Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 7.2, 25 February 2018), April 1752, trial of Abraham Benjamin (t17520408-61).

Abraham Benjamin, Theft > theft from a specified place, 8th April 1752.

278. (L.) Abraham Benjamin was indicted for stealing three guineas and a half in gold, the money of Richard Scarr , in the dwelling-house of the said Richard . March 9 . +

Thomas Scarr , jun. The prisoner came last Monday morning about eleven o'clock into the shop of my father, and asked for two pair of stockings; I understood he meant boy's stockings, I fetched and opened two pair, he looked at them, and said, are these for girls; I said no; then he said he wanted girls; I fetched some, he chose out two pair, val. 2 s. 6 d. then he gave me a guinea to change; I went with it to the desk, he came to the side of it and asked me for an 18 s. piece, I told him I had never a one; he then put his hand into the drawer, in the bottom of the desk, where there were nine guineas in gold, two half guineas, and two 36 s. pieces, he took some, if not all of it, up in his hand, and with his finger and thumb shuffled it over, then throwed it down; he then asked me for crown pieces, half crowns, and shillings ; I told him I had but one half-crown, and that he should have in his change, and accordingly gave it him amongst the rest of his change, which was 18 s. and 6 d. then he went out of the shop, and in the afternoon about three, when I went to cast up my accompt, as usual, I found a half-guinea missing out of that gold. On Friday, the day after, the prisoner and another man came together, about eleven o'clock; they asked for a pair of girls stockings, they bought a pair, val. 15 d. the other person gave me a guinea to change; I took it and went to the desk and put it into the drawer, and was going to give him his change ; he asked me for an 18 s. piece; I told him I had never a one ; he then came near the desk; my hand was in it; and the lid on my head; I put my hand back thinking to keep him off, he put his hand into the drawer and took up the gold as the prisoner had done before, then there where ten guineas and a half, and two 36 s. pieces, he shuffled it about with his finger and throwed it down again pretty hard, after I had given him his change, which was half a guinea and the rest in silver and half-pence; then he asked me the price of some bays, which was in the window; I told him 18 d. a yard, he offered me a shilling; I told him he should have it for 16 d. he offered me 13 d. 14 d. 15 d. then I told him he should have it; then he said he could not stay, and both went out of the shop: when I went to make up my accompt, which might be about three hours after, I missed three guineas; there had not been any Person there, till I made up my accompt, I was in the shop all the time. The prisoner came again on the Wednesday between eleven and twelve, he came and asked for a pair of stockings ; I opened him some, upon Mr. Willis's coming in, the prisoner wanted to go out, seeming to have some suspicion, but by the assistance of him and others of my neighbours he was secured.

John Willis . I had heard that the lad had been robbed, on Wednesday a little before noon; my son, who was in my shop, called to let me know, one of the men that had robbed Tom, Scart, was there then: upon that I called one of my men to follow me; I took a stick and went; my man was at the door ; I spoke to a boy to fetch one Mr. Phillips ; I don't know that the prisoner heard me, but he seemed not to like our standing there; he was looking at some stockings, and without saying any thing to the lad, he was going away; when he came to the door I laid my hand upon him, at that very time Mr. Phillips came; the prisoner made a push to go, but we got him into the shop again; he desired to know what was the matter? we told him he should hear before a magistrate so he was committed.

Prisoner's defence.

I came there on Monday about ten or eleven o' clock, I bought two pair of stockings for a little girl; he changed me a guinea, and gave me half a guinea in gold, and the rest in silver; I said if you have not silver enough give me an 18 s. piece; on Tuesday I went again, and a strange man, I do not know him, he wanted some bays, the man bought a pair of stockings of him for a child ; after that he gave him half a guinea to change. We went away on Wednesday, I passing by there, asked the boy if he would take the money for the bays, then I wanted a pair of ribbed stockings, he asked me 3 s. and 6 d. I said, I would give him 2 s. and 9 d. We could not agree; mean while this gentleman came in with two more; I went to go out of the shop, they stopped me, and took me to Guildhall, the boy said he lost half a guinea on the Monday about half an hour after I went away; then the gentlemen said, why did not he stop me on the Tuesday, the man that was with me could not speak English, he speaks Italian.

T. Scarr. The prisoner took the change up for the guinea that stranger gave me.

Guilty 10 s. 6 d .

[Transportation. See summary.]