeches pockets were bad.
(The prisoner called four witnesses, who gave him a good character.)
[Verdict: Not Guilty]
Tried by the London Jury, before Mr. Justice NARES.