Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
February 18, 2020
Rogue's Corner: JAMES LAWSON (137)
Forty-three years old in 1886. Born in Ireland. Single. No trade. Stout build. Height, 5 feet 7 inches. Weight, about 160 pounds. Black hair, gray eyes, dark complexion; generally wears a full black beard. Has a vaccination mark on his right arm.
"NIBBS" is an old-time Bowery, New York, pickpocket; he is as well known in Philadelphia, Chicago and Boston as he is in New York. He has been arrested in almost every large city in the Union, and is considered a clever thief. He travels all over the country, and can generally be seen with some of the local thieves. He is an impudent fellow, and wants to be taken in hand at once.
He was arrested in New York City for attempting to pick pockets, and was sentenced to one year in the penitentiary on Blackwell's Island, on March 18, 1875.He was arrested in Philadelphia, Pa., on April 24, 1876, charged with picking a man's pocket; his picture was taken, and he was discharged.
He was arrested again in Jersey City, N. J., on December 20, 1876, charged with robbing a German farmer of his pocket-book and money in the Pennsylvania Railroad depot. When searched at Police Headquarters, a kid glove was found in his pocket; in the finger of the glove was a large and beautiful diamond, valued at $1,000. In his vest pocket was found the setting of the stone, a stud for a shirt front. It was advertised, and turned out to be the property of Captain Wilgus, of Lexington, Ky., who had been robbed of the stone by a mob of pickpockets while getting on a train in Louisville, Ky.
"Nibbs" was convicted of robbing the German in the depot, and sentenced to five years in Trenton, N. J., State prison, on January 27, 1877.
He was arrested again in New York City on February 11, 1882, for robbing a man on a Grand Street horse-car of his pocket-book. For this he was sentenced to three years and six months in Sing Sing prison, on March 8, 1882.
Lawson is now at large.
"Nibbs's" picture is an excellent one, taken in 1876.