Mary Glynn (Abt 1864-19??), aka Mary Mack, Brockey Annie, Annie Mack, Annie Bond, Nellie Scott, Mary Glenn — Shoplifter, pickpocket
From Byrnes’ text:
DESCRIPTION. Twenty-five years old in 1886. Born in United States. Married. No trade. Stout build. Height, 5 feet 2 inches. Weight, 150 pounds. Brown hair, hazel eyes, fair complexion. Very heavily pock-marked. Part of first joint of thumb off of right hand.
RECORD. Mary Mack is one of a new gang of women shoplifters and pennyweight workers. She works with Nellie Barns, alias Bond, and Big Grace Daly. They have been traveling all over the Eastern States the last two years, and many a jeweler and dry goods merchant have cause to remember their visits. Mary was arrested in New York City on August 24, 1885, in company of Nellie Barns and Grace Daly, coming out of O’Neill’s dry goods store on Sixth Avenue. A ring was found upon her person, which was identified as having been stolen from the store. For this she was sentenced to six months in the penitentiary on Blackwell’s Island on September 4, 1885.
This woman, although young, is considered very clever, and is well worth knowing. Barns and Daly were discharged in this case. Her picture is an excellent one, taken in August, 1885.
Mary Glynn of Jersey City, New Jersey was not quite the criminal prodigy that Thomas Byrnes portrayed her to be, though she may have been a harder case than Nellie Barns and Grace Daly, whose arrests can be counted on one hand. Mary Glynn was not in the same league as several of the other female shoplifters profiled by Byrnes. She was active for about 17 years, from 1884-1901, with most of her scrapes occurring in her hometown. She ranged into New York City and Brooklyn (easily accessible via ferry), but wasn’t found elsewhere, except for one apocryphal mention of “Annie Mack” in Buffalo. In fact, without additional notes made by Byrnes in his 1895 edition concerning an 1888 arrest of Glynn, it would be impossible to identify “Mary Mack” at all.
In 1884, Mary and a younger friend decided to let themselves be romanced by two married Jersey City men. Mary’s friend rolled her date after sharing a room overnight, taking a ring and $12.00. The man swore out a complaint against the girl, who upon hearing this gave the ring to Mary to return to the man. Mary agreed, thus becoming an accomplice to the theft. In the end, Mary was released to her parents, but not before being shamed in public.
The 1885 arrest of Mary, Nellie Barns, and Grace Daly that Byrnes recounts was so minor that it was never reported in the newspapers; but the register of New York prisoners confirms that “Mary Mack” was sent to Blackwell’s Island Penitentiary on September 4, 1885.
In May, 1888, Mary was arrested with Maud Flanagan for shoplifting from a dry goods store on Newark Avenue in Jersey City. It was reported that Mary admitted to being a professional thief, but that her companion was innocent. Two months later, in July, Mary and Grace Daly were caught stealing shirts in New York City from a dry good store.
Another two months went by before Mary was charged again, this time for solicitation in Jersey City. She was fined $20.00, paid by her mother. By this time, Mary Glynn had garnered celebrity of a sort by her appearance in Byrnes’ 1886 edition. In November she was brought up on charges of gross indecency for sharing an apartment with a married hack driver, Archibald Douglass. She was also still to be tried for the May robbery, though the judge–out of mercy for her parents–did not declare the bail they had put up to be forfeit.
Though Byrnes remarked on Mary’s pock-marked face, but in November, 1888, the papers described her as very handsome and well-dressed. She told the court that, prior to her life as a criminal, she worked for seven years at Lorillard’s tobacco factory in Jersey City, and could live an honest life again, given the chance. She was sent to the penitentiary for one year.
Prison did not discourage her habits. In 1891 she lured a railroad switchman, flush with his payday cash, into a Jersey City saloon, where he soon found $50 of his $59 income had disappeared. He accused Mary of picking his pocket, but the court had no evidence to support his claim. Mary was released, and from the court building was seen walking into another nearby saloon with her accuser.
In April 1893, she was accused of stealing a veil from a Jersey City store, but seems to have escaped the consequences. In August the next year (1894), she was caught red-handed by a New York police detective stealing a silk umbrella from a specialty store. She was given a year at Blackwell’s Island under the name Nellie Scott.
In July, 1896, she was back to solicitation and grabbed $50 from a man’s pocket before jumping eight feet out a window to escape. She was picked up based on the man’s description.
In March, 1901, Mary Glynn and a partner, Mary Williams, were arrested for shoplifting from Wolff’s dry goods store on Newark Avenue in Jersey City. As a repeat offender, Mary should have received a stiff sentence, but in May, the presiding judge sentenced her to three months in the County Jail. “Thank you, Judge,” said Mary, as she was led away.
And so the trail ends for Mary Glynn, though one suspects that was not the end of her bad behavior. In later years, Jersey City’s police force, if they were forced to admit so, would say that they missed her.