5th January 1835
Reference Numbert18350105-389
VerdictNot Guilty > unknown

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389. BERNARD KEHN and ROBSTOCK LEMANN were indicted for stealing, on the 12th of December, 1 boa, value 13l., the goods of Francis Szarka, in his dwelling-house.

FRANCIS SZARKA . On the 24th of December, I lived at No. 188, Strand. I occupied the house myself—it is in the parish of St. Clement Danes—I have a shop, and deal in furs and skins—on the 12th of December, I was called down to speak to the prisoners—they had asked to see some fur collars before I saw them—they were fur collars, of black lambs—they spoke French—I showed them some black lamb-skins—they selected two, with great nicety—they were a great while about it—they said they would leave them, and I requested them to mark the skins, as they were to leave them—they said that was of no consequence, for they were not suspicious, like the English—there were some common boas, lying across the counter, which were not good enough for them—they asked if I had any sable boas—they called them "sable"—I said, "Yes," and requested them to come back into the back shop—they went with me into the back shop, and I showed them some boas—I opened a drawer in which they were—they looked at several, and when they came to the prime sable tails, Kehn brushed up the hair, and said they were very nice, and they would bring their ladies tomorrow to select some—I showed them some muffs, which they looked at, and on looking back, I saw Kehn twist a boa round his hand, take the ticket off it, and show it to me, asking whether that was the price—I told him, "Yes"—after looking at the muffs, they departed, and took out a sovereign, and paid for the skins 12s.—that was all they bought—they went away—I went back into the back shop, and put away my boas—I instantly missed one of the best boas—I called to my daughter, and said I had been robbed—there were no boas lying about, when I first went into the back shop with the prisoners—they were all in the drawer—there was nobody in the back shop, besides myself and the prisoners, from the time they first went

in, till I missed the boa—the boa I missed, was one of those they had looked at—it was worth 13l.—I instantly called for my hat, put on my boots, and ran out to a tailor's shop, to inquire about them, as they said the fur was for collars—I did not find them—I went as far as Cheapside, and told Mr. Kohla, in case any body should come, to stop them—I went to my son, to caution him if two foreigners came to his shop—I have not seen the boa since.

Cross-examined by MR. PHILLIPS. Q. Is your son in the same line of business? A. He is—he does business for me since I have had two houses—he minds my business in Bond-street—my back shop is a small room—the boa was two yards and three quarters long, but may be put in a small compass—I did not go to the door with the prisoners—I went into the front shop with them out of the back parlour—it was between three and four o'clock, and daylight—I was pretty close to them—I gave them my son's card, and told them, as I was going to move my business, if they wanted any thing in that line, I would be obliged to them to call in Bond-street, where my son lived—I told them he was my son—I was about moving at the time—I had taken stock about three weeks or a month before I saw the prisoners—I had customers in the mean time—I do a great deal of business—this was on a Friday, and I saw the prisoners again next Friday—I did not see them at my son's—I am quite sure I apprised them that the person in Bond-street was my son, because, when they said, "Our ladies will come next day," I said, "If your ladies should not be pleased here, I have got a shop in Bond-street; most likely there is what will suit them there"—my daughter was behind the counter, in the front shop—it is at the corner of Arundel-street—it is a longish shop, and narrow—my daughter is not here—she was engaged with a gentleman in the front shop—a person must pass by her to go out from the back shop—there were two gentlemen engaged with my daughter, buying a collar, when the prisoners selected the two skins; and when the prisoners followed me into the room, my daughter cleared away the goods in the front shop, and she had no interference with me whatever—there was nobody in the front shop but her, when the two prisoners walked through the shop after the transaction—the gentlemen had gone, but she was engaged putting away the things—she was behind the counter—they would pass by her—the counter is about twenty inches broad—it is rather narrow—a person sitting behind could see over it—Kehn asked me the price of the boa—Lemann had a great coat on, and the other had quite a different coat on, but they are the men.

GEORGE SZARKA . I am the prosecutor's son. The prisoners called on me, in Bond-street, on Saturday, the 13th of December, between three and four o'clock—I had received from my father, on the previous evening, a warning, cautioning me to be on my guard—when they came, they showed me a parcel, and unwrapped it—it was two black lamb-skins—on seeing them, and the prisoners answering the description, my suspicions were excited immediately, and I looked for our private mark on the back of the lamb-skins—not understanding the French language perfectly, I did not understand whether they wished to sell the skins, or for me to show them a piece of the same kind—I found our private mark was not on them—I took them into the back shop to gain further time, to make up my mind what to do—Kehn followed me into the back shop, and the other remained at the door of the shop—Kehn seemed to wish to take the skins out of my hand, and by his manner I supposed he meant that he would get them somewhere else—he took them from my hand, and walked into the front

shop to the other—I put my hand on the parcel as they were just wrapping them up, and said, "Messieurs, voules vous reste?"—I then put the parcel under my arm, and told a young lad in the shop to fetch a constable, and that I detained them on suspicion of robbing my father of a sable boa, value 13l.—Ince, the constable, came, and took them to Vine-street station-house, where my father saw them—I did not tell them what I detained them for—I told the constable I detained them on suspicion of robbing my father of a sable tail boa—I spoke in English.

Cross-examined. Q. Did they tell you they had been referred to your shop by your father the day before? A. They did not, nor did they produce any card to me—my father's name is over the door—I should think they were a quarter of an hour or twenty minutes in the shop before the constable came—there was nobody else in the shop at first, but I called out to know why the constable was not come, and then my wife came into the shop—the prisoners remained in the shop all the time—I heard them talking to each other, but could not perfectly understand it—I heard them say, "Donnez directio," which, I understood, meant, "Give him your address."

JAMES INCE . I am a constable. I went to the shop in Bond-street, being fetched by a young man—I found the two prisoners in the shop—he gave them into custody on suspicion of robbing his father of a sable boa—I took them to the station-house, and searched them both—Lemann gave me a card, and made me to understand, as well as he could, that that was where he lodged—I went to Panton-street, and found out where he lodged, according to the direction on the card—I searched his lodgings, but found none of the property—I brought away a pocket-book—there was nothing in it but letters and various papers, in a foreign language—I could not find out Kehn's lodging till he was at the office—Mace, the officer, searched, but found nothing at all there.

Cross-examined. Q. The younger one gave you his card of address, which you found quite correct? A. I did—Kehn wrote his direction for me—both gave their right addresses.

The prisoners had the evidence communicated to them by an interpreter, through whom they stated—that they had noticed some common boas on the prosecutor's counter, on which he invited them into his room to look at some of a superior quality, they being judges of the article, but they had no intention of making a purchase—that, upon leaving, the prosecutor gave them a card of his address, in New Bond-street; and next day being in want of two larger skins, being nearer to Bond-street than the Strand, they went to that shop, where the prosecutor's son detained them—that the papers found upon them showed that they were connected with respectable commercial houses, and had no occasion to commit a dishonest action.


Before Mr. Justice Taunton.

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