Monday, February 1, 2021

Annie Davis & Alice Oates, Badger Game Con Artists – New York, 1891


FULL TEXT: The badger game plays upon pride. Therein lies its success. For when the police do succeed in trapping the badgers, the victim’s pride keeps him from making a complaint and the badgers get away. But there is a good chance that some of the badgers caught by Inspector Byrne's men on Friday night in East Twenty-sixth street will go to prison. One complaint has already been made against two of them, whom the complainant positively identifies. Inspector Byrnes hopes to find other complainants. Coffee Broker Charles Henry of Cincinnati failed to appear at the Tombs Police Court yesterday morning when the six prisoners with whom he spent part of the previous evening were arraigned. The prisoners were remanded in order that the police might have an opportunity to find him. Inspector Byrnes suspects that Mr. Henry is a citizen of New York. That is probably why he did not appear to prosecute the badgers as he promised to do when his rescuers let him go on Friday night.

Dr. Caleb J. Wood of 40 West Thirty-sixth street identities Annie Davis and Alice Oates
is the two women who stole his watch. About 9 o'clock on the evening of Nov. 18, when Dr. Wood was going to the Horse Show, a flashily dressed woman accosted him near the Madison Square Garden. She remarked that there is a large crowd going to the Horse Show. The doctor agreed with her. Just then another woman came up and raid to the first woman. “That's not the right man."

"Yes, it is." answered the other.

Then, before the Doctor could say Jack Robinson, there was a row, and one of the
women grabbed the Doctor's gold watch and both ran. Dr. Wood recognized Annie Davis as the one who stole the watch and Alice Oates as her accomplice.

The gang captured on Friday night is composed of old-timers. The police give an interesting account of them. They say the women have been working the badger game in Europe, and that they are two of four sisters, one of whom is now in jail in England. Both the men and the women are all-round crooks. Each of the men has been in prison several times. They hate taken to the badger game because it is less dangerous than their old ways of thieving. One of their most effective safeguards is that they rarely take all of their victim's money, and more rarely still a watch or other article of jewelry. If the victim has $100 the gang takes 75 or $80. The victim thinks that his money is all right until something causes him to count it.

Alice Oates was Addie Clark in 1874 when she was arrested with Tim Oates, her husband. Her most successful play at the badger game was when she caught Bookmaker Burton about a year ago and got about $1,400 from htm. Burton was very anxious to have her prosecuted, but when the time came for htm to make his complaint he went to Kentucky.

Annie Davis has half a dozen aliases and a bad record, and that's about all. Before her name got shortened to "English Jon” it was Jenny Jones. Inspector Byrnes says that I she and the Oates woman are sisters. They were servants in London before they took to thieving.

William Ferguson, alias Billy Devere, is a first-class burglar and all-round thief. He was generally looking for better game than he could get in the pocket-picking and sneak lines. His lofty ideas of the profession got him into prison two or three times and he went into something that was safer.

Joe, alias "Jimmie" Walsh, is another first-class burglar. He, too, found that life a little too arduous for the money made, so he went into the badger business. His part of the game was to hire and arrange the rooms. The gang kept constantly shifting, in order to escape notice, which their experience taught them would surely put the police on their track.

Mike McCarthy, alias Joseph, alias Rock Donovan, is but a little while out of Sing Sing, where he spent twenty years, less commutation, for stealing a diamond from a pawn broker. He added highway robbery to his other accomplishments in the stealing line.

Big Tim Oates was the leader of the gang, for twenty years he has been a boss pick-pocket, till tapper, and flim-flammer. After he got out from bis third term in prison not long ago he went to Europe. In London he worked the badger game with one of his wife's sisters, they got £400 or £500 from one man. Both were arrested. Oates agreed to give back the money and got off. He gave back $36 and skipped to this country with the rest. His accomplice is in jail now. The apartments of the gang were admirably fitted for the work for which they were used. They consisted of two rooms on the ground floor of 147 fast Twenty-sixth street; n plain old brick house two stories high. The rooms were furnished in a cheap, gaudy style with a lot of chromo-like pictures in gilt frames on the walls. Between the two rooms was a passageway about six feet wide. At either end of the passage was a closet. Lace curtains served for doors to the closets. Each closet was large enough for a man to conceal himself in it with ease. The entrance to the passageway from the front room was covered by tawdry portières of cheap canton flannel, covered with Japanese paper. These portières were pulled back, snowing what appeared to be folding doors. through these doors the book room was entered. There was also an entrance to each room from the hall.

These folding doors did not slide back, they opened into the passageway on hinges which had been carefully oiled that not a sound could be heard, no matter how clumsily they were opened. The furniture of both rooms was poor and old. There was a folding bed in each room, a marble-draped table, three or four chairs, a washstand. and a dresser. In the front room there was a rase full of mock flowers, and an extra stand near the door.

In the back room, directly in front of the folding doors, stood a sofa. In the picture of the front room, showing one of the folding doors open the back of the sofa appears. The position of the, sofa with reference to the room was occupied, one of the chairs placed closets makes its use apparent When the front near the portieres could easily serve a similar purpose.

[“Fine Place To Be Robbed In. – Everything Handy For the Badger Game In This Den. – A Chance That Some of the Six Prisoners Caught There May Go to Prison – Two Picked Out by Dr. Wood as Women Who Robbed Him in the Street – Rescued Coffee Broker Meary of Cincinnati Disappears – A New Yorker, Perhaps.” The Sun (New York, N. Y.), Nov. 29, 1891, p. 3]







No comments:

Post a Comment