#185 George Levy

George Levy (Abt. 1840-????), aka Lee — Shoplifter

From Byrnes’ text:

DESCRIPTION. Forty-six years old in 1886. Jew, born in Poland. Single. No legitimate trade. Slim build. Height, 5 feet 10 inches. Weight, 135 pounds. Brown hair, hazel eyes, dark complexion, mole on right cheek. Three India ink marks on left arm. Generally wears brown mustache and chin whisker.

RECORD. Levy is a smart sheeny shoplifter and sneak thief, who has been traveling through the Eastern cities for years. He is as liable to sneak into a bank as into a store. He is considered quite clever, and is pretty well known in all the Eastern cities, especially in New York, where he has served time in State prison at Sing Sing, and in the penitentiary on Blackwell’s Island. He was arrested in New York City on June 7, 1882, for the larceny of $24 worth of Japanese articles from the store of Charles W. Fuller, No. 15 East Nineteenth Street. He was tried in the Court of Special Sessions, in the Tombs building, on June 12, 1882, and discharged by Justice Murray, who was ignorant of his character.

He was arrested in New York City again on September 9, 1885, in the fur store of Solomon Kutner, No. 492 Broome Street. Mrs. Kutner noticed that a light overcoat that he carried over his arm was much larger than when he entered. She shut the door, and stood before it. Finding himself locked in, he threw the bundle to the floor, seized the woman, and pushed her to one side. He found that he had been foiled again, as she had taken the key out of the door after locking it. Mrs. Kutner shouted, and her son and husband held Levy until an ofificer arrived and arrested him. The property he attempted to steal consisted of a sealskin sacque, valued at $170; two pairs of beaver gloves, and a roll of satin lining. Levy pleaded guilty in this case, and was sentenced to three years in State prison at Sing Sing, on September 21, 1885, by Judge Cowing, in the Court of General Sessions, New York. Levy’s picture is a good one, although he tried to avoid it. It was taken in June, 1882.

Following his release from Sing Sing in 1888, Levy migrated to Philadelphia. He was arrested there on suspicion in December, 1888; but was soon discharged. He was arrested again in August, 1889, for picking pockets at a Philadelphia ferry terminal, working in tandem with Reddy Dunn.


Levy’s 1885 Sing Sing intake lists an address of 24 E. 4th St. in New York’s East Village area; and mentions a cousin, Miss M. A. Williams living at the same address. These could not be confirmed in New York City directories.

Byrnes labels Levy as Jewish, a “sheeny”; and the anti-semitic screed The America Jew: Am Expose of his Career reprints Byrnes’ facts, along with other racist insults. However, Levy’s 1886 Sing Sing intake describes him as a Protestant.

Lacking additional clues, nothing more can be determined about this man.



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