No. 508
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
January 28, 2021

Robbing a Corpse.

Mrs. Day is accused of stealing a ring from the finger of dead Sophie Ahrens as she lay in her coffi
February 27, 2017
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[Editor’s note: Guest writer, Peter Dickson, lives in West Sussex, England and has been working with microfilm copies of The Duncan Campbell Papers from the State Library of NSW, Sydney, Australia. The following are some of his analyses of what he has discovered from reading these papers. Dickson has contributed many transcriptions to the Jamaica Family […]
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Early American Crime - 2/7/2019
The Craze of the Day. | He Was Coffined Alive.

Robbing a Corpse.

Robbing a Corpse

Mrs. Day is accused of stealing a ring from the finger of dead Sophie Ahrens as she lay in her coffin. [more]

Capt. Copeland, who was Acting Inspector at Police Headquarters, New York the other day, told reporters this story: Miss Sophie Ahrens, a young, pretty girl, died a fortnight ago, at her home, and a host of friends visited the house to condole with the family. Among those who gazed at the coffin the day before the funeral was a woman name Mrs. Day whose husband is well known in the Ninth Ward. After she had kissed the face of the corpse she wiped tears from her eyes, and then leaned over the body again.

After Mrs. Day had left the room weeping, Miss Ahrens’ friends who clustered about the coffin found that a garnet ring which the girl wore on one of the fingers of her left hand had been removed. The ring was a present from a dear friend, and she had asked that it should be buried with her. Detective Valieant , of the Charles street station, was told of the robbery after the funeral. He suspected Mrs. Day and went to her house. “I’m the undertaker,” he said, “and I believe you have the ring. I am responsible for it and I want you to give me the ring.”

Mrs. Day denied the charge, but when he insisted that she had the ring, and told her he could prove it, she broke own and told him she had sold the ring in McAleer’s pawnshop on Eighth Street. She gave the detective the ticket and he recovered the ring, and it was placed on the girl’s finger before the coffin lid was closed the next day. No arrest was made.


Reprinted from National Police Gazette, October 8, 1887.