Benjamin Thomas, Theft > burglary, 26th May 1748.

Reference Number: t17480526-21
Offence: Theft > burglary
Verdict: Guilty > lesser offence
Punishment: Death

285. + Benjamin Thomas , of St. Margaret's, Westminster , was indicted, for that he on 30th day of April, 17 48, between the hours of two and three in the night of the same day, the dwelling-house of Samuel Tufnell , Esq; did break and enter, and a silver watch of the value of 3 l. 212 pieces of gold coin of the proper coin of this realm, called guineas, of the value of 222 l. 12 s. and one piece of gold coin of the proper coin of this realm, called an half guinea, of the value of 10 s. 6 d. did feloniously steal, take, and carry away .

There was another account in the indictment, that the said Benjamin Thomas , on the said 30th day of April, a silver watch, value 3 l. 212 guineas, value 222 l. 12 s. and an half guinea, value 10 s. 6 d. in the dwelling-house of the said Samuel Tufnell , Esq; feloniously did steal, take, and carry away, against the peace of our sovereign lord the King, &c.

Samuel Tufnell . On the 30th of April last, between two and three in the morning, the Prisoner at the bar broke into the back part of my house.

Q. What had the Prisoner been?

Tufnell. The Prisoner had lived with me as a servant between three or four years, and had been gone about six months.

Q. In what manner did he break into your house?

Tufnell . He broke a pane of glass, unscrew'd the pin of the back window, and unbolted a back door that goes into the yard; from thence he went into a parlour, where there was a bureau, and broke two locks open, and out of that bureau took 212 guineas and an half, and a silver watch.

Q. Where was you?

Tufnell . I was in the country then.

Q Was any body in the house?

Tufnell. All my family, but myself.

Q. How do you know this?

Tufnel. In the morning, when the servants got up, they told Mrs. Tufnell, and she sent a letter into the country for me; upon which I came to town, and when I saw the nature of the breaking open this bureau, I suspected this man, and knew it could be no other person but him, or one other person. I got a warrant, and went to his lodging in New-Tothill Street, Westminster, with Mr. Neale and the constable, and sent them up, but I staid below. They found the Prisoner, and charged him with this theft, and they found the watch and money upon him.

James Neale . On Monday the first of May, in the morning, Mr. Tufnell being out of town, Mrs. Tufnell sent for me, to inform me that her house was broke open, and to consult what was proper to be done, and I wrote to Mr. Tufnell. (I found a tool in the house, which belonged to some joiners, who were working hard by, and they owned the tool.) Upon which Mr. Tufnell came to town, and got a warrant, and we went to the Prisoner's lodgings ; he said he was surprized that I should suspect him. I saw him go to a trunk, which stood at the corner of the room, and he was fumbling about something; while I was looking into the drawers, he took something out of the trunk, and put it under his coat; I opened his coat, and there was the bag and the money: I said, are not you a rogue? this is your master's money; he made some little quibbles about it, which I do not very well remember; then I asked him after the watch, he denied it at first, but afterwards pulled it out from under some linen. He acknowledged the fact, and asked pardon.

Edward Underwood . I was the constable that took the Prisoner. I went with Mr. Tufnell and Mr. Neale to the Prisoner's lodging, and I was the first person that went into the room, and Mr. Neale cam e after me. Mr. Neale taxed the Prisoner with it, and he denied it very much; we searched some drawers, and found nothing; and I saw an old trunk that he was fumbling at, and saw him put a bag into his breast. I said to Mr. Neale , he has put a bag into his breast, and Mr. Neale opened his coat, and took it from him. I asked after the watch, he denied it at first, but it was put under some linen that lay upon the table, and he delivered the watch to us. [The watch was produced.]

Q. (to Mr. Tufnell.) Is that your watch?

Tufnell. This is my watch.

Q. What, the watch that was in the bureau along with the money?

Tufnell . Yes.

Q. (to Mr. Neale.) Was all the money found?

Neale. Yes; but he had taken six guineas out of the bag, and put it into another.

The Prisoner made no defence, but begged for the mercy of the Court.

The Jury found him guilty of the felony of stealing in the dwellinghouse, and acquitted him of the burglary .

Death .


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