Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 24 January 2022), December 1784, trial of CHARLES STONE (t17841208-3).

CHARLES STONE, Theft > shoplifting, 8th December 1784.

5. CHARLES STONE was indicted for feloniously stealing, on the 31st day of July last, five pair of silk and cotton stockings, value 30 s. the property of Joseph Thelwall , privily in his shop .


I keep a hosier's shop in St. Paul's, Covent Garden ; on the 31st of July I lost five pair of silk and cotton stockings, mixt, I lost them out of my shop, it is an open shop, I sell by retail; I was not at home at the time of the robbery, when I came home at nine at night, I found the house had been robbed, and the prisoner committed; I know nothing myself against the prisoner.


On the 31st of July, on Saturday evening, I had been into the city on a little business, and as I was on my return, I was accosted by a gentleman in the middle of the street, he said if I would stop a minute, I should see the shop-lifters, I was accosted opposite a butcher's, at the beginning of New-street, Covent-garden; I went with him, and saw two men in Mr. Thelwall's shop, it was candle-light, I was about a dozen yards off; the prisoner was not one of the two; there were three or four men, and the prisoner was one of them, they stood at the turning of the corner in King-street, he was looking through the window; and in about six minutes he went right into the shop; these two men were in the shop, looking at different things on the right-hand counter; there were two women behind the counter, I saw the prisoner go behind the counter and take this bundle of stockings, he concealed it under his great coat, that he had across his arm.

At what distance was you? - I was standing on the opposite side of the way.

Could you see the prisoner's face? - Yes, he walked immediately from thence to two men that were by the counter, and put his head between the two men's shoulders, then he turned his face, and was coming out; I said to the gentleman that was before me, that it was a sin that he should go out with the property, I immediately ran and took hold of his collar, he dropped the stockings on my shoe, and said the other man had got them in his possession, and they turned round and gave him some abusive language; the other man ran off: the gentleman came to my assistance about two minutes after I had hold of him.

(The stockings produced and deposed to.)

Prosecutor. I know them from the mode of their being done up, and marked with my own hand writing.

What is the value of them? - Thirty shillings they cost me.

Prisoner. In what manner was the shop situated? he says he stood on the other side of the way; whether or no there was a light in that window? - Yes.

Was there two counters or one? - Two counters.

Was there any light at the counter where you saw me take the bundle from? - No.


My Lord, I hope you will take it into consideration, I had been to one Mr. Thompson's, in the Haymarket, coming down New-street, I called for a hair ribbon, I went into this shop for one, and there were three people in the shop; I had not been in the shop the space of two minutes, before two men came in and said there were thieves in the shop, and immediately the other people rushed out of the shop; I never offered to run away, they took me, and said I had taken something, I said I had not; he took the candle off the counter, and found the stockings on the ground by the door; I have not a friend in the world.

GUILTY Of stealing, but not privately .

Transported for seven years .

Tried by the first Middlesex Jury before Mr. Justice WILLES.