Theft— Some half-starved wretch stole a nice roast from the meat box at the residence of our bachelor friends, on Albert Street, in Almonte on Saturday night. We can imagine, but cannot describe, the blank look of despair pronounced on the intelligence of the robbery being conveyed to the gentlemen very suddenly about twenty minutes before dinner.
January 1871 Almonte Gazette
Elizabeth Murphy (left) was sentenced to 5 years hard labour for stealing an umbrella and Mary Richards was jailed for 5 years for stealing 130 oysters
Some women stole and cheated in desperation, and stealing food and clothing became a necessity.These were the kinds of crime likely to be committed by people in most need, at a time when many families lived in poverty. However, some convicted of lesser crimes such as theft, and ‘domestic housebreaking’ often felt the full force of law.
Examples include Elizabeth Murphy, a 19-year-old Elizabeth was sentenced to five years of hard labour in prison and seven years of police supervision for stealing an umbrella. She served three years of her sentence before receiving parole in 1887.
Dorcas Mary Snell, 45, was sentenced to five years of imprisonment with hard labour in 1883 for the theft of a single piece of bacon. She was paroled two years later.
Mary Richards was sentenced to five years in 1880 at age 59 for stealing 130 oysters valued at eight shillings, which were the property of John Tyacke. Mary served almost all of sentence, receiving parole in 1885.
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