The Right Way to Do Wrong

The Right Way to Do Wrong by Harry Houdini

Book: The Right Way to Do Wrong by Harry Houdini Read Free Book Online
Authors: Harry Houdini
was unlocked far away in Scotland, the jewel case was gone, and from that day to this not the slightest clue has been found as to its disappearance. Here was a case for a Sherlock Holmes or a Martin Hewitt, but either these gentlemen were not forthcoming, or they totally failed to solve what is, perhaps, the most mysterious railway robbery of recent days.
    â€œLet me lift the veil and show how the little job was worked. Two men, both of whom are still making a very comfortable income as railway thieves, got to know of the lady’s proposed journey, and discovered the train by which she intended to travel. Accordingly, they also traveled north by that train, though they did not go as far as Scotland. On the contrary, they only booked toLeeds. Their luggage consisted of two portmanteaus and a massive wooden trunk, strongly hooped and padlocked. It was an honest, straightforward-looking trunk, but any one who examined it very closely might have discovered a quantity of small holes in its sides, practically concealed by the iron hoops, between which and the woodwork there was at intervals a slight space. That trunk did not contain the large assortment of wearing apparel that might have been supposed; in fact, it only contained one suit of clothes, and that suit encased the limbs of a boy of fourteen!
    â€œAs soon as the train was well on its journey, one end of the trunk opened, and the small boy emerged. With the aid of a goodly stock of skeleton keys and picklocks—the English hamper locks can be opened with a button-hook, they are so simple—he opened the various hampers bearing her ladyship’s name, and presently discovered the jewel case, which he removed to his own box. He then locked up the trunks, returned to his hiding-place, closed the sliding panel, curled himself up comfortably in the box, and went to sleep for the rest of the journey.
    â€œAt Leeds the two men alighted, called a porter, who got their luggage out of the van for them, and then drove in a cab to a certain temperance hotel in Briggate, where, in the privacy of the room they had secured, the boy was let out of the box, and the jewel case gleefully examined. Its contents traveled back to London by the next train, and were safely on the continent before the news of the robbery had reached Scotland Yard.”
    A Check for $30,000
. A single “plant” on a Chicagobank was pulled off recently, whereby the clever swindler coppered out $30,000 for himself with very little effort. The bank officers tried to hush the matter up as much as possible, and for the sake of the depositors I shall not give the name of the institution, but the facts of which I am certain are substantially as follows: A depositor of several years’ standing appeared a few days ago in the bank president’s office with a draft on London for £6,000, which was perfectly good. The depositor informed the president he desired to deposit this London draft, and at the same time to check against it, presenting his check for $30,000 for the president to OK.
    The latter put his initials on it and thought no more of the transaction. The depositor then went out into the bank and deposited his London draft, and on the following day presented a check for $30,000, which was paid, the teller knowing that that amount was to his credit on the books. Later in the day he again appeared at the window and presented the check for $30,000, which had been initialed by the president. This check was also paid. Nothing more has since been seen of the depositor.
    Among the most interesting classes of thieves is the pickpocket, whose clever subterfuges and skill of hand have been so often exploited in novel and storybook. Your professional pickpocket is naturally a rover, and travels the country over, attending large gatherings. Of professionalpickpockets there are a number of types, each adapted to the class of “work” in which he engages.
    It is the

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